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PRESIDENT BUHARI’S ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR VERSUS POLITICS OF SECTIONAL NEPOTISM

ENOUGH OF THE POWERS OF GOVERNORS AND OPINION

July 28, 2016

This is “No Bullshitting,” by Harry Agina.

Greetings, folks!

Let’s talk about Buhari’s campaign against corruption, and the politics of sectional nepotism in Nigeria, shall we. Sure, I have been hard on President Buhari in several past blogs, and rightly so, too! His corrupt anti-corruption war is very clear and undeniable. However, the failure of his anti-corruption war is not to be blamed on him alone. Majority, if not all of Nigerians are guilty in one form or another. And, the keywords here are ignorance and nepotism…foolish sectional nepotism, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

For one thing, ignorant Nigerians hail, celebrate, and practically worship looters of Nigeria’s public funds, thereby encouraging their evil deeds. And also, some of the enlightened Nigerians are too parochially and too sectionally nepotic to make a difference. Many won’t speak out against evil, and those that do speak out, defend evil with nepotic and clannish mentality. Whenever a criminal is prosecuted, we hear people asking, “Why are they prosecuting people from my tribe, why not persons of other tribes?” Same goes for religions and political parties. I hear some fools query, “Why do they prosecute people of my religion, and not the other religion?” My spontaneous response is, “Who the fuck do we prosecute, if every section of the country complains about prosecuting their members, meeeeeeeeeen?!!!

Human Fact: It is impossible to please or satisfy everybody at the same time on any given issue in any given society. No matter what anyone does or says; who you are, or what you are, some people must complain while some rejoice. Indeed, even if you are a saint who does and says all the “right things,” a fraction of the society, any society, will still fault you for being too good! I have ‘right things’ in parenthesis because “right” is a relative notion. What citizen ‘A’ calls right may be deemed to be wrong by citizen ‘B.’ As they say in street parlance; One man’s meat may be another man’s poison. Ultimately, a public figure can only strive to please majority-fraction of the society.

So, it is understandable when President Buhari is getting some verbal bashing for his war against corruption, from the same society that voted him into power primarily for that purpose. My interest in this is sincerity and objectivity in the bashing—is it justified, or not? It is already a given that as one fights corruption; it is bound to fight back. And, propaganda (misinformation and half-truths) is Mr. Corruption’s most powerful strategy—always! So, it should be common knowledge that some of the bashing is ill-conceived. It should be common knowledge that the compromised group in our society—looters, their beneficiaries and benefactors—are often the propaganda culprits. They brew unwarranted criticisms of our corruption war to whip up public sentiments for themselves.

Unfortunately, no matter what rubbish that one cooks up for the public, there is always a big fraction of us who are bound to swallow it—hook, line, and sinker! And, some of us ignorantly fight against our own appointed anti-corruption agents based on misinformation and poor judgment. But don’t get me wrong, though! I have not said, and will never say that the agencies and the agents are always wrongfully bashed; no sir, no ma’am! The essence of this discourse is my observation that many of us fail in the ‘objectivity test. We have the tendency to throw away a baby in dirty bathwater along with the dirty water.

Surely, President Muhammadu Buhari is doing certain things wrong; there is no question about that. I will pick just one instance—tribalism! The man is definitely very tribal in the appointment of the members of his government. This is very clear, because figures never lie. His clannish or nepotic appointments are very glaring. He flagrantly violates the constitutional “federal character” doctrine. The constitution requires him to spread and balance his appointments across all the regions of the federation. It is clear that he has given unbelievable quota to his Muslim Fulani tribe in the north. This is a recipe for massive agitation for the break-up of the country, coming from a man who insists that keeping Nigeria one is “not negotiable.” Certainly, we must all condemn this in very strong terms. Some sincere, patriotic, and outspoken northern Nigerians who are truly seeking one-Nigeria do condemn it. Even some of Buhari’s Fulani kin who are sincere condemn it, too, not minding that the injustice benefits their tribe.

Now, this is where the notorious “however” comes in to make my point on the need for objectivity. Sure, President Buhari is emersed in atrocious nepotism, and he is deficient in other areas, too. However, as we condemn his bad actions, we must try to be objective to exploit his good attributes, too. For one, his uncommon courage to fight the hitherto-untouchable corrupt leaders is great! We must not allow the sentiments concerning Mr. President’s deficiencies to becloud our thinking. It is even worse when some self-serving Nigerians capitalize on the deficiencies to brew unwarranted propaganda against the anti-corruption campaign.

Surely, the prosecution of the anti-corruption campaign is flawed in some areas. But, you see, that’s where the adage—“don’t throw the baby away with the dirty bathwater”—comes into play. That’s exactly what the looters of our common treasury want us to do!!! They want to make sure that the anti-corruption war dies completely, so that they may continue their evil business-as-usual. Many of the rest of us support their antics inadvertently because we are ignorant of their game. But some of us support the propaganda because they benefit from the loots. When a suspected looter is apprehended, he or she comes up with some nonsensical, often stupid, bullshitting propaganda. The most common is the nonsensical “witch-hunt” claim. We catch a thief with his hand right inside the till, and he cries, “witch-hunt.” Only in Nigeria!!! If you have not read it yet, please read my clear position on, and definition of witch-hunt here on this platform.

Let’s talk about alleged selective prosecution of suspected looters. Surely, we should all be agitating, constructively, for the prosecution of all the corruption suspects. But it is absolutely nonsensical, stupid indeed, when some of us are busy talking about freeing the crooks who we already have in the net! The sectional excuses that they offer for their views simply don’t make any sense to me. As I said, it is easy to understand some allegiance to suspected looters by beneficiaries and benefactors. Also, I can understand the support based on ignorance of some of us.

What I can’t fucking understand are some comments and views of Nigerians who should know better. I can see the hand of the infamous Nigerian Factor in it. It is raising its ugly head as usual, and we are criticizing President Buhari’s corruption war based on senseless sectional nepotistic sentiments. The primary sentiments are based on tribalism, religion, political affiliation, and class distinction. Some of us seem quite confused on the sectionalism argument. They are certainly beginning to confuse me with some of their comments, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

I will illustrate with current Senator Bukola Saraki corruption trial saga. It is a landmark trailblazing trial. And, given all the circumstances, nobody should accuse President Buhari of any type of sectional bias against Senator Saraki. Yes indeed! After all, Saraki is a northerner just as President Buhari. Saraki is a member of the ruling APC party, same as President Buhari. And, Saraki is a Muslim, same as President Buhari. Further, Saraki is in the top-echelon social class that has been hitherto untouchable. As the senate president, he is “number three citizen” of the nation. But Buhari doesn’t seem to give a fuck about all that, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

This is the first time that such high-powered prosecution has ever happened in the democratic history of Nigeria. A person of Saraki’s caliber, with a combination of all these advantage-positions of power, is actually facing prosecution…wow! For the first time, we have a president that has the will and courage to do it. For the first time since the “Fourth Republic” Nigeria, he seems bent on upholding our constitutional stipulation that no person is above the law. I don’t know about other Nigerians, but I can tell you that I appreciate that! Some of us are lobbying him to compromise and order the corruption agencies to spare some ‘special’ hitherto-untouchable suspected looters. Some other hypocrites are cautioning him to be careful. Careful of what, I ask? The only valid caution that is based on integrity is to follow all the constitutional prescriptions. Otherwise, any advice of caution is based on the Untouchable Syndrome bullshit of Nigeria! If you ask me, and even if nobody asks me, I still say here that those who give Buhari such advice are compromised and insincere, meeeeeen!!!

Truly, with Saraki and Buhari belonging together in all the social and political classes, I actually believe that Buhari deserves some encouragement. He should receive accolades for his courage to prosecute Saraki and others like him. Walahi, all well-meaning uncompromised Nigerians should hail him for the show of courage, in spite of his flaws! But, no; this is Nigeria where weird things happen! Some fucked-up so-called opinion-leaders are coming up with excuses to condemn Buhari and the anti-corruption agencies. They are not doing it in the national interests. It’s all for their own selfish interests. The rest of us should not be condoning it.

Our major opposition party, the PDP, is actually accusing Buhari of “with-hunting” Saraki. The man is an APC senator, mind you, and not PDP. Are you beginning to see my confusion? If Saraki was a member of the PDP; the party would have accused Buhari of ‘witch-hunt of the political party kind.’ Now they’ve got me confused about what “witch-hunt” they are crying, meeeeeeeeen!!!

Did PDP investigate the charges and certify Saraki innocent? If they did not investigate Saraki’s charges, how the fuck did they conclude that the prosecution is “witch-hunting”? I do know that they didn’t investigate anything before their pronouncement. Remember—according to Oxford English Dictionary, allegation of looting has to be proved to be false first, in order to qualify as witch-hunt. PDP has temporarily suspended its cross-party sentiments to find an ally in the enemy’s camp, in the person of Senator Bukola Saraki. I see here a clear case of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ It doesn’t seem to matter where the ally comes from, and it doesn’t seem to matter what the ally stands for. That’s absolutely evil, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

As for the rest of us; if Saraki was an Igbo man or a Yoruba man, the Igbos or Yorubas would have cried, ‘witch-hunt of the ethnic kind.’ If Saraki was a Christian; Christians would have accused Buhari of ‘witch-hunt of the religious kind.’ And, if Saraki was a lower cadre politician; Nigerians would have accused Buhari of sparing the “big fish” and “witch-hunting” the small fish. Now, the man has transcended all that sectional nepotism to wage a courageous but not necessarily perfect war on corruption. And we are still allowing a few compromised loud propagandists to, unwarrantedly, badmouth the efforts of our anti-corruption agents. In the process, they confuse our youths on the matter of ethics and values. If we speak in the interest of the nation, we should do more of critiquing in order to push for improvement in the wrong areas. We should not be engaged in categorical, outright condemnation of the agencies, meeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

Remember, I am not in any way presuming Saraki or any other suspect guilty; no sir! For all I know, he may be innocent after all. And, if I said it once, I said it a thousand times that I am not saying that the anti-corruption agents are doing it all right. No sir, no ma’am! They certainly have a lot of bullshitting in their operations, but they are really working, too!!! A sincere critique, which is laced with recognition and appreciation of achievements, as well as condemnation of the flaws of the agencies and agents, is only fair. Importantly, we must be careful not to be seen to support the former untouchables.

We do know, or at least believe, that most, if not all of them, are actually guilty. Their crimes are very obvious! There should be no-sacred-cows in Nigeria’s corruption war! We must stop buying into well-crafted self-serving propaganda. They only aim to enslave Nigerians to few people in power! The sincerity of the prosecutors of the war may not be absolute all the time. There may be truth in some of the cries against selective prosecution of the campaign, for instance. But it is our duty to press for comprehensive non-selective campaign, and not to press for the freedom of those already in the net!!! Every accused person must face trial in order to prove innocence, meeeeeeeeeeen!!!

An operative maxim in sane democratic societies is: The bigger they are; the harder they fall. It means that law offenders who are highly placed in the society are more severely penalized. It is the opposite in Nigeria. We have been disgracefully conditioned to worship the “big” people and place them above the law. Our ethics-and-values system has eroded so badly.  So, when an unemployed man steals a chicken or a tuber of yam to feed his starving family, we either stone him to death in the street, or chop off his hands, in the name of “Sharia Law.” If he survives the mob, escapes Sharia law, and gets to court, our judges would slam him in prison for several years. But the same judges often grant injunctions and do everything possible to aid the looters of our treasury to evade trial—absolutely scandalous!

I want to sign off with the affirmation of my consistent position. Despite his flaws, President Muhammadu Buhari has been the best that Nigeria has gotten in anti-corruption campaign since 1999. At least, a clear revolution has begun in that project. I only pray that it will progress effectively, and not crumble back to square-one. I hope that the attitude of the Nigerian populace will encourage it to progress effectively. Guess what, and I know that many will kick against this, but I actually don’t give a hoot if Buhari does nothing else well. I mean absolutely nothing else but fight and beat corruption for Nigeria. You may say that my position is extreme, but I mean it! This is in line with my ultimate position that, with the death of ‘Mr. Corruption,’ everything else will become uhuru for Nigeria. Corruption is, single-handedly, the bane of Nigeria!!!

Before you chew me up for this opinion, just think about it a moment, will you. We all know that Nigeria’s overall economy would not have gone so bad if only we managed all our oil money prudently. Besides oil, Nigeria does possess all the natural resources to make a great nation. We have brilliant manpower pool, abundance of various minerals, great agricultural resources. But we are too corrupt to prosper. Enough funds have been budgeted and realized since 1999 to make Nigeria look and feel as good as South Africa, even better. But it all went into private foreign bank accounts of the so-called leaders. For instance, Obasanjo’s government released enough money to make federal roads in Nigeria as good as American or British roads. But one crook called Tonny Annenih put it in his private account. In response to the complaint of Nigerians, he told us that he was too big for anybody to do anything to him. “No pot is big enough to cook me,” he boldly declared to us! Sure enough, nothing happened to him. In fact, Obasanjo and PDP rewarded him with bigger appointments, for his atrocious role in rigging elections for PDP, meeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

Between Obasanjo and Jonathan, enough funds were budgeted and released to make Nigeria’s electricity system as good as any other in the world. Again, it all went into private bank accounts and in the basements of the leaders’ houses. Yes, indeed; there seems to be more money in the basements of the houses of Nigerian leaders than contained in Nigerian banks! The crooks cannot bank such loots that they cannot account for to the anti-corruption agencies. Today, Nigeria is still in the dark ages after all the huge dollar-figures Obasanjo and Jonathan budget and release for the nation’s electricity sector. These are just two instances, which you can apply to every other sector of Nigeria’s economy, from Obasanjo to Jonathan (1999 to 2015).

Grieviously, when the thieves steal our common wealth, it benefits other countries where these stolen funds are stashed away. Even sadder is the fact that the thieves establish industries in foreign countries. They provide jobs for those countries while Nigeria is buckling under unemployment. Yes indeed; corruption is singularly the bane of Nigeria, period! I have a dream that one day Nigerians will be politically sophisticated enough to shun leaders and politicians who brew propaganda aimed at destroying our collective good…no more bullshitting!!!

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