9th April, 2018
STOP DEFENDING LOOTERS FOR PRIMORDIAL REASONS
The pan-Igbo socio cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has defended Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President on allegations of corruption. The Federal Government (FG) has commenced the process of confiscating some of Ekweremadu’s property abroad. It is also about to charge the lawmaker before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false asset declaration. In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described FG’s move as political vendetta.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns a political culture which turns the blind eye at the vices of people of our ethnic, religious or political group.
Instead of allowing law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies to diligently carry out their legitimate duties, Nigerians have formed the habit of whipping up primordial sentiments. Ethnic groups, religious bodies and members of his political party ignore the real issues on ground and make ridiculous claims.
In the case at hand, Ohaneze allegedly complains that Igbo sons are being singled out. This is far from being the case. 23 names are on the second list, for example. How many of them are Igbo? Is Adesola Amosun an Igbo man? Are Babangida Aliyu, Jonah Jang, Rasheed Ladoja from the South East? Are Omokore and Aluko Igbo names? What will happen if the Yoruba, Hausa and other ethnic groups make the same allegation?
MURIC appeals to Nigerians to avoid jumping to emotional conclusions. We should learn to critically assess the facts of any allegation. But above all, we should allow the courts to be the last arbiters. A political culture which readily (and laughably) extenuates offences committed by people of our ethnic background, religion or political party is capable of leading Nigeria to perdition.
How can we, in good conscience, celebrate thieves and morally barren people? How can we complain of bad governance yet we sympathise with looters? Are we so hypocritical that we cannot face the truth? We are the cause of all the bad things we accuse our leaders of if we cannot allow the government to punish evil doers. We will never be able to stop corruption. It will be evil ad infinitum. It means we are finished as a people.
It is high time we learnt from countries doing well. Alberto Fujimori, a 79-year old former President of Peru, was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for corruption during his time in office. Park Geun-hye, a former President of South Korea, was last Friday (6th April 2018) sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty of abuse of power, coercion and corrupt practices. Thailand’s former Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted in 2014, was sentenced to five years in prison over a rice subsidy case. A former senior legislator in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province bagged 14 years imprisonment for accepting bribes. So why should Nigeria be different?
Corruption is being reduced in other climes by punishing corrupt leaders but in Nigeria we are being tied down by tribal, religious and political sentiments. Militants always start blowing up oil installations the moment the government makes any move to make ex-President Jonathan or his wife accountable. Who did this to Nigeria?
In our summary, we charge Nigerians to be ready to confront facts. We should leave people facing corruption charges to prove their innocence in the court of law. We urge FG to ignore sentiments being expressed over investigations of false assets and other forms of graft. Unless cases involving corrupt practices are pursued to logical conclusions, the problem of infrastructural deficiency will linger for a very long time.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)