By Odera Achenyo
Rev. Chris Okotie’s recent commentary on the ongoing war against corruption, and the role ‘statesmen’ should play in ensuring its success stirred the hornets’ nest: “It will be recalled that in his Independence Day speech, President Muhammadu Buhari came out clearly to reaffirm his honour and integrity in prosecuting the battle against Nigeria’s enemy No. 1, and his avowed commitment not to be selective or vindictive as being widely speculated.
“I bear no ill will against anyone on past events. Nobody should fear anything from me. We are not after anyone. People should only fear the consequences of their actions”. This reiterated the reverend’s position on the anti-corruption war on the necessity for an all-out battle against the endemic monster and Mr. President’s ability to follow it through dispassionately.
Buhari’s long awaited appointment of cabinet members heralds the beginning of the public’s scrutiny of his government and its financial dealings for any sign of corrupt or questionable practices, so, he must be aware that the very steps he takes in prosecuting his anti-corruption war will be scrutinized when his governments’ tenure is over. It is only appropriate to bring this to Mr. President’s notice.
Me-thinks that a submission to an all-encompassing probe of the immediate past administration is the best option to set the records straight and put to rest the hydra-headed monster of allegations being rumoured about the regime and indeed where possible, all past administrations.
Recent events involving the high profile trial of top-guns of the ex-President’s party, the PDP – justifies Okotie’s view that any plea for mercy by some influential Nigerians for persons under investigation is premature and uncalled for. There’s a red card for corruption worldwide.
Buhari cannot afford to allow these scandalous legacies to continue under his watch. Now that he has begun the anti-corruption war, the outcome must meet with the expectations of Nigerians. Following through with his manifesto is the second and logical step to take. Okotie always says “people don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect”.
He also wrote in an article titled, “In search of game changers”, in which he said: “Many of the familiar problems of our country like power outage, hunger, collapsed national infrastructure; conflicts in all facets of our national life, would remain as painful reminders that the gathering firestorm over the 2015 general elections could only be averted if the democratic process is able to produce game changers”.
Now, Buhari and his new aides are facing horrendous challenges to reconstruct our dilapidated nation, so, he must inspire both his team as well as the entire nation and turn it into a mass army of loyalists who will join him in this arduous task. His ability to rally the nation will prove if he is the game changer he is envisaged to be. He must also be able to take responsibility and act decisively, rather than wait to be blamed before defending himself if his ministers do wrong.
In the same vein, caution should be taken by the opposition in making utterances that could easily be misconstrued to be the constitution of a parallel government, which mimic’s a surreptitious continuance of Buhari’s predecessor tenure, and seeking to influence the incumbent when a path which is at odds with their own is being followed. This hint of blind-partiality is to pressurize the incumbent into mitigating the force of the corruption war and soft-pedal his resolve.
If the hands of any official being probed are clean and there are no skeletons in their cupboards, why then should they fear? The new ministers and appointees have a tall task of proving pessimists who believe it is impossible to live above the corruption board, wrong.
- Achenyo is resident in Onicha-Olona, Delta State