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Appraising the new onslaught against corruption

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Corruption has made Nigerians poorer and subjected a people to the nasty and brutish way of life because someone, somewhere has chosen to steal the commonwealth not just of a generation but several generations to come. – Author

It’s no doubt that the corruption has indeed taken its toll on Nigeria’s development, a cursory look at this malaise and its follow-on on the people of this country is quite large and alarming. 

Corruption has made Nigerians poorer and subjected a people to the nasty and brutish way of life because someone, somewhere has chosen to steal the commonwealth not just of a generation but several generations to come, therefore damning the future of those generations yet unborn.

Corruption has so grown in our country that it has become an industry as well as an institution of its own. It has become a part of our national foundation that a great number of our citizens no longer shudder nor are pricked at stories of corruption. We are at these perilous times quick to hear defensives like “If It Were You, Will You Not Chop”, “Is He the First Person to Have Stolen?” “He Is Our Brother We Must Defend Him”

There will be solidarity marches and press conferences will be called. The prosecuted in such occasions will be canonized and made saints. The organizers will also attempt to cast the prosecutors as selective and vindictive, having singled out their beloved son or daughter from a population of such looters. These marches betray the level of moral decadence in our society much weakened by the inertia of past governments and institutions to tackle corruption.

From the advent of the First Republic to the Gowon regime then to the Obasanjo, Shagari, Babangida, Abacha, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo again, I dare say that there was really no attempt to deal decisively with corruption, at most what Nigerians witnessed was empty sloganeering without action. Public officials then who were cast as the untouchables amassed stupendous wealth by abusing their office, denying Nigerians what was ours as citizens.

So while our infrastructure became decrepit, public hospitals as mere consulting clinics and educational institutions suffered decay, Nigeria boasted of a new class of millionaires and billionaires who arrived at such standing without hard work, the culture then perpetuated it and led Nigeria deeper into the morass we now find ourselves today.

It is thus important that at this juncture of our national life, that patriotic Nigerians must commend the efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to tackle corruption headlong. It is heartwarming to note that for a long time in the annals of our history, a government has shown seriousness in the fight against corruption, with exceptions to Murtala and Buhari as a military leader, no government has chosen to deal with corruption with such agility.

President Buhari has shown that corruption isn’t invincible and it takes perhaps a man with the will power of a man and a sense of what is right to wage this war.

Appraising this war against corruption, Nigerians have witnessed that the war has been one fought without sentiments whatsoever, ethnic or otherwise. If it were, can someone justify the prosecution of Col Sambo Dasuki, a scion of the Sokoto Ruling Dynasty? In the past, the likes of Dasuki would have been viewed as untouchable and allowed to enjoy quietly the proceeds from his ‘labour’.

The courage in fighting this war must also be commended. For in some scenarios, a new government afraid of being torpedoed or frustrated by members of the ruling class, who must have belonged to the former  ruling party   or benefitted largely from the carnival then, would attempt to fight back and bring down the government. Never known to shirk his responsibility, Buhari’s war against corruption is exactly one with courage, a virtue a lot of governments in the past did lack.

This war against corruption has also been birthed with what I call “new thinking”, new thinking in the sense that this administration is applying new and model approaches in its effort to fight corruption.  From the heavy employment of forensic technology to the new forms of legislation proposed (Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 and the Criminal Matters Bill 201) by President Buhari, Nigerians can appreciate that corruption will no longer be treated with kid gloves, nor will those proven to be corrupt be given a slap on the wrist.

Such thinking will go a long way to arrest or nip corrupt acts. The severance of such punishments as prescribed and included in these bills will act as restraints to anyone, anywhere in this country.  In as much as this government means well in its fight against corruption and should be commended for such. There is still a lot that should be done. 

While I support the fight against corruption, by way of prosecuting those who have infamously dipped their hands into our public till in the past, Nigerians will also be delighted if our institutions are strengthened and the process of managing our commonwealth is made watertight that no one would be able to loot with impunity as has been our misfortune in the past.!

Igboeli Arinzechukwu writes from Abuja


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