By Akintokunbo Adejumo
The wealth of Nigerian politicians and civil servants shows that despite their relatively low incomes, a significant number had amassed personal wealth sometimes amounting to sums exceeding several million, both in Naira, US Dollars and Pound Sterling. We always wonder how such colossal sums could be stolen, but we now know that corruption is built into the Nigerian system, accountability is non-existent, and with a weak and corrupt judiciary, totally besmirched crime-fighting agencies, an unresponsive and irresponsible government, and, throw in, a totally befuddled and indifferent society, it is easy, at least for those who have the access, to walk into the treasury and take what they want.
We are already living in a kleptocratic society in Nigeria – run exclusively by kleptocrats! And we, the citizens, sit down as if nothing is happening, some of us taking sides because of misplaced political partisanship, religious affiliation, ethnic loyalty and a dumbfounding refusal to speak, see and accept the truth.
Challenging Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable, Rivers state governor Rotimi Amaechi said, “If you see a thief and you allow him to be stealing, what have you done? You have stoned nobody; that is why we are stealing. Who have you stoned? They came out and started dancing oil subsidy, oil subsidy. They told you that they stole N2.3trn, what did you do? “Instead you are protesting ‘bring more oil subsidy’; the oil subsidy that is not reaching the poor. A few individuals are going away with the money and you have done nothing. You are mourning Madiba, who lived up to 95, and he was very angry with Nigeria when he died. You’ve heard that $50bn is missing and you have done nothing about it. In some countries people will go on the street until they return that money. It is N8trn, it can change Nigeria.”
Nigerians have managed to turn democracy on its head and turned to “demo-crazy”. Other nations use the court to fight corruption and recover stolen national wealth; but we use the court to retain and promote corruption. When will someone or some people sensible in the polity stop this display of impunity being brought upon us? The oil minister had the audacity to approach the court to obtain an injunction to stop citizens’ representatives from questioning her on issues relating to bad governance and, adding ‘salt to injury’ the court granted such injunction? Who is going to save this country? Should we expect the heavily compromised labour unions, heavily baggage civil liberties groups, the Nigerian Bar Association and other relevant establishments to step in?
There is a form of government called ANARCHISM (Anarchy refers to a society without a publicly enforced government, which implies political disorder or lawlessness within a society). Why don’t we just adopt that and stop living this lie called democracy?
Another flaw or problem with our politics and demo-crazy is that appointees, mostly square pegs in round holes, into governments owe allegiance ONLY to those who appointed them (President and Governors) and NOT to the service of the people whose very existence is the reason for their appointments. In fact it seems these mediocre appointees are deliberately appointed to keep oiling the machinery of corruption. These appointees not only loot the treasury to further their own political careers or businesses, but “donate” a lot of the stolen funds to fight elections for their masters.
Till 2015, the year of the General Election, most, if not all government ministries, departments and agencies of government will remain paralyzed and non-functional; while the civil servants will be loitering about looking for easy money to loot and share. And their “ogas” will be looting and forced to divert looted funds to sponsor elections.
That is what happens every time an election is near. That is why you hear billions are missing every time. Nobody to supervise and a vast amount of money are lying around waiting to be looted.
Maybe one day, we shall get out of our self-imposed slavery and oppression….but don’t fold your hand for too long…you and I. You hear? 2015 is coming. We have to do something to reverse the downward spiral. Forget the National Conference coming up with instruments of salvation. If they don’t end up in fisticuffs by the end of an exercise in futility and wastefulness, I will be surprised.
If we continue to do things the way we have been doing for the past fifty-four years, we will consistently be getting the wrong results that we deserve. It means, continue to put the wrong people in power, and we will continue to get bad and evil governments of kleptocrats. Simple! A holistic approach to Nigeria’s problems is needed not jaw-jawing and double-speak.
And what bearing does the title of this article “All loot and no work makes me a rich man” has to do with the content? None at all, but read between the lines. It is axiomatic of our predicament. Elections are coming up in 2015; use your vote to get better leaders, and hence, better lives. It is the least we can do for our children, even if it is too late for us.
Adetokunbo Adejumo is on linkedIn