As you read this piece, our President, Muhammadu Buhari, would be in London, where he is expected to join several world leaders and organisations, in pushing the frontiers of the renewed onslaught against corruption.
It is the same London where many of our public treasury looters have their loots all stashed away. The same London that has refused to come down hard on its many dependencies (like the British Virgin Islands), which continue to provide safe havens for illegal wealth and shell companies.
In fact, the contradictions are so huge that I was compelled to go back to the dictionary, to see if ‘corruption’ still has the same meaning I always thought it did.
Of course, the meaning has still not changed. The Encarta World English Dictionary that comes with my computer’s Microsoft package gives six short definitions but there is no mention of the word, ‘stealing’.
So, I suspect this must have been the dictionary former president Jonathan checked, before he concluded that stealing was not corruption.
I always understood, and still understand that statement to mean that there was more to corruption than just stealing of public funds. But that’s discussion for another day.
Back to Buhari: I’m at a loss as to what anti-corruption gospel we’d be taking to London, when all we think of corruption is making only opposition elements either vomit (or sh*t) all they have illegally swallowed! Now, isn’t that a form of corruption? It does not really matter that we’re not complaining too much, so long as one set of thieves is being brought to book, and our money being recovered. The only problem is that it now becomes another form of corruption if we cannot now account for recovered loots. Where, for instance, would he tell the London audience we kept all the recovered loot? Including the one million dollar cash recovered from the soak-away of a retired Air Force Chief? And the raw cash recovered from Diezani’s Abuja home? Would he come out clean on how much of all the figures being bandied around is true? How much is propaganda? And how much is outright lie?
And that’s not all. President Buhari left Nigeria on the backdrop of the very strong words he fired at pro-Biafra agitators and other campaigners for secession. The president said he would do everything possible to ensure that such agitations do not succeed. According to him, “for Nigeria to divide now, it is better for all of us to jump into the sea and get drowned”.
So, how much of what the president plans to do to keep Nigeria one is legitimate – and, therefore, not corrupt? For the president, in his utterances, did not even spare a thought for the universally accepted right of a people to self-determination. Even if one is not in support of breaking up Nigeria, I’d still like to know how President Buhari arrived at the conclusion that all of us want to remain united? Even if most of us want to remain in Nigeria, whatever happens to the minority, who want to go their separate way?
Does Buhari know that the UK, which is providing the platform he will mount to advance the anti-corruption war, recently held a referendum to determine the future of one of its northerly territories? Is anything to the contrary not a form of corruption?
But those are not the only contradictions of our anti-corruption war.
When we go into an election determined not to accept certain results or instructing the electoral commission on who must not emerge winners, then corruption has no other name. It is also corruption if we insist on imposing the leaders of the National Assembly or intimidating the judiciary to do our bidding. When a judge suddenly begins to ‘see shadows’ midway into a corruption trial, it’s not corruption, but when the judge in a similar trial is alleged to be under investigation by a party to the trial, then things get really shadowy.
When two political parties go into an election and raise money to fund their campaigns, that may not be corruption. But when we decide to probe only how the losing party funded its election and turn a blind eye to the source of the winning party’s campaign funds, then we see corruption clearly walking on two legs. It is only corruption that would make us shroud our budget in so much controversy, as we recently witnessed. When we insist that, despite going through the scrutiny of the legislature, our budget must remain unchanged from what we sent in from the executive arm, then we’re being autocratic. In a democracy, that is the worst form of corruption. Sometimes, I even suspect that hoarding our money (just to get the fleeting satisfaction that our foreign reserve and bank balance are healthy) while all of us, rich and poor, are dying of hunger, could also be a form of corruption.
Yes, I might not be too sure of that one, but what I’m very sure of is: When you win an election on the promise of Change, then get into office and begin to change the promise, that is definitely corruption.
But even more corrupt is when you promise to create about 800,000 jobs in your first year only to turn round, on the eve of that anniversary, to tell us to go start dressing and, undressing masquerades – with each masquerade, creating about 200 jobs. Haba! That amounts to masquerading the jobs!
When you tell us that you’ve recovered over N3 trillion stolen funds and then turn around to go borrow far less than that amount from China, saying we have no money, that is not propaganda. It’s an outright lie (not Lai). That is corruption!
Meanwhile, here’s wishing PMB an eventful outing.
…Enter the ‘wife killers’
For the married Nigerian woman, infidelity is a no-win case. It’s a tails-you-lose, heads-he-wins situation. As a married-but-still-searching friend of mine once put it, “if I catch my wife with another man, she will pack and go. If she catches me with another woman, she’ll still pack and go”.
But it would seem it’s even the lucky women, who get thrown out of their husbands’ houses alive. Several others would have to make that exit journey in body bags.
How do I mean? Just as we are been treated to different versions of what really transpired between Lekan Shonde and his wife, Ronke, that led to the death of the latter, in Lagos, last week, another tale emerged from nearby Sagamu, Ogun State, of yet another man allegedly beating his wife to death.
In both cases, infidelity (on the part of the wives) was believed to be at the centre of the problem – how come we never hear of wives lacing the food of their he-goat husbands with Otapiapia? Just wondering!
While Shonde openly alleged that his wife was dating her boss (and that he only slapped her and left the house (where she was found dead the next morning), the mother of the victim in the Sagamu incident alleged that her late daughter’s husband (Mr. Batholomew Ehimare) regularly accused the wife (Omolade) of ‘too much packaging” and dressing provocatively – a veiled reference to infidelity. Like Shonde, Ehimare also denies killing his wife. In fact, he had gone to the police station to report that the woman took poison and died. But the police later discovered there was no such poison consumption, that Omolade was rather the victim of physical violence.
Only yesterday, I chanced upon a video on the Internet, where a man who allegedly caught his wife, hanging out with another man in a public place shot her dead, right there in broad daylight.
Yes, while it is okay for men, who are married (sometimes to four or more wives) to keep a string of girlfriends and concubines, it is a capital offence for the woman (even yet-to-be-married girlfriends) to moonlight with another man – even for a one-night stand.
How come this naturally philandering homo sapien called man turns out to be the most intolerant of a ‘generous’ wife? How come, he is the one that would pass and execute a death sentence on a wife, whose infidelity he has yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt? Even when he cannot swear by poxes of Sopono or the left foot of Amadioha that he has never browsed other websites since he got married? Hmmm.