NIGERIA & CORRUPTION: OPENING THE PANDORA BOX

To be sincere, I am truly excited with the way the war against corruption is gathering steam. My prayer is that PMB would not allow the momentum to decline. Up till two weeks ago, the focus seemed to have been on the past government. Then enter the Judiciary and the pandora box seemed to have been opened. Justice ADEMOLA blamed his problems on the Attorney General of the federation, Mr Malami. He had ordered the arrest of Malami for professional misconduct when he was in Kano. Though he eventually discharged Malami because of the intervention of the NBA, he was sure, the senior advocate of Nigeria, now AGF had been looking for an opportunity to take his pound of flesh. 

Justice John Inyang Okoro said Minister Amaechi is behind his own problems. Amaechi asked him to influence the governorship election Supreme Court appeal judgements on Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia States. Amaechi insisted he was conveying the wishes of PMB and his party APC. Before that, the APC governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom- Mr Umana had visited with a pastor to persuade Justice Inyang Okoro to decide the case in his favour. Umana promised to 'settle' all the Justices in the Supreme Court. The 'holy Pastor' who took Umana to Justice Okoro rebuked Umana for talking of 'settling' the Justices. What a righteous pastor, who thinks that going to persuade a Judge to pervert Justice is not corruption as long as money was not exchanged! God help us with this type of ' Man of God '

Then enter Justice Ngwuta and he drags Amaechi again into the fray. Amaechi tried to coerce him to decide the EKITI governorship appeal in favour of APC . Minister Ogbonnaya Onu is also mentioned in the matter. Both Justices apparently refused to do the bidding of Amaechi and Onu and perhaps that's why they got the DSS to invade their homes and arrest them at such unholy hours. As expected both Ministers have denied the accusations. But will that be the end of the stories? I hope and pray not. The Ministers need to clear their names! I support the threat by Amaechi to sue the Judges. I urge him to do so immediately before something else happens.

Last week, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo made a very remarkable statement" All the institutions of government are corrupt, I mean the executive,Legislature and the judiciary are corrupt. What we need is reorientation. That was why the present Federal government is intervening. If we refuse to, every facet of the Country will fail" Damning and redemptive at the same time. This statement is the type that shows that the VP is indeed a man of God. He takes out the sophistry and hypocrisy that seemed to say" All else is corrupt but we are not. It is the PDP that is corrupt but the APC is clean. It is the legislature that is corrupt but the executive are all saints"

His statement essentially tallies  with that of Prime minister David Cameron who said that Nigeria is "Fantastically corrupt". Our redemption will begin when we all humble ourselves and accept that we are all corrupt. Maintaining a 'holier than thou' attitude will only complicate our problems, because God can not be deceived. Yes I accept that a small percentage of Nigerians are not corrupt but I am approximating to the nearest whole number! 

Now that we have this understanding, the question is, how soon are we going to turn the search light on the executive? Some onslaught has been made on the Legislature, though it has been very narrow and shallow. Hon Jibrin should be made to prove his accusations. Now the searchlight is on the judiciary,again, apparently skewed to those judges and Justices that gave unacceptable judgements against government or the party in power. It seems natural to always begin with the enemy! So my question is, how soon are we going to turn the light on the executive? If this war must succeed, then we must not allow anybody to be seen as a 'sacred cow' or untouchable.

The President has actually been dragged into the Arena by Justice Okoro Inyang's deposition.  So should we not investigate to remove any aspersions on our President? Our President's name must be protected. I believe that this should be an issue which Prof Itsay Sagay's  committee should look into and recommend investigation to clear the President's name. I believe this will be a better thing to do in support of this critical war than berating the Justices for speaking their minds or defending themselves. If any one is accused of corruption, it is the work of the anti-corruption committee to recommend investigation to prove or disprove such allegations, more so when important members of the executive are mentioned. If the allegations are untrue or frivolous, then the accuser should face consequences of false accusation. 

I believe that Prof Sagay's committee should not act as if they are biased or out to protect the executive while prosecuting the other arms of government. That in itself will undermine the war. If you ask me, I should ask the committee to encourage any one who has any evidence of any corrupt action against anybody to come forward with their accusations and then provide evidence to the Court. They should not wait till they themselves get into trouble before they begin to sing as the Judges and Hon Jibrin are doing now. That is why I congratulate Jimoh Ibrahim who has boldly declared that INEC demanded a Bribe of One million dollars from him before they could recognize his candidacy for the Ondo state gubernatorial elections coming on soon. That is the way to go. Now the EFCC should not wait one more minute,  to enter into the matter and bring INEC and Jimoh to Court to prove or dis prove their stands. If the DSS, is less busy, they can also do a mid night invasion on the INEC people, though the surprise element may have varnished as things may have been moved around after the invasion of the Judges' premises. The war seems to  require this kind of impunity and it looks like many Nigerians love the drama and justify it including lawyers! But let us please keep the police out of this corruption matter. They have too much on their plates already. Let us be consistent. We can not use the EFCC or the DSS on the legislature and judiciary and then use the police on the executive. What is good for the gander should also be good for the goose  or is it the other way round?

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

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