The Gospel of anti-corruption

By Abdulmumin Giwa
Nigerians have for long accepted the culture of enriching oneself by looting public coffers. This act of corruption has produced countless numbers of millionaires and billionaires. With people living beyond their legitimate means in the society. What is more annoying is that they are accepted by the same members of the society, whose wealth such looters have looted, as successful. They eulogize, praise and submit to them willingly. They see them as god-chosen smart people that are successful in life.
Such looters who have enriched themselves with wealth made for the generality of the people are held in high esteem by the larger society. Most of them seek power through politics where they invest their loots to enrich themselves the more. They lavish such wealth and live in flamboyance while the less opportune gather around them from crumbs.
One might be surprised that such corrupt elements are honored by the larger society. Yes, it is cultural to them that once one is given an opportunity to loot he loots because if he doesn’t, the same society members would be the ones abusing him and throwing bad words against him. They say he is an ingrate that refused a blessing from God; a blessing to steal and get rich.
Either of the two ways, those who steal and those who encourage the stealing are all guilty of corruption. This is just an aspect of corruption that is most popular because it has to do with resources and mode of accumulation of resources.
In the current Nigerian context, the government on seat is doing everything to change its image from the old format of corruption of stealing public funds to another format of corruption entirely.
Even in this manner the government is still being hailed by the same members of the public for fighting corruption with an anti-graft gospel. The same public that praised the thieves earlier are the same pubic that are praising and adhering to the new gospel.
The reason for this defeatist mentality is not far-fetched. Those praising the anti-graft are only envious of those assembled as the criminals and out of jealousy they wished anything bad for them. But in reality if they were in position and had the opportunity they would have done even worse.
In essence, their support for the anti-corruption gospel is not out of patriotism for the nation and its development but out of wickedness that since they didn’t get the opportunity, let those who got it also be destroyed at least they now have sadists as leaders.
In reality, corruption has many faces with the only one known to most Nigerians as looting of public funds. But in essence there are more corrupt acts like impunity and tyranny which give birth to mass murders, massacres, genocides and segregation of some citizens by those in power for personal whims.
This is a situation where those in power use the state resources to promote personal whims and caprices and punish those they see as their enemies. This tantamount to oppression, impunity and tyranny.
In such cases the leaders disregard law and order and violate everything constitutional to achieve their own whims. This act can only be described as state corruption and indiscipline most especially under a federal system where everyone has equal citizenship.
It becomes corruption for leaders to segregate against citizens on the grounds of tribe, race, region or religion. Whosoever such a leader is is equally a corrupt leader. He is not any different from a leader that enriches himself with public funds as well.
The logic here is that the looting of public funds leads to lack of infrastructure in virtually all sectors and subsequently to under-development. In the same light, leaders who segregate create disharmony and dichotomy in the society that affects all sectors and subsequently leads to under-development as well.
It is just the two sides of the same coin. A leader could be said to be corrupt when he steals public funds for self-enrichment or could be said to be corrupt when he has no regards for constitutional provisions and rules with impunity.
Tabling this before the current Nigerian state it would clearly be seen that the current Nigerian government with its gospel of fighting against corruption is equally a corrupt government with corrupt leaders.
This is evident in the treatment of the Members of the Islamic Movement by the Nigerian government and its army which perpetrated massacre and genocide on unarmed civilians for a concocted crime of blocking the Army Chief’s way.
There and then the Army chief disregarded law and order and other civil processes and as he said, he killed only seven to make his way through the blockage. And for that crime, everybody that was connected with blocking his way was ordered to be killed using state weapons including those that were not present at the scene of the blockade.
As a result of this impunity, several hundreds of the Islamic Movement members were massacred within a period of less than 48 hours with some of them burnt alive and buried in mass graves. Women were molested as they were shot in their private parts and their breasts were cut with machetes. Many others received gunshots and were abducted and kept in illegal detention in military facilities all for the crime of blocking the Army chief’s way. This is not excluding women and children.
As if this was not enough, houses and worship centers were demolished and graves were exhumed while those abducted were kept incommunicado.
All these corrupt acts are in violation of civil processes and constitutional provisions. They are literally acts of tyranny and oppression and direct crimes against humanity.
This is perpetrated by a government that does not have regards for the constitution it swore to protect which makes it never less corrupt than those who enrich themselves with public funds. They are both standing on the same scale of corruption.
What is worse is that the same people that eulogized those thieves who looted public funds and enriched themselves are the same people eulogizing the current government for its crimes against its citizens. They hail and praise them for killing their enemies for them just as they hail and praise them for molesting those they were jealous of that had opportunity they didn’t have.
They don’t see anything wrong with the leadership ruling with tyranny because they derive benefits from its tyrannical acts.
In this case as well, it is equally a two way act; a corrupt leadership and a corrupt followership. They all believe in a euphoria they see as a gospel of corruption and worship a demigod they see as a holy incorruptible leader.

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