Feast of Barracuda Lecture delivered by Dr. A. Sikuade MBBS, PgD, MA, MRCPsych on 18th of May 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you in Holland for this important gathering and I am grateful to the organizers for inviting me. It is my wish that you enjoy your feast of Barracuda, an event which I and others personally resuscitated from the archives of the organization in 1985.
First a brief introduction. I am Dr Adedapo Sikuade, a psychiatrist who is currently practising in UK as an associate specialist psychiatrist. It sounds very grand, but not quite. I am actually an economic immigrant, having been born in UK many decades ago, only to return in 2005 after decades of medical practice in Nigeria. I know that there are many types of migrants, but I left the country of Nigeria in 2005, as part of what is now known as 'the brain drain', a fact which I attribute directly to the corruption in Nigeria.
The matter at hand is very dear to my heart, and for others who know me very well, they know that my conversations for the past 40 years have never strayed far from argumentative discourse centred on corruption and politics in Nigeria, as well it's the obvious trajectory towards a failed state.*
I understand that this is not a debating forum, and I thank the organizers for suggesting that the focus of this discourse today is what people like us, and yourselves in the diaspora, can do about corruption. I am of the opinion that what you want is not just platitudes and peripheral discussion, or which we used to call beer parlour radicalism. By the way, this is a term used by my compatriots, during the Babangida regime when you could not talk openly, and voice your opinion, and everybody felt emasculated. It is a species of human being who would frequent bar parlours, seeking free drinks by engaging other publicans in arguments about the political stalemate without professing exactly what one could do about it. The hall mark of the 'beer parlour radical' is the fact that the more beer and pepper soup he is given, the louder his voice, becomes until you have exhausted your money, and discovered he has moved on to engage another group of people, in exactly the same infertile conversation. I do not intend to engage in such platitudes today, although I hear the beer in Holland here is highly recommend.
It is important to understand that I am not a politician nor have I any political office aspirations, and I have never been in government except for a brief period in 1978-79 when I was a junior doctor and resigned in protest. That is for another time.
I don't not hold brief for any organization, but those familiar with me will understand that I am one of the founders of the modern era of the Pyrates Confraternity and participation in that organization for over 40 years since the age of 19, has circumscribed who I can affiliate with. I am absolutely totally immersed in its possibility as a vanguard for a greater Nigeria. I do not have any national office however, and represent no one. As I go along you will understand that I am one of those individuals who are called mavericks, that is, they prefer to work alone, and behind the scenes. I have been involved in many groups from the Bala Udoh Vanguard, to VODEF,(1980) down to recently ADL (African Democratic League, and latterly Campaign for Democracy and Concerned professionals amongst others. For my reward I remain a poor man, who fortunately only spent 2 weeks in detention during the Abacha era. That again is for another time. However all my interventions have been circumscribed by membership of the organization of which I am the foremost critic of what it does, and how it does. So you must imagine why I was reluctant to put this talk on paper.
However here I am, and here you are. I am not a lawyer, but have advanced degrees in theatre, anthropology and studied evolutionary psychiatry and psychology of the criminal mind. Working with recidivists, i.e. persistent offenders, has always taught me to look behind the actions of a man, understand it, why and how he does it, when he does it, what he does it for, in order to correct his actions if they are inimical to society . Thus I will initially take a scientific approach to the problems of corruption and what we can do about it. We all need to know exactly what we are taking about because to combat it, you must understand it. Not just ruminate newspaper exposes of the colossal fraud running into billions of both naira and dollars, which is rampant today.
I propose to start this discussion by explaining my method of talk today. The word Prosopopea is a rhetorical term in which an abstract term is spoken of as if it is an animate object. Thus in this talk, I want to refer to corruption as a BEAST. A frightful creature, which as it will be seen, is sucking the life of what is dear to us all, that is Nigeria. We need to face it that, when all is said and done, you can live in Holland but you can never be ethnic Dutch, live in England, or even be born there, but can never be ethnic British. Even if you do not care, what about your children and children's children? .This beast called corruption is robbing us of a viable nation to bring up children.
I take an evolutionary view about this. My forefathers and yours left southern Africa about 50,000 years ago to seek a new life for you and me. We don't know what drove them, but what we do know is that by 2013, we found ourselves together, around the confluence of the Niger and the Benue. Why would I surrender my forefather's homeland with all its treasure to a 'beast'?
To defeat a beast therefore, I believe that one needs to study it, how it breeds, who are its relatives, where it hides, what it eats, how its offspring are nurtured, where it hides its food, where it hunts, and in fact everything about it.
One of the most important things for us in the diaspora is to be motivated by something other than personal gain and focus on what we have to achieve, the prize ahead, and long term gains. It's hard to be focused when one has to survive in a strange land, working hard for foreigners, and hear of serious fraud from home. One usually feels helpless, and ask : Is this Europe where I'm going to die?'
I must confess that several times in the last one 7 years, since I came to Europe, I've been ashamed to say I'm a Nigerian. I cannot continue to defend the defensible. So sometimes I say, 'I'm Yoruba'. Or if I don't want to lie I just say: 'I come from a part of Nigeria'. Leave the person to imagine which part. The Boko Haram one, or the Ibori part. Or if he is confused, he may imagine the part that has adopted Obama as 'their son'. I will explain the need to be properly motivated later, for there will be trials and tribulations and after this talk, it is my hope that each and every one of us here will leave motivated, rather than despondent.
On a serious note then, it is clear that only if we are commited can we fight this beast. And so I commend to you that this is just the beginning of what we call 'Arming the Spririt'. Pyrates amongst you may have heard this saying, but may not understand in what context it is being used. Simply put, what weapon does the underdog (which we are at this point in time) have to combat a monster? In a game of wits, the most motivated individual wins, not usually the one with the most advanced arms.
So we need to use our wits, and steel our minds collectively, rather than use force or political or financial power. Unlike those fighting corruption in Northern Nigeria, I don't expect anyone to commit suicide because he wants to fight corruption, but as you will see, it's not a game. This beast can fight back and I will show how it fights back and viciously to. And sometimes to the death. So if you just want to talk shop and be beer parlour radicals, then I will just drink up and enjoy the meal you have prepared for me. But I prefer to believe that your attendance here is in preparation to arm the spirit.
I propose to proceed by critical discourse to understand how we can tackle corruption under the following headings.
• Naming the beast
• Origin of the beast
• Nature of the beast
• Mark of the Beast
These above are need to understand how we can identify the 'Achilles Heel' of the Beast and , as the title of this lecture suggests, Maim it, shame it and ultimately, tame it. That will be the subject of the second part of this talk.
But note that i don't think we can we kill it. By the very nature of the definition of corruption this should not be possible. All human systems will have a flaw in them, for they are organized by man, with all his imperfections, and base instincts. So there will always be a corruption of a human system. It is not possible to have a system without corruption. Corruption is a word which implies that there is something in existence prior to its faulty mechanism.
Thus you corrupt a hard disc, a minor, or corrupt your morals. Therefore, having identified the limits of our objective, I make bold to say that we cannot kill corruption. In fact it will be an exercise in quixotic futility. But we can maim it and shackled it, bring it under reasonable control. So that it cannot be a way of life that we think it's normal. NO! It must always be shamed, and hide its head like a thief. We need to tame it so that our children will know that some policemen are corrupt, but they will not see them shamelessly take bribes while we drive our children to school, to teach them morals.
We need to shame it, so that jet setting priests will not collect money from government officials who they know cannot afford the type of donation they give to the church, in full view of our children. We need to main it so that my children will not ask 'Daddy, which property of the United Kingdom did Ibori take that they are putting him in jail.' And so on and so forth. Name, Shame and Tame it. Make it have to hide like in other societies. Make sure this beast is not pardoned for stealing our money even while it still has a case to answer abroad, like Alamasiegba.
Make sure when it does get jailed and released it is not feted in thanksgiving jamborees like Bode George in Christ Church Cathedral , which should be the bastion of morality. We need to shame it so that we ourselves are not ashamed that those who gave bribe in Halliburton scandal are in jail in America, but those who collected the bribe are representing us abroad as ? And so on and so forth, But today is not the day to give a list of corrupt incidences in Nigeria. This should be our mission. Name, shame and tame it.
Naming is important because it tries to hide under semantics and call itself, misapplication or misdirection of public funds, or splitting of contracts, resource control or constituency allowance. No.
We give it a name today, a monster which is stealing ours and our children future.
Thereafter, having named the beast, and, so I do not speak in abstraction, I will give you four personal examples of corruption which I personally intervened, nationally, and at times at great peril to my life. This is not to say I am some sort of crusader for corruption. No, on the contrary, I am under oath to swear and 'dare to do the following', and one of those is to fight the convention of corruption. I will mention some names only so that you can know that I am telling the truth, and really participated in the following events.
At the end of this we will see the total nature of this beast and later profess what we can do about it. I need to make a caveat that I am not a member of any anti corruption body as at yet, although I know of a lot of them.
I will tell you that some of them are motivated by less than noble reasons. Again this is the nature of the beast. Sometimes it hides and camouflages and deceives one. EEFC is such a camouflage and so is the corrupt practices bureau. They are designed by this beast to lull us so we think someone is fighting corruption. There some good men, who try but it's not enough. When I show you the mark of this beast you will understand its protean manifestations.
So I implore you to bear with me when I take a cynical view of the existing anti corruption crusades and crusaders, but believe that they are cogs in a wheel that can be used to fight corruption by understanding some of their motivation. Even in this body we have the chairman of the Anti Corruption Network, (Prof. Odekunle) and prominent members of the Anti corruption league like Peter Pacqueens Aisagbonhi, and others.
More on that later, because no one individual can defeat this beast, any more than one man with a spear can kill an elephant. Ethno-evolutionary science tells us that we need to come together, one driving the beast from the back, another tricking it into a trap with a sword and possibly still another one driving it with fire into a pit while other pulls at its ears, or tail and so on, until it is corralled and controlled to manageable limits. I need to detail some of these incidents to illustrate why only collective resolve can tackle this monster.
Episode one: Corruption on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway
Episode 2: Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign organization
Episode 3: Corruption in COJA, the Amos Adamu/ Atiku Connection
Episode 4: Fraud in Road Safety: The Birnin Kebbi Sting.
Episode 5: Fraud in a Military Installation.
Origin of the Beast:
Having named the beast, let's examine its origins. What mother gave birth to this creature? In other words, it's important to examine what was the system in place that is now being said to corrupted? It was actually born out of corruption of ancient values ( like the custom of giving a dash) and triggered by a forced ethos, by colonial invaders, with intentions not genuine. The British came on a resource extractive mission and found tribes living together for centuries and decided that one had wealth; another had the landmass which could be a bulwark against French invasion from the North. So decided to marry the wealth with the bulwark and thus Nigeria was born. This then gave them access to the sea which included the natural harbour of Lagos and by default all of Yoruba land.
The British traded with the East first and later annexed its peoples including the Benin Empire, by force and political chicanery in the pretext of anti slavery movements or similar trumped up motives. At independence they supervised fraudulent elections and falsified the population census and handed over power to the Northern elite who were determined to maintain their traditional feudal hold over first, their own people and later as proxies for neo-colonial rule. The audience is referred to Chinua Achebe's book, 'There was a country' for details of the names of the British official who refused to be part of this fraud. (By the way the countries fraudulent past is becoming unravelled.
A census organized by Lagos state in 2007 for social amenities put the population at 17 million while the NPC (population commission) put it at 9 million. This is a big discrepancy and evidence of the persistent fraud perpetrated by the British. Anyway that is another story. The British and the inheritors of political power in post independent Nigeria had two things in common. Both were not the owners of the wealth of the nation, ( tin columbite, gold, oil, cocoa, coal and rubber which were mainly southern or middle belt resources) with groundnuts being one of the few resources available from the North, since cotton was going out of fashion in Europe and being replaced by synthetic material.
Both the British and the feudalists you will discover, were on extractive mission, and just like the British invaders, the Northern jihadists sought a passage from their landlocked existence from the Sahara and Chad Basin to the Sea.
Nigeria was born out of fraud: and the British who now house us as refugees were the midwives to the birth of this Beast. Their leaders know this, but their ignorant people in 21st century do not. And that is why they tell us to go home. To what? The mess they created? No. They have to be part of the solution, and that is why we are here.
However Nigeria was not virgin territory, it had other peoples, divided and ruled by the British. This same divide and rule was used again by the inheritors of British rule, under the banner of The Northern People's Congress led by Sir Ahmadu Bello. These people came from a different culture, and the new rulers of Nigeria, just like the British thus had to corrupt the values and the religions they met on a ground. The West had previously been ruled by Obas with checks and balance by noblemen like the Ogboni or Oyo Mesi. The cosmopolitan Eastern and kindred Delta tribes had their own chiefs, and obis and traditional values to correct mindless acquisition of wealth by few individuals. This is not to say that individuals were not corrupt but, by and large the situation at independence was that moral values, in part instilled by religious and cultural sensibilities, and a by and large fair colonial judiciary, made sure corruption was down to a minimum.
When I was a small boy in the 50's, it was the rule that to be called a thief was the greatest insult to a family name, and would earn severe censure from all the rest of the family and the community. The advent oil and independence concentrated great wealth the hands of the few politicians then in the midst of poverty ridden masses, who could be manipulated, again with a promise of wealth to subvert the peoples will.
Thus thuggery and political anarchy, and what Soyinka called 'a peculiar mess' or 'Penkelemess' ensued. This lasted only a short while and could not stand the test of time, post independence, and the chain of events lead eventually to the civil war.
After this war, military rule replaced corrupt politicians who again who treated the country as spoils of war. Again a corruption of values. Soldiers who were taught only how to fight, now in time of peace came and corrupted our values and political space, openly flaunting wealth which we knew could only be stolen. Their salary scale was known to all and sundry, unlike politicians who could say they were rich by some dubious business before they became politicians.
Soldiers did not know how to govern in peace time and each one found money in the kitty. What do you do with money you don't earn? Spend it! And spend they did, on a grand style, aided and abetted by multinationals, again on extractive missions. Shell, Mobil, Texaco, UAC, UTC, John Holt, PZ etc ....the list is endless. The ruling soldiers again came from areas of Nigeria bereft of natural resources, and so this was an opportunity for primitive capital acquisition, not minding the host communities whose backyards the wealth came from.
And so we saw a series of successive coups as group of military adventurers saw how the other was living, ostensibly on the same salary as fellow officers. This went on until we got to the final word in greed, Abacha, who did not even bother to pretend he was spending money on projects. Taking a cue from his predecessor Babangida, who had allegedly lifted 12billion dollars, (according to the missing Okigbo report which Abacha had privy to,) he just sent Ismaila Gwarzo periodically to collect large amount of money from the central bank. Again an extractive mission by those who did not own the wealth. And finally this led to the present series of so called democratic governments, all presided over by military accomplices like Colonel Senator David Mark, down to present Goodluck whose people have decided that most of the income comes from their backyard and they don't give a damn, and they can spend it as they please. They vow they are not going back to being the underdog house servants and cleaners, to their hitherto oppressive ruler. Please note carefully when that thieves are fighting, that is the time the owners of the property can know who stole their wealth.
It is important however to note that the people of Nigeria themselves are also part of the problem. My own personal theory is that most Nigerians are only the second generation of people to have wealth. Most of our parents did not live in mansions, ride cars and have luxury goods. Here we are in the second and third generation post independence, and to some extent we are still wallowing in the idea that this is a wealthy nation, which it is, and that the country owes us a living. However there are too many people, after dwindling resources, and many of us do not know how to do business to create wealth.
The ruled also share the blame
Hence we have the curious paradigm of a rich country whose professionals flock abroad to make a decent living, leaving the failed O'levels people and, and Port Harcourt Degree holders, to rule the nation. As we speak, the head of customs in Nigeria has been accused that he forged his O levels; by the very individual he allegedly sent to sit the exam for him. In another example, the erstwhile boss of FRSC was sacked by Abacha when he found that he was from Kano and did not have even school certificate. However these people have enough money to buy their way out of going to jail and are free men today.
Thus I believe that poverty is one of the main driving forces behind corruption. A country with no social services, health insurance, where you have to provide your own light, water, security, will breed mass poverty with everybody scrabbling for personal rather than general wealth.
Finally there are crooks all over the world looking for where to steal, and Nigeria is just the place. Again these foreigners will extract the nation's wealth and repatriate same for personal use and the use of their own people, to the detriment of the Nigerian masses. Our graduates thus remain unemployed students, because our government does not insist that they invest in Nigeria. Halliburton, Wilbros, the Vastwani connection, etc. The list is endless.
This international connection should be our focus. For this is where people want to hide their wealth and enjoy their money and send their children to school. Although with the advent of America trailing money going to Europe, and the Middle East, and the Swiss having to go along with EU rules, a lot more is being hidden in Nigeria and more in Dubai and other International connections like South Africa.
Governors in Nigeria now have companies in Ghana, Liberia, and South Africa, preferring this to employing people at home. David Mark owns a golf course in Ireland, employing Irish men while his own backyard Oturkpo, were he recently hosted a golf tournament, is one of the poorest areas in Nigeria.
Thus the mother of this beast is to be found in Holland and UK who now profess to give aid to a country whose future they mortgaged, along with local collaborators and carpetbaggers, so that the future of their children will be assured. These corrupt Nigerians and their foreign collaborators need to be exposed, shamed and ultimately brought to conform to civilised standards of financial probity. We shall come to what to do.
The nature of the beast A criminal enterprise
The nature of this beast called corruption in Nigeria is that it is one big criminal enterprise. I say this because to fight corruption, tame it and maim it, we abroad must understand that this is not the same system we have in Europe. For those who have stayed abroad, there are institutions which are in place which hold corruption down to a minimum. First there is a national pride abroad, and peoples' votes actually matter during elections, and there are institutions like effective tax collection agencies.
There is a police that is not a force, but actually helps to police the polity, made up largely honest people who are not failures in society, but rise up in the ranks without bribing their way throught police college. The judiciary is made of the elders with family names to protect, whose forefathers fought for freedom, like in UK, where the house of commons is exactly what its name means. 'Elected by commoners'. And I expect that its similar in Holland here, with the House of Orange maintaining the moral values of its people going back centuries.
Some people say we are only just beginning to have democracy as if it is an excuse for corruption to rule for some generations. It's just like saying; we need to be riding bicycles when jet planes are available, because we don't have the technology in Africa to produce our own planes. No we don't need a hundred years of independence before we know the meaning of honesty and the understanding of the commandment: THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.
What we have in Nigeria is that truth to tell the whole country is one big criminal enterprise from the top to the bottom. This much was said by Hilary Clinton, and echoed recently by a Sahara Newspaper columnist on 16/10/2012.
Like any enterprise, it has various branches each one dedicated to maintaining one or other aspect of the thieving venture. Thus it pervades the Executive: Jonathan and his wife have been indicted publicly before they came to power by anti corruption agencies.
The Supreme court vs The appeal court
The Judiciary is part of this enterprise, as exemplified by Justice Marcellus Awokulehin who freed Ibori, later to be jailed for same offenses in UK. We have the disgraceful spectacle of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his Court of appeal counterpart Salami, trading accusations of corruption. Nothing has been done to repair the damage to the judiciary, as they embroil the legal system in disgrace.
Upper and Lower house of Law Breakers
The various houses of assembly have been headed twice by fraudulent individuals from Salisu Buhari, (disgraced ex speaker f the House of Representatives) to Evans Ewerem (disgraced ex-senate leader) down to Obasanjo's sweet heart, a common hairdresser who became speaker of the House of Representatives sacked for financial impropriety. Even today a sitting house of rep member Lawan and his co panellist in the oil subsidy saga, have recently been arraigned for collecting bribes. This shows the all pervading nature of this beast.
State Governments Almost all state ex-governors, post governance are routinely arrested and bailed for corruption, not to talk of local government chairmen who they handpicked in many cases.
Criminal gangs in Banks, Lawyers, Doctors, Student Bodies NLC. SSS and Police
The criminal venture, called the Nigerian government, has those who launder the money for them, as Mrs Ibru of Oceanic Bank and Erastus Akingbola, the disgraced chaiman of Intercontinental bank have proved.
Mobile Police for Hire
They also have their own armed protective security as that which surrounded the now wanted Maina, a mere civil servant involved in the pension fraud expose. Afraid of being arrested for fraud he had the temerity to come to a house of representative summons surrounded by armed policemen waiting outside the chambers to protect him.
Senior Abetter of Nigerian corruption
They also have their own legal representatives. It is common for fraudulent officials like disgraced ex- speaker Bankole, to be represented by about 10 shameless SAN's all out for the money, without understanding that the money stolen is actually that which should have been used to develop transport, roads, and health and the nation.
They also have their attorney General-in-thief usually; some unknown lawyer specifically drafted to cover corruption and even aid and abet criminals for money. As we speak, the current attorney general Mohammed Adokie has had money traced into his international account running into billions of naira. We hear that a panel has been set up to deal with this even while he remains unsuspended from office.
EEFC and ICPB and the Judiciary
This brings me to the defence mechanism that this criminal enterprise has evolved to protect corruption. The EEFCC and the Corrupt Practices bureau usually arrest persons when the noise made by me and you in beer parlours is too much. It usually occurs when the indicted person threatens to expose his collaborators in government. The press is invited to the televised arrest, again invited with envelopes to make sure it gets the headlines it needs. The tactic is that he is immediately bailed. Then the case cools somewhere in the courts to be forgotten when another sensational arrest is announced. Those that reach court are usually adjourned or appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, just to determine if the man has a case to answer, not to ask were the mission money went. 'Prima facie' they call it. These are defence mechanism that is used by this enterprise to evade justice.
I mention the above because if this forum is to evolve mechanism to combat corruption from the diaspora we must understand that we cannot try all corrupt officials in UK like Ibori was. We must ensure that justice is done at home.
It is clear that the country is one big criminal enterprise, and as I have given in my few examples at the beginning of the lecture, and you will note that it goes right to the top of federal and state governments, traditional leaders, parastatals, and in fact the whole of the election machinery that produces the leaders in Nigeria. This includes the guardians of the security of the nation as my naval example shows. The curious case and downfall of Amos Adamu who I mentioned in my example shows that an internationalization of the fight against corruption can work. However it's a shame that Adamu was not exposed in Nigeria. I was so embarrassed when the sting of FIFA officials was televised over the BBC.
Any way, we thank God for small mercies
Imagine the disgrace we would have suffered internationally if Soyinka had not prevented Obasanjo from becoming the secretary general of the United Nations.
We should all have perished in a sea of shame! Imagine the daughter of a UN secretary general accused of stealing money and jumping over the wall to escape!
Murder and Assassination : Plan B
Finally, the most important this is to realise that to fight corruption is at personal risk. While I commend this organization for organizing this forum, I must frown on the notion that this forum can fight this corrupt system by asking for suggestions over the internet. The enterprise is vicious in that if all the defence mechanisms I have listed fail, they have plan B. You are harassed personally, and if you are too hot on a trail you will be assassinated and it will never be resolved.
I walked in protest from Surulere to Tafawa Balewa Square with Tai Solarin in 1993/4; He was then about 80 years old, fighting for the people's liberty, and by proxy, an end to political corruption in a protest walk. He died shortly after of exhaustion. Gani Fawehinmi, another anti corruption crusader suffered so terribly in prison that he never fully recovered his health after being in Bama Prison.
Dino Melaye of the anti corruption network has recently shouted 'Wolf!' that he is about to be assassinated. I have previously mentioned how corruption fights back and unfortunately I need to confess that some of my activities in the FRSC led to a serious witch-hunt will resulted in the sacking of a lot of my friends, although I personally was not harmed by the expose.
Police as thieves.
The Police cannot talk as we know of cases against their former leaders including Okiro, Balogun and the expose that police constables in training have to buy their own kits and actually pay someone to enter the force!
The criminal enterprises also pervades those whose business it is to catch criminals. For example take the case of the SSS versus police,. Both arecustodians of the law and are parading two different groups of 'confessed' suspects for the same murder of an Edo State official. It's clear someone is lying, but both Director General of SSS and IG are still left in place. No resolution is in sight as Oshiomole, the governor of Edo state runs from pillar to post. So tell me, when we see corruption here, who do we report it to? It's all a criminal enterprise.
Corruption and the Press
Corruption now owns its own press. For example Jimoh Ibrahim indicted by the Senate, a very rare event, for diversion of billions of dollars of aviation fund, now owns Newswatch, and the Daily Mirror, among others, according to Sahara Reporters (12/02/13).
Medical Professionals/Pyrates/ Student bodies
It also infiltrates many organizations charged with the custody of public morality. Nigeria Medical Association members regularly give medical certificates to ensure corrupt officials avoid arrests e.g. Wale Babalakin.
Another defence mechanism, is for this enterprise to corrupt even the anti corruption mechanisms which are in place all over the world. Now Students and youth power are for sale, and we don't have viable National Union of Nigeria students. The Labour movement is also a sell out, collecting money from government to abridge the people's revolution during the petroleum crises in Lagos.
Organizations like the Pyrates Confraternity are emasculated and infiltrated. At the very top of the National Association of Seadogs, presided over by handpicked people by your Supreme Leader, at least 3 individuals cannot stand up to scrutiny and have been involved in financial malpractice at one time or the other. This is reason why you never hear of this organization discussing corruption as you are doing now. This is not the time and place for this.
Churches and Religious institutions
In fact, to sum it up, even the spiritual realm has been corrupted as the jet setting pastors have proved. I do not say all their wealth is from corruption, however remember the large donation given to Pastor Oyakilome's church by the convicted ex accountant Lawrence Agada, a senior cashier with Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja totalling N39 million. It is important to note that even when camels and chariots were available, Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. This is a lesson for Adeboye who you know recently said he cannot go round the world on a bicycle. The pope who has more followers then him does not even have a helicopter.
Recourse to Tribal sentiments
The other tactic this beast uses to evade capture, is a methodology called Obfuscation, that is, wilful hiding of true intentionality. Thus when people say 'he is our son', or excuse corruption by saying 'the oil he stole is his father's birthright' or saying 'Northerners have cornered the oil blocks': this is tribalism. Tribalism is a hoax, for we realise that people are stealing for themselves, not their tribes. That is exactly what is happening up north that produced rulers for Nigeria since independence save the last ten, but is the most backward place in Nigeria. How many Northerners in Minna are benefitting from Babaginda's largesse? He built a university but his people are not going to school. Danjuma is investing in a hotel in the middle of Victoria Island, why not collectivised farm in his Tiv area. If Abacha's stolen wealth was to have been used to develop Kano then we'd all go on holidays there instead of Dubai and so on and so forth. Corruption does not respect tribes. This is merely a hoax. Making some people from that area feel a little better, but not improving their lot. Their followers wait in vain, in the hope that their own share will soon come along.
But mark my words, when thieves get desperate and they will soon fight for the spoils of corruption amongst themselves. This fight has only just started.
Mark of the beast
This beast has left ugly marks as reminders of its criminal enterprise, and everywhere you look you see its effect. But actually unseen marks are much more serious and dangerous. These marks I chronicle as follows.
- FAILED STATE SYNDROME (This country cannot provide the basic amenities for its people. And we have to provide everything for ourselves. Light water, transport security, roads etc.)
- PREBENDALISM: This is a system of government which word was used to describe the patronage system in Nigeria and is now in common usage world over to describe the way Nigeria is governed .Described by a professor at North western University Professor Joseph wrote in 1996, "According to the theory of prebendalism, state offices are regarded as prebends that can be appropriated by officeholders, who use them to generate material benefits for themselves and their constituents and ethnic kith'.
- That about sums up the Abacha regime.
- BRAIN DRAIN: THIRD ELEVEN RUNNING THE COUNTY
- EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN
- MASS POVERTY AND FAMILY BREAK UP
- SHAME ABROAD/ SECOND CLASS CITIZENSHIP
- VIOLENCE AS A NATIONAL ETHOS FOR CHANGE
- MORAL AND RELIGIOUS DECADENCE. Hypocrisy
- REDUCED LIFE SPAN and much more.
The mark of this beast in the diaspora actually is you and I, and everyone else gathered in this room. And that includes our children who are forced to be educated in a foreign land, many of them never to go back to the land of their forebears. It includes the shame and humiliation at embassies cueing up for visas and being hounded at airports around the word. It includes the stereotyping of all Nigerians as advanced fee fraud specialists. More importantly it is robbing our people of a future. Can you dare to send your child to Nassarawa for NYSC? No, because the reaction to corruption in those areas is anarchy and violence. Reports from home indicated that it has just started. We need to act now before that fire spreads all over Nigeria.
Hypocrisy in governance and Boko Haram
The problem of Boko Haram cannot be solved outside the fight against corruption. The Boko Haram preachers, who were initially preaching piety and shunning corruption in the North, became a threat to the feudal status quo which I mentioned in my analysis of the cause of corruption in Nigeria. They found Northern elite were preaching Sharia outside, but spending money on champagne and luxuries in Dubai. Preaching piety at home and patronizing prostitutes at night. Having been decapitated by violence which I have said is a weapon of corruption, the Boko Haram people have no time for dialogue again even when it is offered.
And thus the most important mark of this beast I believe is the rise of mediocrity, and poverty which corruption breeds, a form of madness amongst our leaders as Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic said. This is moral decadence and lack of scruples. This I consider the most important from an socio evolutionary point of view. Man can only survive by collaboration. and the strength and survival of all societies rest on its bed rock of morals and moralities. Yorubas have their own, Igbos have their own and Europeans have their various ethic values based on truth and justice for all. Nigeria cannot survive unless you and I collaborate and base our values on the truth and justice. Wole Soyinka was right in saying 'Justice is the first condition of Humanity'. Lack of justice has been the bane of many collapsed empires from Hitler's Germany to the mighty Soviet machine. Nigeria cannot stand as it is!
But the most important thing is: WHAT CAN WE IN THE DIASPORA DO?