Monday, 28 March 2005
The headline below, by Kwenu.com summarized the events of the past week in Nigeria.
NIGERIA’s WAR ON CORRUPTION CONSUMES Education Minister and Senate President;
Reports reaching KWENU have it that the corruption scandal involving the Minister of Education Professor Fabian Osuji has consumed his ministerial career. Also consumed is the Number 3 man in the country, Senate President Adolphus Wabara. If the resignation of Chief Wabara holds, Nigeria will get its FIFTH senate president in the fourth republic. It is expected that Senator Ike Ekweremadu of Enugu West, who was the strongest candidate in May 2003, would step into ….Nigeria's upper legislature. It will be recalled that the Inspector-General of Police Mustafa Balogun was disgraced out of office earlier this year. Culled from WWW.KWENU.COM by ILN, Tuesday, March 22, 2005
First, it was the swoop on those who thwarted the Nigerian National Identity Card Scheme, and then, the Advance Fee Fraudsters, the Inspector General of Police fell too, and now, the Minister of Education, several senators and others, have fallen under the focused and sustained war to rid Nigeria of corrupt enrichment or corrupt practices!
Clearly, the indications are apparent, even to the naysayer, pessimists and cynics, that President Obasanjo has zero tolerance for those who would not shun corruption. On Sunday March 27, 2005, I actually read stories by some Nigerians describing President Obasanjo’s actions as brave, audacious and courageous! Finally, the president gets some credits for his efforts? It is new day in Nigeria!
Here is a sample of some of the comments, on the events of the preceding week:
“The EFCC has taken on many ‘powerful’ people in the country in the prosecution of its anti-financial crime campaign. Its report among others recently led to the removal of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, while also revealing money laundering allegations against Plateau State Governor, Chief Joshua Dariye.
The EFCC also recently blew the lid over the N55 million bribe allegedly paid by the former Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, and some of his subordinates to the Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara, six Senators and one House of Representatives member in a bid to jerk up the ministry’s vote in the 2005 budget. Two other House members were indicted for their alleged sordid role in the 2004 budget.
President Olusegun Obasan-jo dismissed Osuji as minister and indicted Wabara and the other lawmakers over the matter saying their case had been sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).”
“With the evidence of culpability received by the EFCC over the bribe scam, the president has ordered that the budgets of all the ministries be investigated. He has insisted that he will not sign a questionable Appropriation Bill that was put together through financial inducement. For now, the searchlight has been extended to all ministries. The days could be trying for some ministers and some collaborating lawmakers,”
There are various quotations from the Nigerian media that clearly encompass the topsy-turvy events of the past several days, particularly, since last Thursday. Here are some.
“Those who think that the president is afraid of waging the war against corruption are simply not getting the picture straight” “ If the president could move against Wabara who was indicted in the scam, then there is no one for who Obasanjo will lower the bar”
“The House of Representatives on Wednesday decried the manner in which the president was carrying out his campaign against corruption. The Lower House accused the president of trying to destroy the Legislature by bringing the institution into public and international ridicule. Sources in the House revealed that some members might have commenced impeachment moves against the president. The moves, revealed a source, included the collection of signatures to kick-start the impeachment procedures. But is it not clear that these honorable members or simply, filthy dirty scoundrels? Defending themselves after some of them have had their hands caught red-hand in the cookie jar?
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chukwuemeka Chikelu, put it best when, last Wednesday he told State House correspondents that “the sacking of his Education counterpart, Fabian Osuji, was a clear demonstration of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the country.”
“He said that the international community should, by this action, know that the Obasanjo administration was beginning to take firm actions to correct lapses in the anti-graft campaign.”
“We should be proud and happy that the system is working and that we are able to do the right thing at the right time”, he said. “The recent forced retirement of Tafa Balogun on alleged case of corruption and the lingering ID card scandal readily come to mind.”
“The president was engaged in is creating an atmosphere conducive for the emergence of a solid society based on transparency and accountability.”
“Mr. President is focused and irrevocably committed to the enthronement of a new dawn for the country. He has shown to be one that is committed to the emancipation of the nation from corruption. What he did on Tuesday is a clear indication that he will stop at nothing in fighting corruption”
“Since the commencement of this war against corruption, the campaign has affected almost all the regions. Remember the case involving the Late Chief Afolabi. Akwanga was also dismissed. Other cases being handled by the ICPC involve persons from other parts of the country” This means this nonsense about ethnic witch-hunt or selective justice, is just red-herring bunkum!
“The President's action on the N55 million scandal is a step in the right direction because at least it would create the impression for the people that there is a risk involved in being corrupt…..All those involved in the present scam should be prosecuted…The public should view corrupt public officials with disdain irrespective of their ethnicity. We should not have sympathy for them because of their ethnic group. It is everyone's responsibility to help the government fight against corruption in every nook and corner of the country.”
Hang them naked? Interfere with judicial process? Of course not! The president is informing the Nigerian public of the steps and processes involved in the clean-up of the Augean stable, but without interfering with due process and the rule of law. This direct communication is crucially important, as the president’s strident critics have in the past not be sparring of the president, just because they are not fully apprised of the minute detail or minutiae of the presidents Herculean efforts, righting the wrongs of the past in our country; Now, keeping the world update should feel good!
The president is in a fight against corruption in all ramifications; He wanted to prove a case that his resolve to wage a total war against corruption was irrevocable
Those who brought negative impacts on Nigeria can surely use all the opprobrium that you or I and the president can hull and heave at him, they must pay the consequences. Some senators, in their vengeful/vengeance, spiteful vindictiveness are already showing, us what manner of person they are, as they are trumping-up charges, of so-called “impeachable offenses” Murtala and Obasanjo fought corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Murtala was assassinated, now, Mr. Obasanjo fights same corruption, he is impeached or harmed? Who really knows now, what happens next? These corrupt people seem to possess more audacity than the rest of us, perhaps that is why too many Nigerian leaders are circumspect in dealing with it dealt with delicately? All the cynics are on notice!
Pardon me, was it not speculated that Mr. Buhari and his late brother Mr. Idiagbon were overthrown in a putsch by Mr. Babangida, because Mr. Babangida had a fore-knowledge of the fact that his fingers were about to be plucked and his head put between the levers of an anvil, by Mr. Buhari? Are some of our national assembly members not showing their nefarious colors, by threatening fire and brimstones at President Obasanjo because he fights corruption? All pessimists and prophets of doom must be, and are in shock?
In my opinion, the president is fine and should be supported and protected by all Nigerians to the last citizen, provided the accused persons are availed due process and every facility governed by the rule of law in the prosecution and punishments of corruption by the present Nigerian federal government, particularly, if the evidence and proper proof, clearly demonstrates guilt of crimes that have been charged or would be charge? Let the heads roll.
Anyone who so chose, can put extraneous interpretation and spin on the ground-breaking swoop.... on perpetrators of corruption in Nigeria
Let the law breakers face the consequences of their unlawful conduct, and our country Nigeria will be better for it! Bravo Mr. President! Keep up the pressure continue the all-out war corruption, economic and political reforms.
The serious crusade against corruption is on and it is a new day in Nigeria. Get it!
And Nigeria is open for business