October 5, 2015

Buhari’s war on corruption – real or fake?


By Chinweizu

MANY Nigerians are puzzled by President Buhari and wonder what his #Change agenda really is. Someone has even gone as far as to say that “Most people are feeling conned, and it’s only morning yet.” Luckily, Buhari’s First Hundred Days now belong to history. So historians can begin to examine it for clues to Buhari’s actual mission and agenda as president, and how he will go about implementing it. This essay is my contribution to that effort. It is helpful to divide his actions into two groups:

(A) those he embarked on without public pressure and, in some cases, in great haste, as if to accomplish them before Nigerians wake up to what he is up to; and

(B) those he embarked on only after public outcry and pressure.

(A) includes his napalming of Akwa Ibom villagers claiming that he was going after what he called “oil thieves”; his sending of Boko Haram detainees to Ekwulobia prison in the Igboland; his claim that those seeking the breakup of Nigeria are crazies; his determination to limit his anti-corruption prosecutions to the Jonathan administration; his directive to make Islamic books mandatory in all secondary schools; his slowness in appointing his cabinet; his war on corruption; his pattern of lopsided appointments. (b) includes his delay in making public his assets declaration.

Corrruption and lootocracy

Nigerians have protested against most of these. To help those who are confused about Buhari’s agenda, this series will X-ray his First Hundred days with the aim of finding clues to his real but hidden agenda.

This, the Part I of this x-ray series, shall examine Buhari’s War on Corruption to see why it won’t work, indeed why it will further entrench corruption and lootocracy; how it is being restricted to implement the Caliphate hidden agenda; and if it is real or fake.

Buhari’s War on Corruption: The question to be answered here is this: Is Buhari’s War on Corruption real or fake?

The first thing to note is that, as we all know, corruption is a worldwide malady. But what most people don’t know is that the Nigerian brand of corruption is peculiar in two ways. First of all, it is primarily lootocracy. Whereas corruption is the dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain—as by a clerk who hides a file until he is bribed; or a policeman who mounts a checkpoint and extorts money from bus drivers; LOOTOCRACY is the constitutionally approved and protected looting of the public treasury by officials. It should be noted that the bribe-taking clerk or policeman is breaking a law, but the governor or president who empties the treasury into his personal bank account in not breaking any law. His constitutional immunity is a license to do so. Secondly, because lootocracy is legal and not prosecutable in Nigeria, it’s example has promoted rampant and brazen corruption throughout the society. This makes lootocracy the fountainhead of corruption.



In his Inaugural address, Buhari listed Corruption among the enormous challenges which he promised to tackle immediately and head on:”At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, . . . are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us.”— President Buhari’s inaugural speech

And he has also just told us that: ”corruption in our country is so endemic that it constitutes a parallel system. It is the primary reason for poor policy choices, waste and of course bare-faced theft of public resources.”While further clarifying his administration’s commitment to the war against corruption, the President said “our fight against corruption is not just a moral battle for virtue and righteousness in our land, it is a fight for the soul and substance of our nation.”

Giving an insight into the way corruption destroys the nation, the President told the Second Plenary of the Conference that “it is the main reason why a potentially prosperous country struggles to feed itself and provide jobs for millions.”In the same way, the President posited that “the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the infant, maternal mortality statistics, the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from preventable diseases are traceable to the greed and corruption of a few. This is why we must see it as an existential threat, if we don’t kill it, it will kill us.”

—Corruption is cause of poverty in Nigeria –Buhari

Despite all that rhetoric, we must ask: How serious is Buhari’s war on corruption? What are the chances that it will reduce, let alone kill, corruption? What is the likelihood that it is just a foxy PR gimmick that will further entrench corruption by leaving its fountainhead, lootocracy, in place?

Corruption mechanism

I must first draw attention to how a war on corruption can paradoxically obscure and protect a corruption system. How an Anti-corruption campaign can obscure and preserve a corruption mechanism: A Paradox. From his rhetoric thus far, Buhari will noisily hound, prosecute and severely punish hundreds and even thousands of corrupt officials. That is all well and good. But, unfortunately, that isn’t part of the solution to the plague of corruption. Paradoxically, that is a key and devious part of the ways to preserve the plague, for it camouflages and distracts attention from the looting system itself. It is like when a magician makes a noise in the east to turn the gaze of the audience eastwards while he strikes a silent blow from the west.

Of course, all those caught looting must be punished severely, routinely and without favouritism. But paradoxically, that punitive approach, if used all by itself, contributes to preserving and proliferating corruption. It hides from public view the fact that there is a mechanism or system that breeds corrupt officials every day, in their hundreds or even thousands, and in fact more than you could hope to catch even if the entire criminal justice system was commandeered for fighting corruption alone.

Breeding mechanism

It also hides from public view the fact that the elimination of that system or mechanism is the key to winning the war on corruption. You can’t win your fight against mosquitoes in your house unless you destroy their breeding ground in your compound. That corruption breeding mechanism must be eliminated if the war on corruption is to have any chance of success at all. If that breeding mechanism is eliminated, the number of corrupt officials to be caught and punished will dramatically reduce and become manageable. But what is that breeding mechanism that must be eliminated? It is the 1999 constitution and any amended version that has certain of its key features.

Dumping the 1999 constitution is the key to winning the war on corruption.Corruption in Nigeria is at the constitutional heart of the Nigerian system. If anybody really means to defeat corruption, he should first get rid of the 1999 constitution which is demonstrably the godfather of corruption, and which has entrenched and institutionalized lootocracy, the fountainhead of corruption. [Please see Chinweizu, “Nigerians and

Their Anti-Corruption Charade.” or Chinweizu, Four Frauds That Are Fatal For The 1999 Constitution ]

In that “Four Frauds” essay, I examined the 1999 constitution and showed that: (a) The 1999 Constitution is the Godfather of corruption, through the immunity clause 308. (1), which protects, and thereby implicitly invites, looting by the highest officials who have brazenly set the terrible example that the rest of society have emulated. (b) It is a fraud for the Godfather of corruption to give the impression that it is against corruption, and the fraud is compounded when it empowers the State to fight corruption but then surreptitiously discourages it from doing so. That’s double duplicity/double perfidy!

(c) All in all, the 1999 Constitution has been, and remains, a Guarantor of bad governance and the Mother of all evils in Nigeria.Buhari claims that “corruption in our country . . . constitutes a parallel system”; it should be clear from the foregoing that, contrary to Buhari’s claim, corruption is at the constitutional heart of the system. It is indeed the Nigerian system, not a parallel system to it. And so long as we have that constitution, nobody can end lootocracy and the corruption that it spawns.

Confab report

A commitment to get rid of the 1999 constitution is therefore the litmus test of anybody’s seriousness about getting rid of corruption. If he is serious, Buhari can get started by implementing the 2014 Confab report and organizing a truly democratic People’s constitution to replace the 1999 constitution. But of course he won’t do that! Why? He won’t because, entrenching the 1999 constitution is the most fundamental task on his Caliphate hidden agenda. And Buhari’s Caliphate constituency is already moving to prevent any implementation of the 2014 Confab Report. [Northern leaders move to block implementation of confab report] And some presidency sources have claimed that Buhari will not implement the Confab Report.[Buhari Will Not Implement Confab Report – Source.]

If these sources are proved correct, then it means Buhari is not serious about defeating corruption, his hot rhetoric notwithstanding. We’ll have to wait and see what he does. If he refuses to implement the Confab Report, then, like Obasanjo before him, Buhari will merely use the EFCC, ICPC etc. and noise-making against corruption to harass and persecute his political enemies, including some Caliphate men, to cheering from his delighted and ignorant dupes. He is already using it to avenge himself on those who overthrew him in 1985. He has started with Col. Dasuki, the man who arrested him during the IBB coup.