NIGERIA A COLLAPSING HOUSE OF GRAFT

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THE BUBBLE BURSTS

Given the tragicomic quality of the last two weeks, you would think traumatized Nigerians deserve some respite from tales of naked graft, open bribery and shameless stealing for a change. But you are wrong. Totally so. There is a new promise of 100 billion revelation yet to come from the North East Development Commission. These chilling stories, coming at the peak of mass poverty, pandemic punishment and obvious vacancy in Government make for comedy rather than worry. Why worry, when we realise that there is nothing new? This has been a dysfunctional administration since 2015. A government of cabals promises only drama in this salacious house of vagabonds. My curiosity is triggered by a mischievous sense of comedy. Because I see nothing new when deaf thieves fight silent thieves.

FROM THE VILLA THROUGH THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

From the banquet hall of the Presidential villa, where old retired and previously accused Justice Ayo Salami sweats without much progress to squeeze EFCC Chairman, Magu out of a confession of alleged sleazy sins and reveal the dark locus of purported hidden loot to the corruption ridden, moist and smelly Committee rooms of the House of representatives, it is all “made for movie” moments of exhaustive laughter. That committee hall was enlivened by scenes of Ministers blackmailing Honourable members and Parastatal heads fainting to escape live camera confessions. I expect Chairman Magu to come out smoking like smoking Joe Frazier soon. Trust me, we shall hear a lot more than we imagine. We are in for a scandal filled mid-year.

WHAT IS THIS

Our untidy Home is being destroyed by the massive invasion of rats and the destructive powers of their hunger. All edible, consumable and inedible are at play including the wooden structures and trusses holding our roof in place.

The conclusion by most of our residents is that these rats are different from all others in the World. They claim they are exponential in multiplication, rapid in growth and just especially virulent in destruction. They even fly. We have rats with wings in Nigeria, they conclude.

My view however is that this is not so. Rats are rats wherever they are to be found. I submit that our house is just too dark, too moist, too filthy and too conducive to growing master rats. I add that in other places where rats threaten households, landlords finish them off before they grow wings to fly like Nigerian rats. They set traps, they lace edibles with poison, they clean the house and keep everywhere neat, they light up dark corridors and generally place the house in a condition uncomfortable for rats. Our landlord, however, prefers that rats drive us all out of the house. He wants us out because he needs our rooms for his children. That is where we are o! I may be wrong, but I believe that if you bring a dog into this house, the way our landlord has prepared it, it will mutate into a rat.

What I am trying to say in so many words, is that people are not the problem. Accountability is never a morality issue. We do not have special thieves in our Country. They are not especially hungry, angry and vicious. We have a moist, dark, dirty and filthy house prepared by this Government. Bring Pope Pius into the corridors of this fully ethnic Nigerian Government and he will become a pure and violent thief.

WHAT DO WE SEE

From all indications, this is no Government of Nigeria. This is a conclave of primitive tribal gathering of aboriginal gangsters focused solely on eating up Nigeria including the future. They are a house of Bigots brought up in a culture of heists and sleaze. Those admitted into their class are merely agreeable followers who would not survive and succeed in that class without passing and shining in subjects like mass robbery, complex forgery, merciless fraud and wasteful accumulation without belief in tomorrow. Why we hear some noise and pretentious investigations, is because there are disagreements in-house over sharing formula. As you can see, the common denominator in the cases we observe so far have been triggered by differences. In EFCC, the Attorney General feels cheated by Chairman Magu. The pie is so big in EFCC that Attorney General believes Magu is massively benefiting and getting out of control.

AGF Malami accused Chairman Magu of appropriating funds and massively editing seized assets and returning little to other parties. Chairman Magu alleges that AGF Malami has been selling seized Ocean-going tankers, opaquely, and auctioning them complete with barrels of crude oil without accounting. To further complicate matters, and confirm Magu’s allegations, Malami had been displaying wealth oppressively, like over excited Hush-Puppy, over the marriage of his little son with repeat carnivals in 3 States.

Similarly, but for the disagreement over sharing formula between the top members of House Committee on NDDC, the anger of that pretty lady, former Acting MD, Joi Nuneh over her suspension instigated by Akpabio, NDDC would just be coasting neatly without perturbation.

At NSIF too, if Minister Ngige had not stirred the hornet’s nest by suspending the NSIF MD and Directors, and they had all been chopping without rancor, how would we know? The summary of these revelations is about disagreements on distribution percentages and not a quest for accountability.

WHAT IS CORRUPTION?

We talk casually as if corruption is about people and their moral strength or feeble fiber. And that gives a moral envelope to it all. But I ask a soft but delicate question. If you bring Pope John Paul from the grave to run NDDC, will the account balance up, given the system and atmosphere in our environment? If you cry to God every minute in the office of NNPC, and by the way, many of these offices offer devotional hours before work starts, repeat at break time and mini crusade at closing, yet God struggles without success over the Devil and money overcomes any resistance that man tries to put up.

The problem is not about corruption as we explain it to ourselves. It is about our definition of what corruption means. We look at these alarming heists, and we think it is the cause of our problems. It is not. It is the effect that our problem manifests.

I like Chamber’s Dictionary for its definition of corruption. It describes Corruption as “dishonest, venal not genuine or pure.”

Now my questions:

· Is it honest of this administration which swore to an oath to obey the constitution to now turn around and disobey it?

· Is the Government genuine in intention to overlook the Federal character provision it swore to uphold?

· Is it genuine in National intention to turn a Federal Government over to a tribal conclave of village gerontologists and Daura urchins?

The problem is that this Government is defined by its unstated objectives. And the effect we see is the total breakdown of faith, commitment, loyalty and patriotism to the flag. So, let the choppers continue to chop and leave me alone to laugh.

-FRANCIS OJO

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