Nigeria Needs More Of This Anti-Corruption Joke By Peter Claver Oparah
The ongoing anti-corruption war launched by the Muhammadu Buhari regime is a joke, so says the heavily-dented Senate President, Bukola Saraki; so says all those presently charged for one form of corruption or the other. To them, what is going on is a comedy, a circus show, and has nothing to do with fighting corruption. Even as they have been mum on how the fight should be done, we have no reason not to agree with them. What is going on, they say, is a witch-hunt, not a fight against corruption. They have told us that the ‘witch-hunt’ is selective and targets political opponents of Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC). We may not have to doubt them. Why? They have been there before. They have wined and dined with corruption. They have mated with corruption and know its many sides, guiles and wiles. They know best. Even as they are not divulging how the war should be fought, we have to try to agree with them.
Saraki is facing multiple charges of corruption. His fellow choristers have multiple infraction charges staring them in the courts. They are the ones prescribing unclear ways to fight corruption. Saraki says that we should not punish corrupt people and we should stop exposing them but rather we should emphasize deterrence in the fight against corruption. However, Saraki fails to provide any details on how this strategy of deterrence should be implemented. For him, that is a topic to be discussed another day.
What is not in doubt is that Saraki and his compatriots in corruption can give us first hand information on corruption and how it is perpetrated, for they are grandmasters in the game. What is in doubt is if they are competent to tell us how best to fight corruption because they stand to be annihilated by any fight against corruption. But we have to agree with them because they are the big men on whose necks most of the egregious corruption cases that have wrecked the country hang. As Brutus was an honorable man, so is Saraki an authority on corruption.
In the latest sing-song of Saraki and his pro-corruption choir, they have allies; those who share from their vile ways, those who eat from the rotten proceeds of their stock. They have recruited those who have political axes to grind with the present regime. They have recruited tainted clergymen who have leased out their pulpits to Lucifer and the spread of its devilish gospel. They are in cahoots with those whose lifeblood runs on the seedy proceeds of corruption – and they are many in a Nigeria, where conducts of the affairs of the state and individuals have ill-departed from the soiled and sullied ways of corruption. Having failed in their previous orchestrations against the anti-corruption war, they have resorted to banal scoffing, jesting and clowning about the war on corruption being a joke. They have a target: vilify and taint the anti-corruption war. It is the latest way through which corruption is fighting back. We shall see how far they will go with their present antics.
Yes, the present anti-corruption fight is a joke. It is a comedy, just because it targets such fat cows and big thieves like Saraki. It is a joke because it violates the well-entrenched standard of leaving out the big time corrupt elements in Nigeria. Surely, corruption is the main turf of the big men, the untouchables, the sacred cows of which the Sarakis rank foremost and they are beyond reproach. But then, who in Nigeria does not need such a joke as the present anti-corruption war? Who in Nigeria does not like the present joke that has ensured that for the first time in Nigeria, our commonwealth is not the feeding trough of such big politicians and their hirelings? Who does not like the fact that through this anti-corruption war, the country’s annual budgets are no longer allocations meant to be shared for the ramparts and ghouls that have eaten Nigeria down since independence? Who does not like the fact that through this joke, contracts are now meant to be executed and not as means of sharing trillions of Naira to all manners of party space fillers, stakeholders, apex leaders, hitmen and fixers?
Abeg, who in Nigeria does not like the fact that through the Buhari anti-corruption joke, trillions of Naira that would have otherwise warmed the ubiquitous accounts of free loaders are now saved into the country’s treasury to finance critical projects and infrastructures? Who loathes the fact that the present joke of an anti-corruption war is the reason why senior civil servants and their political cohorts have been blocked from maintaining thousands of accounts through which they salt government revenue? Who doesn’t like the fact that this anti-corruption joke has sieved our economy of hundreds of thousands of ghost workers who were used by nefarious civil servants and their political collaborators to steal billions of Naira from the treasury each month? Who hates the fact that the present joke is the reason why the country is building vital and critical infrastructures in a recession; projects we couldn’t do during an oil boom when the Sarakis and their cohorts were supposedly waging a serious fight against corruption?
Who does not love the fact that through the joke of an anti-corruption war, roads that were dilapidated out of existence during an oil boom are being built during a recession, together with ambitious rail lines and power infrastructures? Who is not pleased that the anti-corruption joke is the reason we got a brand new airport terminal in six record weeks; a feat we couldn’t do for years when this joke has not birthed? Who does not like the fact that this anti-corruption joke has saved trillions of Naira that would have otherwise swelled the accounts of the Sarakis and their cohorts, and are now saved, with which hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created in various sectors in a time of economic recession? Who does not like the fact that the present government is embarking on such an ambitious, extensive and expensive Social Intervention Program that targets millions of citizens in diverse sectors for empowerment? Who does not love the fact that the anti-corruption joke is the reason why our military has thrashed a Boko Haram that was in tight control of a fifth of Nigeria’s land territory and was making daring claims to Abuja and the North Central states before the present regime came?
Most importantly, who doesn’t like the fact that through the present anti-corruption war, Saraki and his many other lieutenants in corruption have become restive fugitives, shunting between the law courts to answer for their many demeanors? Who does not like the fact that the present joke has hauled untouchable criminals and looters into docks where they are making regular runs to free themselves from conviction? Who doesn’t like it that the present joke has ensured that looters, plunderers, free loaders and rogues who vandalized our treasury are today sweating through their pants in a bid to devise safer ways of hiding their loot? Who in Nigeria is not pleased that through the present joke, economic pests and ramparts are made to perpetually be discomfited in a desperate bid to fight off the reach of the same joke? Who is so cursed in Nigeria as not to be glad that the joke of an anti-corruption war is striking hard at the thick underbelly of the most corrupt, most astute and most remorseless cult of looters that laid the country prostrate? Who does not love it that the loud boastful plunderers that ate our country into recession are now living on the fear of the unknown as they don’t know when and how the joke of the present anti-corruption will come knocking at their doors? Who does not derive infinite pleasure that this joke is, for the first time, poaching the untouchables and instilling the fear of God in their systems, webbed to impunity? Who is not happy that the Sarakis and all those that eviscerated the country when this joke had not happened are now being ran ragged by this joke, especially in its determination to bring them to account for their misdeeds?
Pray, who does not like the fact that the present anti-corruption joke has dispersed the thick crowd of loiterers, idlers, loafers, layabouts who perennially constitute a nuisance around the seat of power in Abuja with hopes of getting an illicit cut of the famous national cake just by affixing themselves to party leaders? Who is not happy that those political space fillers who have hewed a vocation of embarking on one night trip to Abuja and coming back as billionaires have been made extinct? Who is not pleased that the anti-corruption joke has ensured that those who flaunt unrooted and unexplainable wealth are now being asked questions as to the sources of their illicit wealth?
Who is not happy that this joke has ensured that the country is not assaulted by daily tales of multi-trillion Naira and multi-billion dollar scams, as was the case before this joke happened? Who is not glad that this joke has stopped the disbursement of trillions of Naira to rogues and bedmates of those in power in the guise of petroleum subsidy, as was the case before?
Who is not happy that this joke has stopped the horrendous stealing of billions of dollars in the name of fighting insurgency, as the country witnessed before now? Who is not glad that this joke has outlawed the culture of granting dubious import waivers running into trillions of Naira to various shady interests? Who is not happy that through this joke, the country’s account sheets have been thoroughly cleaned and untoward practices that bled the country to death before the joke happened have been outlawed? Who is not happy that this joke is unearthing illicit wealth hidden in disparate crevices by those that wrecked the country to the seams just the other day? Who is not happy that under this joke, a Secretary to the Federal Government has been relieved of his duty for influencing the award of N200 million to a company in which he has interest; a sin that was way below touts in Aso Rock before this joke came?
I can go on and on, but the fact remains that Nigeria is on all fours today because the Sarakis and all shades of fugitives from the law have been operating as lawless czars. That is what the anti-corruption ‘joke’ is meant to curb, and it is doing very well in that regard. We have been hearing all these manners of orchestrated outcries and such pranks as the Sarakis and their cohorts play today. We are wiser to their antics. The anti-corruption war may not be perfect yet, but it has done tremendously well to cleanse the Augean stable and stench of dirt that preceded it. It has greatly fumigated the sordid space and is gradually improving in its task of stopping the Byzantine hemorrhage the Sarakis and their jesting ilk lorded on us. So far, the Buhari anti-corruption war has shown that the fight against corruption is winnable and we must all strive to take it through the whole distance if our country is not to sink from the weight of corruption.
Indeed, we need more of this Buhari anti-corruption ‘joke.’
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Lagos. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anti-Corruption walk in Lagos
Peter Claver Oparah