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Thoughts on the Buratai savings scheme – by Charles Dickson

Thoughts on the Buratai savings scheme - by Charles Dickson

Stealing and corruption in practically all fields of human endeavor in Nigeria, if you cast a lot, the odds are that it would fall on a retired thief, an active thief, or an aspiring thief.

That is, every recruitment shortlist is likely to confront you with the risk of picking a person who is living on the remainder of past thievery, or a person who is currently plundering his present position, or a person who is waiting for an opportunity to create new all-time high looting record!

This is one of the reasons why the tendency is for people to treat obvious cases of corruption with hesitancy. 

Their guilt or ambition restrains them from condemning in absolute terms. 

They know they have stolen like the disgraced person or they have a dream to stealing like they did.

Add the above to the fact that stealing and corruption in Nigeria is ethnically based, political affiliation driven, and faith justified; you then would understand why we are a nation at war with itself when it comes to tackling corruption.

So, the Nigerian politician, or public office holder is an expert in Ponzi schemes; a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a non-existent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors. 

The Buratai tale as narrated by all the sides, is “a classic Ponzi scheme built on treachery and lies”

Very quickly, before I dove into the few paragraphs that make my admonition for this week…my thoughts as gathered in this essay is not about the Dubai tales of Arabian nights by supporters and foes (Internet terrorists) of the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, but it is about the saving culture of what the ordinary Nigerian would refer to as the Nigerian Big man, who often than not is a politician or public office holder.

Nigeria does indeed have a serious problem with corruption.  And while Nigeria also has made substantial commitments to crack down on corruption, it is almost an exercise in futility because of the wonderbank saving skills of our public office holders.

So let me take us on a Ponzi scheme saving ride…Fayose has been saving so much, we all are witnesses, in fact Zenith was custodian and EFCC and legal minds are higa-haga-ing on immunity of prosecution.

I am not sure, but there are countless ex-governors who are Senators and Ministers, collecting several streams of income…these men are seriously saving, ask Fashola, Theodore Orji, Akpabio and co…

Come to Plateau, go to Benue, stay in Ogun…you will be shown properties bought by the savings of governors and public officials. 

These men save so much we see their savings even more than their Dubai based savings.

We see the savings they have mounted through the gladiators’ mansion they build in their respective home states. 

These public officials save so much that one wonders why ordinary civil servants can’t learn this simple culture of saving.

In 16 years of democratic governance, have you seen Tinubu’s savings? Or are we so blind to how much Dariye of Plateau saved. 

Even Jang saved, and currently Lalong is saving and yet they all have not by their combined savings saved Plateau state.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite their poor job in prosecution of high profile economic theft, sorry I mean savings…has in less 11 months shown us the savings of ex-Defence Chiefs whether army, Airforce or NIMASA some big man is saving like my brother and friend Buratai.

However, given the pervasiveness of our saving culture in the country, Nigeria needs more than a defence from the Army Authorities on how its chief acquired choice properties outside the shores of the country. 

The sad truth is that anti-corruption efforts by the Buhari administration in its first year have been slow and to say the list twisted, and hidden under the faux naïf that corruption is fighting back.

The success or otherwise of our fight against corruption is largely dependent on the requisite public buy-in—the war on corruption cannot be fought by Buhari alone, but it can be fought by the very aptus and proceritas that the saving culture of our elite class are handled.

Although most Nigerians agree corruption is endemic, in most cases they also participate in small-scale transactional practices that undermine the country. 

In order for progress to be made, Nigerians must abstain from corruption in every form, not just condemn it.

And this can only be done, when the country’s value system—which celebrates even wealth obtained by questionable means—is greatly flawed. 

Strategic and effective public education must be developed to ensure a change of attitude and show people the true and damaging effects of corruption. 

Young people, in particular, should be brought on board to begin to build a new culture of hard work, of merit, of fair play and not the mysterious and indefensible savings that are not far from Ponzi schemes.

For starters, Nigeria needs a national anticorruption strategy that focuses on key areas, such as citizen-centered service provision, public procurement, asset recovery, enforcement of existing laws, and revitalization of existing agencies.

Mr. Buhari should also coordinate and strengthen agencies whose purview includes corruption. 

Nigeria has several commissions, bureaus, and tribunals that have the power to investigate and prosecute corrupt practices. 

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