The Pathetic Tolerance of Evil in Nigeria

by SOC Okenwa

Nigeria as a nation is a victim of 1914! When you reverse those numbers starting from letter 4 you get 419, a national embarrassment. In 1914 Lord Lugard and his colonial collaborators decided without the consent of the diverse peoples that made up the then British-administered Niger Area to amalgamate the North and South to become a nation christened Nigeria. The colonial lie told in 1914 by Lugard and his cohorts has endured almost a century with millions of innocent lives lost in different horrible times in history as forces of forced unity tried to maintain this nauseating status quo.

We all want to remain Nigerians in spite of the injustices, marginalisation and fraudulent federation but on one condition: the dysfunctional federal system we purport to operate as a system of government (when in real fact we operate a unitary system) must be radically altered and restructured to give vent to our collective aspirations and progress as one and indivisible entity. That a politician from the east to the west, north and south could steal the state treasury blind and retire as a billionaire after just four or eight years in power calls our collective democratic aspirations into question.

Take James Ibori for instance. This former Delta State Governor has been exposed to be richer than the state he criminally administered for eight years. Ditto Peter Odili of Rivers State. We have DSP Alams, Joshua Dariye and Ayo Fayose, Jolly Nyame, Chimaroke Nnamani, Turaki among the former set of Governors whose stewardship could only be qualified as organized mindless fiscal heist of the worst order. With their States’ Houses of Assembly that ought to act as check and balance compromised and corruptibly intimidated the ex-governors became both accountant-generals and treasury bosses a la Idi Amin whose lucre wishes passed without question.

Today we hear how these criminal chief executives dispossessed their various states impoverishing their peoples. Even Joshua Dariye had the temerity to raise alarm informing us all bizarrely that the British authorities who seized him in London with hefty laundered hard currency had ‘defrauded’ the Nigerian authorities as the amount they refunded to Nigeria was grossly out of tune with the huge amount confiscated from him in London! Alams on his part claimed pitilessly the other day that he has become a poor man after his travails with the EFCC! One wonders what Alams was worth before he was elected Governor of Bayelsa State? Perhaps the eloquent Sabella Abidde could tell us!

Ayo Fayose made a triumphant return to Ekiti penultimate week and thousands turned out to welcome the man who went into hiding abandoning his personal effects in Government House shortly after suffering impeachment. Fayose ‘mesmerized’ Ekiti dusty streets with his welcome party/speeches telling whoever cared to listen that he had forgiven his enemies and that he returned for peace and progress of Ekiti State. Fayose claimed he left billions in the state treasury berating those that succeeded him for abandoning his people-oriented projects.

The Segun Oni illegitimate government was so much panicked by Fayose’s grandiose mobilisation and grandstanding that commissioners and special assistants to the Governor fell on themselves in the bid to outdo one another on who would rattle Fayose most by well-worded critical statements. In the end Fayose was reminded by the Oni camp to clear himself of the murder and corruption charges pending against him.

Before Fayose came out of a year-long hiding Alams who suffered detention for two-year running returned triumphantly home in his town in Bayelsa upon release from jail. Among the crowd that welcomed him home one saw a former indicted corrupt Senate President Adolphus Wabara. Alams waxed both philosophical and spiritual telling those welcoming him that an encounter with God in detention had changed him in prison making him to see life differently. For him his travails had availed him the opportunity of appreciating life outside power. He also declared that he had forgiven his political foes and those behind his tragedy.

Between Fayose and Alams one observes the repentant changed attitude of prodigal sons and political outcasts trying hard to regain lost name and glory. These two convicted thieves seemed to have struck the right chord in their followers. Followers of depraved politicians like Fayose and Alams, it must be noted, are always those on the receiving end of the Nigerian tragedy: touts, Okada riders, area boys and unemployed youths. For them anything, any crumb from the master’s table could serve momentarily to quench a thirst of hunger or want. They fail to realise that they are the worst victims of Fayose’s or Alams’ political gangsterism.

The pathetic tolerance of evil in Nigeria has gone on unchecked for years. Now it has run its full course! From many quarters people are rising and questioning a system that produced the likes of Fayose, Alams, Dariye, Odili and Ibori. In unison we are all agreed in chorusing “Never Again”! Never again should our national patrimony be subjected to the whims of few individuals who gate-crash into power, never again should our resources be used to kill, harrass or maim some of us who raise objections to the way and manner these resources are shared and used in larger societal development! Never again should we allow our elite to trample on our rights and seek to manipulate our indignation.

The Olusegun Obasanjo 8-year corruption-ridden presidency had brought out the devious worst in our politicians. Their disingenious best was laid bare and brought to bear in our dark-tunnel efforts to free ourselves from imposed darkness. With an overbearing all-knowing president who brooked no opposition nor tolerated dissent Nigeria from 1999 to May this year went through state terrorism. It took the emergence of President Yar’Adua to de-terrorise the polity giving a semblance of hope to a hopeless situation.

As we continue to plead for justice and accountability from the last administration the Olusegun Obasanjo disguised second dictatorship must be made to account for its stewardship. It is not enough to put in place an administration (whose legitimacy is still being contested) headed by a perceived surrogate who dare not ask questions about a dirty past. It is not enough for the EFCC to receive petitions from concerned organisations and groups protesting against Obasanjo’s continued sacred-cow treatment after quitting power. It is also not enough to pretend that with time we shall all forget the past in order to chart a new course in our nation’s steady decline.

Now is the time for the Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC to prove critics wrong, wrong in their assumption of selectivity in its anti-graft activities. By going after the famous farmer in Ota (armed with concrete proof of state looting and corporate terrorism) and bringing him to justice we shall then see Ribadu as a serious campaigner against entrenched executive corruption in Nigeria. Whatever problem he is perceived to be having with the AGF Michael Aondokaa cannot be seen as an impediment. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice is doing his job under the new regime of rule of law and due process. Ribadu should do his!

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