By Kayode Oladeji
NB: On Monday, 22nd June, 2020, I wrote this piece. Shortly after, the bubble burst, especially with the mind-boggling revelations coming out since the arrest of Magu. I had planned uploading another article for the week but a friend strongly advised I repeat this. So do forgive my repetition.
Nigeria is a country where there is water everywhere, and yet none for its citizens to drink (apologies to Samuel Coleridge in his “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”) Ours is a nation suffering and writhing in excruciating pains for lack and want in the midst of plenty. Too sad to imagine.
For whatever reason, Nigeria and its people, do not have any reason whatsoever to be poor. Regrettably, that Nigeria and Nigerians are poor, is the hard reality. Corruption, among other free-falling reasons, has been the main bane, necessitating the squalid life which millions of Nigerians now live.
Our caretakers, entrusted with powers, have senselessly been plundering and pilfering our resources. It has been the characteristic of every successive administration in Nigeria. No difference. They have all turned out to be just the two sides of the same coin. The pristine carriage and candour of our heroes past, have long been interred in the dungeon of history.
EFCC, an anti-graft body engineered by the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo, came to correct this cancerous anomaly. Some of those caught in the web of corruption during the era of Obasanjo, are still standing trial up till today!
Sadly, activities of the anti-graft agency seems to be shrouded in secrecy (if not mystery, altogether) as Nigerians are not adequately carried along and informed about the actual monies and properties recovered. Safe probably for the the top echelon of the EFCC and few people in the government, nobody can say the actual amount of money and properties so far recovered and where they are.
In a report published by The Nation newspaper on Friday, December 6, 2019, EFCC was said to have recovered a staggering sum of N939.51 Billion in the first four years (2015- Aug 2019) of President Muhammad Buhari.
So, between year 2000-2019, the EFCC was said to have recovered N1.28 trillion and out of this, was the N939.51billion made by Buhari in four years while 407 Mansions were seized and of which, 126 were forfeited to the Federal Government.
Please, where are these recoveries? Or, is it the case of Ole gbe, Ole gba (Thief snatch am and another thief collect am) as the Yoruba would say? Some critically minded Nigerians are of this opinion.
Apprising Nigerians regularly about how much has been recovered and where is what, about our commonwealth and patrimony, will go a long way in quelling the thirst for agitation. Worse still, the government continues to acquire loans without sufficiently carrying the people along. Without any iota of doubt, our allocation of values is faulty.
With the way our government has continued to acquire loans from all angles, my elementary economics seems to have failed me as I can no longer properly situate the corresponding impact of the loans on the populace, especially the common man on the street. As of now, Nigeria is in debt throes said to be running into about thirty trillions. This frightening development, seems to be suffocatingly pulverising the nation out of existence. And yet, through recoveries of stolen monies, one would have thought the nation would not be needing to go on borrowing spree.Alas, that’s not the case!
I am a Nigerian, first and foremost. When things are okay, it should be applauded and when they are not, it should be thumbed down. I am not an everyday and all occasion cheerleader.
So, apart from bandying figures and sensationalizing trials, the EFCC should, from time to time, keep Nigerians abreast of the real do; how much has been recovered and where is it? The forfeited mansions, which agencies or parastatals have they been handed over to? We need to know.
Corruption is an ailment that doesn’t know the colour of political parties. So whoever is enmeshed in it, should be dealt with accordingly. It’s a blot that has made an average Nigerian, a laughing stock in everywhere around the globe. Most of our so-called leaders, carry about, what I can safely call, bombastic ego. Yes, most of them luxuriate in bad things. As a people, this has become our signature tune.
Shhhhh! Even the House saddled with the responsibility of dealing with those entangled in fraudulent activities, is currently and hotly too, festering in rankles. No wonder somebody said, ‘if you Magu me, I will Malami you’!
Above all, EFCC, let’s know where what is as regards the monies and properties so far recovered and the use they have been put to.
God save Nigeria.