19th February, 2018
VITAL CORRUPTION LESSON FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Former South African president, Jacob Zuma, was forced out of office last week for corruption charges. The South African Supreme Court had in October 2017 upheld about 800 corruption charges against Zuma before his party, the African National Congress (ANC) ordered him to quit. Although Zuma defied the order ab initio, he resigned on the eve of a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
Zuma’s exit from power is very didactic. It reveals South Africa’s mature democratic practice where a president is booted out for being corrupt whereas in Nigeria, our own president is being pressurized to leave office for fighting corruption.
Here lies the monumental paradox. The outside world must be laughing at Nigeria as they watch the unfolding drama. Two former heads of state have openly asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek a second term. The National Assembly (NASS) is also fighting tooth and nail to get rid of the president as many of its members are enmeshed in corruption cases.
But Buhari’s major selling point has been his incorruptibility. He has no house in London. None in Paris or any foreign country for that matter. Neither has any stolen fund been traced to him before and during his tenure. He has succeeded in blocking leakages through which our common patrimony has been siphoned into the private pockets of greedy politicians. Foreign countries endorse him as a leader of unassailable integrity and the naira is getting back its lost glory as a result of all these. Prices of goods are falling.
Diversification of the economy is turning other sectors into veritable sources of income. The railways are roaring back. Agriculture is once again taking its prime of place, electricity supply is witnessing unprecedented improvement while macadam roads are fast replacing the death traps which claimed hundreds of lives on a regular basis. Buhari’s social welfare scheme is already taking care of thousands of Nigerian youths.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) urges Nigerians to open their eyes very wide. Those who stole Nigeria’s money have become very powerful and they are using their stolen money to spread false propaganda to de-market Buhari. All the allegations of nepotism, religious bias and incompetence are tales from moonlight concocted by corrupt elements who want to bring back corruption.
For blocking their access to easy money, they wished Buhari dead. Based on their knowledge of the potency of the alleged gas poison conspiracy theory, they said Buhari was on life-support machine. They claimed he was dead and secretly buried. They made the claims with so much vehemence and total confidence that, with hindsight, we are constrained to believe that only those involved in the alleged attempt could have made such strong claims.
But when all that failed they are now trying to incite the populace against him. They claimed that herdsmen were killing travelers on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. They also claimed that the same herdsmen were slaughtering people like rams on Shagamu-Ore expressway. Now they are claiming that herdsmen have attacked workers in Ondo council office. But police debunked all these false alarms within hours.
We reaffirm our conviction that it was corruption that brought poverty and disease to the Nigerian nation. Corruption was responsible for the bad roads. Corruption robbed us of a reliable public health and transport system. Corruption brought death in the air via frequent plane crashes. Corruption wrecked the Nigerian Airways and the Nigerian Railway Corporation. Corruption is responsible for insecurity. Corruption caused mass unemployment. Corruption turned the education sector into a comatose environment. This enemy numero uno is now being tackled by the Buhari administration. Who wants all these evils to come back?
To cap the edifice, we testify that we have seen signs that corruption is receiving deadly blows from the Buhari administration and it may eventually die for our great country to survive if we give Buhari the chance to consolidate on the present gains. If it is true that South Africa expelled its corrupt president for the sake of South Africa, Nigeria must retain its incorruptible leader for the sake of Nigeria.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)