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OPINION: National Assembly and corruption saga

Posted by By Joe Okoeguale on 2005/06/14 | Views: 279 |

OPINION: National Assembly and corruption saga


THE recent incisive decision by President Olusegun Obasanjo, to bring to a height the fight against corruption, is highly commendable.

THE recent incisive decision by President Olusegun Obasanjo, to bring to a height the fight against corruption, is highly commendable. The Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, who played a fast one to bribe National Assembly with a whooping N55million either to increase the vote of his Ministry or have the vote passed intact was dismissed from office. All other active participants in the corruption charade in his Ministry have their necks in chains.

The President of the Senate and other Senators and members of the House of Representatives who shared in the booty have their political career in jeopardy. It is the beginning of a political Tsunami to sweep the intractable problem of corruption in this country to a destination of no return.

In the year 2000, I wrote an article on anti-corruption titled: “The Anti-Corruption Bill" in which I said, in part, that the war against corruption initiated by Obasanjo was a spiritual assignment and that when God gives an assignment, He provides the means to achieve it. Obasanjo is just finding his path after derailment along the way in the direction of achievement.

I remember also the year 2000, when the Anti-Corruption Bill was placed before the National Assembly for enactment into law, for more than one year, the Bill was being tossed like a balloon on the surface of the sea with the expectation of being boxed out of existence. But the Bill survived.

In that same year, when the Senate finally called for public contribution before the passage of the Bill, I was moved to write a lecture titled: “Corruption: A Case Study of Nigeria’s Social, Economic and Political Underdevelopment" which was passionately presented and and received with rapt attention. During the post lecture interactive session, one Senator told me that their hesitation in passing the Bill was based on the fear of a patient who is being wheeled into the theatre but never sure of returning alive. The fear is now real and more patients of the National Assembly may not return alive as long as President Obasanjo sustains the present tempo.

The seed of corruption in this country was sown by military incursion into the national political system. Along the way, it has been nurtured by variables of social-economic and political factors.

Now, the monster of corruption has become over grown, feeding on positive actions of the society and eating up the flesh and bones of our nationhood and thus renders it susceptible to social and political disorder. Corruption goes with indiscipline, which radiates negative current and forms a bridge for the ill-intentioned mediocres to cross to corridors of power. Whenever this bridge is anchored at all levels of our social life, the collective sense of a people is directed towards a mean end, giving expressions to material values at the expense of noble ideals. Rather than moving forward, the nation finds itself back-pedalling fuelled by our national reservoir of contradictions and social inhibitions.
A habit so long imbibed
cannot be fought with cosmetic gloves. A stubborn disease needs a drastic remedy to purge it from the system. President Obasanjo deserves commendation for this singular act of determination to deal with this intractable problem of corruption. Members of the National Assembly affected should bury their heads in shame. In a civilized economy, a person like the Senate President should have gone into the inner recess of his room and hid himself .

Infact, according to the most ancient of Roman customs, or come to think of it, in the Oyo Empire, such an individual with any sense of honour should have committed suicide rather than parading his moral bankruptcy and cowardice on the highway.
Unfortunately, members of the National Assembly cannot, through their arrogance of power read the mood of the nation and the world through President Obasanjo. Out of ignorance, they are planning the evil of impeachment. Well by the time Ribadu cleanses up the stinking stable, only few may remain strong enough for this impeachment exercise.
President Obasanjo has

persistently told Nigerians that he is determined to fight this corruption which has become a virus affecting the immune system of our body polity, adding that there would be no sacred cows. Now, the momentum has been created and what is needed is an effort to sustain it.

Fighting corruption in Nigeria is enough political life-wire for President Obasanjo to deal with other misunderstood political reforms. The first step is to reinforce the ICPC and EFCC financially, give strong protection to officials of these bodies, if possible, let Ribadu move about in armoured car. Secondly, let there be separate courts to try cases of corruption for the purpose of acceleration. Thirdly, the present pay of Nigerian workers is criminal to say the least and the system of paying monthly salaries in arrears should urgently be looked into so as to minimize corruption in lower places. The government should have the courage of transferring all government funds from private banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ease corruption and engender regular payment of workers' salaries.

Lastly, since President Obasanjo is so concerned with the eradication of corruption in our system, let there be leadership by example and public morality in the aftairs of government.

Above all, those who corruptly rigged themselves into the corridors of political power should know that the spiritual Tsunami is here for Nigeria. Nothing will stop it!

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