Where is the Government of Nigeria (GON) or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) winning their war against corruption? Nowhere. No vigorous prosecutions, no convictions, no legislative reforms, no judicial reforms, no constitutional reforms, nothing. All the citizens of Nigeria see are publicity stunts and government-engineered scandals. Is there anything else substantial to show anywhere? The incentive now is, after all its tough talk, the GON must save face as Nigeria, and the rest of the world watches her anti-corruption activities. Recent developments are now verifying the stage-managing of the cash seizures; the money is going back to where it came from directly – the Central Bank of Nigeria. (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-KW)
There are many rational reasons for the GON (its agencies) and EFCC to stage-manage mysterious theatrical large “cash discoveries and seizure” to make them look like they are doing a good job and these are evident to everyday Nigerians.
Firstly, the GON has been unable outside media charades to investigate, prosecute and convict former and present political elites for their very evident engagements in corruption. Winning corruption cases in the media and losing them in court has become a rule of the current GON so far. Some of the guilty thieving elites were even appointed to the highest offices in the current government. Nigeria’s Big Thieves are also thriving as national and regional heroes. Some of the evidence lies of the corruption of Nigerian elites awaits prepared overseas. No Nigerian has suffered any political casualty due to the Panama Papers revelations. Look at Nigeria’s Senate President for instance. Nigerians know this.
Secondly, no corrective policy or legislative reforms have been instituted since the current government came to power that is designed to effectively eliminate or make the cost of engaging corrupt practices much exorbitant for public servants. Instead, legislators, mainly senators, have tried to institute numerous laws that will enable politicians to engage in more profound levels of corruption and with more impunity, which is already excessive and scandalous. Remember when the Senate wanted to institute ant-social media and anti-CCB (Code of Conduct Bureau) bills? A Nigerian can still gift a fellow citizen N1 billion without a crime being committed or the taxman being aware of it. Yet, we have (super-paid) lawmakers and (less-paid) law interpreters. A gubernatocrat can still steal his treasury of his state dry, protected under the rule of “electoral immunity” then become a senator with ease as provided by the constitution. The stealing by executives has grown with the rules of the game, necessarily legal. Is there a Nigerian who is not aware of this state of affairs?
Thirdly, the current government in the act of poor political timing and ill-thought diplomacy went overseas to demand stolen Nigeria funds kept there. All it achieved was more spotlight on Nigeria’s arena of corruption, forcing it to act desperately and haplessly in its anti-corruption campaign. Non-Nigerians now see Nigeria as even more corrupt than ever, and the GON is suffering for it. Where is the foreign investment going to coming from outside China’s “largesse”? Nigerians will casually or vehemently say “we know!” But the question is, are Nigeria’s Big Thieves forced or encouraged to steal their own treasuries dry and de-civilise their nations by safe haven nations?
Fourthly, the link between foreign aid and corruption has been robustly established. However, the current GON has embarked on collecting vast foreign aid from China and elsewhere. Even if many Nigerians are not aware of the link foreign aid and corruption, they have fully witnessed the hell brought upon Nigeria due to its procurement of odious IMF loans. More big loans are the unmistakable evidence of more corruption to flow in Nigeria. Nigerians feel it.
Fifthly, the GON and its agencies have come to rely very strongly on “public relations without action” on the basis that all Nigerians are gullible. Are public relations and blamocracy all the current GON can offer? Nigerians want real action they will secure their present and future destinies. Nigerians are intelligent to understand the conditions they live under, when their lot of life improves and when they are let down, if not immediately shortly after. Nigerians cannot be fooled perpetually, if at all in many instances.
Is finding and seizing money in big batches truly anti-corruption? It’s a bit like saying the best way to prevent and manage HIV / AIDS is the success of detecting it in the bloodstream of a person. Identification is not the solution to corruption.
These preceding facts are all hallmarks of a seriously flawed and failed anti-corruption campaign. They also show why the GON and EFCC has a strong incentive to stage-manage large “cash discoveries and seizures.” Nigerians need real anti-corruption, that is why they elected the current GON to office.