By : Oyenigbehin Joshua & Sijuade Emmanuel
The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in recent time, has taken up the duty of announcing to the world the horror of corruption and the legacy of graft lesft behind the previous administration. According to him, “I have seen in government in the past three years, the corruption of the previous five years is what destroyed the Nigerian economy.” He claims that “while oil prices were at their highest and we were getting growth figures as high as 70 per cent, the majority of the people remained extremely poor.”
On several occasions such as the Colloquium in honour of All Progressive Congress Chieftain Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 66 birthday, the Vice President has not left us in doubt that corruption is the reason 42.4% of the Nigerian population live below poverty level; The reason Nigeria cannot boast of decent educational facilities, world class infrastructure, good health care, and an immaculate security system.
To insinuate that Nigeria is the potentially richest country in the world is not a mere hype or a consolatory statement, but a statement that is not just factual but actual. The aberration of poverty in Nigeria still amazes and disappoints foreigners who see opportunity like an ocean in the country. Nigerian past leaders, would no doubt be mourn the glorious Nigeria they once, live, fought, worked for and dream of in their grave. Considering what the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and other did during their short period as leaders in various capacities, we cannot but ask the question of how Nigeria got to be this crippled. We need to know who improvised Nigeria.
The connection between a poor Nigeria and a corrupt Nigeria is a glaring one, it is safe to say that Nigeria is poor because Nigeria is corrupt or Nigerians are corrupt because they are poor. The rate of corrupt in the country is gaining astronomic heights as poverty increases. Resources become scarce because some paranoid individual made it so, depriving others who are in turn motivated to also stick their hands into the national cake when they have the opportunity to do so.
The Ruling All Progressive Congress has said times without numbers that they are not to blame for the present undesirable state of the country and has instead blamed the problem of Nigeria to the 16 years of misrule, corruption and misappropriation by the People Democratic Party.
Blame games in Nigerian politics seem to be part of governance. It is natural instinct of an average Nigerian leader to be able to push the buck of the blame to his predecessor, especially those they are not politically affiliated with. Although Professor Osinbajo gave reasons why he feel compelled to emphasis the rot in Jonathan administration when he said “the reason why we would talk about it is because we must let our people know that we cannot afford to go this way again.”
Nigerians will recall that, like the All Progressive Congress and prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration blame it failure on the shortcomings of the military regimes. According to the civilian government, the Military destroyed the country. Yet the administration towed the line of corruption and ineptitude of the military regime.
The continues lament over the failure of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration by the ruling administration especially as regards alleged corruption the administration is accused of can only be likened to a man mourning the death of his father who passed on five years ago. Maybe this lamentation is justifiable, however, Nigeria don’t want to know who stolen what, all they want is for those culpable to
be brought to book and the monies stolen recovered. In other words, Nigerians don’t want a barking dog but a biting dog.
Moreover, Nigerians are tired of being teased with all the billions that is said to be stolen by few men. Nigerians know that the level of corruption in government can only be imagined, they, therefore, voted President Buhari not to be the wailer but to tackle the problem of corruption head on as he had promised.
PDP MUST BE VERY SORRY FOR BEING SORRY
After shielding itself from the pebbles of faults thrown at it for a very long time by ruling all Progressive Congress, the People Democratic party recently decided to own up to some of Its fault and that of some of its members while they were in power, a move that is unprecedented in the history of Nigerian polity. They decided to take some responsibility for their failure. This move might seem noble but apparently counterproductive. It seems like they (PDP) placed the nail on their cross and the All Progressive Congress is doing them the honour of nailing them to the cross.
This apology, obviously, vindicated the All Progressive Congress (APC) that has insisted that the PDP is in fault. Members of the APC has unanimously admonished Nigerians not to consider forgiving the party, because the party has looted the country’s treasury dry leaving the present administration with little to work with and Nigerians with poverty to deal with.
The People Democratic Party may have acknowledged that to some extent, it is guilty of alleged incompetence, corruption, and misappropriation of Nigeria’s resources. PDP is however of the view that APC is not clean, in fact the party believes that majority of those that perpetuated the series of National robbery against the country are in the APC. With the Looters lists put out by the party in response to that which the federal government publish recently, the people democratic party is challenging the ruling party to rake out the looters within it fold to prove it claims that it fight against corruption is not lopsided, vindictive or politically motivated.
The release of looters list by the Federal government has set in motion another ripple of blame game. We wonder why the government cannot just prosecute those guilty of graft instead of initiating another fruitless media battles, name calling and partisan corruption war. Nigerians are tired of arguing over which party stole more money but rather which party can deliver Nigeria out of her impoverished state.
If asked the question, who improvised Nigeria? Just as the Vice President has his theory, all Nigerians would readily list the names of those they believe brought Nigeria to her knee through the constant and continuous bleeding of her resources. The Electorates would swiftly point those at state houses and federal houses, commissioners and even local government chairmen as the real culprit. However, they fail to understand that they are as guilty as their leaders. When they sell their vote for a bowl of rice; when they knowingly vote for people they know are corrupt and incompetent (or have tendencies to be) for sentimental reasons.
Even though we know that the older generation, (which seems not to want to leave the realm of power) have failed us young people, it is high time we, young Nigerians, stop passing the blame for our predicament around. We need to use our strength to force the change we intend to see. If we could just assert the same energy and interest we channel to Television programs like Big Brother Naija to ensuring we recover our political and economic destinies, we would be surprised at what we can achieve.
Every Nigerian needs to examine his or her role in the web of poverty the country finds herself. Nigerians leaders should take responsibility for their failures and shortcoming. Enough of the blame game, enough of the political name calling. Instead of media trials, Nigerians wants to see real trials that would result to conviction for political office holders and any other people found culpable.