Tag Archives: goodluck jonathon

Which came first – the corrupt citizen or the corrupt government?

The past few governments have truly had their work cut out for them, after all, swindling the country’s money is hard-work and time-consuming. So much so that they haven’t had the time to pay attention to industries other than oil, or run a general election without it becoming an absolute joke.

With the elections that were meant to take place last Saturday being postponed for a whole week, the world has been reminded of what a corrupt country Nigeria is.  Not only does the whole registration/election process highlight severe corruption, it also highlights the disorganisation that Nigeria seems cursed with in all political and social affairs.

It’s easy to blame the people sitting in power. Of course they are certainly the ones making immoral and moronic decisions that impact negatively on the people they are meant to serve. The government should be responsible for infrastructure, education, nourishing and protecting home industries and making sure international trade is as beneficial as can be.

But Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo, and those under and around them did not arrive on a spaceship from planet Corruption. They are, after all, former ordinary citizens.

I came across a Nigerian forum awhile ago in which the issue of tax was being debated. One poster claimed that it was probably for the best that Nigeria wasn’t fully developed because perks of evading tax made life, for him, a lot more comfortable. He went on to tell an anecdote about how his brother was taken to court in the United Kingdom over refusing to pay a TV licensing fee, and described how systems such as these were “a nuisance”. I remember watching a news programme years ago asking young Nigerians what they would do if they were in power. One boy, aged around 10yrs, said “chop [steal] money.”

Heritage.org had this to say about Nigeria’s corruption rankings (notice the word I have highlighted in bold):

“Corruption is perceived as pervasive. Nigeria ranks 130th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009, a drop from 2008. Corruption is endemic at all levels of government and society, and the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors are constitutionally immune from civil and criminal prosecution. Domestic and foreign observers” recognize corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction.

In Nigeria, it’s normal to play ‘the game’. From bribing airport staff when one enters the country to paying 20N to policemen at so-called ‘checkpoints’ dotted along the main roads to allow you to get on with your journey.

Travelling to my father’s house in Ibadan from abroad we were stopped by policemen, armed with guns, who demanded a search of our car. In the glove compartment was a sum of money given to my father, by friends, to pass on to their relatives. Of course the policemen demanded a large portion of that money. Money that had entered the country legally and money that was not theirs to take. After much pleading, they finally accepted a smaller proportion of the money and went on their way.

Corruption, like any virus, has spread throughout all sectors of society. From politics, to education, from the top to the bottom. No one seems to be immune. But Nigeria is going to need some sort of cure – some sort of revolutionary change in mindset to change the status-quo. It’s easy to blame ‘them’ but what ‘you’?


Ex-Ambassador warned to hush by presidential aide

The claim made by a former Nigerian ambassador that President Goodluck Jonathon will not be contesting at next year’s election, has been slammed by the The Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Sully Abu.

Goodluck ignores zoning rules

Alhaji Yahaya Kwande, ambassador to Switzerland from 1981-84, has made no secret of his discontent for Goodluck standing for election next year.  Earlier on in the year Kwande said: “To my mind, it would not be fair for him to contest in 2011. The circumstance that made him president was an unfortunate one and his emergence has been accepted without question. But there is no point for him to break an existing arrangement by contesting in 2011. That would not be fair.”

Goodluck assumed the presidency in February this year, while the president at the time, Umaru Yar’Adua, was taken ill. After a long spell of ill-health, Yar’Adua died and Goodluck continued in his role – without any formal transfer of power. Goodluck’s reception in the country has been divided, with those who are yet to see any significant changes since his rule, and those who hang on faithfully to his promises of bringing transformation to the country.

In strong words directed at the ex-ambassador, Abu said: “President Jonathan has never contemplated and is not contemplating withdrawing from the race for the presidency in 2011. He [Kwande] is neither a spokesman for Jonathan nor a supporter of his cause. He, therefore, lacks, absolutely, the credentials to speak for the President.”

Kwande has also criticised President Goodluck on his apparent disregard for the ‘zoning‘ laws of the country. Zoning is, in short, a complex answer to a complex country which houses more than 250 different ethnic groups. The basic principle of zoning is to ensure power is rotated between key ethnic groups and maintain civil peace as a result. Ex-president Obasanjo saw off eight years of rule as a southern president before Yar’Adua (from the north) took over. This is zoning – turns of power between the north and south. However, Yar’Adua did not get to serve a full term as president before his death, and a man from the south, Goodluck took over. As a result – the north are hungry for power again.

The ruling party, PDP, denied zoning the 2011 presidency to the north, saying in an Abuja High Court:

“It is not correct to state that the presidential flag bearer of the 1st Defendant for the 2011 election is zoned to Northern Nigeria.  [The PDP] allows its presidential candidate to emerge democratically from the pool of aspirants, thereafter, other positions, like the Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Chairman of the party, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), etc are zoned.”

This dangerous U-turn in policy is what Kwande has hit back at, asking: “Can a nation earn respect when its leaders don’t respect the truth and honour? If zoning doesn’t affect the office of the President, why didn’t former President Obasanjo bring a Yoruba presidential candidate to succeed him in 2007? Why did he have to bring the late Yar’Adua to succeed him?”