Ecclesiastes 7 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth” “Whoso feareth the Lord, it shall go well with him at the last, and he shall find favor in the day of his death –Ecclesiasticus 1:13.“O you who believe stand up as a witness for Allah in all fairness, and do not let the hatred of people deviate you from justice. Be just, this is closest to piety” (Quran, Al-Maidah, 5:8)
lthough the time of celebration is over, I would like to congratulate you again Mr. President for your overwhelming victory on the presidential election that was conducted just a little more than a year ago. The presidential election started in March 28th and finally ended on the 30th 2015. As I watched Nigerians across the nation displayed their unanimous support for you, I could not help but wait patiently to witness the historic moment when the people’s mandate would re-write the history of our democratic nation, Nigeria. To this end, it is of paramount importance to understand that your victory has not only signaled a new era of democratic rule in Nigeria, it is a recognition of a charismatic, superlative and patriotic leader whose transient years in office as military head of state redefined the true spirit of patriotism on the corridors of power in Nigeria. In the year 1983, it was crystal clear after 4 years of civilian rule, that Shehu Shagari’s government had plunged the Nation into a state of economic imbroglio. It was at that moment of despair and hopelessness on the part of the general masses that you Mr. President and your stooges felt it was imperative to intervene.
Your two years in the office was characterized by all form of aggressive reforms among which a measure was implemented to contain corruption which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. You apprehended and jailed corrupt public officials who were found to have been involved in crime of financial mismanagement and embezzlement. You created a decree to include death penalty for any illegal acquisition of public properties including petroleum products and proliferation of narcotics. You were labeled as tyrant and dictator, and though your government was truncated by the Nation’s number one public enemy, the legacy of your accomplishment will continue to remain in the annals of Nigeria history. 2015 was the 16th year of democratic dispensation in Nigeria beside the time of Tafawa Balewa/Azikiwe and Shehu Shagari/Ekweme. Those 16 years were not easy for Nigerians as history had continued to repeat itself. The reason for this was because the country was again hijacked by a generation of surreptitious vipers, whose record of corruption, impunity, lawlessness brought the nation to economic standstill. It was on this ground, after 30 years of an indelible historic performance of your statesmanship that Nigerians had once again cried out for you to rescue them from the cliché of egocentric political scavengers. Mr. President I want to say unequivocally, that your victory in that election was a victory for all Well-meaning Nigerians. Therefore, all Nigerians must unite and work together collectively to enhance the success of your government. That is the only way, the hope and aspirations of all Nigerians in building egalitarian nation can be realized. Regardless of ethnic diversity and religious complexity, Nigeria is a family unit, which include land, the people and these are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. All Nigerians bear one thing in common and that is “a Nigerian” as a surname and therefore whoever is working against the progress of that nation is impending failures for the life of every Nigerian and such elements must be destroyed.
Since it is evident that a colossal damage had been done to the nation for decades by public enemies who used their public offices to hemorrhage the nation’s resources, one must not expect you and your government to apply magic Wand to bring things to normalcy within this short period of time. I have watched very carefully the result of all the effort your government has made so far to begin a healing process for the nation. Without doubt everyone will agree with me that the spirit of Muhammadu Buhari had already begun to sweep across the nation searching for those criminals that have looted the common wealth of our nation. So far, in less than a year, your government has accomplished what the PDP government was not able to accomplish in sixteen years but however, there are still hitches and glitches and this has to do with the way EFCC has continued to play games with the lives of Nigerians.
EFCC has continued to announce arrest, and indictment while the files of hundreds of the ones already indicted are wasting away in their offices across the nation without any trial. This has been the modus operandi of EFCC for the past 16 years and that is why those that have plunged the nation into this deplorable condition have continued to re-circle themselves in public offices. Mr. President, it is time to act decisively to deal with this traumatic endemic situation that has crippled the nation by scraping the EFCC and replacing it with tribunal or alternatively the key players in the organization would have to be replaced. I recently read about the news of the Pension DG and how she has been suspended for her involvement in multi-billion naira fraud. Her monthly salary according to the report was 60 million naira. This is a big shame. This is the reason why other races laugh and scorn at African continent because of the simple fact that they cannot govern themselves effectively. This lady makes 60 million naira on a monthly basis, which of course I do not see why a civil servant in Nigeria should be making such an outrageous salary. Why would the Nigerian government waste resources on salaries and benefits when the general masses are barely struggling to survive? A country where 70% of the masses live in darkness for lack of electricity? It is preposterous. An American president makes 400,000 thousand dollars a year while the vice president makes 230,000 dollars. That is the most powerful country in the world. This lady by her monthly salaries with the current official rate of dollars makes 3.6 million dollars a year. What is wrong with our nation? This is insane!!! It is unbelievable!! What is very special about her job as the head of a civil service department to warrant such an embarrassing salary? As if that salary was not enough, she continued to use her position to indulge in fraudulent practices by tampering with funds met for poor retired patriotic Nigerians that had worked so hard to serve the nation.
Mr. President, I want to submit here that corruption is killing Nigeria and there seems to be nothing left. This is the reason why Nigerians have become refugees in different countries around the world and unfortunately more Nigerians are still struggling to abandon their nation. Mr. President, I want to say that you were voted into power by the overwhelming support of Nigerians because of your implacable record, and resolute to fight corruption and to establish a political platform by which there would be accountability in governance. It is on the basis of this, I would like to say that there is a serious task ahead of you. You must understand that you owe allegiance to the generality of the masses in Nigeria who have entrusted the destiny of the nation into your hands. Mr. President that is the more reason your administration must go after those that have looted the public treasury from Obasanjo regime to Goodluck Jonathan and in fact including Babangida. “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson.
Records have shown that under Goodluck government, billions of dollars simply disappeared from the nation’s NNPC account. 2.1 billion dollars meant for the purchase of arms for the nation’s military also disappeared. 250,000 barrels of Crude oil were stolen daily by unscrupulous individuals in the country. According to International Business Times, some prominent Nigerian politicians were fingered to have sold 1 million barrels of oil on daily basis during the same period of time. In the course of this, 150 billion dollars was believed to have been stolen by Nigerian public officials according to Bloomberg. Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central Zone) has said that over $200 billion was being stashed away in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, specifically, its global financial hub, Dubai, by corrupt Nigerians. http://allafrica.com/stories/201601260157.html
Recently there was another news of 3.1 billion naira stolen and discovered to have been transferred to the accounts of three members of PDP. Mr. President I want to assure you that Nigerians both home and abroad are strongly behind you on any measure you may deem fit to apply in the course of dealing with these rogues and thieves even if it involves death penalty or life imprisonment.
Nigerians are tired of reading the names of these officials who embezzled trillions, billions and millions of public funds on the Medias on a daily basis and yet no single one has been held accountable for such heinous crimes. The level of impunity in the nation’s public system is so bad to the extent that the image of Nigeria on international arena is demonized and Nigerians have become subjects of ridicule. Nigerian’s inability to control their greed and selfishness in public offices and apply sanity to governance has brought doubt to other races about the mental and intellectual efficacy of the black race to handle things on their own with positive result. The biggest problem that has hunted the nation for the past two decades and brought her prosperity to a standstill is the corruption and ineffectiveness of the judicial system. The Nigerian Judiciary is not only a disgrace, it is a tragedy. How can a nation survive without the rule of law or where the rule of law only applies to the poor as it is in Nigeria? There is no doubt that the chronic corruption that had crippled the progress of the nation for years is in fact the direct result of the failure of the nation’s judicial institution. Nigeria had been a lawless nation where impunity reigned supreme.
Since 1999, there had been numerous cases of indicted public officials who had been brought before the Judiciary for embezzling public funds and up till date no single one has been found guilty and made to face some prison terms or at least made to pay restitution. If there was any restitution, it was probably less than 2% of the billions they had stolen. This time must not be a business as usual. The perpetrators of economic crime against the nation of Nigeria must be brought to justice by any means necessary. Those who have used their public offices to bring about the current economic strangulation in the nation must pay very dearly for it. The judicial system must be overhauled and judges who are not mentally prepared to dispense justice must be forced out of office or face compulsory retirement. Call it dictatorship, it does not matter at this point in time. If that is what would inculcate a sense of responsibility on our leaders and bring sanity to leadership, so be it. Nigeria is been seriously mocked by other nations because of the way and manner the government is fighting corruption. Your government must take a look at the way other civilize nations fight corruption and compare it Nigeria.
No country has ever succeeded without the implementation of a stringent measure against corruption. It is extremely important that any nation that wants to succeed must have zero tolerance for corruption. In 2014 an Israelis 70 year old former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert was convicted of bribery and corruption and sentenced to 18 months in jail. In 2014, Arkansas state Treasurer, Martha Shoffner was convicted of extortion and bribery and sentenced to 30 months in jail. In 2015, a Connecticut state senator, Ernie Newton was convicted of accepting $5000 bribe, evading taxes and using campaign money for personal expenses. In 2006 Atlanta Mayor Mr. Campbell was found guilty of tax evasion and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was also ordered to serve a year on probation, and to pay a fine of $6,000 dollars. In addition to that, he was asked to pay 60,000 dollars to the internal revenue service for back taxes. A Russian Billionaire, and an oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was convicted of tax evasion, embezzlement, and money laundry and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In July 12, 2013, a Chinese Billionaire Zeng Chengjie was convicted of fraud and executed by lethal injection. How many Nigerian government officials have been convicted of crime against the people of Nigeria by defrauding the state? How many have been sentenced to jail since 1999, for embezzling the funds belonging to the nation? How many have paid restitution to the state? Unless there is a stringent measures, penalty and punishment for embezzling public funds, all effort to fight corruption in Nigeria would ultimately end up in futility. I wish you a very successful tenure in office and may the lord bless you.
Written by: Evangelist Isaac Ivbaze.