Corruption : Wither the Nigerian State – Matters Arising


By Vincent Obioha

Dear Mr President,
I greet you and commend you greatly for your drive in cleansing the NIGERIAN STATE so as to create a fresh start for the people. We must agree that you need support to achieve this lofty objective. However, where and how you get this support may give direction to your plan towards achieving success. As you gather momentum, you must gather strength and support . David Cameron has pledged his support . We all know the much talked about gaffe in his remark to the Queen was very unfair. Thank God, the Archbishop of Canterbury created a balance for the rhetoric. Our concern here is to draw attention to the word ‘Fantastic’. This appears to be an allusion to how the Judiciary is being used to witch-hunt and persecute the Senate President solely for the purpose of taking control of the National Assembly (NASS).

That is the game going on and it is what British intelligence has described to Cameron as ‘fantastically corrupt’. They noticed how the Senate President has used a team of brilliant top ranking experts on advocacy and law to plead his case in the courts against this gross abuse of due and constitutional processes aimed at removing him from office. The Judiciary is the last bastion of hope for all . The process used to deliver justice must be thoroughly transparent without an iota of doubt or cause for appeal at any instance. This present Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal is bedeviled with too many anomalies. It has been faulted by eminent jurists as constitutionally inadequate and unable to deliver on the fundamental objective for which it has been set up.

The Tribunal is not qualified to try criminal matters and one of the men sitting on its judgement is under indictment for bribery and corruption by one of the anti-graft agencies. Why on earth should that same body be trying the president of the Nigerian Senate? Up till now, the jurisdiction of that tribunal to superintend over criminal cases is still dubious. That is another reason to describe our country as ‘fantastically corrupt’. Please halt that process and let Asiwaju Tinubu and other disgruntled elements within your party who have been sidelined sheath their swords and save you further embarrassment internationally. The laws of the land are clear . If Saraki is to be indicted let it be through a transparent judicial process and not a kangaroo process that spells doom for your government. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands, Lord Denin proclaimed . You cannot start a legality with an illegality .

Mr President , You are not alone in this vision to purge Nigeria and create a new political order, national orientation towards steadfastness. uprightness, transparency , tenacity and truth in the administration of government business . This vision is not unique to you and neither can you do it alone . The concert of actors in this Herculean task need to be in tandem with your blessed vision. You have been consistent with this purge syndrome since your first attempt in 1983. The actors that brought your government down then are still very much around and visible today. Their agents are in government today. They include a man like Nasir El Rufai, and his cohorts that feel threatened by Bukola Saraki.

Saraki who they are afraid of remains unperturbed. He is a man of tremendous courage. He has the vision to propagate your ideals and he will perfectly complement your determination to see your programme through this time. Your association with the former Governor of Kwara State is made in heaven. Please, let no man attempt to put it asunder. Ambition, sheer jealousy, corruption and hypocrisy have created delusions in the minds of today’s power mongers in our country. Mr President, they are the ones working hard to bring down the President of the Senate in order to derail your vision of a new beginning which is evidently being supported by the Chairman of the National Assembly. If he is allowed to fall, Mr. President, you will be the next victim.

The implication of this viewpoint is obvious one: if that which is appreciated by everybody as progress is in fact only an illusion of progress and the reality is obvious corruption of due process. then the very fact of this camouflage is what is now known as ‘fantastic corruption’. It prevents the detection of the real nature of corruption and encourages its perpetuation.

Our Commander in chief sir, corruption is not only the opposite of progress in the sense that the majority of the philosophers of the enlightenment understood it. It is sometimes often disguised as progress.

Had history not been navigated by a series of unpredictable and unnecessary disasters, the state of affairs in Nigeria could have been different , perhaps less corrupt. Our first expression of regret over Nigeria’s history that has gone so very wrong are ultimately a critique of nature, natural occurrences and events surrounding Nigeria’s creation rather than ordination by God. This is what you seek to correct and quite rightly too .Another and very important point about the notion of corruption is that it demonstrates itself as dis- orientation . It has drawn Nigeria back, very far back. Your support and victory at the polls was on the back drop of the trust that you will work arduously to eradicate corruption. Your perpetuation into office and victory at the polls was guaranteed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at least that is the rumour David Cameron also has heard from his agents in Nigeria and the American Foreign Secretary John Kerry who visited you twice before your victory .

Now, that is a ‘fantastically corrupt’ individual. Though, never convicted, he is widely believed to be so. Therein lies the illusion of corruption and progress and we must divorce our use of it as a process to achieve objectives where possible, such as the ongoing trial of your Senate President. It must be halted for it is delusional, anti progress and spells doom for your pursuit of national re orientation. Corruption is not simply a transformation from good to evil, but it is in a way always a departure from the pure and unspoiled origin, and this departure always manifest itself as splitting up or falling apart. Let is not be so with this God-sent composition of the executive, legislature and about to be reformed judiciary. This last arm of government and bastion of hope for the common man should be reformed. The confidence of the reform group headed by your Vice President who is by all standards an extremely brilliant assistant, is manifest. I digress to submit that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a very wise choice ordained by the invocation of spiritual intervention to serve you .

The fight against Corruption is an extremely important idea for Nigeria to overcome than has been recognized: a dangerous state of nature can result from corruption of the people and corruption of the legal processes. Widely and often used is this ‘cognitive’ conception of corruption known to great political thinkers and philosophers as the distortion of mental processes, by faulty reasoning or improper attitudes. Corruption means that citizens think they benefit from sedition, a combination of politically motivated advise with self- interested rhetoric rather than impartial logic, witnesses lie and judges settle cases by bribes or pity. Although corruption is often thought to involve the pursuit of private gain, I talk here about corruption in terms of misjudged private gain, where an individual is motivated by his apparent, short-tem self-interest, rather than his real, long- term self- interest.
If Saraki is left to lead the Senate it is obvious Nigeria will benefit more than this temporary quest to bring him down . It is his innate ability that propelled him to that seat, inspired by his ambition which is made of sterner stuff. For this and many other reasons, Mr President, corruption can lead to a state of confusion as with the ongoing travails of the Senate President .

Nigeria needs a fresh start and whatever laws we want to use to bring Saraki down will have to be used to bring past leaders to book and the current members of the executive arm cannot be exonerated . MKO Abiola on his Presidential debate against Alhaji Bashir Tofa was asked if he would probe Babangida’s Government and his response was how can you probe a man using his own laws. Witch-hunting is archaic, a very negative method of settling political battles and an extremely crude and primitive method of striking back with its corrupt methods at play .

Mr President today you are seen by many as only laundering your image as insinuated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Nigeria is in the eye of the storm and you are bound by the doctrine of collectively responsibility and so should resign on account of Saraki being persecuted if it is allowed. If you are not the one persecuting him, then who is and why? It is treasonable for the Senate President’s removal to be initiated by an individual as is being claimed by the Saraki team and as he voiced out in his recent appeal for sanity. If because he rejected a Muslim /Muslim ticket which is of national interest and significant to the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s path to success, he stepped on toes it seems clear that the control of the nation is vulnerable to private individuals wielding political power and finance as tools. This is totally unacceptable, Mr President. Please, halt the trial of the Senate President

Mr President, pay no attention to the whims and caprices of a frenzied glorified party leadership. Their duty to get you into office is done and they need not interfere.

The state is presently looking like an Augean stable and the senate president has shown the path to a fresh start, new way of getting things done properly with the process he and his distinguished colleagues have handled the budget proposals, the budget ratification, leading to the Presidential assent. The cohesive nature must be replicated in many other legislative duties and evidently observers have noticed this in the type of bills being initiated. The common good is the objective of this 8th assembly and the Chairman is the author of this vision, so he must be spared. He must be allowed to lead as his vision is in consonance with the growing trend in world affairs . He represents the generational influence needed by the executive and the people, so that policies are no longer too distant from the promise of change which was the mantra of the mandate giving to you. Unlike previous democratic governments, the executive and legislature are in tandem. This must be encouraged. For the first time, the assent has been given and from inception to fruition no ‘Ghana must go ‘ has been ferried from Aso rock villa to the National Assembly to support the eagerness to approve your budget proposals .

Alhamdudilahi, corruption is ‘fantastically’ being eradicated. We need to strengthen the institutions of government and create good precedents so that when this crop of leaders leave office, history will recall their efforts at creating a lasting legacy to emulate .

Mr President, pay no attention to the whims and caprices of a frenzied glorified party leadership . Their duty to get you into office is done and they need not interfere in governance. We will see them in four years time if they are needed. To bring politicking into administration of government or to use government institutions such as the judiciary to witch-hunt political foes is archaic in modern times like this. Its visibility to the layman make it a ‘fantastically corrupt’ process to be adopted. If the CCT exonerated Tinubu and some others, Saraki’s case must be halted and CCB reconstituted. If the CCB is under the office of the Secretary to the Federal government and or under full control by the attorney general then it is morally not fit to try the No 3 man. It should just update the records of his assets and make recommendations if there is a constitutional breach or criminal element . The kangaroo charade and embarrassment going on because they want his resignation is a fallacy. His refusal to resign is for the same reason because he is being witch-hunted so it’s a catch 22. Why drag the exalted office Into all these?

Sir , to remain aloof and stand offish in this matter is to put all at risk, including your exalted office. The danger of using government institutions in a corrupt manner is unacceptable . It failed Babangida even in a totalitarian government. It failed Obasanjo in his third term bid. It also failed Goodluck Jonathan. You will not fail, Insha Allah. So, please halt Tinubu, El Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu and all Saraki’s enemies. If they want to hang him, let them use constitutional means .

The present Chairman of the CCT, Mr Danladi Umar is not recognised as a member a judge and member of the judiciary. He is under indictment and investigation by the EFCC for demanding bribe of N10,000,000 (Ten million naira only). Mr President, I beg your pardon, sir, but is this an affront, a travesty of justice and breach of the law for him to be determining a matter in which the Chairman of the National Assembly is involved? He has no locus standi to hear the matter. If you decide not to listen to this appeal on behalf of your self and the nation, at least listen to the communique released by Justice Oguntade and other eminent jurists at the just concluded summit at the Ben Nwabueze Centre on the ongoing travails of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki .

Today, we are being watched as we put our house in order. Let no man utter a word against you as being seen or made to look when fantastically corrupt methods are adopted in dispensing justice. That is a violation of the terms of the oath of office you swore to on May 29 2015 as you were sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Long live President Mohammadu Buhari long live the Federal republic

Obioha is a research associate in political Science and strategic studies in Houston Texas