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House of corruption indeed!

24 September 2012, 13:10

Mr. Corruption! This is one of the biggest obstacles to the development of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. It’s an enemy of progress if you ask me.

Everyday people write both on and off line about the evils of corruption without any commensurate effort on the part of the citizenry and the government to stamp it out or even reduce it.

There is corruption in every sector of our national life, take it or leave it. Indeed everything points to Nigeria titling towards the institutionalization of corruption. If corruption were to be a system, it would no doubt be the most functional one. It has got to the stage that government officials openly and proudly ask for kickback before they can carry-out their statutory duties for which they are paid with public funds. Critics had argued that it was the executive arm that used to be tainted with corruption. But a lie had been put to that since the other arms – legislature and judiciary – are also known to be infested with the disease.

Worst hit in recent times is the legislature, which is smarting from deadly blows dealt it by corruption. The other day it was the House of Representatives probe panel on Nigeria’s Capital Markets and later it became the turn of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on Fuel Subsidy.

The former chairman of the Panel on the Capital Market of the House was accused of compromising his position by soliciting financial patronage from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He vehemently and openly denied the accusation, initially, but surrendered when the evidence became overwhelming. In this part of the world, we pretend a lot. This situation is likened to what the Bible calls committing sins and at the same time covering it.  The same fate has befallen the Chairman of the House ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, ‘Mr.integrity’ himself.

The confidence reposed in the fuel subsidy probe panel was so much that the nation was figuratively thrown into mourning by the pointing of fingers at the committee’s chairman by the chairman of Zenon Oil. The latter accused the former of collecting 620, 000 US dollars paid in three portions of 250,000 dollars, 250,000 dollars and 120,000 dollars.

This according to the accuser, left a balance of million of dollars pending when the dirty job of exonerating Zenon Oil of any culpability in the panel’s final report must have been achieved. My worry about the whole incident is that the Zenon Oil chairman claimed it was a sting job, while the chairman of the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives claimed that he reported the matter to the then acting Inspector General of Police and left the huge sum in the custody of the Speaker of the House. A well meaning Nigerian in his reaction to this said: “the illiterates in the very age of reformation are never really those who cannot read & or write but those who cannot learn, un-learn & re-learn ab nitio”! The heart-intriguing & self-suicidal stealing spree of N999B 128times under 24 hours in the over N1.7 trillion oil subsidy probe that are now covered by PDP’s Hollywood blockbuster / FAROUKGATE Movie, titled ”STING OPERATION” This statement has raised some questions. Are our representatives illiterates or learned wicked souls?

Since the appropriate bodies are already on top of the matter it may be wise not to comment further on it. Nevertheless, it is important to observe here that what has been happening in the House of Representatives, if not checked, is capable of bringing the entire House into disrepute. The house is known for corruption and corruption related cases. No wonder some Nigerians have nicknamed it a ‘House of Corruption’ while some prefer to address it as a ‘House of Scandal’. I would rather choose to call it a ‘House of Bribery and Corruption’.

This will ultimately affect negatively the quality and credibility of the laws they make and the oversight functions they perform. What many people may not know is that Nigerians are gradually losing faith in the National Assembly going by the profligacy and malfeasance that occur there.

What kind of laws will an assembly make when it lacks the moral fibre to perform such a delicate function? This question has become important, considering what has been happening in the House of Representatives. The only way to restore confidence of the people in the House is for it to engage in self-purge to weed out the bad eggs among them.

May God save us from the enemies within!

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