Nigeria is currently ranked world’s 136th most corrupt country and 10th biggest exporter of Illicit Financial Flows… about US$157 billion was estimated to have illicitly left the country in the past decade.
Nigeria is a troubled entity and only the Stone of Israel can rescue her!
As a matter of fact, I never knew Nigeria has gone totally bad until a neighbour reprimanded me for being a Sambo Dasuki-basher. Not unaware of my shortcomings, the neighbour in question advised that, instead of partaking of the Dasuki jest, I should ask God for my portion of the “anointing hands” of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) that “squander without care or regard for consequences.”
Without doubt, there is a Dasuki in all of us and that’s why Nigeria is in ruin and rot. It is as a result of the Dasuki in our leaders that corruption has messed up Nigeria’s socio-economic settings. It is also the reason behind our beating a wall with the hope of transforming it into a door.
Not quite long ago in the life of this country, the ‘prayer point’ was Muhammadu Buhari who, in spite of long, tortuous and tricky trials, became the first opposition candidate ever to defeat an incumbent president in a general election. Then, Nigerians appreciated the place and space of providence in the affairs of man. But, less than a year after, Dasuki has tragically become the man to beat!
For all I care, Dasukigate, as it’s now known, is a lesson for leaders who revel in puerile religiosity and wildly unrhymed poetry. Juxtapose ‘Sambo Dasuki’ with, say, ‘Andrew Azazi’ and one can hardly imagine the outpouring of reactions, especially, from some sections of the country.
Unlike Giovanni Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli who, despite repeated threats to his life, preferred martyrdom to betraying his community, Dasuki betrayed his people for thirty shekels of silver and the story has been one of unutterable desolation, indescribable poverty and wanton destruction of innocent lives.
As at last count, the former NSA was alleged to have illegally enriched 21 individuals and companies to the tune of N54.659 billion from the $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase, an amount said to be “more than the 2015 Zonal Intervention Project budget by 2.829 billion Naira.” More revelations are not unlikely!
But, could anyone have blamed him? In a country where people with neither decency nor honour dictate the pace of affairs; where conspicuous underachievement, unsolicited anxieties and struggle for power crudely compete for space; above all, in a colony of devils where violence is used to resolve violence, where then lies the quest for communal togetherness?
Nigeria, as we speak, carouses the exigencies of flat growth in food production. The economy is in a bad shape. Our facilities are fast decaying even as people are dying in our ill-equipped and ill-resourced hospitals. Research has shown how 62 people have as much wealth as half of the entire world population, a situation which constrains one to ask: how much money in this world does a man need to be happy?
Nigeria is currently ranked world’s 136th most corrupt country and 10th biggest exporter of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). So far, so worse: about US$157 billion was estimated to have illicitly left the country in the past decade alone. These are not fairy tales but facts on the ground more so as these figures are not plucked from the sky. Coincidentally, corruption hits hardest at the poor who make up more than half of Nigeria’s population.
Here, while the just who hold honesty as the truest test of virtue suffer, the crooked who covet our patrimony with brazen ignominy live in opulence. Still, the poachers and swallowers of our immediate past continue to loiter around the corridors of power, needlessly inflating their sacrilegious egos with Jacobinistic tales while the masses gestate their existence in a landscape of kaleidoscopic trappings littered with testimonies of privation. And it is as if the gods are angry!
That Nigeria is one of the products of the “global meltdown” is no longer news. No thanks to the political confusionists and economic rapists whose moral incompetence responsibly disqualifies them as tutors in a viable institution of morality. Talk of civil servants whose salaries and allowances remain unpaid.
Sad that this unfortunate situation has made it ‘convenient’ for some governors to become ‘lone rangers’. While some states have had its workforce relieved of their duties for reasons not unconnected with salaries and allowances, parents and guardians in some others are finding it difficult to have their children and wards return to school because they can’t cope with its financial implications.
Olu Falae! Tony Anenih! Tanko Yakassai! But at what stage did those we had hitherto looked up to as men of honour stopped numbering their days? On the other hand, who told Jonathan that he was the best thing to happen to Nigeria’s democracy and that his reelection was all the country needed to overcome its self-inflicted challenges?
Which prophet asked him not to faint or falter; that, in spite of the damage done to his party’s rank and honour, a ragtag army of rapacious loyalists were all he needed to win the March 2015 battle for Aso Rock? In any case, let’s assume for the purpose of argument that ‘arms funds’ and ‘security votes’ were ‘same of the same’; and that the former NSA was the former president’s ‘Disbursement Officer’.
The question still remains: when did the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) become the Clearing House for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and what was Dasuki’s Approval Limit’ as Jonathan’s ‘Mr. Spender’? In a country where poverty increases with the same proportion as the national budget, how could N2.1billion have willfully exchanged hands between former NSA and, say, Raymond Dokpesi without the former president’s formal approval?
“Great things”, according to William Blake, “are done when men and mountains meet.” Good that Buhari’s attempt at strengthening the country’s anti-corruption is not synonymous with “jostling in the street.” Good also that the military, paramilitary organizations, among others are already drinking from the president’s cup of anti-corruption disposition.
Like King Hezekiah whose resolutions were based on the convictions of his faith, events in the last few months have presented the president as a man of uncommon courage, a sure symptom of manly tenderness, native elegance of soul and a strong believer in the Rule of Law. Thank God Buhari is confronting Boko Haram terrorism with the fierceness of his roused sentiment. While this is a plus for the fight against corruption, some rough edges still need to be polished in order to tame this cankerworm that has remained a cause of poverty and instability, especially, in third world countries.
However, even as the president strives to meet the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance, the need to set the records straight with regard to the US$20 billion allegedly missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC account cannot be more apt than now. Not that alone, while there’s an urgent need to give teeth to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Law, Nigerians expect neither let nor hinderance in the prevention of the incidence of illicit financial transactions as well as dealing with them when and where they rear their ugly heads.
In the words of Napoleon Hill, “the starting point of all achievement is desire.” According to Hill, “weak desire brings weak results.” Like Hannah whose vow was capable of making life miserable for Samuel, there are lots of Sambo Dasuki out there whose capacity to make governance an unworthy venture is unbounded. Generally speaking, while the president may not be able to direct the wind, he can assuredly adjust the sails.
Essentially therefore, apart from reforming our justice system which is currently plagued by complexity and atrocities, religious bodies also have important roles to play in the task of rebuilding this fractured entity. John Cardinal Onaiyekan rightly captured the mood of the moment when he called for “more synergy between government institutions and religious institutions.”
But how far our lords spiritual can go especially in a clime where jaundiced propositions catalyze the exacerbation of unmerited solidarity and where men smile with unequalled certitude but revolt with unenviable exactitude remains to be seen.
All the same, in your best interest, won’t you rather pray for your portion of Dasuki’s ‘anointing hands’?
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*Komolafe writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (email@example.com)