Weep, Fellow Countrymen

DASUKI-ILLUSTRATION-19-12-15-copyI AM prepared to wager that no Nigerian would be prepared to confess, in public or the privacy of his home, that he does not find Dasukigate shocking. All of us do. None of us was prepared for the unsightliness of what is flowing out of the newly opened sluice gates in a nation hostage to its many sluice gates. Col. Sambo Dasuki’s ‘confessions’ so far could still be the tip of the iceberg. The big masquerades are yet to make an appearance in the market square. It is painful that once more the world celebrates Nigeria for its consumptious corruption. It could not be sadder for a country struggling to walk with the other nations along the narrow path of moral rectitude. Other nations find our nation’s smell repellent. I can’t blame them.

This latest overwhelming evidence of perfidy in high places befuddles the mind. Our reactions to it are confined to the traditional manner – an outpouring of outrage and disappointment. When evil surfaces on the placid waters of a nation that delights in living a lie it throws up a mini tsunami. We thought we were being properly governed by men who cared for the verdict of history; we thought our welfare was being properly taken care of by men who cared more for the future of the country than the servicing of their own greed and venality at public expense. We were deceived, apparently.

While state governments could not pay the salaries of their civil servants; and while primary school teachers in most of the 36 states were on strike for most of the year because they could not be paid; and while the nation could not fix its energy problems or its roads or even respond determinedly to its cocktail of security challenges, few men were living in the laps of luxury, mocking us

While state governments could not pay the salaries of their civil servants; and while primary school teachers in most of the 36 states were on strike for most of the year because they could not be paid; and while the nation could not fix its energy problems or its roads or even respond determinedly to its cocktail of security challenges, few men were living in the laps of luxury, mocking us. No one reckons with millionaires any more. The new big league for the big boys is the billionaire club. Only the smart men and women make it. No work, no sweat; just connection or luck or both.

The quantity of ink poured on the condemnation of those smart men who made themselves wealthier and our nation poorer fiscally and morally points to one inescapable fact: we still have tears to shed for our beloved but cynically raped nation. That may not be an exact definition of patriotism, a la Nigeria, but it shows we still have the good heart to spare some pity for our nation. It counts for something.

Yet, despite the shock, the outrage and the disappointment that greeted this latest evidence of the power of the big men and its criminal misuse thereof by them, I am prepared to argue that there is nothing particularly new about Dasukigate. It is the way Nigeria has been governed, at least, since the five majors put a bloody end to the First Republic. Those who believe in quartering the former national security adviser and the disburser-in-chief of largess in the Jonathan Administration, would do well to remember that Dasukigate is merely an old face of corruption renewed.

The scale and the degree of Dasukigate are clearly larger than what had happened before, but this is only a matter of degree, not its newness. Perhaps, what is new is that no administrations before that of President Goodluck Jonathan had been this generous in dashing money to all those who knocked at the door and asked. Those men wisely followed the biblical advice: ask and thou shalt receive.

One, how to curb the immense power of the President and the state governors over public funds. Who polices what they do with public funds? Our financial regulations and practices are in the dustbin. No president or governor feels bound by them. So, in defiance of the law, they spend not money appropriated by the legislature

Perhaps, the administrations before Jonathan’s gave less because they had less to give. His gave more because it had more to give. I am not aware that we have ever frowned at the generosity of presidents, governors, minister, commissioners and even local government chairmen who dash people money. We live off them because in a perverse way, we think we are entitled to a portion of what they steal from the public coffers. We have never prayed for men and women with araldite hands in public offices. We welcome those who chop and remember to help others chop too. If all Nigerians were to be dragged before Okija shrine to swear to not having received a dash from their state governors or ministers from their states, I am sure our country would instantly lose the claim to being the most populous country in Africa.

The generous dishing out of public funds to lucky men and women who are either in the corridors of power or have well-heeled friends and benefactors in the corridors of power throws a new light on the many faces of corruption and corrupt practices in our country. I am not sure it throws up new challenges in the generally scrappy record of the war against corruption. However, I am sure it points to this: this nation is at the mercy of big men who, because of their exalted positions, do not feel bound by the elementary practices of decency and honesty. Where greed and venality are the rule, it seems patently foolish to make virtue an exception.

When the shock and the disappointment and the anger wear down, we would confront these sticky points:

One, how to curb the immense power of the President and the state governors over public funds. Who polices what they do with public funds? Our financial regulations and practices are in the dustbin. No president or governor feels bound by them. So, in defiance of the law, they spend not money appropriated by the legislature.

Two, the President and the governors being the custodians of our national wealth, claim the divine right of rulership to do with public funds as they deem fit. However, they waste our common wealth is merely in the exercise of their prerogatives of power and in the public interest, of course.

Three, how much of the $2.1 billion and the $322 million, the latter from the Abacha loot, remains in the coffers of the NSA? Did he spend it all?

This might feel like pouring cold waters on our hopes but the past tells me that like all national scandals before it, Dasukigate too would eventually blow in the wind. Incompetent prosecution by EFCC would botch its prosecution of the alleged offenders; crooked judges and crooked lawyers would take their cut of the loot and make the laws serve the looters rather than the nation. Still, it is good to know that Jonathan was a generous President and perhaps the biggest the maker of billionaires and millionaires in the country so far. It makes you want to root for another president who wore no shoes as a boy.

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5 Comments
  • KWOY

    1.So, how do you know the Jonathan administration was the biggest in scale? If you were so sure, then this revelation won’t be a revelation & a surprise to you. Everyone knows that whoever became a LG chaitman in Nigeria NEVER became poor again. We all heard how much Fashola designed a website with, & how much he drilled a borehole with. 2. The difference this time is only that Buhari is blowing the whistle (which he was motivated to do in other to hunt down Dasuki who arrested him & Dokpesi whose AIT ran commentaries on him). Or otherwise every other succeeding regime had carried on. Buhari had himself earlier on declared a willingness to let the past be past. He was only forced by a crashed oil price & associated crunch & a need to offer excuse & simultaneously hunt enemies. 3. Or otherwise let’s open everybody’s files. Why was the Report of the Elumelu House Committee that probe Obasanjo’s privatization killed? The NASS committee that probed the privatization process described it as heart shocking & rending. Why should Buhari stop his probe in 2007? What about Harlibuton? What are the shady deals surrounding oil block allocation? Has Babangida’s $12b gulf war windfall been accounted for? What are the sources of Atiku’s wealth? How much did Abdusslami loot? 4. It is even instructive that Jonathan’s corruption mostly occured only on his fight for a 2nd term!

  • Dan Agbese, what is the solution to all you have highlighted? True federal Nigeria will cure corruption. Because you don’t have to spend other peoples money. Help us to push owners of Nigeria to do away with the unitary system in place. It is the source and mother of corruption inherent in the system.

  • Ikorodua

    Yes, we all must ‘WEEP’ real WEEP for this amgalmation called nigeria. We must start by weeping for the obvious, the starck reality, and conspicuous. We must wail that OBJ who came to power with a mere N 200.000 left office to become one of the richest men on earth . We must WEEP for this amalgamation, where OBJ can rat rush the country, educating us wiith the morality of working assidiously hard to make a decent living. WE MUST ALL WEEP, including mr. Agbese. The more we try to cover-up for OBJ, TIFNUBU, FASHOLA by writing a piece that project their looting as nothing compared to other TIFING, then we must WEEP for such writers , advocating for a new threashold of acceptable TIFING(looting).. Then, if this is so, there must be a national debate on an agreed and accepted barometer of stealing public funds. Honestly, I think that it’s disingenuous for some people including mr. agbase to define what should be overlooked/accepted as looting through his distorted optics: it’s personal, so not necessarily right in all its ramifications.(one man’s meat is another’s poison)
    One important variable about the present charade of ‘FIGHT against ”kworopsion’ is that CORRUPTION HAS NO EXPIRY DATE. Corruption is EVIL :- a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, it’s similar to GENOCIDE AGAINST HUMANITY . Perpetrators of 2nd WW genocide (1945) are still being hunted down and severely punished. The fight against Corruption in nigeria should not be any different

  • Damilola

    Hopeless writer, I wonder who writes or claim intelligence with unsubstantiated allegation/assumption/ rumour. Did you by any chance come across any of their statements? Or heard directly from them? Till now Bode George had not been arrested, remember? The man said Yuguda could never say such statement credited to him cos such things never happened and went on to explain what transpired. Concluding the alleged statement was a figment of the tot of the “EFCC media source” meant to “media destroy and judge” the suspects. In fact no single record on corruption radar rates this past administration most corrupt than her predecessors. Anyone in doubt should Google Nigeria’s place on the ladder during OBJ regime and GEJ’S. Nigeria was 2 steps beta off on the ladder compared to that of OBJ. Abacha under which Mr. Body Language served was recorded 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the whole world btw 1996-1998. Increasing advent of Social media and GEJ’s bid for second term just made everything under GEJ seems outrageous. I still insist until those revelations are made in the court of law and argued, or the statements credited to Dasuki and Co are published for us to see, I don’t believe “an EFCC source”.

    If we should start counting, who among these animals in human flesh holding public offices would stand untarnished? Including the Buhari himself.

  • amador kester

    Thoughtful piece. And i strongly belief that if you won a mega contract tomorrow you will not come up with another article promptly titled: a wonderful and transparent nation of sociopolitical sagacity! !

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