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WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA 3

October 10, 2007

SubTopic: THE NEED TO TAKE THE DRASTIC RAWLINGS & CHINA APPROACH

Here we go again! Our so-called lawmakers, who I aptly describe as loot-makers, seem hell-bent to continue sapping us dry. I was truly hoping that it would all stop, pronto, considering that we now seem to have a decent man for president, who has made it clear that it is no longer business as usual for our looters, sorry, I mean, leaders. 

Do pardon me for the slip; it is getting more difficult by the day to separate those two words in Nigeria. Anyway, I was really hoping that everybody in this new government would at least pretend to be as decent as Yar’Adua for just a little while. I guess I completely forgot that our looters are like junkies who are addicted to hard drugs. I forgot that, like junkies, they are ready to kill, or be killed for a “fix.” Maybe that is really what we need in this country; the killing I mean! Maybe we do need the Jerry Rawlings approach to anti-corruption crusade. Like Rawlings, we may need to kill off all the people that have destroyed this country. Then, maybe, just maybe, we can get the message across that we are ready to turn this country around. The approach worked out pretty well for Ghana, and Heavens know that Nigeria needs it much more than Ghana ever did. Forget about Rawlings; that was ages ago. 

China is currently sentencing people to death for corruption, even if just one Yien is involved. I wonder what they would do to our leaders who steal in hundreds of billions. Drastic situations, they say, call for drastic measures. And, I cannot imagine anything more drastic than the addiction of our so-called leaders to crime and immorality in the past eight years. The renovation scandal currently rocking our National Assembly is a clear indication that our loot-makers are addicted to crime and immorality. For them, looting has become a matter of “do-or-die.” They are obviously the true children of their do-or-die “Baba” Obasanjo. They are too dogged to know when to quit, even in the face of danger. How else could one explain the dishonorable act of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the face of Yar’Adua’s executive zero tolerance stance on corruption? Yar’Adua does not try to deny the fact that Obasanjo rigged him into power last April, and he knows that Nigerians are angry about it. 

More importantly, he is decent to comport himself in a manner that would foster a reconciliation with us. Sadly, rather than follow his lead, our lawmakers are still following the immoral character of the man that stole our mandate for them. They remain in their usual business of sapping our treasury dry. It does not bother them one bit that Nigerians now seem determined to say no to corruption, and the EFCC is watching. 

They are addicted to corruption the same way that some people are addicted to hard drugs. Like drug junkies, they cannot live without their “fix.” And, like drug junkies, they grab for the “fix” even in the face of deadly danger. It is a matter of do- or-die for them. 

My real concern in the matter of the home renovation scandal is the way Nigerians are reacting to it. I was hoping that we are growing out of our disgraceful complacency that promotes all the rot in this society. I was hoping that we are finally determined to insist on probity. And if we are, then we must discard all the current mumbo-jumbo about the dividing line between due process in approving the renovation, and actually benefiting from it. 

Some Nigerians are actually implying that it would be okay to spend such criminal sum of money on renovating a couple of stupid homes, if the Speaker followed due process. What doggone due process could possibly right the huge immoral wrong done by Madam Speaker the moment she endorsed the project? China executes people for much less folly!

Whichever way anybody chooses to look at the mess, one thing is very glaring— integrity has been seriously breached by our so-called honorable representatives(s), and we all know it. The Speaker’s act was indisputably immoral, at best. It is probably downright criminal by the time the truth is finally out. If you ask me, I say that, either way, Madam Speaker is too dishonorable to continue to head the House. In fact, she should not even remain in the House at all. Indeed, our electoral tribunals would do well to weed out most of the products of Obasanjo’s April “selection,” and spare just President Yar’Adua, if we truly want this country to move forward. The leadership of both Houses of the National Assembly were forced on us by the do-or-die rascal, President Obasanjo. As they say, an apple never falls far from its tree. Do remember that Obasanjo put them in there because they were his hatchet boys, or girl in this case, during his reign of terror.

The key question that begs for an answer in the mind of any reasonable person is: How could anybody in his or her right sense spend so much public funds on a couple of stupid residences in the midst of the rot in this country? It becomes even more evil when one considers that those homes needed no damn major renovation in the first place! They are practically new homes, for crying out loud! Indeed, I understand that the Deputy Speaker’s residence has never even been inhabited at all.

Do remember that over half of all Nigerians do not have one square meal a day. Over half of the remaining half can barely afford one square meal, but their children are not in school because the capacity of their income stops at feeding. In all, we probably have less than ten percent of our population that can afford food, education, and still have the capacity for other things that make life worth living. So, somebody please tell me, how can anybody possibly explain Madam Speaker’s outlandish extravagance to all those people that are dying in such abject poverty?

And, what about the rot in every aspect of our lives, which affects every Nigerian, regardless of class? For instance, what about the deathtraps and frustration-makers all over the nation that we call roads? Rich or poor, everybody has to suffer the rot of our roads. No
mater how much one can afford to fly, one still has to come down at some points to face the frustration on our roads. And, what about our killer-hospitals, and our lack of portable water?

All these rots exist, and the Almighty Madam Speaker and her immoral compatriots in our National Assembly insist on living in billion dollar houses. They insist on creating heaven for themselves, parallel to the hell that the rest of us are dying in. Millions of Nigerians are languishing under bridges and other inhumane living environments, and they all get to hear how Madam Speaker and her few privileged compatriots are spending our collective wealth on billion-dollar mansions. There is no atom of doubt on my mind that similar revelations, perhaps worse, await us if we look into the affairs of the Senate. These are leaders who open their foul, insensitive mouths to condemn militants who cannot help but feel the urge to hurt somebody because they are so enraged about the looting madness.
It is the rage that pushes militants to kidnap families of persons in government. They know for a fact that they steal our wealth everyday. Sadly, however, suffering innocent Nigerians often bear the brunt of such frustration. What really pisses me off most is that, apparently, the entire House Of Reps is still living in the Obasanjo era.

They seem to be getting ready for ‘business-as-usual’ in handling the scandal. According to the September 9, 2007 edition of the Sunday Sun Newspaper, the past deeds of some of the anti-Etteh lawmakers have caught up with them. They can no longer morally challenge the Speaker.

You can be sure that they are now working on some criminal deals to pardon one another. We know that they have no right to do that, but we always let them get away with it. These guys are supposed to be working for us, but they go about doing everything that the law and we disagree with.

They are supposed to supervise probity and good governance for us; but they give us financial recklessness at best, and very often, downright daylight robbery. With the involvement of its hatchet men led by Uba, the PDP is also trying the usual traditional PDP gangster-style “in-house settlement” of national criminal matters. And, I bet, as usual, we will all sit back like zombies and let them get away with it again. I only hope that our new decent president will keep to his vow and checkmate their bullshit! Harry Agina writes from the USA harryagina@yahoo.c 

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