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The corruption war and politics

29 February 2016, 12:05 Vincent Nwuchiola

The problem of corruption in Nigeria is as old as Nigeria itself, especially with the political class.  This was the problem that triggered Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s bloody coup d’état of January 15, 1966, which unfortunately was corruptly executed, plunging Nigeria into civil war in 1967 that ended in 1970 no victor and no vanquish. 

However, in the post war reconstruction to restore peace and hope across ethnic and sectional divide, the then government of Gen. Y. Gowon initiated the three Rs-reconstructions, rehabilitation, and reconciliation as vital instrument for peaceful co-existence, hence the coinage go-on with one Nigeria. To set the ball rolling, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme was introduced for national consciousness and cohesion; and so also was the “Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day” as an annual event to remember and honour the fallen heroes of the coup and the civil war on every 15th January of the year.

The truth must be told that the coups exacerbated corruption, which is the bane of Nigeria’s problem today. The incursion of military in politics institutionalized corruption to the extent that the strong governance structures were weakened and destroyed providing avenue for corruption to fiesta and become deep rooted norm in our national fabrics.  Notwithstanding corruption can be minimized, if the current tempo of the fight is sustained by all concerned.

Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for change is passionate and concerned about the anti-corruption war in all facets of the economy.  The courage of the government to take the bulls by the horns in tackling this common problem is the best the government can do for its citizens to survive as a people and a nation.  This is not the first time President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to fight corruption to a stand still.  When he took over power from Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1984 through the barrel of guns (Coup d’état), attempted to contain corruption with the intent and purpose to save the economy from imminent collapse, but was derailed by another coup masterminded by General IBB who on taking over power, played down both the anti-corruption and war against indiscipline, except environmental sanitation apparently to elicit support. Incidentally, the fight became elusive and those alleged to have misappropriated our commonwealth were set free.  Nonetheless, his government actualized the movement of the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, and liberalization of the economy for private participation in some sectors of the economy that were exclusive reserve of the government like higher education, broadcast media, telecommunication etc, 

It is gratifying to note that President Muhammadu Buhari met business when during the presidential campaign rallies said, “…..unless we kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.  Gladly, the anti-corruption war is now obvious and Nigerians are aware of the works currently being done so far to minimize it, which has been applauded globally.  As those alleged to have corruptly enriched themselves are made to return their loots and face trials at the various courts across the country. 

The corruption scourge in Nigeria currently is devastating, especially in President Jonathan’s regime, which appeared to have been legalized somehow, considering the number of persons that were involved and the colossal damage caused to the economy with disregard to integrity.  We are in the country where honour is given to whom you know syndrome not what you know, which is why the economy is deteriorating rapidly. Over the years, Nigeria state has been governed like personal estate and family service centred, instead of public service affairs, building fortified kingdom, and celebrating corruption with fanfare unquestioned.

Fortunately, APC led government for change has come to alter the course of event in order to improve the economy for its people.  Until the anti-corruption fight becomes leadership centred, the will to deal with this common problem might not yield the desired effect.  The enormity of destruction caused by corruption to the economy explains the leadership failure and lack of political integrity amongst the greedy politicians. 

It will be absurd to accede to the antics of political gang-up that tend to contribute to the unabated killings of the innocent lives in several parts of Nigeria, which the worst is the ongoing crisis in the Northeast, couple with the famine and disease ravaging the region.  Painfully, the unimaginable ethnic and sectional venom that elicited the coup d’état of 1966 has again, reared its ugly heads in our nation’s politics. 

Regrettably, the unwillingness of politicians to learn from the history and have a sobre reflection on the travails, trials and triumphs Nigeria has gone through on our way to nationhood is amusing.  Rather than indulge in celebrating the ill-gotten wealth, and living in an affluent lives with families outside the country at the detriment of others, who are being intimidated and confronted with serious uncertainty of life.  It is expedient that we join forces to fight this common phenomenon of corruption in order to liberate the country from hoodwinks.

I stand to be corrected, it is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari has been the only courageous and determined leader in Nigeria that has truly and honestly tried to fight corruption decisively and improve people’s living standard.  It would have been a good moral lesson of the past to re-invigorate our ethos as guiding principle of harnessing our leaned resources in a manner that will transform our future generations to the actualization of the Nigeria of our dreams.  The politicians must bear the testimony of patriotism and loyalty to the Nigeria project to achieve its true greatness.

There is need to demonstrate our collective will and determination to remain as one country.  We must commit our individuals and groups differences to align with the national interest as Nigeria contains the fabric of uncommon greatness waiting to be fostered.  It is expected that the government’s policy thrust on anti-corruption war should be geared toward improving infrastructural development for the people to meaningful engage in productive capacity for nation building. 

Amazingly, the effort and support of the Churches, Mosques, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations, Almighty Press, the Armed Forces, ICPC and EFCC on anti-corruption war cannot be under estimated, considering their immeasurable contribution and commitment to ensure that the government win the anti-corruption war at all cost no matter whose ox is gored.

Conclusively, for Nigeria as a nation to achieve uncommon success in the anti-corruption war, serious consideration of reviewing the immunity clause in the constitution that shield  any public  office holders from being criminally liable while in office be removed as driving force to ensure probity and accountability in our nationhood. This ultimately will make leaders to stand firm and defend the country whenever and wherever the need arises.  Ironically, it may be easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than the National Assembly to pass such bill into law, because their bogus allowances, which people have been clamouring for a slice in the pie, has not been heeded, even when the present state of the economy is not favourable to it.  This is the dilemma Nigeria is currently.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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