One must wonder what legacy Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan intends to bequeath to Nigerians when he eventually relinquishes power. While it might seem like early days, the signs are not looking good.
While IBB is widely regarded as the president who institutionalized corruption in Nigeria, the GEJ administration has wittingly or unwittingly magnified corruption to near intergalactic proportions.
In governance, gov’t action or inaction as the case may be should not only be in the general interest of the people it governs, it must be seen to be in the people’s interest. Afterall, true power lies with the people. However, the GEJ administration has turned this simple logic on its head. Ever since this administration came into being, it has been one catastrophe after the other.
While every successive gov’t since 1966 has promised to provide electricity, water and basic infrastructure to the people, it has become increasingly apparent especially over the past two years that what Nigerians need is not a leader who will provide the basic necessities of life, but a leader who will fight the seemingly gargantuan problem of corruption.
I dare say that corruption is the only sickness the Nigerian state has been suffering from for nearly three decades. Other problems like inadequate electricity, lack of basic infrastructure and unemployment are nay but small symptoms of the larger problem of corruption.
The GEJ administration promised to curb the menace of corruption on so many occasions. Going by current antecedents, it is safe to say that the reverse is the case. Let us cast our minds back to the 1st of January, 2012. GEJ took the whole nation by surprise when he announced the removal of fuel subsidy. The rationale, we were told, was that gov’t could no longer afford to pay trillions in fuel subsidy payments that added no value to the nation’s economy at the expense of the citizenry. Nigerians on the other hand disagreed. The question asked was why should gov’t pay subsidy on imported fuel when it can simply refine these products locally at a much cheaper rate?
The answer was provided by the now rested Faruk Lawan report: corruption.
The power sector probe indicted the Obasanjo administration of wasting $16 billion on the power sector with nothing to show for it. Reason: corruption. If the Yaradua administration was too weak to act on the probe report what stops GEJ from acting on it?
By doing nothing on the numerous probe reports on his desk, GEJ is tacitly giving approval for the perpetuation of corruption in the country.
However, the GEJ administration not only seems to be promoting corruption by its inaction, but by its direct action as well.
Let’s take for instance, the now forgotten issue of the Otueke Church bribery scandal. We heard the revelation that a certain individual had complain to the Chief Executive of the Italian construction company that the church was unbefitting of a president’s village. Then as a matter of “corporate social responsibility” the church was renovated only a few months later and donated to the village free of charge. As it turned out the complainant was no other than the president himself! This is corruption personified by the president no less.
As if that wasn’t enough, the president decided to handover the security of the nation’s waterways to a former militant. In addition, we just recently found out that the president approved the annual payment of $40 million to Niger-Delta militants as protection fees for oil pipelines. Though for some reason the president seems to be at a loss as to why oil bunkering or as he termed it, oil stealing has reached on all time high. The president himself admitted during his ill-fated media chat that “there is no country where they are stealing crude oil the way they are stealing in Nigeria”. The question remains, what is GEJ paying former militants $40 million annually for if oil theft has now assumed frightening proportions?
More recently, it emerged that the president’s home town of otuoke got N5 billion from the ecological fund for ecological projects. Never mind that N5 billion represents over 10% of the total funds earmarked for ecological projects in 2011 for the entire 36 states of the federation.
The GEJ gov’t seems to be trying constantly to set new records for corruption and incompetence. The president attested to this himself when he declared that he was the most criticized president in the world. The latest step on the face of Nigerians is the National Honours Awards list recently released by the presidency. Topping the list is the controversial businessman and chairman of Globacom Nigeria Ltd. It is quite unfortunate that the National Honours Awards has been reduced to an avenue for recognizing cronies, bootlickers and dubious personalities. Even the OBJ government did not stoop this low.
Nigerian’s grouse with Chief Mike Adenuga is the fact that his oil company Conoil was indicted in the Faruq Lawan fuel subsidy report. Many Nigerians are of the view that the fuel subsidy payments to companies like Conoil were used to prosecute the 2011 elections which were the most expensive in Nigeria’s history. Giving a National Honours Award to a man whose company was indicted for shoddy practices only serves to enforce that opinion.
If things continue this way GEJ and his gov’t will go down in history as the most corrupt regime in the history of this country.
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