By Eddie Mbadiwe
EVERYDAY Nigerians wake up with a jolt. All you have to do is pick up the papers or listen to the radio and the rest of your day is almost ruined
This piece is not about Magu neither is about the horrendous billions been flung around at NDDC. My advice is that if you must read the papers, it is proper that you do so after your dinner so that your digestive system can try to settle the imbalance before you sleep.
Corruption is endemic and systemic in Nigeria. The system that cannot police itself is fit for rubbish bin but what is the replacement? Magu was placed in an outfit that recovers billions of dollars, pounds in Nigeria and abroad and we were so naïve to believe that he would just hand it all over.
What is his salary as a policeman? We are all jokers and Magu is a victim of the Nigerian system which cannot place enough road blocks for checks and balances.
The endemic and systemic nature of corruption in Nigeria can be compared to a patient who has frequent crises from has sickle cell anaemia. Long term relief is only possible by blood transfusion. The question is how do you transfuse a nation?
I had in a previous contribution canvassed setting up of anti-corruption court at two levels. Primary court and appeal court level. These courts will have people of proven integrity to try, confiscate and imprison people who have looted the nation’s treasury.
They will impose punitive jail sentences. The instruments setting them up will exclude all the frills of regular courts where trials can go on for 12 years. They will be known as The Peoples Courts.
I remember the biblical story of when a woman of easy virtue was brought before Christ and the question before her accusers became: who will cast the first stone? We live in a country where if you have a government appointment, the first advice you get is where the stealing escape routes that are in the system are buried.
If by the time you serve out your term and you have not emptied the treasury, they call you a proper bloody fool.
Two Christmas seasons ago, two Reverend Fathers were looking for me. They were not from my parish. They drove past my house three times after the villagers had pointed it out to them.
Eventually when they located me, the first thing one of them said was: “Honourable, this cannot be your house.” I wanted to know why. The house is a bungalow and he said every person who has been to parliament from this constituency built a mighty mansion. I only looked at them and did not say a word.
The people of Nigeria need serious re-orientation and possibly psychiatric treatment. We cannot escape it but there is an urgent need for this country to have a permanent Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Anyone who cannot explain their sources of wealth must forfeit them to a common wealth and also go to prison. If we do not do this, future generations will exhume dead people, try them and still punish them. This country has to be run with Truth.
Truth is colourless, and works in a straight line. Even if you step on its neck, it will refuse to die.
The other danger of corruption is that people are no longer prepared to work hard, for if you can find your way to be a Director General of a parastatal or ministry, you simply have to know how to fiddle with vouchers and then retire early and find a safe haven to deposit your loot. People have retired at grade level 16 and then came out to build estates.
It is not just stealing money that is corruption. There are other forms. When we make appointments not minding the federal character law and skew all of them in one direction, that is to my state or my relations only, that is tantamount to the mother of all corruption and is a crime.
By this action you kill all incentives and the zeal to excel. You are also killing the nation.
More than 60 years after and independence, Nigeria is still waffling and wobbling. We pull the Black man backwards because whatever we do here reflects directly on every Black person.
You may end up producing a nation of semi-idiots inadvertently. This bare- faced corruption attempts to circumvent natural laws of growth and it must therefore must fail.
This augean stable has to be cleansed one way or the other. There is currently something trending on the social media called “In Nigeria”. Let me leave you with it: “In Nigeria, the population of people wanting to steal is higher than the population of people stealing. We are in trouble”.
Rt. Hon. Mbadiwe, a former federal legislator, wrote from Abuja