The World’s political jargon has a new word added to it,”fantastically corrupt” being a revised edition of the word ‘corruption’, the new vocabulary credited to British Prime Minister, David Cameron to means exceptional subversion of national fund but interestingly the word is restricted to only Nigeria and Afghanistan. While, different arguments have ensued since the video of Cameron’s vocal comment in a meeting with the Queen Elizabeth II, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby among others went viral ahead of an International Anti-Corruption Summit.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby was reported to have chipped in that “But this particular president (Assumed to be President Buhari) is actually not corrupt”. Some have argued that Cameron’s comment is cliché and stating the obvious while others decided to shade Cameron as guilty of epic hypocrisy premised on his indictment in the Panama’s papers leak as well as United Kingdom being a corrupt conduit for corrupt politicians in Nigeria to subvert state funds. The Presidency have also reacted to the comment as ‘embarrassing’ and ‘old snapshot of Nigeria perception by Cameron’.
Objectivity on any issue is utopia and problematic because issues are complex, relative and has element of human interest involved, which will ultimately delve into one being bias or prejudicial; thus, the least we can do is achieve fairness. Any side you find yourself, in all honesty the following reasons affirm Nigeria is fantastically corrupt.
Bukola Saraki Trial: The trial of the third powerful citizen of Nigeria at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over false declaration of assets, his indictment in the Panama’s papers leak and ultimately his refusal to resign and tend to his legal case have in no small measure demonstrate the intensity of corrupt practices in the country and the audacity of public official not to sacrifice personal ego and ambition for moral and common good. We can all agree that in advanced country, Saraki should have resigned by now.
Buhari’s Associates: The Buhari-led APC swept away the PDP at the 2015 poll based on change-themed campaign and the integrity of the personae of Buhari. The integrity of the president’s associate such as Rotimi Amaechi, Bola Tinubu, Raji Fashola, Lai Mohammed, Femi Adesina among others have been questioned. If the likes of Bukola Saraki, Olisa Metuh, Dasuki, Amosu, Fani-kayode among other can be prosecuted and summoned by EFCC. We can all agree that Amaechi & Co. should as well be prosecuted by now.
Panama papers leak: Mossack Fonseca was hacked and papers leaked made huge revelations about how prominent Nigerians own or through their affiliates have investments in the tax haven country of Panama. Prominent Nigerians such Aliko Dangote and his affiliates, Bukola Saraki and his wife as affiliate, David Mark, Theophilius Danjuma among others have been indicted. While in other countries of the world, leaders or personalities indicted have either resigned or defend themselves with comments even before being questioned but in Nigeria, what we get is the silent treatment. We can all agree that their silence can be interpreted as ‘yes’ to the indictment.
Untold hardship of fuel scarcity: It is on record that fuel scarcity and long queues presently experienced in the country is unprecedented in contemporary times. This situation has snowballed into economic hardship and increase in virtually everything in production and services rendered; yet, our Minister of State for Petroleum said ‘He is not a magician’ and those diverting fuel to sabotage Buhari’s administration go scot-free and smile to the bank. We can all agree that those benefitting from fuel scarcity must be magicians too.
Arms deal for Boko Haram war: The back and forth refund of $15 million fund seized by South African authorities to Nigeria is no longer news or lost in the footnote of history. The Jonathan’s administration wanted to do back-door arm procurement in South Africa before the deal went south and fund seized. At this point in time, we can’t ascertain if the fund has actually being refunded or not. We can all agree on our uncertainty on the refund of the South Africa fund to Nigeria.
Dasukigate scandal: The Dasukigate $2.1 billion scandal was a storm that shook Nigeria to its very root of its existence and the disbursement of the fund for spiritual and campaign purposes were greeted with public consternation. The EFCC have suddenly found voice and vibrancy to arrest or invite those that benefited from the fund. We can all agree that the EFCC is back and ready to salvage Nigeria in the meantime.
Lack of conviction of corrupt officials: There is nothing more ‘fantastic’ about corruption in Nigeria than the fact that there is more noise on revealing huge figure of fund siphoned than conviction of perpetrators. All the arms of government (With Ricky Tarfa’s history of bribing the judiciary not an exception) are guilty of corrupt personnel but the fight against and endorsement of corruption differs at different arms of government. We can all agree that no arms of government can remain in isolation in the fight against corruption.
If there is one ‘fantastic’ take-away in the response to the ‘fantastic corruption’ comment of Cameron is the comment by Transparency International that, “There is no doubt that historically, Nigeria and Afghanistan have had very high levels of corruption, and that continues to this day. But the leaders of those countries have sent strong signals that they want things to change”. For me, I can’t agree less.
Written by Dosunmu Moshood