By: Samuel Osho
In this moment of unrestrained “whistle blowing” and utter repression of the faith that the future holds for the nation, I was grossly disturbed by the title of a book on its way for a rapturous launch by one of Nigeria’s most controversial Senators, Sen. Dino Melaye. The laughable book title, Antidotes for Corruption, only obliterates the last modicum of sanity in any concerned individual.
To be candid, the state of the nation reflects the brutality of ineptitude that has percolated the upper echelons of the Nigerian government. To make matters worse, the constant support of calmness offered by the populace, all in the name of perseverance is exhaustively painful. From time immemorial, corruption has been a relative of politics, power-play and governance. Only the wise ones know that its womb is a home to filth, scum, degradation and death. When leadership is entangled in the web of self-interests, dishonesty and greed, it only leads to the decimation of the Republic. Several symptoms gradually come to fore: resources are wasted on selfish gains and the electorates retreat into their shells because their trust has been defiled and raped.
For the umpteenth time, I would be right to opine that Nigerians are the most quiescent set of people on the face of the earth. In their overt suffering in the hands of unscrupulous leaders who loot public funds, they smile with amazement and even throng these fraudulent elements in the public squares. In the past few months, the endless list of loots uncovered would have started a civil war or at least generated meaningful protests in some countries. In Nigeria, even if $20 billion USD goes missing, the shelter of peace will remain calm as the clandestine fortress that guarantees the safety of the loot. This is not a display of resilience; it is a form of chronic apathy in the affairs of the nation and frowns at the fate of the nation.
The staggering amount of loot uncovered in the past few days is rather disturbing than hilarious. The recent discovery of $50 million USD stacked in drawers in a Lagos home which is yet to know its lord is a shameful act. I was alarmed and emotionally flustered when I saw the video, I thought about the realities of the ongoing recession and the possibilities of more hidden vaults with bigger amounts of money.
To think about the gravity of this crime and what corruption is denying the masses will be to paint relatable scenes of what $50 million USD can do. This amount will conveniently sponsor 1,400 students for a Master’s program in London at Imperial College’s Faculty of Engineering. It will buy over 1,200 pieces of new Toyota RAV4 Jeep (2017 model). I wonder what the owner of this money really wants to do with it while I decide not to belabour myself with thoughts of how it was acquired.
In sharp contrast, despite President Barack Obama’s two consecutive terms as the US President, his family earned only $23.2 million USD from 2000 to 2015. It will take a US President 125 years to make $50 million USD from his basic salary, yet someone in Nigeria can afford to keep such an amount in a house and even abandon it when it became a public knowledge. Welcome to Nigeria! I would not like to bore you with the long list of recovered loots, the list is disgusting especially the feats of Andrew Yakubu.
Now to the questions begging for answers: Where are the recovered loots going? Who is in charge of the recovered funds? What is the government doing so that the loots are not stolen again? What happens to the fraudsters? I am asking questions because I read about how South Africans are leading protests to kick out their corrupt president, Jacob Zuma. And I have seen how other prestigious nations handled nefarious acts of this magnitude.
In 2014, one of China’s top politicians, Liu Tenan, was convicted on charges of bribery worth 35.58 million yuan (over $5 million USD). Do you know his punishment? He was sentenced to life imprisonment. But in Nigeria, a former governor accused of stealing $250 million USD from the public purse returned to the nation after spending four years in a UK jail and he was welcomed amidst cheers. That’s a strong body language that pledges allegiance to the shameful act of corruption that the personality of James Ibori shows the world.
The body language of the masses embraces the procreation of corruption in the country and this only drives the nation away from redemption. Let these words never be misconstrued for violent utterances of hate that threatens the unity of the nation but a voice that awakens our minds from slumber. If the change we deserve as a nation will be achieved, then we must let our stark disdain for corruption be made known on the rooftops. Don’t allow our voices be muffled by nepotism or partiality, the reality remains that these funds that warm the pockets of our fraudulent leaders is for us and the future of unborn generations. The future is mortgaged one penny at a time by thieves whose job is to steal, rob and misappropriate funds. Why keep silent or stay at peace when the future is not at peace.
For everyone who is at peace with the dastard acts perpetrated in the corridors of power, who revels at the banquet organized by the author of Antidotes for Corruption, these are the true enemies of our nation. These jokers and fraudsters are getting paid to milk our dear nation to death and if all we do is watch with silent lips, then we shall have ourselves to blame when the imminent consequences descend on us like torrents of rain.