When the irrepressible Herbert Macauley of blessed memory formed the first Nigerian political party in 1923, he must have done that for altruistic reasons rather than the present trend of cabalistic, nepotistic and cash and carry orientation of our political leaders.
The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) was not a route to drain the resources of Nigerians who were suffering under unbearable colonial yoke. It was a nascent political navigational route to self-governance and civil rights of ordinary Nigerians of that era.
I will bet my last dime that Herbert Macauley never dreamt about a day like today in our political development. He and his political successors of the pro-independence struggle have been made a laughing stock before their contemporaries in the world beyond. Our current political undertakers have deprived them of the sweet sacrificial aroma the likes of Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Leopold Senghor are enjoying due to good governance by their successors.
The recent unmasking of the self-styled “Mr. Integrity” of the National Assembly is a pointer that the country has been thrown to the dogs. Lawan Farouk exhibited the ambiance of a tough, incorruptible and focused law maker worthy of trust by well-meaning Nigerians. He fought numerous battles on our behalf and through that engraved himself in our hearts. Nigerians did not know that beyond the public image was a corrupt and self-opinionated political wheeler dealer of supreme pedigree. Nigerians were once again hoodwinked and left to nurse their broken hearts. The present exercise to clear his name is a futile task because Nigerians have already proclaimed him guilty and there is no appeal on that.
I am tempted to assume that Lawan Farouk is yet to understand the Nigerian factor in the fight against corruption. Hiring four or ten Senior Advocates of Nigerian (SAN) will neither send him to jail nor free him from jail. He should not waste his graft resources on lawyers because political criminals are never convicted in Nigeria. Let him join the list of the infamous and hibernate the usual way until a new dispensation waves the magic wand to cleanse him of present indictment.
No matter how betrayed we feel about the despicable actions of the disgraced Farouk, it is essential we subject the entire drama to strict proof to unearth other clouded aspects of the mess. We need to know the point Mr. Femi Otedola decided to play the spy. Was the entire show a bribery gone sour? Why did Mr. Otedola and his sting contingent not arrest Farouk after he collected the first tranche of US$250,000.00? If the first was an error, why let him go after the second tranche of same amount was collected? Was reporting him to appropriate security agencies an after-thought by the oil mogul? Mr. Otedola must clear his name by playing the recorded videos of the events when Farouk collected huge sums of money from him. Feeding us with audio of the arrangement to collect the balance of the promised US$3m will not suffice in this matter. Reading the transcripts released so far revealed that Otedola was careful on what he said.
Looking at the bigger picture, the financial and energy administration of the country is probably rotten beyond redemption unless something drastic is done to at least halt the trend before applying requisite sanitization measures. The past few days witnessed landmark disclosures of endless fleecing of our commonwealth by those paid to safeguard it. The Farouk saga ultimately provided a convenient distraction for these individuals and their media allies to ensure that Nigerians are prevented from asking the basic questions and calling for appropriate sanctions. It is indeed reprehensible that a section of the media and individuals are celebrating the fatal blow the Otedola/Farouk saga is apparently dealing on the House of Representatives “Subsidy Report.” Are we serious in this country or do we simply crucify the corrupt when we are not the beneficiaries?
It was recently reported that contrary to the directive issued by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) still paid out subsidy on kerosene in a clear case of policy breach. Nobody has asked why at ex depot price of N40.90 per liter, the product is sold at N150/liter? Who is benefiting from the differential? This amounted to a whopping sum of N331,547,318,068.06 (US$2.3billion) in 2011 alone, yet our countrymen and a section of the media are more concerned with a diversionary showpiece. I wonder if we can build a better nation when we are clothed with selfishness and hypocrisy.
On the heels of this huge financial loss to the state emerged a shocking revelation by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the economy, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala that she simply has no clue on the oil revenue receipts. On what basis is she managing the economy then? I am tempted to scorn the N2.19trillion subsidy figure she presented as under-estimated. To imagine that the mentioned sum was paid out last year and followed by the noise about the linear relationship between increase in pump price and subsidy reduction is the greatest absurdity the current administration has visited on Nigerians. It really makes one to wonder where our present crop of leaders emanated from. Surely, Nigerians are in real deep hole and only a free and democratic election can free us in 2015.
The hopelessness of our situation is not helped by the citizens. At times bad leaders are encouraged to entrench recklessness and impunity by the same people they have subjugated to various degrees of dehumanization. The practice of upfront drawdown of democratic dividends by voters and opinion leaders is one of the greatest dangers facing our democratic development. You cannot c sale your votes to a politician and later expect him to care about your sufferings. The same fate awaits the ethnic and religious bigots who mortgage themselves because of parochial considerations. Like I have always written, your tribesman and religious soul mate will not build a different petrol station or market for you. We will all shop at the same market.
The whimsicality exhibited by our leaders and power brokers is difficult to undersand. We are at all times at the mercy of their whims. Otedola cannot answer questions from the national Assembly unless his choice of public hearing is adopted is a typical example of this negative tendency. The President damned the entire nation concerning his assets declaration is another example. Farouk’s refusal to present the fruit of his corruption defines this new attitude of our leaders. Examples indeed abound to buttress this emerging characteristic of Nigerian politicians.
I urge all Nigerians to join hands in slicing this budding negativity before it becomes too late. We cannot perpetually remain at the mercy of their whims.