STUDY IN CHINA

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Corrupt practices : Igbo leaders’ position on probe of past governments

BEN
IN this write-up, the word “fight” is used instead of “war” to describe the efforts to stop corruption. It is an abuse of language to call the make-belief that has been going on until now by the name war.

It is not anything remotely like a war, nor is it even a spirited fight. But whatever we call it, the fight or war, to be meaningful and successful, should be waged holistically across the lines separating successive Administrations, and should not be constrained by any dividing line between one Administration and another.

Why probe of corrupt practices should not be confined to the Jonathan administration only
Probing corrupt practices is being demanded for two main reasons. The first reason has to do with the purpose or end intended to be achieved by probing corruption.

A probe is being demanded not for the sake or fun of it, but rather as a means of stopping or eradicating corruption which, apart from Religious Divide, is the foremost factor strangulating the country. Probing just the Jonathan Administration, when there are other past Administrations equally or nearly as corrupt as, or perhaps more corrupt than, his, will not stop or eradicate corruption. It will not therefore achieve the purpose or end for which a probe is wanted; it will not even add much to the attainment of that purpose.

Probing the Jonathan Administration alone when there are other past Administrations equally or nearly as corrupt as his own is not right, proper or justified for various reasons.

(i)  It is selective, and selective probe has the appearance of a vendetta aimed mainly at denigrating or demonising individuals. It discredits the exercise, and deprives it of public confidence.

The people must be made to believe in the genuineness and sincerity of the exercise if they are to give up the entrenched and rampant culture or habit of corruption. This is the factor that robbed the so-called war against corruption under the Obasanjo Administration of all credibility and effectiveness.

Indeed, the entire EFCC outfit as an agency of government and the way it was used by Obasanjo as an instrument for the harassment, persecution, victimization and repression of opponents ostensibly for corruption, while his favoured group, “the Obasanjo Boys”, as they were called, were left untouched, need to be investigated, and the EFCC itself overhauled.

There is, however, the rather strange argument that Jonathan has a “duty to have probed the [Obasanjo] government from which he took over”, and that, because he failed to do so, “Buhari has no business going to a government which is not back-to-back with him.”

Strange argument
The insincerity of this argument is transparent on its face. It is simply an argument of convenience or expediency, one that completely disregards the compelling need to eradicate corrupt practices, which, as earlier stated, is the raison d’etat for probing them. To begin with, from the point of view of truth, it is not correct that Jonathan took over from the Obasanjo Administration; Umaru Yar’Adua did.
More importantly, the argument conveniently disregards the inescapable reasons precluding Jonathan (and Yar’Adua too) from probing the Obasanjo Administration. All three Administrations were PDP Governments, and it seems inconceivable that one PDP Government should probe another.

Standing above all this is the circumstance that Obasanjo was the father of the PDP (albeit self-proclaimed), its leader for life and, on the cessation of his tenure as President, the Chairman of the Party’s Board of Trustees (BOT), with power to direct the PDP State Governors. It was he who chose Yar’Adua as the Party’s presidential candidate in the 2007 election, with Jonathan as his running mate, and foisted the two of them on the Party and the country. Thus, there was simply no way Jonathan (and Yar’Adua too) could have probed the Obasanjo Administration.

Yet, the existence of factors precluding Jonathan from probing the Obasanjo Administration does not remove the compelling need for such a probe.

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