Nigeria: A Complicated System – (2)

by Sylvester Fadal


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.

Defeatist Attitude

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.

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Ifendo August 26, 2005 - 6:17 am

Hello Sylvester

I came accross your article on OBJ while surfing the net for a spelling for the names on my hitlist.I read you first article with excitement in finding someone who shared my views and your second with dissappointment at you cowardice in taking action in a way that might actually fo something. So not to worryI dont share your fear…I am going to put the names i have on my blog page Pls feel free to add your comments on my blogpage and any names of our local crooks that I may have neglected to mention so that I can add them…..kindly forward my page if you may to anyone who can……..with IBB billboards at every corner it is time to take action!

Reply July 18, 2005 - 6:04 pm

We pray for the seed-planter(President Olusegun Obasanjo) for divine wisdom to steer us off the path of crisis and waste; we pray for our smart brothers like the commentator above who still believes in Ibrahim Babangida that God may open his eyes to see the light; we pray for extremists who are busy wishing for a bloody resolution(revolution) that it may not consume both them and the oppressors.We pray for God to give us an Appollos who will water the seed not one to uproot thereby bring us back to perpetual slavery. In the words of the Great Zik of Africa one that will "restore the dignity of man" (Nigerians) The masses are gullible but God is merciful. He will surely give the increase provided we get an Appollos.That sacred duty is on President Obasanjo and Ahmadu Ali alias Ali–must-go.They fail at their own peril.President Obasanjo has indeed lived up to the Bill of the raison d'etre for his election but he owes us "duty of care" so that further injury is averted or insult added to injury. President Obasanjo would have been a great disappointment to Nigeria and indeed the Black race if the best he could provide us for leadership succession is Ibrahim Babangida or his likes and the world is again watching.Thanks Dr Fasal for highlighting the complexities of our situation.For giving us the benefit of your depth of learning as we the enlightened are supposed to do.We need no NPRC to tell us that coup plotters and their cohorts are banned from contesting elections. Nor will anybody worry himself looking for any substanciation of Ibrahim Babangida's curruption when we did not give any to pursue Abacha's loot.Should President Obasanjo vacate office in chaos or hand us over to one of his "comrades in arms" particularly any former military ruler his place in history would have been self-determined – the dust bin. Then there would be no reason to distinguish between him and Ibrahim Babangida/Sanni Abacha who invented chaos in their self-succession bid. God forbid!

prince kennedy Iyoha July 16, 2005 - 4:50 am

Hello Dr. Sylvester Fadal. And thanks a lot for your obsevation of the new development taking place today in Nigeria.i will like to firstly coment on the following statements of yours "What is not obvious is why there continue to be a growing gap between the very rich and the poor".if you can remember in 1928 when the women of eastern Nigeria held an very effective protest against high level taxes and the low prices of local products for exports.Our local products which are many don't have valour in the international market because it is those that buy our products are the very same people that tells us how much we should sell our products too.beside our producers can't even compet with forign products in our country because the forign producer have their product subvention by their government. the same that prohibits our government to not promote local farmers in nigeria.This can answer your concern of why the gap between the rich and poor in our comunities.

Reading through your article my attention was first drown to your recomendations to the Obansenjo Government.I quit agree with you that education is an important instrument to nation building.Now that we have gotten about 20billion dollars of relief in deptwe sincerlly hope that most of this money will or should be invested in the education sector.can still remember Whan i was a student some years back in Nigeria teachers sometimes had to wait for three to four mouths before receiving their mouthly take home.Such actitudesis a setback to any countries education programs. I an of the opinion that teachers the police-men and the medical practicionars of any country should be well remunarated for their jobs because of the following reasons.

1) teachers have a responsibility to educate the future generations and leaders of the country. whan a country fall to prepared its youths the future of such country will be cloudicated.

2)Goodhealth services is nessecary to breed an interesting society. a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

3) Whan our police-men a well paid they will definatly not be entized by the chicken changes to be offerd as bribe to avert bringing a law breaker to justice.

You also made mentiond of the group called South- south. it is possible that among this groups of politicians their should be some brillient and sincer opinio of mejorities of the so called South- South groups of politician are mere oppotunist looking for ways to gring themself to the lime lights steping on the heads of all the populies of the entire south south zone. When they gets to the top the only responsibility they will have is to their friends and families. this is not a new development in nigeria its only that nigerians dont seems to have memories of the actitudes of their politicians that got to the top through the back of their people and later abadon this same people to their faith.

The peolpe of the then Borno state should remember the promises made to them by malam … befor he bacame Governor and see if any of such promises where materialised. also the people of the old Bendel state ondo state River state Imo state so on and so forth.

Nigerians in respective of their tribes or state of origen should not sell their vote for a half bag of rice or for N50.rather their vote should be an instrument to affect change in our comunities changes for our lifes and that of our loved once.friends children family members living abroad should educate loved once back home of this developmentin this way we will be changing the socil-political situations or condictions in nigeria.

"OBJ is wisely trying to destroy a corruptive tradition for future performance expediency on the part of politicians and others who hold positions of authority". I quit agree with you and many Nigerians too are of the opinion that Obasenjo has a moral responsibility to Nigerians who trusted him with the future of our country we are not expecting less of him. besides he has gotten the best of nigeria as a person.therefore it is logical that he try to give backto where he received so much and help eradicate the vimpires that are socking the nation to its bones.

I dont agree with you that he should prevent or promogate laws preventing past or corrupt leaders from contesting for presidency in the future. Democracy is a proces that gives the people the right to decides whom to trust the authority of the nation.many past leaders may have realised their mistake and will be willing to work to repair old scores.Frankly I am confidence that past leaders like Abrahim Babangida and its ability to do great things for nigeria if he is in the right political atmospher.i will for ever be greatfull for his forsight in the construction of Ecomog that helped prevent more bloodbath in Libaria and other west Africa was like a sheep without a pastor and the entire world was looking and expecting our cry for help but Babangida saved us from that disgreca and mess. since then Ecomog has continue to play an active and important role in the socio-political affairs of west africa and indeed the entire africa continent.

Sincerlly most of our past leaders has had some good ittentions.but fail to bring it to realisation because of pressure from political vimpires that are always behand the scenes and presure from the international comunity.BuhariBabangida and even sani Abacha had from good plans for nigeria. the worst is that many of them became selfish. insteed of working for the benefits of nationthey were saphonig the nations wealth into international banks

lastly anybody that sold his vote for N50. or a half bag of rice should not expect any good from politicians. we should lean to use our vote judiciously for the benefits of the nation.


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