Eminent Nigerians, Solidarities, Mr. Tafa Balogun
Monday, 25 April 2005
I am completely aghast! Aghast at the jaw dropping affections, effusive supports and encouragements currently being showered on Mr. Tafa Balogun, the former leader of Nigeria Police; Mr. Balogun has notably, received felicitations from high profile Nigerians who ought support the war on corruption, with their actions and symbolism.
My head has literally been in multiples of spins, as I watch helplessly, the presence in court and other public forums, of Obas or traditional rulers under their yellow umbrellas held by their servants, hangers on, with all the assortments, adornments and paraphernalia of royalty, besieging the courts to support “a native son”
Further, what do we make of the presence also in court and public forums, former Inspector Generals of Police who shamelessly came to court to indicate, as if pointedly, their demonstration of support for their beleaguered successor? I accept that Mr. Balogun deserves his friends and professional colleagues, who deem it fit to rally round him, at his dire hour of need and support… but why do we now have an association of eminent, titled and high profile Nigerians, the association of former inspector generals? Those who are intent on sending the wrong message to Nigerians, to the effect that Mr. Balogun is infallibly clean? How many other “subjects” and “friends” accused of stealing bicycles or goats, innocent-until-proven guilty Nigerians would receive an Oba’s solidarity in courts?
Mr. Balogun, as I have argued in the past is entitled to the benefits of all the constitutional protections and guarantees provided in the constitution of Nigeria, “Misplaced Indignations” but what is most baffling, I think, is this appearance that is being created by these churlish in-your-face public appearance by these friends-of-Balogun who have gaudily invaded public space in support of their “innocent”!
I find it so inappropriate on the part of these former inspector generals of police and the so-called royal fathers who have appeared in courts, coupled with their mouthed effusions for Mr. Balogun! It is legal to support a former colleague or friend in legal trouble, in the circumstances, Mr. Balogun’s pending trial ought, at least give cause to these eminent supporters to ponder.
All these beggar the questions whether these are really decent Nigerians citizens, just supporting and exemplifying their friendship, loyalty and solidarities with their troubled Balogun or are these, a bunch of arrogant devil-may-care indecent partners in crime?
How come they were not in the least concerned about the court of public opinion and possible opprobrious implications of their apparent ringing-endorsements of Balogun?
Are Nigerians unwilling to publicly censure and rebuke those minimizing this corruption war? Shouldn’t there be a public relations price to pay for this ghoulish show of supports
Anyone would have thought that Nigeria’s former inspector generals of police would remain in the police foundation/academy and form a welter of support for law enforcement organizations’ efforts and crime fighting in Nigeria, but instead what we are seeing or what we indeed have is the appearance nonchalance on the parts of these retired and obviously overfed former police brass, who will rather protect their cohorts, than worry about Mallam Nuhu “WMD” Ribadu’s EFCC’s effort to rid Nigeria of corruption!
Shouldn’t former inspector generals of police resolutely support law enforcement efforts regardless of whom the president is or who is in power? Why these orchestrated ostentatious drooling love for Balogun, by those who ought to be hawkish in preserving Nigeria’s laws, social order and even morality? Who undermines Nigeria?
The former police bosses who were in court, who loudly proclaimed their loyalty and support for Mr. Balogu, (instead of loyalty to) the preservation of Nigeria’s national interests and constitution, Nigeria, her laws, which they “formerly” swore to uphold, serve and protect, they now in derogation, trooped out, with placard carrying, pickets line-like, and with banner-like public appearances, jumping on top and over each other to register support for Mr. Balogun’s sweet innocence?
Sending private messages or emissaries to Mr. Balogun is one thing, but it is quite another, to have these former big wigs of Nigeria’s law enforcement machineries or apparatuses, coming out publicly, in support of Mr. Balogun, as if their errant behaviors were intended to intimidate and pressure Mallam Ribadu and his brother President Obasanjo? I really think that the behaviors of the former polices bosses were disgraceful as well as an unmitigated insults to the citizenry of Nigeria.
Royal families and retired top cops are in court to proclaim support for Mr. Balogun? It makes me wonder whether the sorts could happen, say in England, imagine, the chief of Police of London Metropolitan Police is on trial for mammoth fraud, would former police chiefs in London and retired police commissioners from Scotland Yard, rush to the courts in England to publicly proclaim their supports or endorsement for the police officer then facing trial? Would members of the royal family in England come to court in support of an errant native son accused of gargantuan fraud and thievery by the UK government?
Why couldn’t these high profile “friends of Balogun association of Nigeria” indicate their supports privately? Do Nigerians realize that the war on corruption, is so crucially important, a war, that Nigeria needs to win? It is the equivalent of or to the war on terrorism, and I am therefore simply astonished that some high profile Nigerians are engaging in the despicable acts which are the moral equivalents of say, high profile Americans forming a support group for terror suspects, as such high profile Americans also loudly indulges in proclaiming affections, effusive felicities to the terror suspects?
Nigerians ought to exact a price and impose penalty on those who corruptly enrich themselves at the expense of our great country Nigeria, and Mr. Balogun according to investigation and a 70 counts indictments, betrayed his boss President Obasanjo and simultaneously betrayed Nigeria in the process. And he is cause celebres to former IGs?
The most that Mr. Balogun and others suspected and charged with these elephant-size corrupt enrichments, deserve, is a promise of fair hearing, and assurances that they will be availed opportunities to be heard, or further, that procedural and substantive due process rules will be adhered to, and observed in their trials, as would the finest principles, ideals and tenets of the rule of law.
It is just indecent and grossly inappropriate, what these former police bosses, high profile traditional “leaders” have been doing, with their shamelessly demonstrated tasteless support for Mr. Balogun, is as if Nigerians are being informed that the former police brass are of the same cloth with Mr. Balogun, neck deep in corrupt enrichments; Perhaps if Balogun is saved through these ostentatious demonstrations of sympathies, theses supporters may escape the probing prying eyes of Mallam Nuhu “WMD” Ribadu of the EFCC? Or are the efforts of these former police hotshots, merely to prevent further diggings into their skeletons-filled cupboard/closets? The proverbial Pandora box has been opened by Mallam Ribadu, and these charlatans would nip EFCC in the bud, before EFCC’s tentacles are spread to reach more of current and former police persons steeped in corruption? We are therefore witnessing actions in enlightened self-interest perhaps? And nothing happening is necessarily about protecting Mr. Balogun at all?
Why would anyone accord Mr. Balogun all these hero treatments? Why are these high profile supports or solidarities with all its accoutrements for Balogun who invited his own fall from grace of his former boss and the grace of lovers of Nigeria? May be Nigeria should award a chieftaincy title and a national honor to Mr. Balogun as he awaits trial?
Actually, in my opinion, the current government spent time putting systems and agencies such as the EFCC and ICPC, the department of due process in place, to which some have argued have not been as agile or vigorous as they would have wanted, but even assuming the correctness of such assessments, how does that detract from the crucially important nature of the mission and tasks at hand? The mission and tasks, win the war on corruption. It is as if our house is on fire, engulfed, we will do well to use the gallon of water in our hands, instead of arguing that, the gallon has arrived late or that it is not enough to quench and put the fires. We must use the gallon of water, demand or even scream for more water from every source, sufficient to effectively put out the fires on our home.
Those interested in Nigeria’s future must rally around the EFCC and ICPC, support the momentum of current government in the full blown war on corruption, the siddon-look, or the wait-and-see attitude must stop, Nigerians must stop sitting on the fence!
Nigerians at home and abroad must join hands with both public and private sectors, to fight corruption, as doing so, would greatly elevate Nigeria’s opportunity for advancements and greatness; Nigerians have always publicly stated this as a national mission.
Why are some Nigerians oblivious of the importance of winning the all out war on corruption? What is it that can possibly explain the apparent ambivalence, on the part of some, regarding the necessity to defeat or kill corruption in Nigeria, for the good of Nigeria?