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Stemming the Tide of Official Corruption in Nigeria (Part III)

In this concluding Part 3 narration of our epic drama, NIGERIA: MONUMENT OF WASTE’ we shall be analyzing, elucidating and commenting on the two options of constitutional amendment and severe punishment respectively as ways out of Nigeria’s unique quagmire, the bizarre albatross of socio-political and economic development, called corruption.

By checking official corruption in Nigeria through constitutional amendment on one hand, and severe punishment, on the other hand, the current will be made both elusive and hot respectively by the system for politicians and other public servants to easily and smoothly flow as usual, in their corruptive manners.

Something needs to be done quickly in Nigeria before the country sinks as a result of greed by her government officials. Nigerians must stop believing that the country can endlessly survive all these pillages and ambush laid on her resources by people who they put there and pay to guide and grow those resources.

As a matter of fact, government through its officials, is teaching Nigerians that the only way to secure their own share of the proverbial national cake is through stealing. This valid social thought peculiar to the Nigerian society is well supported by the conspicuous absence of an articulated reward system in the Nigerian social stratum as should reflect in the social contract (The Nigeria Constitution) between the leadership and the people.

The administration of the penal code which would have come handy to the rescue has also been bastardized by executive recklessness and a consistent culture of impunity among the political class which has recently resulted into an avalanche of crimes.

As a result of this queer peculiar and weird value system, altruistic dispositions, virtues and the unceasing attempts at moral rectitude by the growing number of religious organizations, have generally suffered set back and with it, the quality of human beings churned out by the increasing population of our people declines by the day in much the same way poverty and penury is reducing the life expectancy of Nigerians.

Surely, a system that allows her people to dither today, is not planning for survival tomorrow.

Official corruption and executive incompetence have made Nigeria so redundant that her leaders now seem to be confused.

For example, it is both incomprehensible, archaic and retrogressive that the Federal Government of Nigeria will be talking about re-discovering lost grazing routes in the 21st Century when animal husbandry as a symbiotic partner in the perfection of domestication of the different components of food chain has seen man domiciling animals in the outer space. This bad news was made available to Nigerians last week by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General (Rtd) Mohammadu Buhari when he took a working visit to Kastina State.

On the over flogged issue of handling cows in Nigeria, I am aware that this government is yet to challenge Nigerian experts in Animal Husbandry to produce a master plan for the rearing of cows in Nigeria. In spite of this vacuum and administrative incompetence, I am sure that some private ranches already exist in the Eastern part of Nigeria with one in my ancestral town rearing elephant- sized cows.

The Presidential directive to the Ministry of Agriculture to work in tandem with the state governments to re-discover grazing routes across Nigeria looks like another game-plan for Fulani herdsmen to explore the interiors of the villages of Nigeria. It is indeed, another RUGA project in disguise.



While the President was talking about the re-discovery of grazing routes across Nigeria for cows, another cow exponent, this time a Professor who is at the helms of affairs in the RMRDC (Raw Materials Research and Development Council) Professor Hussaini Ibrahim explaining to the Nigeria Senate his inglorious feat of discovering ‘Kilichi’ (grilled cow meat) processing machine in the 33 years of existence of the Council he heads.

Nigerians have seen cows and carried beautiful portraits of cows in their travel documents, they have seen cows and carried well-elaborated portraits of cows in the currency they spend every day.

Almighty cow …. it may not be long before temples are built around Nigeria for the worship of cows by Nigerians.

My worry is that I do not know for how long Nigerians and their government who seem to believe that there are many ways to kill a rat, will be playing this hanky-panky, unending and boring ‘cat and mouse’ game.

ANALYSIS
As I did say in Part 1 of this work, it will not be inappropriate for the Nigerian system to tinker with the idea of very severe punishment as in the type laced to corrupt government officials during the Burahi/Idiagbon military interregnum, to permanently solve the problem of stealing of the country’s resources. If the President did it then, he can still do it now, unless his patriotic zeal as a young Nigerian army officer has been tinged with an ethno-religious flavor.
Severe punishment on the stealing of public fund will have a spiraling, snowing-ball effect on the citizenry and the public psyche already bruised and disfigured to yield faster to vices rather than virtues, will be re-set.



The system must, anyhow, throw up courageous sons and daughters to sanitize the country, but two questions come up in my mind:

1. Who will bail the cat?
2. How will this cleansing of the Augean stable of Nigeria’s political landscape happen in a country where so many politicians and government officials are very corrupt and already armed to the teeth with stolen money to repel any attempt at checkmating them.

In a new book by me titled “A History of Revolutions: Remote and Immediate Causes with Analytical Perspective”, I have observed and warned on an impending annihilation of the present generation of political elites in Nigeria if they fail to grant and allow the people the minimum necessary socio-political and economic reforms that keep people in continuous apolitical condition of ease in numerical existence.

It is very unfortunate that Nigerians, already asphyxiated, have gone down far beyond this minimum limit observed by me as the lowest limit before bloody revolutions triggered off in some of the countries I used as case studies.

In that same book, I opined that the Nigerian dilemma of ‘settlement’ which was highly used by the military presidency of the only diarchy that ever existed in Nigerians, being one of the seductive arms for the expression of official corruption that has ruined the Nigerian economy is responsible for the seeming default in the responsiveness of my hypothesis of revolutions in the Nigerian context, whereby some individuals who champion the cause of the people usually sell-out at the eleventh hour.

This is exactly the same way all economic principles applied to revamp the Nigerian economy have been ruined through self ‘settlement’, self-centered attitude of people who should execute the projects.

I have also recorded in that book that revelations actually trigger off from amongst themselves within the political class as a result of the burning greed of one man to outdo others, giving an opportunity for the people to unleash mass terror.

This process had also completed severally in Nigeria, though Nigerians, either did not recognize the opportunity or lacked courage, and hence missed taking advantage to put up a mass and spontaneous action to take control of their affairs.

Having provided answers to the two questions, it is also pertinent to note that bloody revolutions are so total the political class not only lose their wealth but also their freedom, and sometimes, their lives with the emergence of greenhorn political structure from amongst the people.

These are the risks Nigerians runs, so I find the episode of ‘Magu-Gate’ very shocking and instructive, but must withhold specific comments till the prosecution, if eventually Ibrahim Magu is prosecuted for the offences labelled against him, proves its case beyond reasonable doubt. But a prosecution of the case is not likely to happen, given signals and the sign-post silence of the power-that-be.

Another question earlier raised in this work which is still in my mind, which may also be in the minds of same Nigerians is: how do we police the police man?
The answer to this question can also be obtained through mass verdict by the people from whose population the policeman was supplied to the system. This possibility was made certain by the recent case of a mother, the DPO (Divisional Police Officer) of Antony Police Division, Lagos, Mrs. Patricia Amadin a patriotic Nigerian heroine, who preferred to identify with the common aspirant of Nigerians during the #EndSARS campaign.

My studies in revolutions also revealed that nobody allows anybody the luxury of recovery of usurped freedom on a platter of gold. The greatest battles people had ever waged on earth is, surprisingly, not battle for life, but battle for freedom. Overtime in history, generations of man have discovered that true freedom is more important than life, because God who granted life in the first place, attached freedom to life. Secondly, without freedom, life is useless, because without freedom, life is not guaranteed.

In spite of the latest minor achievement exhibited by Mrs. Amadin which needs massive replication by Nigerian members of security agencies who go through the same pains, my hypothesis, if not well studied and used, may only turn out to be an intellectual exercise in the Nigerian circumstance.

Ibrahim Magu’s case will be an exception if he is eventually prosecuted by government against the back drop that none of all the former heads of the same anti-graft agency, the EFFC, who have been fired as a result of one misdemeanor, corruption, or the other, has ever been prosecuted. Their non-prosecution may be as a result of the vast knowledge of national and official secrets at their disposal, including the knowledge of the different types of skeletons that may be hidden within the cupboards of all the men and women who have at one time or the other served government.

One suspects that the ruling class fears a possible problem of spilling the beans and the consequent confusion and national outrage that may follow if these highly-informed agents of consecutive corrupt governments are not quietly eased out of the office. With this understanding, we can as well believe that ‘Magu-Gate’ is dead and buried.

COMMENTARY
This style and manner by which the Attorney General spied, planned and preyed on Ibrahim Magu, nailing him at long last with a carefully-woven cob-web like trap suggests that the Attorney General has the tacit support (or usurped influence) of the Presidency in what looks like a carte blanche, unfettered freeway to overriding decisions against some government official opposed to his views especially the residual members of the camp of the late Chief of Staff who refused to turn to the same page with the Attorney General after the death of the Chief of Staff.

From the ‘grapevine’, Nigerians read several years ago that in a manner reminiscent of an evil genius, a former Nigerian Head of State who was nicknamed Maradona, made a mincemeat of the growing reputation of a clergyman as a government critic when the Head of State weaved a devious net around the man’s health challenges and eventually caught the man unawareness in a foreign hospital. The clergy men were silenced thereafter. Disobeying the biblical injunction, the Head of State touched God’s anointed and did him harm by tempting him to submission.



The same type of net was weaved for Tai Solarin by the same former Head of State at the defunct People’s Bank.

Such is the power of Government when decides to get you unless you decline accepting favors and live above board. Ibrahim Magu did not live above board, no wonder he was caught in the web.

In Part 1 of this work I had warned that the law of Karma will naturally take its toil to render extinct families with faulted foundations anchored on values that are not in consonance with the fixed natural laws of equity, justice, freedom, and sanctity of life. Without these values, the perpetuation of one’s ancestry can never be guaranteed.

A universal and classic example of this natural law made available to mankind is seen in the descendants of Abraham. Abraham was called out from amongst his kinsmen in Ur of Chaldees.

This promise of God to Abraham as a result of his obedience to the laws of God and nature has guaranteed that Ishmael and Isaac, his direct descendants, have greatly influenced the present world through the three extant religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

Conversely, the Holy Bible would say, “their generation shall be cut off”. The generation of evil men and women actually get ‘cut off’ and there are many ways God and providence as depicted in the law of Karma, ensures this ‘cutting off’. To some lesser or greater extent, we, (everybody) are all disabled in certain specific areas of life as a result of both our actions, inactions, and/or, for what God wants to make out of us.

I would not want to sound immodest and insensitive on a matter that may, in some lesser or greater degree, affect all of us so, I would want all of us to ruminate on our actions in sober reflection and make amends where necessary in cases of on-going disobedience to natural laws or effect retribution if the disobedience is the abeyance, in order not to be victims of the extreme punition of being ‘cut off’ by God.

But certainly, any family wherefore her children rely so much on parent’s wealth and misbehave, unable to compete with their pears as a result of getting too busy spending parent’s wealth, without creating new ideas and processes (new idea and process ensure the continuity of human existence on earth) is already on its way to being ‘cut off’ —on its way to extinction!

Some people in sheer greed and inordinate ambition, like Nigerian politicians who steal people’s money, are actually assisting nature to ‘cut off’ their branches their generations from the human tree that harbor the real and true genealogical line of their ancestry.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL OPTION
Talking about the possible constitutional amendment, it seems to me that the appointment of the Minister of Justice who is also the Attorney General of the federation by the President is an ‘inappropriatitude’, a ‘misnomer’.

The unique Nigerian sentiment of exerting official vendetta on rivals/ preconceived enemies ensures as witnessed in the statement of the President when he assumed office, to the effect that those people whose votes did not contribute to his electoral victory should expect less from him, coupled with the Nigerian traditional feudalist approach to managing the Executive Presidential democratic powers, shared between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, has shown that Nigeria needs a home-bred approach to attaining the equitable demarcation of powers envisaged in the Executive democratic Presidential system aimed at checks and balances.

I mean to say here that the independence of the Judiciary as one of the three arms of Executive Presidential system of democratic government (others are the executive and the Legislature arms) is sometimes abused, subverted, compromised and usurped in part through the Minister of Justice by the President who appointed the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation.

It is also as a result of the feudalistic approach to democracy that consecutive legislatures in Nigeria have consistently been executive rubber-stamps, exerting pseudo-autonomous influence in comparison with the total autonomy that is granted it by the Nigerian constitution.

The Nigerian legal draftsmen and jurisprudence lawyers should tinker with my idea of amending the constitution to abolish the office of the Minister of Justice and consolidate its residual functions (if any) excluding the oversight functions in anything that has direct ambience, hence has to do with the judiciary. An office of the Attorney General of the Federation as the legal adviser to the Federal Government should be designated as in the manner of ‘The account General of the Federation’ as the Accounting Officer of the country whose functions would have clashed/overlapped with the Minister of Finance, if the two offices were not so demarcated.

The Attorney General of the Federation should not in any way oversee, as do the Ministers in their Ministries, the activities of the Judiciary because if he does, he will most probably favor the President that appointed him, thereby making the Executive arm a ‘primus interpas’ (first among equals) in the tripartite arrangement primarily aimed at checks and balances in an executive Presidential type of democratic government.

This flaw in the constitutional provision observed by me is actually the reason why the Executive rides roughshod on the Judiciary, unnecessarily extricating her from, and impeding her closeness with its usual ally and partner, the legislature, and this unnecessary distance created between the two constitutional partners that sit at the base of the equilateral power triangle where the executive sits at the top, distorts the necessary balance that would have manifested as correct administration of justice upon which the Executive Presidential type of democratic government must be built.

Recently, I observed a similar friction in the United State of America where the democratic party members who are scheming to oust the Trump Republican Party administration in the November 2020 polls made efforts to stand down President Trump’s moves to immediately, as it should be, fill up a vacuum created in a Judicial position by the exit of a woman. That casual effort by the Democratic Party members show that there is something to gain in the appointment of a judicial officer by a President.

Thank God that America has gone a long way in the management of Executive Democratic system, and as such, have precedents to draw inspiration from, while the Nigerian precedence is drawn from the winner-takes-all feudalist system of government that existed in the northern Nigeria caliphate before the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria in 1914.

All functions appertaining to the dispensation of justice in Nigeria should be under strict control of the judiciary as the only specialized arm of government and in order not to emasculate it of powers, the Nigerian system should device another process- most probably through a common electoral process of the Nigerian Bar Association, as the true custodian of the rights of the Nigerian electorate as in the same type of processes by which the members of Executives (the President and the State governors) and the legislature (both in the National and State Assemblies)emerge to produce the Chief Justice of the Federation whose functions should be elaborated and enlarged to include those functions hitherto performed by the defunct office of the Minister of Justice.

What I am saying here is that the machinery that produces the Chief Justice of the federation should be saved from partisanship/partisan politics. The Chief Justice of the federation should not be appointed by the President because we have seen numerous cases in Nigeria where very senior judges who are eloquent, upright and qualified for the office of the Chief Justice of the Federation are either forced to join the destructive train, frustrated out of the office, or in some other ways eased out before their seniority status gives them the privilege of service in the high office because they do not share same views with an incumbent President.

Such marked candidates, sometimes through deliberate bureaucratic bottlenecks are spuriously framed and accused of misconduct and retired to give room for the appointment of a stooge by the President.

The same process should be applied at the state levels to produce the Chief Justice of the state as different from the appointed Attorney General of the states, rendering obsolete the decorative office of the commissioner for Justice.

With this, the Judiciary, being the only selective and core professional arm of the three tier governing system amongst the rest, will produce the people at the helms of the Judiciary as the sole custodian of the justice administration system.

This will strengthen the judiciary, making it independent, more unified, and strong enough not only to do its job effectively, but also to check the excesses of the Executives and the Legislative wayfarers most of whom go into government with the mindset either to amass stupendous wealth, or to cover up their previous crimes against the society.

Another reason this proposal is important is that, going by the culture of impunity in the Nigerian political system and the tradition to share political booties which sometimes induce the President to place round pegs in square holes, Nigerians may wake up one day to see a street trader at the helm of affairs of the justice ministry, the same way we presently have an accountant as the Health Minister in the country.

The constitutional review suggested here by me will have a tonic effect and most probably restore the confidence and independence of the judiciary as probably the most important arm of the three-tier system, making it possible for it to discharge its functions effectively without undue executive influence.

It will also have the added advantage of bringing about unity and cohesion among the ‘learned’ professional colleagues across Nigeria, without risking a possible disintegration of the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association) as happened recently when a fraction of the umbrella body of lawyers threatened to form an NNBA (New Nigerian Bar Association) as a result of a minor disagreement amongst the NBA membership.

ABUCHI OBIORA
abuchiobiora@gmail.com

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