It is said that only fools trample upon where angels will normally be afraid to thread upon. Trampling and unusual haste actually is the forte of fools; the unserious minded and those who do not have the grit and the needed deep understanding of the situation to engage it successfully.
The Dynamics of corruption in Nigeria is such that it has exhibited very complex and multifaceted aggressively active and fearful dimensions. It has become the established order and thus occupies the driving seat in our Governing processes and institutions. Currently, it is the master of our national life and our nuances and body language unfortunately revolve around its dictates and precepts as its traditions have taken almost 45 years of our nearly 55 years of existence as an independent nation.
Anyone therefore seriously thinking about engaging it talk less of blunting its sharp edges must first of all sit down and understudy its peculiar dynamics and specificities in Nigeria, then, it must craft a general strategy that must be holistic, wide and inclusive and finally assemble the needed resources especially the human resources that are very crucial to executing the designed and accepted strategy. This will definitely take time.
As we already know, it is estimated that since 1999, corruption alone has rubbished the nearly U$1tr (One billion US Dollars) only Oil and Gas revenue that accrued to this nation. This sum excludes revenue from other equally huge sources including internally generated revenue both at the federal and at the State Government levels. The overall picture of the revenue profile is huge but when viewed at the backdrop of yearly appropriations and the budget effectiveness, the gap noticed is mindboggling. This gap manifesting as the various manifestations of underdevelopment-diseases, poverty, deprivation, poor infrastructure etc bears the monument of the pervasiveness of the corruption in the nation.
When one then considers the depth of this monster, it becomes immediately understandable that for any serious Government that is desirous of denting this evil and stopping this monster in its tracks, it must do a thorough internal job first before ever declaring a battle with it. This is the only way it can win and this is the only sign that the leadership is indeed serious about dealing with corruption. That is why we are sure that the federal Government is taken the right step and is serious in its quests to wrest the nation from the stranglehold of corruption. If we are in the shoes of those thriving in corruption, we would see this the calmness as a dangerous signal. We should not forget the fabled calm before the storm. It would be a serious warning that something is about to explode. Mario Puzo in the God Father is of the opinion that the best way to deal with your enemy is to bring him closer to you which disarms him. Corruption and those driving it are the enemies of this nation so, the President has strategically drawn some of its drivers closer allowing them to be lulled into sleep so that when the blow descends, it will be most effective.
We have decided to comment on this issue because some Nigerians are rather in a haste to get the anti-corruption war going visibly in the glare of the public. This is understandable given the fact that the victory of the present APC led Government at the centre under the able leadership of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari was the clear expression of the total distaste and disgust with which Nigerians have come to view corruption and has seen it as being at the core of the numerous manifestations of underdevelopment in the country. That historical victory is therefore an urgent cry by Nigerians for something to be done about corruption before it destroys the nation.
Our believe is that it is the understanding of this demand and the unquestioning and unwavering commitment to this battle that has forced the President of the federal republic to carefully take his time to embark on all needful processes that will ensure that his Government succeeds on this singular mission. This is what some people have misinterpreted as being too slow. Our dear President is simply being cautious and dotting all the “I s and crossing the T s”.
Nigerians should therefore see this as a good omen and a sign that this battle against corruption will be rigorously pursued and determinedly overcome. We understand the haste having all experienced all these years the excruciating difficulties and deprivation which were corruption induced but if we do not have patience now, we shall be like the proverbial tortoise that had spent years in a toilet pit but when help finally came and they were about to bring him out that day, he became impatient and shouted that his rescuers should do quick and bring him out that the stench from the pit had become unbearable.
A Daniel has come to judgment and all that is needed is for all of us to exercise patience and be vigilant so that the political jobbers whose interest it is to scuttle this effort will not succeed. It is important that we be reminded that most of the work being done now ought not to be in the public domain and should not be trumpeted to avoid compromising it and making it less effective when they are rolled out. This is the gestation period and the work is hidden and internal and should be understood as such.
Knowing the criticality of this period, we have to encourage the federal Government to take its time and do a very good work. Adequate planning ensures greater chances of success than when we are in a hurry to execute a project. Failure to plan they say is planning to fail. We must take it one steady and sure step at a time as they also say “slow and steady wins the race” The time of planting is always a difficult time but when the harvest comes, joy comes. Let us wait patiently for the harvest.
The only way we can destroy corruption in Nigeria is to weigh and sift all our strategies before attacking it headlong before we miss it. Nigerians should protect the mandate which they have given to the President from the hands of those who wants the anti-corruption drive to fail. Buhari’s mandate is not just the Presidency but the promise of delivering Nigerians from the evil clutches of corruption. We must therefore not allow those trying to stampede the president into taking hasty steps which will guarantee a distortion and weakening of the battle to succeed.
Our duty is to remain vigilant and remove every psychological impediments and propaganda being waged by this most corrupt segment of the Nigerian society and their hirelings who have resorted to waging media wars against the presidency. The falsehood behind the statement that the President is too slow can then be easily seen as a cover for these persons to thwart our collective and genuine drive to rid this nation of corruption. The authorship of the “go slow” allegation can only but easily be attributed to those driven by evil and the unholy desire to see corruption not stamped out of our body polity.
The setting up of the Itse sagay Committee is therefore one of those signs that the Presidency is almost concluding its plans and template for the execution of this battle and deliver on this promise to the citizenry. We commend the president and assure him that he has shown serious leadership thus far in this battle against corruption and should not allow anything to distract it from this onerous responsibility.
This President is committed to this battle and Nigerians should support him and interrogate those who are shouting that he is “Going slowly”. What we want is victory against Corruption and not unnecessary hurry that would help the corrupt cover up their tracks. Layer by layer, grid by grid, stealth by stealth shall we win against corruption!
Honourable Olumuyiwa Wahab Jimoh, Deputy Majority Leader Lagos state House of Assembly representing Apapa II Constituency.