Corruption is here in the world to stay, and it entrenches itself in our society deeper daily. Such is our most significant contemporary reality in times of peace and not in an emergency. It is even now legal. Corruption has paved the way for unnecessary and preventable wars, unrest, pestilence, systemic failures and emergencies. Many commentators brand such occurrences as unexpected contingencies. “Things happen”, is the persuasion we must believe, as if they occur with little or no calculated intention and help. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed more corruption than is normally available to the average citizen. Backing ideologies, facilitators, and the consequences of corruption have become more visible to all. The media, criminal justice mechanisms, legislation and civil services could never offer the people such an accessible view of corruption in normal circumstances.
What is Col Sambo Dasuki doing locked up in detention indefinitely without trial at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari? What happened to court trials in Nigeria which are sending other politicians guilty of corruption to jail? Supporters of President Buhari [regardless of party affiliation] would naively (the vast majority) or insincerely (very few) have people believe that Col Dasuki’s detention is evidence of a strong anti-corruption ethos under the present government. The truth is that it is one of the most histrionic acts of corruption of the Buhari Presidency courtesy nepotism. Dasuki is in detention for his very own safety at the fawning kindness of the President. If anyone can accurately evaluate the most likely politician that would be assassinated in Nigeria on any given day of the year, it will be Dasuki by a very wide margin and it is unlikely he would survive unprotected. But why? An informant in military intelligence tells us. Continue reading
“Restructuring”; its meaning is debatable, and for many, it is about oil, resource control. Surprisingly, many see resource control as the receipt of an increased top-up percentage of “derivation” by oil-producing states from oil revenues issued by the federal government (FG) as fiscal allocations. Where is the control in receiving a token part of the revenues from resources mined under your jurisdiction? The practice of derivation no matter the percentage is not reducible to restructuring. A synonymous concept to restructuring is “federalism”, the structural devolution of power from the central government to federating units granting them autonomy within the political structure. If achieved in Nigeria, restructuring will effectively end the unitary system of government introduced by the military government since 1966. Very little is said about the “ownership” of natural resources in the mainstream Nigerian debate on restructuring. Is ownership a taboo word when it comes to oil and federalism?
There is an insightful article for those interested in governance by Taiwo Makinde titled Problems of Policy Implementation in Developing Nations: The Nigerian Experience. In the paper, the Makinde explains quite persuasively why policy implementation in Nigeria routinely fails with successive governments. He implicates, among other factors, a lack of continuity of policy implementation from a previous government to a succeeding, e.g. from Presidents Babangida to Abacha [or Jonathan to Buhari]. Ego [of the leader] is the reason he provides for this. The logic is simple; it is better for the current president to sabotage the good works of a predecessor and initiate his own that will place his mention high on the lips of posterity. It holds for all forms of organisation in Nigeria. The significant exception is President Muhammad Buhari and for strange reasons; blamocracy [and claimocracy].
It is very brazen political lying to equate the refund of stolen funds to the state with political success or successful anti-corruption. Effective correction, detection and prevention are the all-round benchmarks of successful anti-corruption for any given democracy. Only proper correction can make precise detection worthwhile, which in turn makes adequate prevention robust. The recovery of stolen is the supererogatory part of the correction and legal punishment the obligatory part. The successful prosecution and conviction of corrupt persons for corrupt practices without any recovery are also deemed successful anti-corruption. “Big theft, Big punishment” should be the motto of any serious anti-corruption government, not recovery. The recovery of stolen funds without formal legal correction is at best dysfunctional just like a car without wheels is dysfunctional. Recovery may be impressive in a backward country or to liars and the naïve but not in a civilised one or to politically aware people because there is an understanding of the impacts of “structural traumas of corruption “A political lie has started to unravel. Continue reading
The complete metamorphosis of the butterfly is a thoroughly adequate analogy for civilisation: the gradual progression from egg to slug to pupa to imago [the beautiful butterfly]. In the Nigerian context, it starts with the colonised state to the inexperienced independent nation-state to transitional nation-state to strong state. The furthest stage Nigeria ever go to was the ugly butterfly that never blossomed. However, after the initial euphoria of the return to democracy, it is now evident that Nigerian politicians and clergy are busy reversing the progress of the nation back into the stage of a slug as a consequence of their thefts and misrule; it suits them well. But does it suit the everyday citizens?
Nigeria once [for several years] had constant electricity, reliable tap water supplies, a world-class education, a modestly corrupt civil service, a postal system that could be depended upon, rape was associated with slum areas, robbery was not something that bothered people, people drove their cars to their home towns 100s of miles away by night, educated women did not have to sleep with men to get employment, kidnapping was unheard of, sexual attitudes were responsible, people were not desperate enough to be easily conned by clergymen, major politicians did not serve rice with an apron in the streets to win votes. Most of all people wanted to be something, upwardly social mobility was open access and the moral cost of doing wrong was high. And this is not a glossy nostalgia for something that never happened, we all lived it even better if one is old enough to remember.
Where has it all gone? Continue reading
Nigeria has path-dependently or even habitually allowed bad leaders and kakistocrats to enter positions of power and govern it either by means of coup d’etas or fraudulent ballots with relative ease and the resultant dissatisfaction is left to be managed by even worse leaders. The cycle of bad leader to bad leader to worse leader has thus become a solidly stable equilibrium in the nation, escaping it seems unlikely. Most Nigerians wonder endlessly how this habit can be broken or bad elections ended in order for good leaders to come into power and foster best governance possible in the society. All by itself this is a very mistaken expectation.
People when no dey happy, people when know dey look
– Fela Kuti, Overtake don Overtake