Nigeria’s Floodgate of Scandals

 Could the Goodluck Jonathan government be said to be accident-prone? That may not be true. God rewards man for every act good or bad deservedly. The floodgate of scams that burst open with the pension fund scandal has released more filth for the nation to gulp belly full. The over-powering Tsunami of fraud has overflowed sane shores and dumped for the people to clear such debris like NCAA luxury cars purchases, the petroleum minister’s bird that chopped billions of naira and now, a $9.3 million money laundering with a “man of God’s” birthday jet gift seized in South Africa. All these acts are in violation of constitutionally and legally laid down rules and procedures.

All these have come to the public domain but treated with impunity because the federal legislature and judiciary seem now to be rubber stamp institutions. When Archibald Cox at the Watergate probe spoke of “the rule of law and not the rule of man”, he was addressing public order, which only ensures a prevention of the rule of the jungle. Nigeria today is a jungle. Those who break the law are not better than Boko Haram rebels. In fact, white-collar crimes give rise to terrorism. Insurgents all over the world recruit from the ranks of the deprived as pawns on the chessboard. T

he dispossessed, poor and underprivileged are the fodder in ideological conflicts. Their worried and empty minds easily yield to half-baked messages, thinking they reward freedom from want. White-collar crimes suck the public service of the blood to wax in the provision of the necessities to maintain law and order like healthy economy, special social services and the right to belong by the citizen. The result of a lag in any of these necessities, sires unemployment, lack of good health care and sanitation, power cuts, violent robbery, dilapidated roads and public structure, non-provision of potable water and many other socio-economic ills that lead to public disquiet.

Must Nigeria buy arms from the black market with an Israeli dealer as the agent when the act in itself violates international order? No country will supply arms except there is a guarantee by a sovereign government. Even Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and others that supplied arms to freedom fighters and insurgents during Cold War years did so with permits from newly independent African countries as safety valves for the transportation of such weapons.

Nigeria passed the stage of sourcing for black market arms after independence.

All those who made money from arms deals during the civil war did so with licence from the sovereign government of this nation in a process that was not shady and out of the books.

True, in the mid-1960s Nigeria set up the Defence Industries Corporation, DIC. It was an all-purpose establishment to provide for all our security needs to middle levels. The corporation in the early 1970s at the time of General Yakubu Gowon’s regime was making rifles (self-loading and repeater guns) and other accessories. They made furniture and defence equipment. The Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force sent designs to them to fabricate. One is referring to the time Nigeria regarded apartheid South Africa as an adversary and that country was building its defence including nuclear capability. In fact, that gave cause to the nuclear research programme which was planned for the University of Ife.

Although it was to be for peace, yet Nigeria had in view development in South Africa. If we were making sophisticated rifles in the ‘70s, we ought to have been building tanks and armoured cars now locally with the resources that have been at our disposal in the last 40 years. DIC was a major corporation. It had a first-class soccer team that produced the likes of Amokache and Ogunlana, two teenagers who played football with flair in the late 1980s. Our servicemen are not dull. We have some of the best doctors, engineers, architects, pharmacists and scientists in the armed forces. They commended the facilities at their reach then as reasons for their excellence.

Even the Nigerian Air Force had some brilliant officers who designed assault aircraft that were novel in aviation in the 1980s. One recollects discussing the project with Ibrahim Alfa (Air Marshal) then Chief of Air Staff and Air Commodore Adedeji during one of our social interactions in those days.

Nigerian servicemen gave their best in all the theatres of war they were engaged in the past because they trusted their generals and respected political leadership. Today there is a lacuna in the system. Respect is earned and not enforced. If you desire respect from people you must be seen to be above board and to deservedly win their admiration by your competence. Soldiers often told me all over the theatres I encountered them that they fought for their generals. And the generals start from the head of state of any nation. If they are proud of you they will fight for you.

But in a country where corruption has bought a gun with leaders stealing and vomiting on their shoes, loyalty is hard to come by because self-preservation is the first law on earth. Even when a man is paying the supreme sacrifice for a cause, he wants to believe that he is on the right path for which he will not be forgotten though he ends on the field in an unmarked grave. Nationalism matters in war because it gives the feeling of belonging. Patriots pay any cost for their nation. Have we got a nation in Nigeria? Have we made people to belong with the reckless abandon we flaunt stolen wealth to damn the impoverished but angry? Is it not even funny that an Israeli now helps Nigeria to buy arms in the black market?

If it were not black market the South African government would have known of the deal and all the transactions would have passed through the Ministry of Defence, Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. There would have been no need to involve a pastor and his baby jet. This is why it is difficult to fault Bisi Akande and Ibraham Coomassie that the present administration has reduced government to a boys’ club. It was Nnamdi Azikiwe who warned Bende people in one of those his powerful speeches in 1957 that “ambition should be made of a sterner stuff.” Have those House of Representatives thieves returned the N50,000 each to the owner? God dey o!

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