Nigeria is a dramatic persona in everything. In Nigeria, everyday plays out a drama that is never concluded. We wake up to strange News that sometimes tingle the ears. We shout and voice against it, within a twinkle of an eye, another news breaks through which our attentions are diverted leaving behind the first issue we were pursuing. This goes on and on making us lose focus and remain at a standstill. Is it the spirit of realizing a great country? Why don’t we ever pursue something to a logical end and get results? Nigeria had a big package of corruption fight. The whole world might have given it a skeptical smile knowing that Nigeria would say something they can never pursue. The government can have huge project ideas like an elephant.
They can kick them off with huge celebrations and dancing but they fade in chaos because it cannot withstand spotlight. This can be attributed to archaic ideas of dictatorship and money mongering ministers who engage in short term projects. We have seen many white elephant projects in Nigeria that are not completed. They look offensive to the eyes of the masses but look as souvenirs to tourists and Journalists because they will like to see something different from the ones in their own country. These same projects might have gulped millions of Naira but left abandoned without anyone to question why? This is part of the corruption the government has been struggling to fight but seems to have overpowered the government like the Frankenstein’s monster.
It has overgrown and Nigeria doesn’t know how to manage it again. We keep hearing of corruption cases in the dailies and it excites people. We hear and see how corrupt politicians were degraded and put into “political” prison. After a while, Nigerian judiciary acquits them and restores all their seized assets. Their acquired wealth has no recipe for success but this is the way things are done in Nigeria and this is how they feel that corruption would be wiped away. We have never seen any politician caught and disciplined properly. When a politician is accused of corruption or embezzlement of huge sum of money, he feels no remorse or fear because he can afford the payments of several Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and the case can be left in limbo while the continue in their looting sprees. Nigerians have heard a lot of funny but annoying mysterious disappearance of funds.
We woke up to hear that a government official claimed that a huge snake swallowed millions of Naira in her office. While we were at that another broke of Monkeys swallowing large amounts of money somewhere in the Northern part of Nigeria. All these events came to world awareness and ridiculed Nigeria. As the Nigerians were enjoying those esoteric stories several stories came up and attentions were diverted. Today we have not heard about what happened to the monies and the officials involved. Nigerians have tried severally in the past to convince the government to remove Magu; the embattled EFCC boss but couldn’t make any headway until his corruption scandal escalated.
According to the SUN Newspaper of Friday February 5th, 2021 a young man on hearing that EFCC officials were around his neighbourhood of 1004 estate Lagos, jumped from the 5th floor of a building and died on the spot. It was reported that he wasn’t even the target of the EFCC.It seems that the conscience of the people fishes them out and not the EFCC officials. It seems when the guilty becomes aware of what might happen to them when caught, maintain discreet. This is not the best way to fight corruption but we can fight corruption by conscience nurtured by truth. Nigerians do not understand the methodology used in fighting and wiping out corruption in Nigeria. All the recovered funds when channeled properly could have helped in economic growth and prevent us from borrowing rather it was diverted and re-looted which made the anti-corruption boss culpable.
Nigerians have not been able to get a total report of corruption fight. This is why everything remains an unfinished business. What have we on hand to tell the future generation about how we fought corruption? Can we say now that everything has ended in fiasco? That is the hemorrhage of Nigerian situation. Can we say that Nigeria is a frame of reference in corruption? With the way corruption is being fought, the politicians no longer worry about corruption allegations whether they are guilty or not. They believe they can always get away with it. They have formed thick skins and even want to loot higher amounts and get ready to “settle” when they are eventually brought to book.
Only the common man is afraid of the Anti-corruption bodies because they are never let out of their hooks once arrested and prosecuted. Corruption fight in Nigeria is cosmetic and could not solve Nigerian problems. This is why we say it is an unfinished business. If we look around, we can see the abandoned projects like the Ajaokuta steel mills, Enugu Coal mines, National Library etc. We still have the lingering ASUU strike, epileptic power supplies which we seem to have become adapted to. If Nigeria faces her problem, Nigeria would be competing favorably with big economies of the world instead of not utilizing our vast human and natural resources. We are easily manipulated to forget things so easily; things we could pursue to a logical end to get beneficial results.
We are easily distracted from causes we pursue when a new trend comes up. This is sad! Politicians have been using this against us. They know our psyche and how we react to things. This gives them the audacity to give us bogus promises during election campaigns and fail us. They would still come back, tease us and give little handouts and they are voted back. Politics uses various elements of divide and rule to make sure that the citizens are never united to speak with one voice Nigeria and her numerous lingering unfinished businesses against their numerous setbacks. Once they notice that there is unity in voice and purpose, they create a splinter group to counter what the genuine masses are planning or doing. Once they fail to succeed, they introduce money, tribalism, party affiliations and religious bigotry to cause division. It was glaring at the #EndSARS protests which memories are still lingering.
A Judicial panel was set up to investigate. Have we had headways? The order to re-open the toll gate for operations is not going down well with those seeking for justice for those killed at the protest. The youths are gingering up for another protest. Also, another splinter group has shown interest to do a counter protest. The government should thread with caution and find the best way to handle this looming fracas for the safety of the citizens and their properties. In all, let justice prevail as we pray for a greater Nation we can be proud of without having numerous lingering unfinished businesses and baggage of setbacks.
•Very Rev.Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, an Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate