Unlike many people out there who expect President Muhammadu Buhari to fix all of Nigeria’s problems, I have since scaled down my expectations to a one-point agenda: fight corruption.
For me, if, at the end of four years, Buhari can battle corruption in Nigeria down to 40% of what we currently have, he would already have become our best president ever. He does not have to do anything else. It would be just like the biblical injunction of “seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and everything would be added unto thee”. So, PMB, seek ye first a corruption-free Nigeria, and everything else would fall into place. Refineries would begin to work, fuel queues would disappear, roads would become motorable, mobile coffins would no longer take to our airspace, public power supply would improve, hospitals would work, lecturers would go back to the classes, strikes would reduce, brown envelops would become history, rigging would disappear, neighbouring communities would stop slaughtering each other over dubiously determined boundaries, courts would suddenly begin to give justice and not just judgment. Indeed, every ill bedeviling our country today is rooted in corruption.
However, fighting corruption through extra-judicial means, like we’re now pushing PMB to, is actually a form of corruption in itself. For instance, going by the utterances of those championing the call for probe of past government officials, you’d come away with one impression: that they already know who is guilty and who should be in jail.
It reminds one of the proverbial jury of fowls, where no cockroach can ever escape the guilty verdict. Where the only judgment it can ever expect to get is the death penalty.
There appears to be something wrong about the process. We must not use evil to fight evil.
Not too many people are in any doubt that Mai Gaskiya is credible and means well in this war against graft. But he could make a few honest mistakes – mistakes that would not be as a result of any selfish agenda.
That is why it is the duty of all of us to keep eternal vigilance and nudge him here and there whenever we notice him going off track.
But such interventions are being interpreted to mean we’re trying to shield Goodluck Jonathan from probe. This is the danger of the times we now live in. Anybody who is not chanting ‘jail Jonathan! jail Jonathan!! is instantly branded enemy of the state or beneficiary of yesteryears’ sleaze.
But then, it would be wrong for all of us to join in this emerging trend of convicting people, even before we have put together a file on them, let alone taken them to court. We shouldn’t get carried away and do things that would come to haunt us later.
Of course, that is not saying we should not probe Jonathan’s administration. No! In fact, I believe that is the only way we can truly move on. So, even if the probe of Jonathan’s administration is a witch-hunt, let it be. Let Buhari help catch the ‘witches’ now, somebody else can come later and go after the wizards.
Yes, President Obasanjo and all the other leaders before him deserve to be probed as much as Jonathan, but we have to start from somewhere. The scientists say we usually have to go from the known to the unknown. In this case, the ‘known’ is the Jonathan regime, which is still fresh, and on which we can still lay our hands on the files.
It is from probing how Jonathan and Deizani Allison, swallowed all our oil money that we might get to know when the aberration started, and what used to be the situation under Obasanjo who was his own de facto petroleum minister. It is from probing how Jonathan could not get the refineries to work in six years that we might accidentally discover how the Obasanjo administration laid the foundation for this monumental failure, by giving contracts for turn-around maintenance of refineries to incompetent cronies, including truck drivers. Let’s probe Jonathan! For, by probing how Jonathan and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ‘chopped’ our Excess Crude account and depleted our foreign reserve, we would also get to know a thing or two about what really happened in the debt forgiveness deal of a few years earlier. By Jove, let the probes begin!
When we probe the FCT, the land swaps, the dubious land allocations, the benumbing demolitions, the fetish called Abuja Masterplan, the Centenary City etc., at some stage, we would be forced to look beyond the administration of Senator Bala Mohammed.
Another reason why I want this probe so badly is that as soon as we start, it would assume a life of its own. Not even those who instituted it would be able to rein it in again. And by the time we’re through with it, we would probably have only Buhari still standing. Even at that, he’d be standing on one leg. But we would have recovered a substantial amount of our stolen monies.