That EFCC List: Where is the Outrage? Where is the Indignation?

by Paul I. Adujie

Corruption is without doubt, Nigeria’s number one challenge. Corruption deprives Nigeria of scarce resources. Resources needed for national development, advancement and greatness of country! Why then do so many Nigerians defend some Nigerians engaged in corruption? Where is our collective righteous indignation and outrage against our public enemy number one, corruption and those who practice this putrid pandemic?

Nigerians should therefore feel a sense of boundless outrage and righteous indignation over the activities and far reaching ramifications of corrupt office holders. The momentous impact of corruption is apparent and obvious to any onlooker. Even Steve Wonder can see it. How maddeningly irritating and infuriating then, that some choose to focus on providing cover and protection for those who pillage and plunder Nigeria?

The negative impact is obvious in Nigeria’s underdevelopment. The negative impact is as well obvious in our abandoned public projects. The negative impact of corruption on Nigeria’s decayed and neglected infrastructure and yes! The negative impact of corruption is clear in the absence of social amenities and public infrastructure.

The negative impact of corruption is glaringly spectacular when you consider the facts of our under performing schools, hospitals and electricity supply and water supply and the dearth of motorable good roads

One Mr. Segun Adeyemi described corruption in Nigeria as hydra-headed and as a cancerous in Nigeria’s political and economic processes

The release of a list of names of potential public office holders, by the EFCC should and must be examined against this background. Persons who seek public office should be accountable, transparent and be willing voluntary advocates of good governance as instrument for the advancement of democracy and Nigeria’s development.

Unfortunately, the release of this said list has not been greeted with popular acclaim or acceptance. I live in New York, in the United States, part of the world where, when you run for public office, it becomes an issue whether you were a drunken college student, whether you used marijuana when you were just 18 years old and whether you usurped a parking lot reserved for the persons with disabilities and whether you had inappropriate sex or sex with a minor or with same-sex same gender person

We as Nigerians take pride as advocates of accountability, transparency and good governance in Nigeria are excitedly delighted to hold everyone, especially potential public office holders to account! Why then are we not excited about the actual prospects of finally holding those who pillage and plunder Nigeria of public resources to account for their most egregious acts of pillaging and plundering?

I am not a smuggler, I simply see the EFCC as I would see the Customs Officers of any country to which I travel. I have not contraband, I have nothing to declare and I have nothing therefore to fear! I approach every Customs stations, unbowed, askance and even aloof! Can any drug pusher say that of any Customs? No! This is because, the guilty are afraid, only the guilty should be scared of the EFCC as smugglers are afraid of Customs!

Some Nigerians are quick to criticize the indomitable Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC fastidiousness of mission, and some others have asked the question, what exactly is the alternative? Critics of Nuhu Ribadu have claimed that a fight against corruption that is even handed is desired, a fight against corruption that demonstrates ‘consistency, balance, fairness, within the bounds of the law, and sparing no one who is corrupt. We are glad to point out that the longest journey begins with a first step…. even if tentative imperfect steps! And as such, we are offering the EFCC all the encomiums, all the accolades and thunderous applauses in encouragements and supports in EFCC’s crucial crusade and war to eradicate corruption from Nigerians and Nigeria.

We believe that there should and there must be this UNIVERSAL approach to the war against corruption in Nigeria… it encompasses tackling the perpetrators of corruption in equal measure of actions against both the actors and operators of the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy…. so, to that extent, some peoplemay have been in the private sector un-noticed, then as soon as they inserted themselves into public affairs and the EFCC may have said, let us check them out and the EFCC found a wow! And whoa! Lookee-here! Anyone who reeks of corruption in either the private or public sector in Nigeria should not have any hiding place. Nigeria is surely the winner, given that mindset!

There is a message from the EFCC imbued in list, a list which included names of persons who were hitherto, just merely private citizens, person who now have come under scrutiny and public glare, as they aspire to hold public office. Private sector corruption is being questioned and tackled. The EFCC is appears to emphasize that, that persons who seek public office and public trust should expect to be thoroughly scrutinized for integrity, for unblemished character, for fitness, for accountability and transparency and that is purely delightful!

It is as if the EFCC is saying, you may have been a private citizen an unelected …non-public servant…. but now that such a person wants to be a public office holder such person has become a fair game for investigations by the EFCC etc…. the war against corruption, the crusade we must recall, has seen a House of Representative member arrested, indicted and died in jail… Mr. Ibekwe … I think his name was…. he was into four-one-nine before he became a House of Rep. member, who eventually died before trial.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the EFCC are clearly incorruptible! They are fair and balanced in their pursuit, hot-pursuit of corruption in NIGERIA.

Here is a clue, a majority of those tried and convicted or political office holders impeached so far, are members of the People Democratic Party, PDP. The PDP is the ruling party of which the current president is a member.

Just imagine for a minute, if the ‘victims’ of this anti-corruption war were members of the opposition political parties? Such as the ANPP or APGA or AD and now AC? The EFCC would have been accused of trying to eliminate opposition political parties! There is a sort of Reform Resistance Army? that has mounted stiff and aggressive resistance against public policy reforms in Nigeria.

There are those who have perennially benefited from the old corrupt ways of doing business and doing everything else in Nigeria, and so, they seek to derail meaningful reforms, reforms that are vigorous and robust in formulations and implementations. The opponents of these reforms fear that they will no longer be able to make money without work or get rich without efforts!

Nigerians should ask for instance, how Mr. Atiku Abubakar became a billionaire and an owner of a two million dollar palatial mansion in Potomac Maryland USA? He was a Customs Officer! He suddenly transformed into a stupendously wealthy businessman who never manufactured even a candle or an office pin! He purchased his palace/mansion in America while he was vice president of Nigeria and that is prohibited by the laws of Nigeria.

Atiku recently spent the best part of December and January in the aforesaid mansion. Could a sitting American vice president spend such money outside the US or vacation outside the US for almost two whole months?

There is a new era dawning in Nigeria and those who complain the loudest are the beneficiaries of the old bad wayward ways! I call on all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to support the reforms that are currently taking place in Nigeria. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is Nigeria’s WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION against corruption in Nigeria. Nigerians seek accountability, transparency and good governance. Those who are opposed to Nigeria’s development, advancement and greatness are the ones complaining and shrill-shouting EFCC’s efforts!

President Olusegun Obasanjo sundry reforms in Nigeria are ground-breaking and unprecedented. He deserves our encouragement, our support and our thunderous applause! Corruption eliminated. Nigeria will be a better country and partner to all the countries on earth.

I wonder why it is, that those arrested and prosecuted by the EFCC never ever argue that they are actually innocent, but again and again only assert the existence of other criminals! The criminals and their defenders should hinge their pronouncements on the guilt or innocence of those accused of corruption and looting of Nigeria’s public resources and wealth. It has become a racket for the criminals, the looters and their friends to hide beneath procedures and their resort to rapidly pointing fingers at others who might be corrupt. It is often these resort to’ it is witch-hunting, it is selective prosecution, it is vindictive and vendetta against opponents, etc’ these defense or racketeering of excuses has become the de rigeur of their ‘defense’ or protestations when it is time to pay for and face up to their criminal responsibilities!

Some criminals and their representatives have complained that the EFCC has at times not adhered to the rule of law and due process as specified by the constitution of Nigeria. These are certainly fine ideals, but why is it that none of these criminals and their cohorts bother to uphold the constitution, the rule of law and due process? Why is it that they shred our constitution and all our laws with their egregious corruption, greed and avarice and when it is time to pay for the consequences of their putrid behaviors and gross misconduct, these vermin seek to wrap themselves in our constitution and our laws and they suddenly pretend to be advocates of constitutionalism and fine legal tenets? Why should these thieves become symbols of democracy in any country? The best cure or remedy for imperfect democracy is certainly more democracy! Yet, we must wonder why these criminals have become the mouthpiece for democracy?

The EFCC has successfully prosecuted a great number of corrupt officials in Nigeria, including Mr. Tafa Balogun a lawyer turned Inspector General of Nigeria Police.. the Nigerian equivalent of America’s FBI Director, Mr. Balogun who was found corrupt, arrested, indicted and jailed with his loot recovered in billions of Naira. Two serving state governors of the ruling party the PDP of President Obasanjo saw the impeachment of Mr. DSP Alamieseigha of Bayelsa state and Mr. Joshua Chibi Dariye of Plateau state both former governors were also indicted in England for money laundering and corruption and they both fled England, fugitive of Britain who wanted to remain as public officials in Nigeria! Did Nigeria make the police in England to manufacture evidence against these corrupt governors turned fugitives? These two governors were in PDP! How is it that the critics of the EFCC are not telling the world that these governors and others who are ‘victims’ of the EFCC are innocent? Are they innocent?

How about actual defense innocence?

Eliminating corruption in Nigeria is Job number ONE. Corruption has turned Nigeria into a pariah nation and that is changing, many thanks to this anti corruption war and crusade. Corruption elimination is crucial because it deprives Nigeria of wealth and resources for development. It has caused political discontent and economic depressions. Medical doctors are known to engage in drastic medical procedures to protect and preserve the lives of their patients, such as excising a breast which has been infused and decimated by cancerous tumors. Nigeria through the EFCC need our encouragement and support to eradicate corruption, the corruption pandemic, a perennial epidemic that has severally subjected the image of Nigeria to international bashing, fairly and unfairly! We all must support and I support and encourage the EFCC and every agency or department or NGO that seeks to fight corruption in Nigeria, let us fight corruption with blinders on!

The magnitude and impact of corruption on Nigerian citizens is enormously immense and so much has been eloquently written about it by some Nigerians and non-Nigerians.

We can only add and I will say, we must fight corruption with everything thrown in? including the kitchen sink! Let legal ideals evolve. Let democratic finesse grow. Meanwhile, let the corruption crusade speed up along and consume the corrupt in both the private and public sectors. We should concentrate on defending Nigeria against looters. The rule should be that we pursue criminals with vigor and unrestrained zeal.

Those who pillage and plunder Nigeria do not deserve our defense or our sympathies!

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