By Dr. Ignatius Odianosen Okosun (PhD).
Periodically, some interesting words get into our lexicon, and we start wondering about its entomology. Kleptocracy is simply government of thieves or essentially a nation being ruled by thieves. Officially, it is a derivative “from Greek: κλέπτης – kleptēs, “thief” and “is a term applied to a government seen as having a particularly severe and systemic problem with officials or a ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats) taking advantage of corruption to extend their personal wealth and political power.
The history of Nigeria is chockfull with corruption and counter-allegations of corruption before and after independence. It is the height of hypocrisy for any Nigerian to be sanctimonious about their crusade against corruption. Marcus Tullius Cicero believed the greatest incitement to crime is the hope of escaping punishment.Corruption as an institution and a hydra- headed vampiric monster glories in the gory of its recidivistic propensities. Whosoever declares war against this metastatic malady must be prepared for death, martyrdom or outright consignment to the dunghill of history because corruption will fight back with Tyrannosaurus viciousness.
It beggars belief that corruption and its psychotic practitioners are now hiding under the canopy of the rule of law, democracy, human rights and freedom to avoid authentic justice, thereby strangulating and asphyxiating the jugular of the fight against corruption. According to Augustus Caesar “In times of war the laws are silent” (inter arma silent leges). We cannot fight corruption and deracinate it hook, line and sinker from Nigeria with all these legal acrobatics and Machiavellian manipulations.
Frankly democracy thrives under the rule of law, freedom, rights, liberty and constitutional niceties. But, the Doctrine of Necessity must be discretionarily invoked to enable us move forward in this sanguinary woeful fight against corruption.In his prediction before, the French revolution Yves S.T Joust posited that “soon, enlightened nations will put on trial those who had hitherto ruled over them, kings shall flee into the
deserts, into the company of the wild beasts whom they resemble, and nature shall resume her rights” some Nigerians have counseled President Mohamadu Buhari to adopt the Parento’s Principles in governance, which stipulates that 20% of Governance time be dedicated to the past.
Those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes. We remember the admonitions of Chukwuma Kaduna Nzogwu in his speech during the 1966 coup, he said “our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10%; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as Ministers or VIP’s at least, the tribalist, nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds”. We must make sacrifices by joining the bandwagon against corruption in Nigeria.
Those who fight corruption also have to fight the aggressiveness and the impunity of the corrupt. Their weapons include manipulation of the judicial system, shameless deployment of primordial regional, ethnic and religious sentiments, as well as trying to reduce the issue of corruption and economic sabotage through splendiferous political dramaturge to a superfluity of political nothingness.According to the essayist Herbert Spencer, every unpunished delinquency has a family of delinquencies, furtherreinforced by Publillus Syrus that “you yourself are guilty of a crime when you do not punish crime” and substantiated by Napoleon Bonaparte that “the contagion of crime is like that of the plague”
Quoting the former American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy “let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet every hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and the success of liberty” . We must note the words of John Adams (1735-1826) that “the die was now cast, I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination
Furthermore, it is frequently said that one who pursues equity and justice must approach it with clean hands. Of all the stories of the treasury looting in Nigeria, one of the most striking and really disturbing is the open revelation by suspects of their roles in re-looting the loot of Late General Sani Abacha. Given the way and manner the past governments went after the Late General Sani Abacha loot since 1999, Nigerians were almost left with the impression that it was the Abachas that were the only treasury looters in Nigeria.
The late Mr. Dieprieye Alamieseigha (former governor of Bayelsa state) jumped bail in the United Kingdom for currency trafficking. He dressed like a woman, arrived in Nigeria but was not only pardoned for treasury looting, but was given national honours by the government of former president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. But former Delta State Governor, James Onanefe Ibori was not as lucky as his compatriots. He was trailed from Oghara in Delta state his birth place, through Lagos, Cotonou, Dubai and finally London where he is currently serving his jail sentence from a five count charges. The Jonathan administration supplied all information needed for his trial in London. Like the Abachas, Ibori’s loot were traced, tracked and repatriated.
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the Emeritus Chairman of Daar Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, claimed that they got approvals for all their loot related projects. But the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was said to have stumbled on fresh clues that some recovered funds from the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha’s family members might have been illegally diverted for the purported “arms purchase” with just verbal approvals.
A former Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Mr. Shuaibu Salisu, admitted that $47million was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in eleven (11) suit cases. He equally confessed he suspected that the cash might have been divertedinto the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) campaign.The prying eyes of the EFCC also discovered that N10billion was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections. The payment of the N10billion was said to have been authenticated by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has said she transferred $322 million from the Abacha loot to Dasuki, following instruction from former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The arrest and grilling of former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, General Sambo Dasuki by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security operatives have opened can of worms in the Jonathan government as the new administration continue to probe the over $2bn arms fund allegedly looted by henchmen and acolytes of the immediate past government of President Goodluck Jonathan.With the melodrama around the embattled former NSA and the daily revelation of how money meant for the combating of terrorism in North Eastern Nigeria was mindlessly looted by people who were saddled with the responsibility of combating terror, many Nigerians remain stupefied as to how wicked, satanic and inhuman the perpetrators of this financial crimes could be.
It is extremely disheartening that a government that claimed it had no money to prosecute war on terror all through their six years hold on power, which compelled the nation via an approval by the National Assembly to borrow $1bn could share among themselves most of the borrowed money. With the arrest of a former Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Shaibu Salisu who was said to have spilled the beans following weeks and months of Dasuki’s refusal to open up made the coast clear for heart-rending revelations of the looting of Nigerians’ fortunes by the cabal. Mr. Salisu was said to have made some implicating statements that compelled Dasuki to eat the humble pie and face reality before him and stop the court rigmarole and feigning of ill health.
But more worrisome is the activities of the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chef Olisa Metuh who was quick at casting aspersions on the Federal Government using all sorts of trench language. Olisa Metuh shamelessly sees everything through prism of politics. When Dasuki and Salisu were arrested, Olisa Metuh said it was a witch-hunt of PDP elements in the country. After their merry go round with security operatives and then came the arrest of Former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Chairman Emeritus of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi and former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa by operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Their arrest followed an interim panel report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on probe of arms purchase during the last administration. The report indicated that over $2 billion might have been siphoned. When some Nigerian soldiers ran away from the battle front because the government at that time did not provide the needed military equipment, arms and ammunition for them to prosecute the war against insurgency in the north, the same Dasuki and his lieutenants in the military decided to arrest and detain several military officers for “dereliction” and dissertations. They were sentenced to death through the military cargaroon court to divert attention from this heinous crime of corrupt political elites. This is the saddest angle to their evil-mindedness.
According to a statement by the management of DAAR Communications Plc, Dokpesi said the funds he received from Dasuki was meant for the “publicity and media political campaigns during the 2015 General Elections.” Since when has the office of the National Security Adviser be the office that disburses the campaign funds for a political parties? How can the money meant to fight terrorism in North East Nigeria and combat other security issues find its way into the hands of these greedy political looters.
Former Sokoto state governor, Attahiru Bafarawa while admitting that he received N4.6 billion from embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki claimed the money he collected was for “spiritual purposes,” probably he wanted to cleanse these political greedy prostitutes from their crimes against humanity.
Other revelation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC revealed former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bode George, received the sum of N100m each from the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, rtd. A source from the anti-graft agency revealed that the N200m given to the two politicians was from the fund meant to procure arms that will better reposition the military in its fight against he Boko Haram insurgency.
The Boko Haram (Wilāyat Gharb Ifrīqīyyah) insurgence has displaced about 2.3 million people since May 2013, at least 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger. The group according to official figures killed over 6,600 in 2014 including mass abductions and kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno state. The Federal Government of Nigeria obtained a $2.1 billion credit from the World Bank to rebuild the North-East zone devastated by the jihadist group which has claimed over 20,000 souls.
The N200m pocketed by the two politicians was for the re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who lost the presidential election held on March 28, 2015. More revelations thumbed in, exposed how more political stalwarts shared the $2billion and we also expect them to tell Nigerians why they collected such huge sums of money. It is, however, gratifying to note that the EFCC and all security agencies are on top of the scandal, they should be very professional and thorough in the discharge of their duties. They should ensure that all monies looted by the suspects are traced, tracked and retrieved for development of the country.
The setting up of a National Truth Commission as a more holistic way to tackle the mind-boggling corruption that has destroyed Nigeria is of paramount importance at this phase in our national history. The National Truth Commission if constituted would set a timeframe for all those who looted the nation’s treasury to return all what they looted. All those who comply within the timeline would be pardoned and advised to go and sin no more.
At the expiration of the deadline (four months timeframe) all those who fail to return their loot should then be traced, tracked and made to face the full weight of the law irrespective of their position, status, political or ethnic affiliation. They should be made on final conviction to forfeit all their loot and proceeds of their criminal acts to deter future political leaders from corruption.
Dr. Ignatius Okosun is a researcher, prolific writer on various national/global issues and social commentator.
From Toronto-Canada. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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