In Part One of this article, I stated my ardor to establishing a database of proven corrupt politicians and needless to say I opened a Pandora’s box. For one, my email box was flooded by a variety concerns ranging from those who either supported the idea, had mixed feelings about it, or simply accused me of being sent by some political powerhouses to dent the image of their opponents. Some recommended that the list include anyone that has ever occupied a position of power in the country.
Some of the emails opined that past and present non-politicians of top-level positions were just as corrupt as those who hold political positions. Though there might have been some elements of truth in the comments, they were however not the heretic essence of my intent. Though I failed to read all the flood of emails, I was particularly intrigued by several emails that recommended outrageous consequences for violators and their relatives. Recognizing the complexities involved in exacting the goals of my initial decision to compile a list of corrupt individuals based on validity, and the innate systemic anxiety of dealing with the entire process itself, I have come to the realization that it may be a multifaceted, long drawn-out battle or task that I am not willing to embark on at this time. In other words, I have, after a personal introspection and analysis of the idea, decided to postpone the concept for now. Please desist from sending me email relating to this subject.
There continue to be a growing criticism of OBJ, his corruption fight, and debt relief efforts. While most articles have criticized his approach, some have boldly classified his effort as “dead on arrival” or termed it a losing battle because he is not qualified to address the issue of corruption or debt forgiveness. Granted that OBJ may not be a saint, it is important that we recognize the mechanism he may be setting in place. To stigmatize the corruption fight as a dead-end battle is probably shortsighted. To simply call for him to quit the fight against corruption because he is personally corrupt, is defeatist in attitude. To conclude that he can’t resolve the issue of corruption and as such should not make any effort at curtailing it is unreasonable.
I don’t believe OBJ can completely eradicate a problem so deep-seated and engrained in the society. I, personally hold the notion that he is to an extent corrupt. However, I still believe that he is setting an apparatus in place, that will bring forth a more righteous person who will not only improve the fight against corruption, but will also probe all past leaders including OBJ himself. OBJ is simply a seed planter who sows for the future good of the nation. To conclusively assume that his fight and intent is disingenuous and destined to fail is flawed. For instance, because:
#1. We believe that our daughters will not turn out to be renowned classical pianists, playing at the Carnegie Hall, doesn’t mean we should completely deter them from taking piano lessons at a young age if they express a strong interest.
#2. We have assumed that our sons will not make it as outstanding NFL players doesn’t mean we should deter them from playing football in the Little League games.
#3. Our children will not turn out to be Chemists or Medical Doctors doesn’t mean we should completely deter them from taking Biology, Chemistry or Physic classes in High School.
If we can’t always tell who would turn out to be great in a chosen field, in the same vein, we may not be definitely right in assuming the ultimate outcome of OBJ’s corruption fight. We must hope for the better and give our support regardless of how small it may be. Perhaps, it may be appropriate to hold our judgments. If we chose to make decisions only on absolute certainty, there will be no great athletes like Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, Austin Okocha, Hakeem Olajuwon, or the 80’s Peter Okodogbe (Abikwe), Carl Lewis, etc. There is a benefit to actions with intents and if we chose to wait till we believe the best option is available before we act, we will fall into the circle of those with great intentions that leads to dead end, chaos or untimely death.
What saddens me most is the list of those that have written several articles on the subject of corruption, with continuously growing criticism, yet, in their rush to criticize OBJ, not a simple recommendation, regardless of how insidious, is made. I have criticized OBJ in the past and remain a non-fan of his. What I have realized however is that he is walking on eggshells in his corruption fight.
Many have asked why he waited six years to commence his corruption fight. We should not forget that OBJ came to power with limited authority. He was, for a short while, a ceremonious leader. He had very little power, connection or influence. He needed to establish himself and strip those who had excessive influence on his government, of the power they possessed before acting. In the process of establishing himself, he may have compromised his integrity. He may have mortgaged his conscience. What he is trying to do now, I assume, as I have stated in the past
(with the benefit of doubt) is to establish a mechanism toward change. He may not be the right person to effect complete change, he may be going about it differently. Does the fact that he isn’t doing it the way we expect or the way we would have done it make his efforts or approach wrong? To continue to denigrate his efforts and make claims that he is (a) not qualified to fight corruption, (b) not the right person to address the subject of corruption or (c) that he is out to solely attack a specific ethnic group is ludicrous. It is unfair and it is inconsiderate of his efforts.
Having written the above comments, I must state emphatically that I, personally, have a laundry list of issues with OBJ’s government. There are people under his nose that should be getting probed right now. There are numerous actions he can take to accentuate his desire to fight corruption. However, I am not going to make a blanket judgment and deem his efforts fruitless. With all fairness, I understand how difficult it is for some notable individuals to view OBJ as a sudden proponent of financial regularities. They consider his actions as clear hypocrisy. This apprehension is clearly understood by me. I held this obvious apprehension for a while. In the same vein that the United States’ Republican Party that is noted for big business and unreasonable tax cuts to large corporations and minimal concerns for the low to middle income class, spurned around and manipulated the majority of the Christian faith to believing that they are the most in-depth bible-believers and good practicing Christians as opposed to the wild, obnoxious, discernable and agonistics Democrats, it is hard for some to accept OBJ without thinking he is playing some smart political game.
In the first part of this article, I stated, “OBJ has realized that if a past leader is given a second opportunity, he will only amaze more wealth at the expense of the masses and the nation and he doesn’t want to see it happen after his tenure.” Also, I opined “even if it entails OBJ breaking his pledge to those who got him in power and modifying the constitution, he will do all it takes to frustrate past high-level rulers trying to return to power.” In addition, I pointed out that the issue of most concern to OBJ was how to effectively achieve his plan as noted above. Finally, I insinuated, “OBJ may be confused as to how to transition the government. He may be confused as to who he thinks can be trusted to rule the nation. He may be confused as to how to truly fight corruption because he is personally corrupt. There is one thing he is definitely not confused about. This is what scares IBB, Buhari and others”
As ridiculously obtuse as it may sound to some ethnic jingoism criers, OBJ is not as concerned about the ethnic origin of the next president as he is with those he doesn’t want to see attain the position. In a zeitgeist political environment like Nigeria where there is an unlimited cocktail of excessive wealth by those who hold or have held top political positions, and the greed for more, often driven by an excessive knack for money, it is not a surprise to see a spiff counterculture by those who, despite their radical probity want to be viewed by the president as an ally. IBB, Buhari and Atiku are especially worried about OBJ’s secret plan. They all know OBJ may have been influentially weak when he assumed the position of president but is not anymore. They know he is a revered figure at this point as it relates to Nigerian politics. They know OBJ holds the aces as it relates to who occupies the key political positions in the country come 2007 and are really concerned. Their greatest fear is that OBJ may strategically use the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) committee on political parties and electoral process to ban ex-military leaders from contesting future elections and thereby seal their desires to rule Nigeria again.
Some governors and top senators have referred to OBJ as “the dean of Nigerian politics” and they are not far from the truth right now because of his power and control. The same vein in which, President George Bush influences most actions of the Republican Party is the way OBJ influences PDP and Nigerian politics in general. The difference is, OBJ suffers no pang of conscience for any of his actions, good or bad, and that scares most top aspirators to his position. One’s future in Nigerians political could be completely retired for snitching on OBJ. In a voir dire form of management, he controls the acts of his appointees and most members of the PDP. They speak what he wants them to and they are willing to tweak the numbers and records to reflect a positive OBJ. The toughest part of OBJ gaining acceptance from the populace is that Nigerians are smart and can decipher lies regardless of the statistical validations used. Regardless however, our top politicians are scared of the president.