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Fight corruption like Ebola in Nigeria

28 October 2014, 18:30 Goddey Odin

Nigeria would one day, definitely become one of the most powerful countries, if not the most powerful in the world. Unfortunately, it can't be in this generation of selfish and greedy people (leaders and the followers, poor and rich, and majority of Nigerians alike). This confidence and guts of saying this comes from the selfless and united effort we all (leaders and followers, rich and poor, privilege few and the masses, etc) put together in fighting the dreaded disease/virus, which is capable of wiping a notion if not controlled. Nigeria wasn't the first Nation in the world, especially in Africa to be faced or hit with the virus, EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) or EVH(Ebola hemorrhagic fever), but certainly, the first nation to overcome it in the shortest time. The outbreak began in Nigeria when Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian citizen, was diagnosed with the illness in July after he came into Nigeria through Sierra Leone. Nigeria declared a national public health emergency and Mr Sawyer later died of the disease, followed by seven Nigerians, which included Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who diagnosed Mr Sawyer and is credited with helping to contain the outbreak at its source. Because Mr Sawyer had been so quickly diagnosed, Nigeria was able to trace all those who could possibly have contracted the disease from him. Some countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been battling this EVD outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa even before it surfaced in Nigeria. On the 20th October, 2014, Nigeria was officially declared by the World Health Organization (WHO)asEbola free country after six weeks with no new cases. It was a tough time and a sad story for Nigerians, especially the ones who were privilege to travel abroad during the time. They were stigmatised, discriminated against, and were seen as a carrier of the disease. Even few Nigerians who have never travelled down to Nigeria for years were also discriminated against because their country of origin was facing a "biological war".

Also read: Corruption a culture in Nigeria

I personally remember the case of young Nigerians who traveled to China to represent the country in a competition which was attended by envoys and participants from all Parts of the world, but was denied participation and discriminated against because of Ebola. What about the case of our footballer who were critically screened many times just to be sure they've not contacted the disease or had no traces of high fever, to mention but few. Congratulations to Nigeria and Nigerians (home and abroad), your efforts were never in vain. Has anyone come to notice that this war against Ebola was won due to the "selfish" reasons of some fellows, especially from the leaders. Yes, it was a good thing that we overcome the virus, but what about other "viruses" that are getting Nigeria into the ditch. Can't we also win the war against the viruses: corruption, poor power (electricity), embezzlement of public funds, bribery, insecurities (boko haram), unemployment, robbery, vandalism, oil bunkery, ethnic crisis, favouritism, militancy, agberoism, ill judiciary, kidnapping, frequent union strikes, criminalised politics, cholera, poor educational system, etcetera etcetera... It was obvious that our leaders and some few selfish Nigerians would not gain anything or make monies if they allow Ebola to stay, not even in any part of the world. Were you not surprised how Nigeria government (federal, state and the local government) were quick at the disbursements of money so as to fight the war against ebola? Particularly, on the 20th August, 2014, Federal government (PDP controlled) released the sum of #1.9billion to health Ministry to fight ebola and #200million to support Lagos state (APC controlled state) in fighting the disease. In this case of Ebola, there was no party differences. Everyone became one Nigerian, No Apc, No PDP, all parties became Nigeria, just because they needed to fight EVD. Now, ebola is gone, Nigeria seem safe now, we've quickly gone our separate ways, our usual ways. Parties have started taking glory for the success. Imagine: "Lagos led Nigeria's victory over Ebola – APC ", this was quickly said because Lagos is an APC state. "The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday told President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop taking credit for the country’s successful containment of the Ebola Disease Virus (EVD). It said it would amount to dishonesty for the President and his party to turn what was a collective effort to a campaign issue. But the PDP fired back, saying the APC preferred that “the Ebola scourge continued unabated in Nigeria so as to have what to blame the PDP-led government for” What a rubbish! Una see adults fooling themselves like pikin wey dey primary school?

Nigeria couldn't and cannot fight, nor erase corruption to the "acceptable" reasonable level because some few individuals in the power blocs are gaining a lot from it. Take for instance, electricity. Do you think that selfish Nigerian (only God knows where he is) would be happy if there is constant and reliable power supply in Nigeria? What about his well being, his family, how would he feed? His prayer and effort is to see Nigeria and Nigerians wallowing in the pain of epileptic or inadequate supply of power, so that he can import more of the alternative power supply (generator) and have more gains. How do you expect Boko Haram, militants and other terrorist groups alike to lay down their arms and embraced peace when their are few individuals and organisations (home and abroad) benefiting from their operation at the detriment of many Nigerians. The groups need arms and sophisticated weapons in large quantity and individuals, organisations and countries are ready to supply them at any amount and get more gain while the terrorist acts continue (kidnapping, maiming and killing innocent Nigerians). While some few individuals are there clapping their hands for brothers fighting themselves. What make you think the government owned universities and other higher institutions will regain their lost glory when the few individuals (politicians, pastors, imams, prophets, churches, mosques and organisations) who are among the power blocs have been given licences to establish universities and higher institutions which led to the neglect of the owns owned by the people (government)? The truth is if ebola was given a slightest chance in Nigeria, the big wigs, the power blocs, and their families would have been highly affected in many ways, financially, health, and otherwise. Though many Nigerians would have as well go for it. What an unusual effort we used in the fight against the EVD. "This is obviously in sharp contrast with the ways Nigerians celebrate suspected and convicted corrupt individuals.

Also read: Abubakar rubbishes corruption accusations 

We throw parties because a thief who stole public money and was sentenced to prison by a court of competent jurisdiction is returning from prison. We have had cases of a former governor of a state obtaining a ridiculous perpetual injunction from the court against the institution of the state empowered to fight corruption, not to prosecute him for the financial improprieties he committed when he was in the office. It is on record that both the government and the people have done absolutely nothing to vacate this kangaroo injunction. Regrettably this is fast becoming a culture in Nigeria. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, did not waste time to follow the same footsteps. She quickly went to such courts and obtained such unfortunate injunctions stopping the House of Representatives from probing her. She was accused of spending about N10 billion in hiring and chartering aircraft for her personal and family engagements with public funds." Our religious leaders are not helping matters in the fight against corruption. Public officers who have helped themselves with our commonwealth are often given undeserved recognition and awards in our churches and mosques. These types of recognition have consciously or unconsciously gone a long way in affirming that there is nothing wrong in stealing public funds, thereby encouraging corruption in the country. In my humble submission, for Nigeria to win the fight against corruption and its "fellows", the same “methods” applied to fight Ebola should be extended to corruption. Anyone that has been convicted of corruption should not only be stigmatised but also "quarantined and isolated. Every corrupt practice should be reported to relevant agencies no matter who is involved. Let's see corruption anew, as a common enemy like ebola which has come to destroy our well being and country. Corruption shouldn't be seen as a Pdp or Apc palaver,but Nigerians'. Accidents for instance, resulting from bad roads do not care whether the victim is Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, Esan or Itshekiri, etc. Everyone suffers from the insecurity situation in the country; which includes the highly placed individuals, political office holders, traditional rulers, religious leaders; and the poor masses. Nigerians as one should therefore stand and fight corruption in Ebola way so as to have a better Nigeria.

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