The fight against corruption in Nigeria has come a long way, almost as long as the age of the country since independence. Where did corruption start and is it being nipped at all?
The current government has stridently told Nigerians that the nation is grappling with development challenges because of corruption. The President made it known that “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”. To give effect to his vow, many people have been rounded up and are being tried in courts for financial corruption. Most of happen to belong to the opposition party. The party (PDP) has for now been dubbed “corrupt” by those in the ruling APC, stating that the PDP’s 16 years in power was riddled with corruption. This is despite the long history of corruption in Nigeria.
In the first military coup d’etat in Nigeria in 1966, the military announced that it was out to fight corruption in the system. All other coups in Nigeria through the close to four decades of military rule, promised to “fight corruption” but corruption has refused to go away.
From 1999 to date, successive administrations promised to “fight corruption” and so did the present one which has the “fight” as its major focus. It is a noble cause no doubt. What is however disturbing is the fact that every Nigerian who opposes or criticises the government today must be visited by the anti-corruption agency, the EFCC for alleged corruption. All the time former President Olusegun Obasanjo fraternised with the APC, nobody thought about the power sector issue any longer. Now that he started criticising the present government, President Muhammadu Buhari has said the government will revisit the case.
Note can be made of others in court so far. Great as the fight against corruption is, must it become a weapon for silencing the opposition? In a democracy, how vibrant is governance without opposition?
What is intriguing is that those who made up the APC that won the 2015 election were PDP governors and others who had their state funds at their disposal. Despite allegations of corrupt practices against those PDP governors now in APC, none of them has been visited by the EFCC not charged like their counterparts in PDP.
More to come.