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Integrity? What has that got to do with governance?


Let no one delude himself that integrity has no place in governance. It does; it is the critical factor that determines the future of countries emerging…

Implacable opponents must have been sorely disappointed that it has not been hard knocks all the way for President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Of course, it is normal for Nigerians to ask questions as to how we got to this sorry state. 

And, if truth be told, Nigeria is where it is today because of the savage despoliation of the economy over the past decade and half. 

Nigerians must acknowledge the mistakes of the past if we are to avoid repeating them. 

It was simply criminal and immoral to have run the country aground the way it was done up to the middle of last year.

The sorry state of affairs was succinctly posited recently by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu. 

In a recent interview, the president’s spokesperson likened most of today’s professional complainants to armed robbers who dispossessed his victims of his belonging in the night and had the temerity to return to his victim in the morning to insult him for failing to provide for his family! 

This is no laughing matter because the analogy aptly describes the sad Nigerian story of today! Except we elect be dishonest with ourselves.

But, the administration’s determination to get Nigeria out of the socio-economic miasma must be hailed.

Even starry-eyed predators who regularly gnaw away at the soul of the nation will readily attest to the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo. 

Take, for instance, the banditry of the aptly-named scavengers in the Niger Delta. 

But for a government with integrity, chances are the Buhari/Osinbajo administration would have opted for the easy way out by continuously throwing money at the over-pampered dacoits in the name of amnesty. 

Of course, Nigerians knew another round of scavenging was imminent in the Niger Delta the moment government abridged certain privileges hitherto enjoyed by the bandits.

The current situation in Nigeria which was imposed by the former administration is far from normal. 

Under former President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria was in the hands of a leadership to which integrity was an anathema. 

For the six years he was in charge, the former president did not even pretend to abhor corruption which he regularly celebrated and rewarded. 

He so detested the anti-graft war to the extent of making its condemnation a major plank on which he built his botched re-election campaign. 

Even to his unquestioning loyalists, the lowest level the former president sank was the ingratiatory public remark that stealing is not corruption, a mindset some of the men of the moment have sought to carry over into the Buhari/Osinbajo administration!

So far, investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, into scandals of the Jonathan years have confirmed that the former president’s ‘stealing is not corruption’ antithesis was not an empty campaign slogan. 

As president, Mr. Jonathan must have been so sloppy to have warranted his name to be linked to several high-altitude scams. 

Who knows! This could partially explain Mr. Jonathan’s sudden peripatetic lifestyle after his wife was discovered to have stashed millions of USD’s away. 

Pray! Who knows! 

May be this is why hitherto credible men of God have consistently pooh-poohed the war on graft with the hope of getting the government to drop it!

Whatever the case may be, it’s no secret that most Nigerians believe the Buhari/Osinbajo administration is Nigeria’s best and last hope for national rebirth. 

This explains why Nigerians appear determined to remain in the trenches with the government despite the confusion in the polity occasioned by the unrestrained looting of the locust years of Mr. Jonathan. 

It is a credit to the Buhari/Osinbajo administration that, in matter of months, it has got over the initial shock of discovering the gargantuan damage to the economy perpetrated by political scavengers of the recent past.   

When Nigerians clamoured for change, they were not oblivious of the fact that change will be slow and painful as it has thus far proved to be. 

So, what then, now that God has answered the prayers of Nigerians? 

It is restating the obvious that the president and his deputy are serious-minded individuals who will strive to improve their offices rather than wait for their offices to improve them. 

Luckily, there is nothing to suggest that the goodwill enjoyed by President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo is about to dry up. 

Ultimately, it is this goodwill that will determine the success of the administration.

In other words, the goodwill enjoyed by this administration will determine the success of the administration in stirring Nigerians into forgetting their bitter experiences of the immediate past. 

A lot in this regard will depend on how far Nigerians purge themselves of the counter-productive practices that resulted in avoidable pain and anguish. 

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