There is a cloned hydra-headed monster on a tiny-lined white thread seen with the third-eye only making up the 37th State of Nigeria. It is CORRUPTION. On May 27, 2012, the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri Diocese, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna celebrated a thanksgiving Mass for the State Government to mark its one year in office at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri. In his homily, the Archbishop called for an alternative Nigeria.
The alternative Nigeria, he explained would be “Nigeria that is just and fair, a Nigeria where there is rule of law and respect for justice and fairness, a Nigeria where the leaders will shun double standard life and enthrone good governance and accountability”.
He added, “efforts must be intensified to build an alternative Imo State and not an Imo State of bribery and corruption or Imo State of fraud or Imo State of one individual accumulating so much property for himself”.
He urged Nigerian leaders to live above selfishness and greed and all forms of corruption because, he emphasized, “Nigerians desire a new Nigeria filled with love, truth, justice and fairness”.
Archbishop Obinna, reflecting on the state of affairs in Nigerian nation, had this to say, “when we have the civilization of truth, civilization of justice and peace there is no limit to the greatness our nation can rise up to. The spirit of God in us will help us to no longer be bothered about earthly things and inordinate ambitions, for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul”, he asked.
In another development, funny enough, there was an interdenominational church service held at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja to commemorate the 2012 National Democracy Day with the immediate past prelate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Peter Akinola as the Guest Speaker. The service was attended by the President, his wife, Governors, ministers and top Government officials.
In his sermon, Bishop Akinola challenged the congregation to join him in the fight against CORRUPTION in the country by committing perpetrators to court of God for trial and subsequent punishment. To the judgment prayer, he said “may the Almighty God visit the perpetrators of corruption with everlasting damnation in hell-fire. He requested “Amen” from the congregation but he received a deafening silence instead of Amen. He exclaimed, “There you are! Oh, CORRUPTION! So you are not ready to fight it, because you are all beneficiaries of it? Whether you steal in a small or big way, stealing is stealing”, he told them.
Most Rev. Akinola added: “This hydra-headed monster (CORRUPTION) has literally taken over the souls and eaten up the fabric of Nigeria”. Many fighting it (Corruption) in police and judiciary have no clean hands. When any National Assembly Committee or any government agency is inviting anybody for questioning, it is because those being investigated have not yet given the agency inviting it their due share of the booty”, the clergyman said.
Nevertheless, to me, there are still some Nigerians on the contrary in the civil and public offices by employment or appointment that are exceptionally good and very God-fearing. The percentage may be small. But they are there and if encouraged, can help change the majority, though difficult. The question, however is, who encourages them?
The dare-devil called corruption is in all organized human groupings and societies in Nigeria particularly and the world in general. The worst aspect of it, is, its existence even in some churches. The governments may take the highest blame because they are elected by the people to take care of their social, economic and political welfares. Cultism in high places including the Government is the mother of Corruption. People join them in order to commit crimes and get free if caught.
Nevertheless, let us reflect on the events in Nigeria in the past and in recent times. Take a look at the AJOKUTA STEEL Coy in Kogi State, started when Nigeria was in a swaddling developing cloth and up till today it has not crawled, let alone standing because of executive in-fighting as a result of corruption.
Take another look at the Railway as an additional means of transportation which traversed through all the corners of Nigeria helping to a very large existent to move goods including food stuff from one state to another. Today, it has turned into the pocket of corruption.
The last, which has been pushing to come earlier is the “Amendment of the Nigerian Constitution especially the immunity clause that prevents the Governors and Presidents from being tried for any criminal offence, while in office Ninety percent of Nigerians have been pressurizing for the removal of that clause, but when recently the National Assembly tried to amend it and saw its unworkability, decided that their members and those of the State Assemblies become beneficiaries of the clause. What a Nigeria? If you cannot change them, join them.
It is in Nigeria that an ex-convict reigned as a State Governor for eight years. Only to be jailed later outside Nigeria for some of the offences the courts in Nigeria found him not guilty. It is also in Nigeria that a state Governor camouflaged as a woman in order to beat the British security in order to find his way home.
The worrisome aspect of this monster is its ability to permeate the Judiciary, supposedly, the last hope of the poor man, whose population is close to 90% of the entire population of Nigeria. The 90% are in anguish.
The case of the convicted police pension swindler has shown the Judiciary swimming necked in the dirty waters of corruption. The man who confessed to have stolen “ONLY” N23 billion out of the money provided for the payment of the pension of police men who had suffered during their youth serving their country.
The police pension thief used the word “only” as a prefix to the N23 billion, indicating that the amount from which “only 23 billion” was stolen must have been in trillions. But for the early discovery, he could have made hundreds of billions, whereas some owners of the money had died out of hunger, distress and inability to pay hospital bills. Every month, the poor retired officers would be summoned by so called deceitful consultants, checking and trying to discover the dead ones whose money to steal.
It becomes a hopeless condition when the hope of the poor in this world in terms of Justice and equity being the Judiciary becomes eroded by corruption. When the umbrella (Judiciary) shading the poor gets perforated by corruption and flood his hope with quick-sand, the end-time knocks. Thanks to God for the new Chief Justice of Nigeria, a woman who has decided to use a motherly care to look into what the people are passing through in the Judiciary and the courts. She will be canonized if she can sanitize the Judiciary and rescue the people.
In a democratic government which we are presumably practicing, there are three arms, the executive, the legislative and the Judiciary. The Judiciary, though appointed by the Executive and confirmed by the Legislative is spiritually empowered by God to dispense Justice without fear or favour no matter who is involved including the appointee but unfortunately corruption has taken over the Judiciary from the cleaner, messenger, typist, clerks, registrars etc., to the apex of all the human sittings. However, there are some courts manned by some eminent, God-fearing, sincere, honest Magistrates and Judges. They pass absolute judgments and not Justice according to law. They do not delay cases unnecessarily.
Regrettably, there are catalogue of unbelievable miscarriages of judgments by Nigerian judges. Corruption should not exist in the Judiciary at all.
In the recent past, the National Assembly raised alarm over the excesses of petroleum marketers and the Chief Executives of the NNPC in stealing from the coffers of the National Treasury. All ears and eyes were open but behold the dust settled down without injuring anybody. It followed the same route Bankole’s case did after court trial.
A common arithmetical division of a half trillion naira into 150 million Nigerians would give about N4 billion to each person. You can then imagine a situation where about sixteen Nigerians in the name of oil marketers are allegedly said to take home about N13 trillions as exploits from the NNPC belonging to all Nigerians.
With the EFCC, the victims would attend their invitations and after a day or two return to their bases and the wounded public, would expect in vain the outcome of the cry for wolf. Corruption may be at work.
Institutions of higher, middle and lower learning are not free from corruption. They are culpable. An enclosure for character and learning turn to be a breeding ground for a generation that lacks conscience and fear of God, is an abomination.
Today, there are proliferations of churches and so is the music of corruption. I mean that there is corruption in the house of God. Man of God preaches prosperity more than the demands for salvation. Some Bishops of the new churches own jet-planes while the poor in their mist lack food.
There is high level of corruption in the business houses, market places, the town unions, traditional institutions and what have you. Corruption is not only taking bribe to pervert the cause of Justice. It includes every negative act against humanity.
Take again another look at NITEL. The NITEL was viable and richer than any Bank in Nigeria and remained very supportive financially to organizations and the Government until the so-called privatization during which the NITEL was ceded to only God knows Consultancy Company that reaped off the NITEL during the Obasanjo regime.
It was however the then Government appointee that brought in the 419 company that impoverished the NITEL through the backdoor. Today, the NITEL has become an orphan.
Only God and God alone will intervene. The poor should however take a very strong consolation from the existence of natural laws and the ultimate end of everybody through death. The Law of Karma awaits everybody.
It is a great foolery indeed to accumulate through corruption properties, landed and infrastructural here on earth and lose one’s soul because where your properties are, remains where your soul will be attached. Say bye-bye to CORRUPTION and save your soul.
__________________________________________Wrote from Nze Louis Onwunali, 08033400774