Outgoing Politicians: Of Imperfection and Looting

by Sylvester Fadal

Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Commission estimates that over $391.6 billion has been stolen by Nigeria’s corrupt rulers. This link shows the world’s top-ten most corrupt rulers ever, and included, is Nigeria’s very own Sani Abacha who dishonorably occupies the number four slot. The list is solely based on actual traceable data and does not reflect the geniuses of the most corrupt rulers that have embezzled billions of dollars under the radar. Without empirical data, it is perhaps plausible to estimate that over 1000 Nigerians could easily make the list, notably among others, are Atiku Abubakar, IBB, Jerry Useni, past and present governors, Ministers and political godfathers to name a few.

Moderating Looting

Prior to the transition to OBJ’s regime, Abdulsalami Abubakar was accused of having cleaned out the treasury to enrich himself and his close associates despite having ruled only for 11 months, from June of 1998 to May 1999. Despite his short tenure in office, Abdulsalami Abubakar was noted for his highhandedness, involvement in the saga surrounding the death of Abiola and the looting of the Nigerian coffers. The insane urge to loot the treasury was linked most prominently to IBB during his last months of tyrannical government.

As it is now, OBJ’s tenure will come to an end. He must avoid the temptation to get into the looting spree. He must watch his ministers, governors and all political personnel closely to avoid a complete destruction of the nation, gluttonously by departing politicians.OBJ should recognize he can’t take the mantra that “most if not all Nigerian politicians have a corruptive proclivity”, and as such ignore the need to strongly monitor high level of looting in the last days of his government. He must request all key politicians be watched closely by the EFCC. As difficult as it may seem, he should monitor the disbursement of funds like a hawk and perhaps assign Okonjo-Iweala that has so far exemplified herself as a disciplined leader to provide guidance to the EFCC.He should strive at curtailing the looting of federal, state and regional accounts and seek completion from contractors on projects assigned. This is perhaps the best times to hold his political appointees and governors highly accountable. There is no need to change his cabinet and bring in new looters.While granting the freewill of performance to his ministers, he should seek clear and finite accomplishments data regarding the management of their projects and financial appropriation monitoring.

There is nothing that I have learnt that indicates that natural orientation can’t change. Politicians’ natural leanings towards corruption can be changed based on the severity of potential consequences. OBJ must now find ways of espousing corruption at a higher level and stagnating the possibility of looting that may commence immediately. The parody of corruption must be controlled and all governors must be banned from traveling out of the country through the duration of their tenure. The different arms of the military including the police force must be reengineered as the level of corruption among the forces have again escalated. The illegal killings, traffic stops and violations of rights must be extensively addressed.

Most Crucial Focus

I am a bit ambivalent about the issue of selecting the next leader. I doubt if Nigeria has ever had a free and fair election. I however believe we could strive to achieve that goal.OBJ must avoid installing a handpicked replacement at all cost and orchestrate a system that allows for an actual, unbiased election as best as he could. This goal won’t be easy for OBJ as he is scheduled to get a run for his money from the likes of Atiku and IBB that have wagon loads of dollars to influence the level of rigging as much as OBJ could.OBJ’s decision to seek a third term and his apparent failure has not only diminished his reputation but also his influential ability. It is not too late to attempt redemption. He should clip the wings of political godfathers that have started emphatically identifying the next governors without regard for the voices of the citizens. Rather than his speech of non-regret, he should admit his intent to remain in power was wrong, seek forgiveness and breed programs to enhance the livelihood of the poor masses. A word is enough for the wise.

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1 comment

Paul, O May 20, 2006 - 7:43 pm

The major problem facing the country now after the defeat of the third term agenda is the credibility of all those coming our to contest the 2007 presidential elections. It is very troubling because if you look at people like IBB, Atiku, Buhari, Marwa, Governor Odili etc., they all have proven records of corruption and abuse of political powers in their portfolios. Nigeria as a country cannot be running from fry pan and at the same time jumping into the lagoon with our her eyes wild opened. We as a people cannot be running forward and looking backwards at the same time. (to copy a word of wisdom from late Chief MKO Abiola). We need candidates that are well educated in order to understand the feelings of Nigerians and the rule of law. People like Obasanjo and IBB for example, are proving to Nigerians and the rest of the world that the country cannot produce any other individual that can take her people to the promise land. Obasanjo, through his madness for the third term has clearly proven to be a very corrupt and vindictive person. Also, IBB to this date, is the most corrupt person in Nigeria and comitted several atrocities on Nigerians during his presidency. Atiku is the same. He made all his money while in the Nigerian customs and today, he owns most of the privatised companies in the country, including all the properties he owns in America, London, Paris and Saudi Arabia. Honestly, Nigerians should start looking at younger and better qualified candidates like: Professor Pat Utomi, Dr. Kalu of Abia State, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau to mention just a few. There are millions of Nigerians in diaspora who are also very qualifies to run the affairs of that country. Enough of these old hags destroying the country all the name of power and wanting to die in office. The era of old and corrupt individuals seem to have ended with the death of the third term agenda. Nigeria needs a new beginning and should do away with people that do not have anything to offer the country any more.


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