One factor that is strongly linked to Nigeria’s inability to attain great heights is tardiness. We are awfully slow in virtually everything and usually barely moved by critical issues. Yes, we are that bad.
Take a look at how Nigeria conducted the itinerary of Nigerian footballers to the just concluded Olympics in Brazil and the shame that the shoddy arrangement brought on the country.
The Nigerian government made a mockery of herself in the face of the world by leaving the team stranded at the airport in Atlanta. The team had completed their training session in the city but simply could not get on a plane as no payment was made for their trip to Brazil to face Japan in their opening game of the tournament.
The boys were evidently shocked to find themselves in such an unfortunate situation and, as such, were apprehensive of missing their first match at such a global event.
But for the timely intervention of Delta Air Lines, a leading American airline, which provided a charter flight and picked the bill which, authorities said, would be defrayed later, the footballers would have completely lost out as they arrived Brazil few hours before the game with Japan.
Expectedly, many Nigerians were riled by the embarrassing situation. And not a few questioned what led to such an avoidable global ridicule. Yet there has been no answer as to why that happened.
Similarly, and like other Nigerians who are keen about the progress of their country and are seeking an end to maladministration and corrupt practices in high and low places, former Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has embarked on an audacious journey to find answers to some critical questions relevant to nation-building.
But all the institutions that are relevant to seeking answers to Jibrin’s very significant queries seem to have, at the same time, embarked on a long inertia.
Obviously Jibrin knows that he is on a highly arduous and perilous fact-finding mission particularly over the massive allegations of corruption against the Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara and three principal officers of the House. That is why he has thoughtfully and extensively expanded his scope of enquiries to reach a wide spectrum of the society. He has reached out to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), contacted the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), petitioned the Inspector General of Police and engaged the civil society amongst other critical stakeholders that could help in the fight against corruption which has been much emphasised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The parliamentarian has said that the House of Representatives is a necessary starting point in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. He has submitted that the House has the largest representations of Nigeria amongst the nation’s democratic institutions are established to serve the interest of all Nigerians.
Jibrin is quite convinced that if corruption can be tackled in the House especially in the area of budget processing it will help significantly to curb corruption in many other areas.
And he has volunteered to support the government in driving the cause given his privileged position in the House and exclusive understanding of the internal workings of the parliament.
Quite naturally, the youthful politician himself has been accused of a number of wrongs including his decision to come out against the system after having been part of the establishment.
Interestingly, Jibrin has answered the probe on his role in the activities of the institution he now describes as riddled with corruption and has declared his real intent to stand up against the system quite promptly.
“I must confess that I am a product of the establishment but I have never been comfortable and my fervent desire is always to get a way out of the logjam. Yes, I have been in the House for five years, held arguably the two most important committees simultaneously — Finance and Appropriation. I have seen the country and specifically the House from bottom to top. I stand by my position that there are monumental individual and systemic corruption in the House. I have decided to embrace a new life of activism to push for reforms and expose corruption in the House and beyond. This is my destiny and there is no going back. The establishment can decide to kick me out, I care less. I have always wanted to have such a trigger that will give me the opportunity to do this. As things continue to unveil, my confidence and conviction keep increasing that I must thread this noble path.
“At this juncture, I must confess that I am not an angel. I am imperfect and fallible, which are peculiar human traits. I therefore wish to apologize to Nigerians where I have erred in the past. I have fully repented and I will make it up for the country by staying on course, taking the personal risk to ensure that I continue to expose corruption and corrupt persons in the House and beyond,” Jibrin said.
Of course, many Nigerians were delighted when things fell apart in the House and Jibrin started feeding them with salacious details of how his colleagues, particularly the principal officers of the House, allegedly padded the national budget and treated themselves to massive chunk from the funds that were meant to serve the entire country.
Certainly, the disagreement within the House is in favour of Nigeria. And whichever way we want to look at it, Jibrin deserves some acknowledgement for having the courage to break out from the lot.
That Jibrin has been handed a one-year suspension from his legislative duties for “blowing the whistle” is enough reasons for his queries to get urgent attention which, I reckon, will embolden people like him to be steadfast on the new course to help correct the failings in our system.
And Nigeria can only be better for it.