1 It is sad when people and nations choose foolishly and then blame fate or the gods for the consequences of their choices.
2. Experience is the best teacher but Nigerians are resistant to its teaching.
3. Huge traces of masochism must be embedded in the DNA of large portions of our populace when it comes to making political choices.
4. One bitten, twice seduced, thrice perpetually confused!
5. Rational Choice Theory (RCT) can explain anything including the worst forms of irrationality and that is its core flaw!
Anti-corruption rhetoric and dramatics are now very popular in Nigeria. I totally support campaigns to rid this country of corruption but I also insist that such campaigns must carried with the right level of professionalism, detachment, neutrality, integrity and honesty. Anything short of these is plain dishonest. Anything short of these really amounts to the continued enthronement and celebration of corruption in efforts to combat it. where anti-corruption are not neutral, detached and honest, then they are likely to abuse their powers and influences, applying inconsistent rules and procedures in their treatment of persons and agencies. Double standards also represent critical threats to anti-corruption campaigns as they throw up different evaluations and reactions for the same behaviour. Such practices, where they occur, amount to corruption!
Here are a few reflections on this subject matter.
- Double standards are outcomes of corrupt thinking. A nation of double standards will thus remain corrupt.
- You cannot have one set of scales for persons in one party & another for persons in the other. Such a habit results from a corrupt mind set.
- If you practice selective hysteria for allegations of corruption against persons in one party, then your mind is gradually being corrupted.
- If you practice selective targeting in your campaigns against corruption, then your campaign is already steeped in corruption.
- Anti-corruption practices must be fair. They must be conducted without any trace of favoritism or fear. Fail to do these and the campaign fails
- To be credible, anti-corruptions must be consistent, even handed and transparent. They must be devoid of all forms of double standards.
The 18th Sunday readings speak to our times.
These are hard times.
One hears a lot of things these days. But one has learnt never to believe most of them as we are now in a time of easy retractions and of claims of either being misunderstood, being misquoted or being quoted out of context. Shehu Garba and Femi Adesina, both presidential spokespersons, have now become experts in such methods of denial. But wilI their skills stop speakers from speaking and hearers from hearing what was said at those increasingly frequent moments when the mouth appears to run ahead of and faster the brain? “Mouth run” is a hazard and the best cure for it is a padlock but such a solution is painful and also violates a fundamental human right.
I hear the General has now decreed, yes, decreed that the probes into corruption in Nigeria will now be limited to the period when President Jonathan was in power. Femi Adesina has come forward to defend and justify this cut-off line that his principal has now drawn in the sands of Nigerian time. Note that this new cut-off line represents a departure from earlier indications that the period of “PDP misrule” (1999-2015) was going to come under serious probe.
The first question then is – what really prompted this departure? Logistics, fear of OBJ, fear of offending northern sensitivities by any focus on the short period of the Yar’Adua presidency? Nigerians are no fools and can read beyond the lines. And lines that are purposefully drawn to include some and to exclude others represent the worst forms of arbitrariness and dishonesty, both of which have no place in good governance.
The second question is why the narrow focus? There are myriads of corruption allegations all over Nigeria starting from accusations of a $2.8 billion scam, to outright screaming headlines of an alleged heist by Halliburton that are yet to be closed out. Allegations such as these merit the attention of anybody genuinely interested in fighting corruption.
The third question is this – why this exclusive focus on the federal level? Are we suggesting that crooked deals at the state and LGA levels are unworthy of attention and prosecution?
The fight against corruption is not one of “pick and choose”. A selective approach calls into question the ultimate intentions of persons posing as anti-corruption crusaders. It exposes them to legitimate accusations of witch hunting and of attempting to use state powers in the pursuit of personal vendettas. It is worth reminding ourselves that whenever the instruments of state power are hijacked for personal pursuits, we are dealing with a case of abuse of power, and abuse of power is also a form of corruption. Let those who are drawing lines in the sands of time note that line drawings driven by vendetta and spite will eventually turn around and catch the same drawers. Finally, credibility is a requisite attribute of all who must fight corruption. Acts by corruption fighters that undermine this credibility will eventually sink the anti-corruption crusader.
Spiralling out of control, spinning,
tumbling into free fall,
our Nero chases rodents
his followers cheer on,
reason & vision drowned
I had just read a report of a Bomb explosion in PH this morning.
Yesterday, ChannelsTV reported that GMB made very critical remarks on the GEJ’s administration’s handling of the BH insurgency when the BBOG group, who were strategic allies in GMB’s campaign, came calling. He forgot to tell his audience that at critical moments in the GEJ government’s efforts to deal with BH, He (GMB) made remarks calculated to discourage any robust muscling up of effort. He forgot to mention that of some his unfortunate cooments sounded like poorly disguised apologia for the BH savages. Even worse was the fact that GMB was making those remarks at the BBOG reception against the backdrop of his own seeming inability to respond creatively to the recrudescence of BH carnage right under his nose and on his incipient 40 day old watch. I almost flipped. Your house dey burn, you dey chase mouse, playing blame games, looking for cheap popularity and offering hollow over-used excuses! So I hastily scribbled these incoherent lines in the poem above as catharsis. Forgive the imperfections.
Lesson from NASS 7. Winners are not whinners. They take a fall, clean nyash and bounce back.
Lesson from NASS 6. The come-back kid always kicks ass.
Lessons from NASS 5. In defeat, organise more and agonize less.
Lessons from NASS 4. Numbers matter, but strategic leveraging is everything.
Lessons from NASS 3. Size matters but it is how you use it that matters the most.
Lessons from NASS 2. In defeat, don’t lose your head.
Lessons from NASS 1. In victory never get cocky or complacent.
Key lesson – Public display of control and “Dictat” breed resentment. Appeal is superior to ordering and commanding in building consensus.
Toyosi Arigbabuwo and Noel Ihebuzor
Crown, drown, clown…..”
for which town?
Abeg, chill naa, no vex
I no vex, I no frown!
Dem jus fall my hand down!
Me dey here wan wear LASTMA gown
I no know say you dey only play with noun
My fine white skin, don nearly turn to brown!
na so so frown frown
when town vex come meet crown
sake of say ogogoro wey him down
wey make dem talk of drown
E come be like this town
When dem goon
Say no be madness make the crown
Wan drown pipu for inside Lagoon
Chei, Baba God him dey frown
Him no go gree sey make clean pipu drown
na float wey eagle feather dey float for water,
leg wey waka come go waka go,
nothing do am, nothing fit do am.
**** Toyosi and I wrote this instantaneous duet as an expression of our strong disapproval of royal meddling in inter-ethnic amity! Readers in Nigeria will be familiar with the context.TA is Toyosi’s voice, NI is mine.
This link line takes you to an article in TheCable that claims to examine “a million other things that damaged President Jonathan” in his re-election bid. It is wriiten by one Chidi Chima and was uploaded on Twitter via @thecableng #2015Elections . Chidi invites his readers to also come up with and contribute their views on what they think “damaged President Jonathan”.
My cousin and friend, Reg Ihebuzor, with whom I regularly engage in discussions on development and politics, pointed out to me today that President Jonathan by his utterances and actions represents real change and that indeed the mantra of real change fits him like a glove. He reminded me of the following products of President Jonathan as proof of this real change mantra.
- Almajari Schools – never been done before
2. Stopping corruption in fertiliser – never been done before
3. Starting 2nd Niger Bridge – never been done before
4. Revamping railways – never been done for 20 years
5. Revamping 14 airport terminals – not been done
6. Appointing more women in responsible positions – never been done
7. National conference for effective federalism – never been done before
8. You-win for youths – never been done before
9. Reform of power sector – never been done
10.Reform payment system in public sector to stop corruption – never been done.
He contrasts these evidences of real change with startling evidence of the rigidity of Buhari, of Buhari’s incapacity for change and his inflexibility, all the more startling given Buhari’s change campaign slogan. He cited the following as evidence of inability to understand change and to change :
- Arrogant Dictator – unchanged. “If you do not like Me, go and vote for the other party”
- Unchanging attitude towards his role in the PTF heist and the gross management ineptitude he displayed
- Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards the post election violence by his supporters in 2011
- Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards his current association with politicians with shady and corrupt pasts.
- Unchanging attitude towards retroactive laws that resulted in deaths. So, no apologies for retroactive laws
- Unchanging arrogance – “I can’t change the past” and unwillingness to retract utterances he made in the past which are indicative of outright religious bigotry
- Unchanging attitude towards decrees 2 and 4
- No change in attitude towards his overthrow of a democratically elected government.
- No apologies for jailing democratically elected political leaders.
- No change in his attitude towards the unresolved certificate issue.
Whatever Buhari is, he certainly is not change. Buyer, beware! Choose wisely.