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Special Report: Buhari’s War on Corruption—Real or Fake, by Prof Chinweizu

buhariIntroduction: Many Nigerians are puzzled by President Muhamamdu Buhari and wonder what his #Change agenda really is. Someone has even gone as far as to say that “Most people are feeling conned, and it’s only morning yet.”

Luckily, Buhari’s First Hundred Days now belong to history. So historians can begin to examine it for clues to Buhari’s actual mission and agenda as president, and how he will go about implementing it. This essay is my contribution to that effort.

It is helpful to divide his actions into two groups:

(A) those he embarked on without public pressure and, in some cases, in great haste, as if to accomplish them before Nigerians wake up to what he is up to; and

(B) those he embarked on only after public outcry and pressure.

(A) includes his napalming of Akwa Ibom villagers claiming that he was going after what he called “Oil thieves”; his sending of Boko Haram detainees to Ekwulobia prison in the Igboland; his claim that those seeking the breakup of Nigeria are crazies; his determination to limit his anti-corruption prosecutions to the Jonathan administration; his directive to make Islamic books mandatory in all secondary schools; his slowness in appointing his cabinet; his war on corruption; his pattern of lopsided appointments.

(b) includes his delay in making public his assets declaration.

Nigerians have protested against most of these.

To help those who are confused about Buhari’s agenda, this series will X-ray his First Hundred days with the aim of finding clues to his real but hidden agenda.

This, the Part I of this x-ray series, shall examine Buhari’s War on Corruption to see why it won’t work, indeed why it will further entrench corruption and lootocracy; how it is being restricted to implement the Caliphate hidden agenda; and if it is real or fake.

Buhari’s War on Corruption

The question to be answered here is this: Is Buhari’s War on Corruption real or fake?

The first thing to note is that, as we all know, corruption is a worldwide malady. But what most people don’t know is that the Nigerian brand of corruption is peculiar in two ways. First of all, it is primarily lootocracy. Whereas corruption is the dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain—as by a clerk who hides a file until he is bribed; or a policeman who mounts a checkpoint and extorts money from bus drivers; LOOTOCRACY is the  constitutionally approved and protected looting of the public treasury by officials. It should be noted that the bribe-taking clerk or policeman is breaking a law, but the governor or president who empties the treasury into his personal bank account in not breaking any law. His constitutional immunity is a license to do so.  Secondly, because lootocracy is legal and not prosecutable in Nigeria, it’s example has promoted rampant and brazen corruption throughout the society. This makes lootocracy the fountainhead of corruption.

In his Inaugural address, Buhari listed Corruption among the enormous challenges which he promised to tackle immediately and head on:

“At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, . . . are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us.”

— President Buhari’s inaugural speech http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/05/read-president-buhari-inaugural-speech/ 

And he has also just told us that:

“corruption in our country is so endemic that it constitutes a parallel system. It is the primary reason for poor policy choices, waste and of course bare-faced theft of public resources.”

While further clarifying his administration’s commitment to the war against corruption, the President said “our fight against corruption is not just a moral battle for virtue and righteousness in our land, it is a fight for the soul and substance of our nation.”

Giving an insight into the way corruption destroys the nation, the President told the Second Plenary of the Conference that “it is the main reason why a potentially prosperous country struggles to feed itself and provide jobs for millions.”

In the same way, the President posited that “the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the infant, maternal mortality statistics, the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from preventable diseases are traceable to the greed and corruption of a few. This is why we must see it as an existential threat, if we don’t kill it, it will kill us.”

–Corruption is cause of poverty in Nigeria –Buhari

Corruption is cause of poverty in Nigeria – Buhari

Despite all that rhetoric, we must ask: How serious is Buhari’s war on corruption? What are the chances that it will reduce, let alone kill, corruption? What is the likelihood that it is just a foxy PR gimmick that will further entrench corruption by leaving its fountainhead, lootocracy, in place?

I must first draw attention to how a war on corruption can paradoxically obscure and protect a corruption system.

How an Anti-corruption campaign can obscure and preserve a corruption mechanism: A Paradox

From his rhetoric thus far, Buhari will noisily hound, prosecute and severely punish hundreds and even thousands of corrupt officials. That is all well and good. But, unfortunately, that isn’t part of the solution to the plague of corruption. Paradoxically, that is a key and devious part of the ways to preserve the plague, for it camouflages and distracts attention from the looting system itself. It is like when a magician makes a noise in the east to turn the gaze of the audience eastwards while he strikes a silent blow from the west.

Of course, all those caught looting must be punished severely, routinely and without favoritism. But paradoxically, that punitive approach, if used all by itself, contributes to preserving and proliferating corruption. It hides from public view the fact that there is a mechanism or system that breeds corrupt officials every day, in their hundreds or even thousands, and in fact more than you could hope to catch even if the entire criminal justice system was commandeered for fighting corruption alone. It also hides from public view the fact that the elimination of that system or mechanism is the key to winning the war on corruption. You can’t win your fight against mosquitoes in your house unless you destroy their breeding ground in your compound. That corruption breeding mechanism must be eliminated if the war on corruption is to have any chance of success at all. If that breeding mechanism is eliminated, the number of corrupt officials to be caught and punished will dramatically reduce and become manageable. But what is that breeding mechanism that must be eliminated? It is the 1999 constitution and any amended version that has certain of its key features.

Dumping the 1999 constitution is the key to winning the war on corruption.

Corruption in Nigeria is at the constitutional heart of the Nigerian system. If anybody really means to defeat corruption, he should first get rid of the 1999 constitution which is demonstrably the godfather of corruption, and which has entrenched and institutionalized lootocracy, the fountainhead of corruption.  [Please see Chinweizu, “Nigerians and Their Anti-Corruption Charade.”


or Chinweizu, Four Frauds That Are Fatal For The 1999 Constitution

http://ugowrite.blogspot.com/2015/07/four-frauds-that-are-fatal-for-1999.html ]

In that “Four Frauds” essay, I examined the 1999 constitution and showed that:

(a) The 1999 Constitution is the Godfather of corruption, through the immunity clause 308. (1), which protects, and thereby implicitly invites, looting by the highest officials who have brazenly set the terrible example that the rest of society have emulated. 

(b) It is a fraud for the Godfather of corruption to give the impression that it is against corruption, and the fraud is compounded when it empowers the State to fight corruption but then surreptitiously discourages it from doing so. That’s double duplicity/double perfidy!

(c) All in all, the 1999 Constitution has been, and remains, a Guarantor of bad governance and the Mother of all evils in Nigeria.

Buhari claims that “corruption in our country . . . constitutes a parallel system”; it should be clear from the foregoing that, contrary to Buhari’s claim, corruption is at the constitutional heart of the system. It is indeed the Nigerian system, not a parallel system to it.  And so long as we have that constitution, nobody can end lootocracy and the corruption that it spawns.

 A commitment to get rid of the 1999 constitution is therefore the litmus test of anybody’s seriousness about getting rid of corruption. If he is serious, Buhari can get started by implementing the 2014 Confab report and organizing a truly democratic People’s constitution to replace the 1999 constitution. But of course he won’t do that! Why? He won’t because, entrenching the 1999 constitution is the most fundamental task on his Caliphate hidden agenda. And Buhari’s Caliphate constituency is already moving to prevent any implementation of the 2014 Confab Report. [Northern leaders move to block implementation of confab report  http://sunnewsonline.com/new/northern-leaders-move-to-block-implementation-of-confab-report/]

And some presidency sources have claimed that Buhari will not implement the Confab Report.[Buhari Will Not Implement Confab Report – Source


If these sources are proved correct, then it means Buhari is not serious about defeating corruption, his hot rhetoric notwithstanding. We’ll have to wait and see what he does.

If he refuses to implement the Confab Report, then, like Obasanjo before him, Buhari will merely use the EFCC, ICPC etc. and noise-making against corruption to harass and persecute his political enemies, including some Caliphate men, to cheering from his delighted and ignorant dupes.  He is already using it to avenge himself on those who overthrew him in 1985.  He has started with Col. Dasuki, the man who arrested him during the IBB coup. We can expect him to extend his vengeance to David Mark, John Shagaya, Joshua Dogonyaro and the others who made that coup against him, and eventually, when he has consolidated his power, he will go after IBB their leader.

The Nigerian corruption system is a clever mechanism. It is so configured that it continues to covertly serve as the Caliphate’s principal device for plundering Nigeria even while the proclaimed war on corruption distracts the public from its systemic roots in the constitution. The noisy war on corruption is also used to persecute the Caliphate’s enemies, with the Caliphate’s alleged corruption fighters enjoying acclaim for fighting a mysterious and intractable malady. In reality, there is nothing mysterious about corruption in Nigeria. It is bred by the lootocracy that is encouraged and protected by the 1999 constitution.

People should not be fooled by Buhari’s show of impartiality when he goes after some Caliphate looters. An institution under serious attack will sometimes find it expedient to sacrifice some of its own members, throw its most blatant offenders to the baying dogs, and save itself to continue business as usual. For example, during the Vietnam War, the US army sacrificed platoon leader Lieutenant William Calley for the My Lai massacre of March 1968. He was made a scapegoat and accused of directing the killings, and in 1971 he was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison. As a result, the army’s numerous and contemporaneous massacres in Vietnam were ignored. By making Lt. Calley a scapegoat the US army was even vindicated in the eyes of the duped American public, and was seen as not tolerating atrocities by its soldiers. It could therefore continue with its habit of massacres that are on record from its Indian wars of the 19th century and even earlier. (The books to read are, Understanding Power, by Noam Chomsky, p. 35,  for Lt Calley and My Lai; and  Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown, for the Indian wars.) This is a form of triage: throw overboard a third of the people crowded on a sinking boat so as to keep the boat afloat and save the rest. So we can expect Buhari to sacrifice Nyako, Sule Lamido, and some other blatant Caliphate looters so as to save the looting system itself and also make himself appear an impartial anti-corruption fighter. But don’t be fooled.

To understand why no caliphate politician, let alone Buhari, the current political leader of the Caliphate, will seriously fight corruption by getting rid of its fountainhead, the 1999 constitution, we must examine the function of corruption in the Caliphate’s mechanism for plundering Nigeria.

The 1999 Constitution and the Caliphate system of plunder and exploitation.

“pre-capitalist agrarian ruling classes in virtually every case depended on what Marx called surplus extraction by extra-economic coercion to reproduce themselves. They therefore owed their ability to take part of the product of the peasants not to their role in production, but to their capacity to organise themselves politically to exert force against them. . . . . In European feudalism, [the] lords’ place in agricultural production, notably via the management of their demesnes, was in general quite limited, and in some places non-existent; but this in no way impeded their ability to dominate and exploit the peasantry, a capacity achieved through their self-organisation into politico-military communities or groups, lordly states on whatever scale.”

[The origins of capitalism-debate in 2004, between Chris Harman & Robert Brenner http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?id=219 , Accessed Sept 2012]

Like their counterpart in feudal Europe, the feudal Caliphate sarkuna (aristocracy) in Nigeria has used its politico-military organization to dominate and exploit the economic producers—farmers, oil companies, manufacturers, etc. The Caliphate’s politico-military organization is the Nigerian state apparatus. From 1966-1999, Caliphate scions dominated the Nigerian military which dominated Nigeria. By 1999, they had developed a complex and clever political apparatus for exploiting their colony, Nigeria. They codified it as the 1999 constitution, and imposed it by military decree. Their hope was that, using the cover of that fake-democracy façade, they would fool everybody and forever dominate and exploit the rest of Nigerians– just like the white settlers in South Africa hoped to forever exploit the natives of South Africa through the Apartheid constitution with its fake democracy from which the black majority were excluded. In the case of the Caliphate fake-democracy, the other Nigerians are not excluded from participation in elections and government. However, Caliphate colonialists in Nigeria have organized the political power to appropriate the surplus produced by non-Caliphate sectors of the country using various devices in the 1999 constitution. For example, the 1999 constitution distributes the seats in the National Assembly, NASS, in a way that guarantees Caliphate domination of the NASS. And it’s lopsided distribution of states and Local Government Areas, LGAs, guarantees that the Caliphate territory gets more than its fair share of Nigeria’s state revenues, principally through the constitution’s provision for revenue allocation to states and LGAs regardless of what each produces or contributes to the National coffers.

Furthermore, the looting immunity granted to the state governors ensures that in every state there are local politicians who stand to benefit personally by the looting arrangement. This device co-opts the political class in the whole country as accomplices and self-serving defenders of the Caliphate system. That is why the Caliphate is adamant about keeping the 1999 Constitution, even by resort to civil war as Junaid Mohammed threatened in 2013. That is the system that Buhari has come to entrench.

Since corruption/lootocracy, whereby state revenues are looted into the pockets of key office holders, is precisely the Caliphate’s main feudalist mechanism for plundering Nigeria, Buhari, as the Caliphate’s political leader, will do nothing to uproot it. He will do just enough shadow boxing with it to fool the ever gullible Nigerian public.

He will make a big show of catching and punishing many high profile looters, even starting with some of his fellow Caliphate officials so as to give the impression that he is impartial in fighting corruption.

As some have speculated, Buhari may sideline the EFCC, ICPC etc. and hire consultants to ferret out corrupt officials; he may even set up special courts to try corruption cases so as to reduce the logjam in the regular courts, as advocated by some—but that’s all like trying to swat, one by one, the mosquitoes in your bedroom that are bred in the swamp in your backyard, instead of destroying the breeding ground of the mosquitoes by draining the swamp.

Confining his war on corruption to the Jonathan administration

Another aspect of Buhari’s war on corruption that gives a clue to his Caliphate hidden agenda is his insistence on confining it to the Jonathan administration. [Buhari will probe Jonathan’s govt only; not Obasanjo’s, others – Presidency


Nigerians have rightly condemned this as an indication that he is on a witch hunt, instead of a genuine war on corruption. Balarabe Musa, the civilian Governor of Kaduna state during the Shagari presidency, 1979-1983, has already challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his corruption probe to past regimes starting from 1966. He said such an investigation should include Mr. Buhari’s military regime between 1983 and 1985.

“At the moment, he seems to be sparing some people because he said he will probe only Jonathan’s administration and will not probe the others. 

“That is negative and short-sighted and will not solve the problem of the country. He should go the whole hog from 1966 till date because the corruption we find today started at that time,” the former governor said. . . .

“He should probe everyone and everything including himself. . . .” he said.

[Balarabe Musa to Buhari–Probe your military regime if you’re serious about corruption war

Balarabe Musa to Buhari: Probe your military regime if you’re serious about corruption war

In support of Balarabe Musa, I shall focus light on a special aspect of Buahri’s limiting of the scope of his war on corruption. Lawyers are fond of telling us about coming to equity with clean hands.

Coming to equity with clean hands

In this war on corruption, Buhari is the chief accuser and prosecutor of the accused. But is Buhari himself innocent of corruption? If there is evidence that he is not, then he ought to start by prosecuting himself and withdrawing from the role of prosecutor until he has had his own day in court and is discharged and acquitted of every charge of corruption.

Nigerians who are under fifty today were either not born or were too young in 1980 to have been aware of the scandal over the N2.8bn, which was then more than $2.8bn, that went missing when Buhari was in charge of the NNPC during the Obasanjo military regime that ended in 1979. That scandal was never cleared up under President Shagari before Buhari overthrew Shagari. So the question arises: In prosecuting anybody today, is Buhari coming to equity with clean hands? Shouldn’t he be obliged to begin by probing and prosecuting himself? For the sake of justice being done and seen to be done, Buhari should be required to give an undertaking NOW, before he starts prosecuting  anybody, that the case of the N2.8bn shall be the second taken to trial by whatever court tries the first of those he accuses of corruption. And his solemn pledge must be sworn in public and on the Holy Koran.  And he should also swear to resign as President should he fail to prosecute himself the day after the first case is concluded. Only so can he assure the world that there will be no sacred cows in his war on corruption.

The Caliphate’s three castes view of Nigeria and Buhari’s interest only in Corruption under Jonathan

For an insight into why Buhari insists on limiting his war on corruption to the Jonathan administration, we must peer at things through the lenses of the Caliphate’s concept of Nigeria as consisting of three castes:  The heirs of Dan Fodio; the Northern minorities, the peoples of the Middle Belt, who are to be used as the willing tools of the heirs of Dan Fodio; and the conquered peoples of the south.

The classic statement of this caste system was made by none other than Sir Ahmadu Bello, a great-grandson of Dan Fodio, who was the political leader of the Caliphate when Nigeria was granted independence in 1960. A few days after Nigeria attained independence, he told his people:

“The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.”

–Sir Ahmadu Bello, Leader of the NPC and Premier of Northern Nigeria, (Parrot Newspaper, 12th Oct. 1960; republished on November 13, 2002, by the Tribune Newspaper, Ibadan.)

This three-castes concept of Nigeria had to be modified after the Civil war because of how it was fought and won. To defeat Biafra, the Caliphate relied heavily on the “willing tools” from the Northern minorities, and on the Yoruba from among the conquered territory of the South. After the war, the castes had to be shuffled to reflect that reality. The modified version was publicly articulated in 1992 by a senior Caliphate politician, Maitama Sule when he described the revised version of the caste system they deem proper for the relationship between the peoples of Nigeria:

“In this country, all of us need one another. Hausa need Igbos, Igbos need Yoruba and the Yorubas need the Northerners. Everyone has a gift from God. Northerners are endowed by God with leadership qualities. The Yoruba man knows how to earn a living and has diplomatic qualities. The Igbo is gifted in commerce, trade and technological innovation. God so created us individually for a purpose and with different gifts. Others are created as kings, students and doctors. We all need each other. If there are no followers, a king will not exist, if there are no students a teacher will not be required, etc.”

– 1992, Alhaji Maitama Sule in an address which was written and spoken in Arabic during the launching of The Power of Knowledge authored by Alhaji Isa Kaita, at Durbar Hotel, Kaduna on December 22, 1992.

{ Ayoada, J. A. A. Nigeria and the Squandering of Hope, Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press, 1997, p. 14}

The main post-civil-war changes were as follows: the Yoruba from the South were promoted to join the Northern minorities in the caste of willing tools and junior partners, i.e. house slaves, to the Caliphate masters.  The defeated Biafrans remained in the lowest caste–the slaves who were never to rule over the Caliphate masters or to be allowed to have control over their future. From this Caliphate perspective, it was a serious breach of the Caliphate-established order for Jonathan, from among the defeated Biafran slaves, to be a president ruling over the Caliphate masters. That aberration was made possible by the quarrel between the Caliphate masters and their Yoruba junior partners over the annulment of the June 12 election by Sultan Dasuki. The masters had been forced to hand power temporarily to their loyal Yoruba agent, General Obasanjo. But Obasanjo, for his own personal purposes, schemed to place Jonathan in line for the presidency by making him the running mate to Yar’Adua, the Caliphate scion to whom, in 2007, he dutifully handed back their power that they had lent him. When Yar’Adua died in office, the Caliphate plotted to prevent Jonathan from succeeding him. When that plot failed and Jonathan was installed to complete Yar’Adua’s term, the Caliphate demanded that he not exercise his constitutional right to seek election in 2011. They threatened that if he did, they would make the country ungovernable for him. [North ’ll make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan –Lawal Kaita http://www.nairatown.com/index.php?topic=6190.0 ]

But Jonathan had the temerity to defy them and win office in his own right instead of vacating it when the masters demanded it back.

In Caliphate eyes, Jonathan’s living in Aso Rock was a desecration of an inner sanctum of Caliphate power, like a slave sleeping in his master’s bed. The indulging by his officials in the looting that is a privilege of the masters was seen as eating the forbidden fruit. For this unforgiveable sin, he has to be punished now that the masters, through Buhari, have retaken what they regard as theirs and theirs alone.  The usurper slave from Biafra has to be punished as a deterrent to any others who might dare to repeat the crime of usurping the masters’ power and privileges. Those to whom the masters lent their looting privileges are exempt from punishment. But those who usurped that privilege must be punished for the crime of usurpation. Accordingly, usurpation of Caliphate privileges is the real crime for which Jonathan and his officials, especially his fellow ex-Biafrans, must be punished under the guise of the war on corruption. That is why Buhari’s war on corruption must be confined to the Jonathan administration and must not be extended to the regimes of President Yar’Adua, President Obasanjo, General Abubakar, General Abacha, Ernest Shonekan, General IBB, General Buhari, President Shagari, General Obasanjo, General Murtala Mohammed and General Gowon. 

From the foregoing examination, we can see that Buhari has tailored his War on Corruption to make it serve the Caliphate agenda of protecting the Caliphate system of lootocracy. Looting by regimes led by Caliphate scions or by Caliphate-approved agents must not be probed, prosecuted and punished. And above all, the 1999 constitution, the godfather of lootocracy and the fountainhead of corruption must be preserved. That is why Northern leaders want to ensure that the 2014 Confab report is not implemented. [Northern leaders move to block implementation of confab report  http://sunnewsonline.com/new/northern-leaders-move-to-block-implementation-of-confab-report/]


We can now answer the question: Is Buhari’s War on Corruption real or fake?

It depends on what he does: (1) whether he extends it to cover all the regimes since 1966, like Bakarbe Musa demands; (2) whether he prosecutes himself for the missing N2.8bn and, above all (3) what he does about the 1999 constitution.

If he omits (1) then it is a war with many sacred cows; and if he omits (2) then he is coming to equity without clean hands.

That would be bad enough.

And if Buhari goes along with the Northern leaders, it will become clear that he is opposed to dumping the 1999 constitution—that he refuses to meet the necessary condition for “killing” corruption before it “kills” Nigeria. Should he do that, Buhari’s “War on Corruption” would have failed the litmus test for being genuine, and would become exposed as fake. And Nigerians would be justified in feeling conned by Buhari.

This is Part I of “Buhari’s First Hundred Days—An X-Ray”

By Chinweizu



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