Posts Tagged 'corruption'

Avoiding corrupting practices in anti-corruption campaigns

by

Noel Ihebuzor

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.

Revealing Unravellings

By

Noel Ihebuzor 

 

 

 Fanciful filas

cover crowns filled with fetid

filth, sleaze, rot and scum

and we watched

and we lauded

and as we wowed

Runts grew big

guzzled funds like pigs 

in hot rut

Drawing Lines in the Sands of Time

By

Noel Ihebuzor

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.

Ramblings and Jottings on Corruption

by

Noel Ihebuzor

I scribbled these ramblings and jottings on corruption way back in 2012 and published them on my other blog. A reading and review of these jottings now acquire an enhanced relevance given that the incoming Buhari administration was part marketed to the Nigerian electorate using the fight against corruption as a sound byte. Administrations can only combat what they understand – and understanding presupposes sound problem conceptualization and adequate causality analysis. The hope is that a reading of these ramblings and jottings will prompt such. It is also hoped that they will set the nation on a course of action to correctly and sustainably tackle corruption, a course of action that would involve a blend of preventive, punitive and corrective measures. Populist approaches (high drama, handcuffs and histrionics) to tackling corruption are very attractive and the photo and media pecks they bring are numerous but such approaches are hardly ever sustainable. Sustainable approaches involve the judicious blend of environmental control, internal controls, incentives, deterrence, sanctions, positive deviance and behaviour change. We hope that policy makers and corruption fighters will read these ramblings and jottings, reflect on them and apply the useful ones in their fight against corruption. Goodluck!

PS/ In a related reading on this blog, I discuss the need for fast but fair prosecution of corruption cases. In a number of situations, the failure of the judiciary to achieve this is a major inhibitor to the effective fight against corruption.

Flights of fancy and flights from reality – A million other things that damaged President Jonathan

By

Noel Ihebuzor

GEJ, a great president. a humble man, a silent achiever

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”.

Chidi Chima skipped Region & Religion! The reader is invited to visit INEC’s results compilation for the 2015 presidential elections and to look closely at the votings in NE, NW & SS zones. Skewed Demography, Religion & Region were at play and were the real “damagers”. This is the harsh truth and we need to tell ourselves some of these hard truths, but Chima prefers to flee from them. If, for example, the SE zone had come out and voted and given Jonathan 750,000 votes each and kept Buhari below 10% of votes cast, as was the case in most of the NE/NW zones, the results would have been otherwise. So, the game changer and decider in these elections were once again Ethnicity and Religion, not any of these fancy reasons that Chidi Chima throws up! Finally, Chidi Chima will do well to study the results for the presidential elections for the FCT and Lagos where populations and religions are more heterogeneous – the results here could be taken to reflect a more balanced representation as to how a cross section of Nigerians inhabiting a common geographical space evaluated the Jonathan presidency.

Shehu’s reply – On OBJ, GMB and GEJ – what does available evidence say?

Thanks for sharing Dan Agbese’s 2000 article about Haroun Adamu’s probe
of the Petroleum Trust Fund. It seems that people are digging but I can
tell you that left to himself alone Buhari cannot device ways of being
dishonest but in league with others, he has never had any problem
partaking in dishonesty. That, in fact, is his current situation.

Any expectation that a Buhari government will make an impact in dealing
with the problem of dishonesty in government is fantasy as I have
consistently maintained. Headline making stories are only a minor
reflection of the scale of the problem of dishonesty. Buhari knows
nothing about relevant policy formulation and it is not a priority for
his current leader, Asiwaju.

Buhari didn’t run the PTF. He left it to the late Salihidjo Ahmad who
came from his circle of friends and family, and went to sleep. It was
run just like any old corrupt Nigerian government venture. No difference
whatsoever. Its officials took bribes, awarded overinflated contracts
and the like. As a result of this, one of the men on the board of the
PTF, the late Group Captain Usman Jibrin who would have none of it
decided to resign. Buhari stayed put.

I also see you paying attention to Obasanjo’s self-serving talk.
Obasanjo has zero credibility. Not many are seeing this right now but it
is to the credit of Jonathan that he has actually grown the balls to
refuse to continue to take dictation from him.

If truth be told, it is easier to point to where Jonathan has spent
money in his four+ years than it is to show where Obasanjo did in his
first term. Let us be concrete. Obasanjo faced turbulence, Sharia riots,
Odi. Obasanjo failed to punish the perpetrators of the Sharia riots,
that served to embolden others including the Haramites; he was
high-handed in dealing with Odi, that served to further militarise.

Jonathan has had to deal with the consequences of Obasanjo’s failures,
in addition to the BH which is now a problem with a serious
destabilizing foreign dimension. This has provided a very tough
environment for the government. Worse, owing to the circumstances in
which he came into office and the sense of betrayal felt by the many
Northerners who consider their turn to rule as having been hijacked, as
well as his failure to properly reach out to the disgruntled, he has
been unable to win the confidence and support of influential sections of
the North. This failure is what I foresaw in 2011, and warned that it
could lead to division.

That North is also suffering from another problem which is a direct
consequence of the Babangida privatisation programme which was
accelerated and completed by Obasanjo. I have a problem with the
privatisation of vital social services but that is irrelevant here.
Recall the old days. There was a time when people looked forward to
Board appointments, First Bank, NITEL and the whole battery of other
huge government owned enterprises. Membership of those boards afforded

people the opportunity to use their influence to serve the interests of
their immediate communities, and because of the Federal Character
principle, this patronage was widely spread but always what were seen to
be the choicest positions were invariably occupied by Northerners.
Federal Character also ensured that there was a spread of offices of
those companies occupied by local employees thoughout the country.

That disappeared completely under Obasanjo. The persons who bought the
privatised companies were mainly persons from outside the North, ditto
those who stepped up to fill the vacuum created by the disappearance of
NITEL who have only been driven by market considerations which cannot
overlook employee competence. It’s not been noticed by many but the
handful of companies bought by Northerners, like Nigerian Ropes and
Steyr, have floundered or have been comatose since they acquired them.

For a North used to widescale patronage, it has been hard to deal with
new realities, which is why so many there are intent on doing whatever
they can to to ensure a return to the old comforts. One new reality from
which there is no escaping is that Jonathan has actually shown a
commitment to making and fulfilling promises which is why he has been
running for re-election on his record, something which Obasanjo did not
do in 2003.

Obasanjo could not have done so. He built a stadium in Abuja, and its
Games Village. That’s it. He channeled a lot of money towards power
generation. Liyel Imoke has yet to account for what became of that
expenditure. The rest of the time, Obasanjo was away from his desk on
extended visits abroad. He left Atiku to run the government. He provided
no account of the proceeds of privatisation. Obasanjo and Atiku were
later to build their own private schools and universities.

By contrast, Jonathan has built new government schools and universities;
built a major new railway line, Kaduna-Abuja, for the first time in a
hundred years; built a road between Abuja and Lokoja that is the finest
in the country; is building a metro line in Abuja; empowered Innoson
motors of Nnewi to manufacture transport buses that are visible on our
highways. All these are things he committed to doing in the aftermath of
the oil subsidy saga, and he has managed to do them despite the major
challenge of BH.

I have not dismissed the view that aspects of the complex BH problem are
the work of persons working to return to that which they had grown
accustomed. But what’s your general take on the election campaign so

far? I honestly fear it may all end up being of only “academic
interest.” The stakes are very very high. There are operators with ugly
records who will stop at nothing. There is trouble on the horizon. I
have sent out warnings. I hope they are heeded.


shehu
===

What Buhari and his image polishing team should know

The Mr Clean image sell is not working and will not work. There are too many pointers that suggest GMB’s complicity and or connivance in not too clean deals. Check out the NNPC deal. Check out the “APC” deal whilst He was with PTF. (APC means Afri-Project Consortium. Amazing coincidence in the two acronyms!)

The Mr Fair Guy image will not work either. There is damning evidence of nepotism and influence of region and religion in his decision making in the past.  Check the apportioning and location of PTF projects in the country. Check out disproportionate treatments meted to different civilians under his watch.

The Disciplinarian image is not working. There is a difference between a disciplinarian and an unfeeling and uncaring dictator! Remember decrees 2, 4, Irabor, Ogendengbe, Papa Tai Solarin, Pa Ajasin, Lateeef Jakande and some other respected politicians from the south-west!

The Corrective leader image is not working too. A corrective regime is not the same as one that tramples on human rights.

The Democrat image is not working either and will not work. Anyone who can promulgate decrees 2 and 4 can never and will never be a democrat.

The Honest Military leader image is not working. Anyone who can backdate a decree to “catch” someone is cruel, callous, dishonest and lacks humanity.

The Caring Civilian image is not working. Anyone who refused to speak up in the 2011 post elections violence is a cruel and driven person with a callused conscience.

A media strategy revision is required and urgently. The current spins are not convincing.


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