Immunity In Governance: Boon Or Doom?

As the Greek philosopher observed, many may resist wealth but hardly anyone resists the lure of power. Since power is seen to corrupt, inept and sinister politicians use bribe money to impose themselves upon us. This attitude is more toxic to the well-being of all of us than politicians taking bribes to spend on sensual pleasures. The politicians get the bribe, those who funnel the money to the politicians get to control our common wealth and it is the people who really pay for the whole mess and who suffer the consequences from it. It is essential therefore to separate private interests from the public state, it is imperative to drive the merchants and the buyers of political influence from the Temple of Democracy, irrespective of what they spend the bribe money on.

Forming an opposition party to oppose a single policy implemented by the PDP, as a ruling party and her incumbent government is not exactly unheard of in Nigerian politics. Take Atiku Abubakar who stood against Umaru Yar’Adua for example, or that Doctor whose name I forget that stood as an independent Plaintiff in order to oppose the closing of The General Hospital in Port Harcourt. The good way to accept those that could govern us is best determined, only when we achieve all we were looking for, in good governance, either from one of us or from unanimous appointment; with all necessary qualifications and background. This kind of vote and election always appease, suit and satisfy people. The person we give our votes ought to remain indebted to all of us. He needs to pay us back the vote in place of selfless services, integrity, rule of law, prudence, and unstilted discharge of duty. Supposed he had related record of such dischargings, he may not need any hurdle to be crowned, and then we should ascertain his effectiveness, value, proper function, or other quality of the life he once lived and he is living.

Of course, the persons in government have justifiable entitlements to ease their discharge of duties and to foresee the betterment of the ailing society. It is not meant to exceed and transmute into loot by grabbing more than they could chew. They ought not to implore greed at all. Head to head on ethics and legal authority, which may be of interest in light of recent squabbles. Because they deviate from loading us with good things of democracy to looting us of good thins of democracy. Looting is simply robbing, although the usual implication is that it happens during the military regime and on a large scale. Still it’s robbing.

Obviously, people who break the law should be punished. That’s true even when there’s no corruption. I even agree that a social predicament is no excuse for stealing from the government coffers. Presumably, though, President Umaru Yar’Adua means something more than that. Is he saying that looters and scammers, excess budget diverters and the like should be shot on sight? Or merely that the Federal Ministries constitute aggravating circumstances that would add to the penalties imposed after due process of law? While most of us are focusing on the looters, others are more concerned about the vilification of political office-sitters.

So there’s going to be less power-game in the southeast and south-south than people were anticipating ever since the electoral tribune began sitting. The natural result of that situation is that the price of electioneering campaign would goes down. In the short run, that doesn’t result in any additional party, but it does reduce the quantity of votes, allowing the INEC to clear. Unfortunately, the short-run schedule of the electorate for the elections was low, so even a modest-sized party crunch will naturally cause big vote rigging.

I don’t know. I also don’t know whether it would make it unjust for other employees at 100% tax-funded institutions (government school teachers, bureaucrats, contractors on government buildings, or whatever you like) to accept their salaries. As a practical matter, I’m not worried very much about welfare recipients (since I think all or nearly all of them are arguably net taxpayers, not net tax recipients, once all taxes, indirect taxes, and compliance costs for getting the benefits are factored in), but there are other cases where practical worries are raised, and it’s an important theoretical question regardless of practical import. I have to admit that I have conflicting intuitions, so this is more a matter of doubting the legitimacy of taking a complex salary than it is positively denying it, until I have a better idea of how to sort it out.

This government should clearly define the difference between our constitution and that of their party (PDP). Are we respecting the federalism of Nigerian leadership or are we being herded by party-o-cracy. PDP that, PDP this, as if the nation has no better destinies, contributors and talents than those who get into the ruling party to protect their nefarious activities. It is also significant that the bulk of the bribing of politicians is done through this party, which makes the politicians doubly-indebted, correspondingly controllable by the sponsors and less accountable to the electorate. Arguably it could be less taxing to our freedom and prosperity were the politicians bribed individually, that is to say, if they depended only on personal bribes for their “election”. Evidently, such ruling party makes control of the society’s parliament easier. Changes aside, it manifests to corruption of the governing process of the society. we do not talk about particular interests “bribing” politicians, we talk, instead, of making a “donation” or a “contribution” to election campaigns of politicians. Like buying the politicians “elections” and enabling them to attach themselves to the public trough is less a personal benefit than buying them Mercedes Jeep and mistresses (of either sex).

Ever since we had “democracy” politicians go on accepting bribes and spend the money on luxury and expensive cars, and even pack billions of our money abroad in detriment of our sick economy. Unlike before, they have taken another dimension; today politicians loot this nation dry and spend the money on their re-election (mostly), to continue on a selfish dream of tenure elongation and life patron; head of BOT. They don’t feel remorse, but ensure the national coffer is dried up before the leave. They award tail-end contracts, sell national landmarks to section of individuals and even go defiant to ensure well-position platform to manipulate the incumbent regime to favour them. They block any move to unravel their flaw while on sit. They carry out impunity, defy rule of law and violate human right. They threaten sycophant to solo songs and the downtrodden to accept their bitter pills in good faith. Feeling they are “King Nebuchadnezzar” of Nigeria. As if that is not enough, whenever forced by mass pressure to quit power, they either transformed themselves into the new “civilian” rulers or put in power, as Obasanjo military junta did in 1979,Babangida in 1993 and Abacha in 1998 the most corrupt layers of the civilian wing of the impunities whose own primary quest for power is treasury looting and self-aggrandizement.

It is only by correctly understanding the class character of Nigeria‘s economy and its ruling class that one can appreciate why every general election has always been an organized violence and fraud and while this deplorable trend may continue in the future. Only a mass party that enjoys active and conscious participation and control of the working people across the country can be in a position to checkmate this undemocratic culture of electoral riggings, especially if it has a programme for revolutionary socialist transformation of society. Difference is mainly in what the politicians spend the loot on – in either instance the politicians are corrupt in the sense that they are selling the trust of the people for their personal gain.

I will present some proper methods for financing our democracy, but this will be in a later article, following the disposing of two issues in this one. One is the myth about the society getting “free” or “cheap” democracy, because mega business pays the cost, or part of the cost. The other is an explanation to why we, the people, are taking political corruption sitting down, helpless to clean up the political stage of our society. No surprise in that. The media have made it a habit to ask penetrating questions on such matters. Had they done so, they might have sniffed out “identifiable benefits benefit in return” paid to politicians and associate them with such “gifts” lavished by politicians to corporations. Yet, it is the role of the media to do that.

Written by
L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu
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