Buhari Has Panama-Proofed Nigeria
If you were to ask President Muhammadu Buhari what the most successful thing a person could achieve in Nigeria was? If he is candid with you, his answer would be you to seize power (through coup d’ états or general elections). or to amass riches (through grand corruption). Power and wealth, for their sake, will always breed corruption. By implication, the president himself is not exempt. We all know that, but some are emphatic about denying it. Such is brazen make-belief.
The Panama Papers scandal involving tax evasion and money laundering cases in off-shore havens shook many international heavyweights in the civilised world. Not in Nigeria, though. Buhari’s administration has rendered big thieving Nigerian politicians and quasi-financiers well “Panama-proof”.
Prime Ministers, politicians, people in business, athletes and others from the civilised world could not be Panama-proofed. Furthermore, they had to resign from office, prosecuted, paid hefty fines or got suspended prison sentences. And some may still go into the slammer. The main crime these men committed was tax evasion, many on legitimate incomes. Only If tax evasion is a crime in Nigeria and detectable in real-time or in retrospect. Almost all people who have done medium to large business transactions in the formal sector would, without a doubt, be in jail. With length sentences and heavy fines to match.
Needless to say, Nigeria was never uncivilised, but the post-colonial leaders, who are no better than auto-colonialists, are trying their very best to make Nigeria disorganised. By creating externalities in society that will ensure the certainty of their increasing power and riches. Notwithstanding, Nigeria is not becoming anarchy for lack of leadership. Its leaders are decivilising the country in deliberate and ruthless ways.
A country whose political, economic and cultural institutions are immune to explosions of corruption is dying. Nigeria is a dying nation. In fact, being Panama-proof or scandal-proof is not suitable for Nigeria; it is only good for the thieves drying out all the worth of the land. The thieves think they are God’s special ones in their thievery. But they are working in the blind toward their suicides. Panama-proofing drives away capital and investment, local and foreign.
Alas, Nigeria is a nation in decline without ever having risen hitherto. This is because power and riches for the leaders have always been the opportunity cost of creating the conditions of a flourishing society. Nigeria perhaps has the most ‘un-transcendental’ leadership in the world. Thank you, President Buhari and your predecessors, for this, you have added your indelible quota.
Many thieving Nigerians implicated in the Panama Papers scandal are prospering well and living in freedom. There are over one hundred Nigerians from both the public and private sectors, enjoying the leisure. Yes, the dividends of being Panama-proofed crooks by the president.
It would not even be wrong to surmise that Buhari’s administration is not aware the Panama Papers scandal implicates many Nigerians. Put more precisely; the Buhari administration lacks the will and wherewithal even to care an iota. Some will say in favour of the Buhari administration that the Panama Papers scandal was an “external matter,” even extraneous to anticorruption measures in Nigeria. And that the Nigerian government has no jurisdiction or business in Nigeria. Interesting.
The question such an unusual mental attitude to governance will elicit is, is it true that Nigeria’s big thieves have monies laundered they stole within Panama’s jurisdiction? And what should they do about it? Buhari could not deal in any concrete or credible way with corruption in Nigeria. Why even think about faraway Panama?
Moreover, a disastrous mix of premature wild disclosures of corruption / corrupt actors stone-face wielding of threats; toothless inconclusive probes are routine. The Narrow selective witch-hunts/arrest of political opponents are a rule. The bequeaths of total impunity to big thieves that swept the party into power attracts defecting politicians from other parties.. Also, there is the abhorrence of a sound method, planning or strategy. We have the engineering of momentary political distractions that make the government look tough; the transient successful propaganda; all led to the stillbirth of Buhari’s “messianic cleansing “of corruption in Nigeria with proverbial broom. Anticorruption Powerless!
The only reason we are not seeing record-breaking corruption occurring under Buhari’s watch is simple. Oil money bounties are no longer flowing as it once did. But even with the “tight-belt economy” Nigeria now operates, corruption is occurring unabated with the president. And those that matter to him bifurcating their way out of the country’s suffering with plutocratic aplomb.
When we write the future annals of Nigeria’s political history, it would be unfair to suggest President Buhari caused Nigeria’s current corruption status. but it will be apt to record that he was effective in Panama-proof rogues by action or inaction. It does not matter.
Nevertheless, Buhari has Panama-proofed Nigeria.