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Before President Muhammadu Buhari came on board in 2015, the resolve of an average Nigerian like me was that for the first time since the return of democracy in 1999; Nigerians would have a president who would not toil with corruption or any corrupt official around him. So massively, Nigerians rallied around Mr. President and gave him the mandate. It was clearly sure then before he came on board that Nigeria was faced with so many problems; however, two particularly were begging for attention at the time. First is the issue of security. It was at the time when Boko Haram was having a filled day in the Northern part of the country and over 270 secondary school girls had been kidnaped in a town called Chibok in Borno State. 195 of those girls as at the time of putting this piece together are yet to be rescued.
Second is the issue of corruption, which has made Nigeria a laughing stock in the international community. Corruption has been so much entrenched within the fabrics of Nigeria that it took the former British Prime Minister, David Cameron to issue a statement such as “Nigeria is fantastically corrupt” before the Queen and the then Arch. Bishop of England. It was glaring that Nigerians were tired with those two ills bedevilling the nation, amongst many others that time may not permit me to go into for now.
Fast forward into 2017, almost two years since President Muhammadu took charge of the affairs of the nation, the issue of corruption in Nigeria seems to still cover the front burners of most of our national dailies. First is the fact that the EFCC had not been able to get a single conviction in court about people who had been alleged to have stolen billions of naira and millions of dollars and pound sterling’s in the previous administration. From Sambo Dasuki and all those that were associated with it, even to the current revelations of millions of monies been discovered almost daily through the whistle blowing policy of the Federal government; some of the perpetrators involved in the dastardly corrupt acts still works free today. It is either the EFCC is not doing a very good job in getting these looters to be prosecuted in court, or that the corrupt cabals in the country operate within the loopholes in our system to get away with their crimes.
Even more painful is the fact that within the current administration of the President that wants to fight corruption, corruption is having its filled day. The recent suspension of the SGF Babachir Lawal over the grass cutting issue is a good one, but it is surprising that it took the President this long before he could summon the courage to suspend the man. Was the president trying to shield the man in the first place or is it reasonable to assume that the President just had reasons to suspend him now? It is because of Mr. President’s ‘unresponsive’ body language about the people that have been accused of corruption in his cabinet that made Senator Shehu Sanni to utter statement like “when it comes to fighting corruption outside of the presidency, Mr. President sprinkles insecticides, and when it comes to the same issue within the Presidency, Mr. President sprinkles deodorant”.
What about other key people in this current administration that had been accused of one corrupt act or the other, what is Mr. President doing about them? When are they going to be suspended as well? I believe the president still has a long way to go in the issue of fighting corruption because truth be told; this is why many Nigerians gave him the mandate in the first place. The suspension of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Olusola Oke is timely, and Nigerians wants more of this from the President. More efforts also should be geared towards the EFCC getting convictions in court. If the fight continues to suffer defeat in our courts, then it means we are yet to begin to fight this fight as we ought to. Enough of these epileptic corruption fight, the President and the Presidency’s resolve to really fight this war must be seen and be evidenced to all Nigerians.
Just as this administration is winning the battle against Boko Haram and it is evidenced even across the world that we are doing so, the war against corruption also must be taking seriously. I rest my case for now.