It is not an exaggeration to say that the problem of corruption in Nigeria seems insuperable and is by each passing day making the people more and more vulnerable to biting poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, insecurity and illiteracy. Simply put, corruption has engendered an unprecedented poor standard of living in such a way that anger is literally seen written all over the face of once effervescent looking people.
The foregoing sordid picture of what corruption has turned the people into has never been a salutary experience to them (the people) and to a government that has for 16 years being at the helm of affair of the country.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is therefore not a surprise that the entry of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, now president-elect, in the last presidential election was highly welcomed by the people as reflected in the election results across the six geo-political zones. Many people, overwhelmed with high hopes, saw his aspiration, or better still, his coming as a big relief, particularly to those that have been unemployed and others that are passing through execrable hard times under the government of
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President Goodluck Jonathan. In fact, the cheers that greeted his victory at the polls were in the similitude of Hip! Hip! Hurray!!! Simply put, the victory of the president-elect at the polls conspicuously thrilled his supporters across the length and breadth of the country’s political landscape with ecstatic joy to the extent that some were reported to have celebrated to death while some drank themselves to stupor. The president, no doubt, dedicated a paragraph in his acceptance speech titled “The Die Is Cast” to the fallen heroes and apparently to convey his condolences to their families thus: “And it is with a very heavy heart that I report many deaths and injuries amidst the jubilations yesterday. We send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives; and wish speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries. I appeal to all our supporters to celebrate this victory with prayers and reflection instead of wild jubilation.”
As witnessed by international observers and the generality of the people, his victory made nonsense of diverse analyses and predictions put forward by Psephologists (those who study election trends by means of opinion polls) and political pundits as it did not follow the trajectory of primordial sentiments that usually characterize presidential election in this part of the world. Without any modicum of hyperbole, he was massively voted for by non-muslims and non-northerners alike.
Just like the highly revered Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, recently implied in his speech that “Buhari is a better evil than Jonathan”, it may not be wrong to say that many voters saw the participation of the former military head of state in the last presidential race as an opportunity to once again have in Nigeria a president that would have a zero-tolerance for corruption.
In fact, many in the Christendom saw the hands of God in the election that offered them the divine opportunity of voting for a President that is supported by a man of God that is anointed to be living by the scriptural injunction that says “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
But alas! Many are not happy with the feelers that came from the interview which his director of policy and strategy, Ex. Gov. Kayode Fayemi granted the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, in a program called “HardTalk” that is known for its “Indept interviews with hard-hitting questions.” In the program which was monitored by many Nigerians, the former governor of Ekiti state said “Buhari may consider amnesty for corrupt politicians. To many, the interview ostensibly brought to fore the fact that the president may not afterall fight corruption exactly the way many would want him to fight it.
In my view, this is not the kind of social contract that was literally written in the minds of many Nigerians before they decided to vote Gen. Buhari as the next president come May 29, 2015. They thought he would tackle the issues of corruption and corrupt politicians head long the way he was wont to.
Nigerians never at this time expected the president-elect that is popularly called “Sai Baba” to treat the issue of corruption in a way that is reminiscent of plea bargain or treat it as if stealing is not corruption as the incumbent president once said.
In my view, this is not the kind of social contract that was literally written in the mind of that unemployed youth that cheered “Sai Baba” during the campaign days that preceded the last presidential election. He thought the president-elect would tackle the issues of corruption and corrupt politicians headlong the way his reputation suggests.
To me, fight against corruption under General Buhari’s presidency is beyond compromise. If dealing with corruption under his expected administration would require a sledge hammer, let him apply it as many Nigerians would support him in the fight.
The reason for the foregoing view cannot be far-fetched when seen from the prism of the fact that the issue of corruption has been linked to the instability that the country is today characterized with as well as the unprecedented state of insecurity in the country. Literally speaking, the page of corruption cannot be easily expurgated from any book that has the issue of unemployment as its theme.
Secondly, corruption has indisputably remained the major cause of poor international image that the country is known for. For instance, the president of Zimbabwe last year at a luncheon organized in his honor by service chiefs during his 90th birthday, apparently overwhelmed with the honor bestowed on him, disparaged Nigeria and Nigerians by saying that Nigerians and its citizens are corrupt.
Away from the danger which corruption poses against the image of the country, it has unarguably become a threat to the survival of the country so much so that nothing seems to be working smoothly in terms of provisions of basic social amenities such as uninterrupted electricity supply, good road networks, potable water supply and well equipped and staffed medical institutions.
With the foregoing ugly picture as regards the effect of corruption on the national life of the country and its people, one is surprised to hear that the president-elect would during his tenure grant amnesty to corrupt leaders. It is expedient to ask, who are the people that deserves amnesty? In my perceptual view, Gen. Buhari should declare war against anyone in his party, in his religion and in his tribe without minding who that person is to him. This is what Nigerians expect him to do. He should give corrupt leaders a hard knock that would be strong enough to deter others.
Finally, one would wish that Nigeria’s future vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as a man of God, should always remind his colleague that the bible in Ecclesiastes chapter 8 verse 11 has it that: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
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