April 12, 2021


AfricaTopForum – News Around Africa

Corruption, attitude and politics

5 min read

By Dayo Sobowale


This week the Nigerian Senate approved the appointment of a young security operative as Chairman of the EFCC. The new man himself  Mr  Abdurasheed  Bawa   was  confident he can deliver on the job  as he has the requisite training and  experience  and the Nigerian senate agreed and  reportedly  confirmed  him    in   just two  hours. Really,  I have  no problem  with that as the taste of the pudding is in the eating and time will  tell,  as the new helmsman lives up to his billing as he has promised. What  baffles me however was a statement credited to the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption PACAC Professor Itse Sagay  that  the Attorney  General of the Federation Abubakar Malami will  not allow the new Chairman of the EFCC to perform just  as he had not allowed the former Chairman Magu to deliver  ostensibly  because  both are from Kebbi State. This  shows  clearly  that there  is  some serious  disturbance  in Nigeria’s  anticorruption sector and since anticorruption was  one of the factors that made Nigerians elect our president twice  now, then  something needs to be done urgently to assure Nigerians that the anticorruption war  has not derailed altogether for the simple reason that a house  divided against itself  cannot stand .

I   have  used this Sagay  outburst or alarm to show  that something is rotten in the state of Nigeria  and not only on corruption but on security but    our  attitude ,  politics and  democracy  generally  and I will  give good examples  to illustrate  this. I will also highlight an emerging trend of media connivance and silence on issues of corruption especially when such media have vested interest or is politically aligned to such media or technology provider or supplier. In addition I will also show that misinformation on issues can be deliberate, orchestrated or manipulated to favor political parties or alienate or close down opposing views decisively and intentionally. We  shall  look at these issues at  times from a political  or historical  perspective but  we  shall  be cautious  in highlighting the political  culture or  contemporary  trend  that have given rise to these  developments.

In Nigeria of course one can say that we run a one party state because the APC has the majority in both Houses of the National Assembly. That explains the break neck speed at which all presidential appointments are approved in the senate. Especially those of the new Service Chiefs now Ambassadors. Yet in the Nigerian media there is some restraint, quite astonishing   though. A Lagos  state   government PRO once told me he does not read the Nation because it is for government and APC  and I  told him he was misinformed because there  are many columns in the Nation  that are  highly critical  of government  and the APC. Indeed the APC does inadvertently its own self-censorship or restraint.  I remember when it was rumoured that former Aviation Minister Femi Fani Kayode was to join the  APC it was  a DG of the governors forum who   said or  lamented that  the APC  should  not lose its values  in taking on new members . Similarly a former Governor of Osun State while commenting on the APC registration of new members lamented that the party was admitting killers into its fold, although he later explained that he had no particular person in mind but whoever the cap fits should mend his ways.

Let me use the US and UK too to show part of what I have in mind on this topic. I will use two issues namely migration in the US and the bringing down of statues as a protest against racism and   colonialism in the UK. The  two  personalities  involved are new US President Joe Biden  who is opening US borders to illegal  aliens  that  former President Donald Trump  built  a wall  against   and  UK Business  Secretary Kwasi   Kwarteng

In   the US   a Republican senator who went to the Mexican border was shown gaping holes in the Trump walls that Biden Administration has refused to fill because its new policy is for open borders and pro-immigration. As this is the new US policy on immigration then it is not much different from ISIS terrorist policy of a borderless world. Indeed that seems to be the policy of the herdsmen and abductors terrorizing our porous vast borders in the North East and the marauders in Kaduna state, the NW and North Central. Indeed we have been told that the gun totting armed Fulani herdsmen are not bona fide Nigerians but aliens from neighbouring   Niger and Chad   who   have infiltrated our borders with   impunity. The  import here is that if the US  is opening its borders to Mexicans legally or  not, we can expect no help  from the Americans in policing our borders in the open assault  we face from terrorists like Boko Haram  who preach No  to the Nigerian  state  or armed  herdsmen who roam  about without respect for our borders . That is the harsh reality on security that Nigeria must face nowadays diplomatically and militarily. It is indeed a daunting security task

In  the case  of  the UK   I  watched  an  interview  on BBC by  the  UK  Business  Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng ,whose  parents came from Ghana   to  the  UK in the sixties. He asked people in Britain not to throw away the history and lessons of colonialism but to study and understand its   context as it lasted over 400 years and cannot just be wished away or brought down by pulling down historical figures all over Britain because of Black Lives Matter protests. Which to me makes sense and showed a   useful    and profound benefit of Colonialism in that the UK Business Secretary has been both a victim and beneficiary of colonialism   and knows where the shoe pinches on both counts. His  advice  or admonition should also  discourage those who want to turn Black Lives Matter into a racism weapon to shut up critics or those with dissenting views. As in the cancel  culture where new rules   and   words on what is politically correct are being drawn  up daily and incessantly by  liberals  promoting acceptability of LGBT   culture  by all means in the EU, the  US  and western civilization generally.  I  think  the UK is lucky  indeed  to have  someone with the pedigree  of   a former  colonial   subject  as its Business Secretary , at this point in time.

Let us now round up with the rumpus or rumbling in our anti-corruption brigade here at home. The  AGN and Professor Sagay  must  mend fences in the national  interest which is to  get  the anti-corruption strategy working  to  plan,  such that it  does not allow corruption to fight back  and defeat it and thus this government and nation. That is  a  task  that must be done so that the new EFCC  helmsman can  focus  on his new task  with  the  ample  fresh  blood he has brought into his new assignment. We wish him well. Once again – From the fury of this pandemic, Good Lord Deliver Nigeria.