June 1st, 2015 – Sai Baba Buhari: Confronting Corruption In Nigeria
The inauguration drama is dying and already just a few days into the tenure of president Buhari, the critics are already criticizing. For every seemingly flimsy excuse, critics are finding faults in the speech of the change adherent and they had being waiting all the while to start the immediate task of un-easing the president. Perhaps more was expected of the president’s speech.
While the social media has found delight at propagating sections of the speech, expectations are increasingly high at what Nigerians should expect within the next few years. The Nigerian populace is easily swayed by sweet romanced words creatively designed to arouse minds than to express the true issues that it should portray.
Nigeria’s multi-challenges have ever increasing taken complex faces as the years go. Each government that has arrived has faced even more complex tasks than it had assumed it was meant to challenge before entering office. Often new challenges raise their heads which require so much beyond immediate capacity to tackle.
The complex issues of corruption that is the backbone of the nation’s failed system seem an up-hill that has failed to obey the crushing hands of whosoever strong and fearless leader over the years. Nigerians are benching on the fearless pose of the former general to see how he triumphantly wages this battle in the increasingly difficult terrain that corruption has helped create over the years.
The general’s phrase “I am for everybody and I for nobody” has helped create the immediate impression of “it’s not as usual” and it is sending gripping fear to especially corrupt political officials that there may be in for a different ball game. Former political appointees and office holders have being reported to have travelled abroad. However, Nigerians optimistic pose might be dashed by sections of that speech that seems to show mercy on those who have stolen this nation’s wealth prior to now.
All the calculations and miscalculations will begin to reveal themselves over the next couple of weeks though, when the true test arrives and the resolve of the president is tested by the quality of officials that will form his cabinet team. Beyond words, common Nigerians, the about 95% of the populace, want to see action and they are hoping that through that unsmiling face of this one time general is the courage to fight against those who are arch propellants of the nation’s challenging foe, corruption.
Our security personnel have being worst hit. The politicization and the subsequent monetization of the armed forces means our generals who should be plotting how to bring down ragtag militias such as Boko Haram and MEND are too fearful to give their lives in because of the billions they have stacked underneath their super-mansions. One would wonder how woefully the chief of defense staff marched on inauguration day, signs that he had being too full to even practice a marching that should be routine. Soldiers whose training involved long perseverance were seen slumping on parade, signs of being unfit, the aftermath of the failures of the monetized generals to do their job.
Buhari should have notice by now that he would have to do quite a lot of work on the military and he did mention moving the defense headquarters to the terror zone in his maiden speech, a move that had received applause in sections of the Nigerian populace and have being unpopular amongst others. He could as well move the federal government headquarters to Maiduguri till after the insurgents are defeated. Nigerians will welcome that decision with open hands and this will go a long way to show how serious the government is at tackling the insurgent group Boko Haram.
Reports have being rife of Incoming state governors especially in states where the opposition is up against the incumbent finding empty treasuries. No one knows how the money developed legs. Even Buhari finds himself at a center of a failed financial system where the federal government has to borrow to pay her civil servants while former government functionaries are roaming our cities with billions in overseas accounts and Nigerians are made to think that such men will not be interrogated? Buhari will have to rethink again.
Our society is bedeviled with core corruption that affects almost every sector of our society. We complain of corruption in our academic institutions of higher learning, and its increasingly getting worse. Our industrial sector, power sector, agricultural sector, energy sector and every sector of the society has being affected by the strong web like influence of corruption. Institutions meant to defend and protect citizens’ wealth from corrupt official are the ones who develop backdoors through which corrupt officials could break away without being caught for a little share of the pie.
Buhari has a huge task before him. He has given Nigerians a lot of hope but there is apt fear that this renewed hope and believe might be dashed once he fully sets the wheels going and he begins to face the opposition and challenge that comes with sitting in Africa’s hottest political seat.
How Buhari intends to wage this corruption war still remains in dark waters with too many gainsays roaming the media over whom and who will head the EFCC and the ICPC. It’s understood, Nigerians are already thinking that Buhari will have to strengthen corruption institutions to carry out his corruption drive.
However beyond these organizations, he will have to do a lot to change the attitudes of Nigerians towards corruption. Nigerians opted for change and they must be ready to change themselves.
Fuel scarcity continues to bite hard in a nation that supplies a good percentage of the world crude. It’s damning that Nigerian boast of refinery owners outside her borders but has failed to have sufficiency inside her. Governments over the years have paid lip service to this because they were actually the same men who owned refineries outside. Nigerians believe Buhari doesn’t own a refinery and as such must be ready to defend the nation against the strong cabal that now decides for government.
Buhari has stated that he would love to ensure freedom for all the arms of government to carry out their statutory duties. Well, it is great hearing and that’s the way it should be, however with time the president will realize that his good thoughts can and will be hampered by the bureaucracy of the men in the senate if he does not have them on guard. Here again, Buhari will have to be on alert especially as he drives for a zero tolerance to corruption. It’s not a military junta, it’s a civilian system where sometimes he would receive blows that he may not reply even if he has the capacity to.
Will four years be enough to wage this war? Is Buhari even strong enough as he is posing he is? Nigerians are watching and the opposition is praying hard that things go wrong.
We certainly need a strong no nonsense leader. If Buhari qualifies for the task, it’s only a matter of four years.
[SAMUEL UFOT EKEKERE, twitter:@naijasoars, www.facebook.com/soarnaija, www.linkedin.com/naijasoars]