By: Andy Akporugo Jr
Just after the results of the 2015 Presidential elections were announced and our ‘‘hero’’ advised to observe governance, like the rest of us, from the sidelines, Ms D fell dangerously ill and had to relocate abroad for treatment. There was something in the air of 1984 that seemed to re-emerge on the Nigerian atmosphere that wasn’t good for her health.
Although the thing in part, stood in some 6.3ft of gaunt, dour and austere human form, its existence was more in the brutal creativity of the minds of just about everyone who voted for change. ‘‘The people’s trouble was going to be in trouble once PMB was sworn in’’ we swore to ourselves to the hearing of thieves, and they panicked, fell ill and got involved in all kinds of accidents. Many rushed back to school mid-session. Anything was good, so far as it provided an immediate entitlement to peep at Nigeria from the safely of other lands.
For others, the promise of pneumonia, the prospects of carrying their own bags, shopping for their own groceries or simply living within the insecurity of not being friends with the police chief, judges or other headship of apparati of government elsewhere, advised against relocating. They considered a safer option: the willingness to return their anonymous loot, in the same manner that armed robbers abandon stolen getaway vehicles for their owners to come pick up from street corners. And on the first appearance of PMB on their television screens, many simply ran away from their wealth held in banks under fictitious names and operated with faces that didn’t match their signatures. Others avoided being greeted in the streets by their tenants who occupied properties that even the government was too poor to own.
They fled upon an expectation, but perhaps PMB won the elections more on the backs of certain pretentions to democratic ethos, even when they only existed in their counterfeit in Nigeria, than by the angry vengeful efforts of the ordinary electorate. And so we lost time. Time that it took him to pick up and truly get familiarized with, and convinced by, the heaps of books left behind by John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and their friends, who if truth be told, may not have been talking to Nigerians and their situation. But that’s another matter.
When he wasn’t reading slowly, he yet kept the nation awake for almost 5 months [and up till date] while he snoozed upon files holding the resume of hundreds of men who had been recommended for appointment unto the new government. And a lot, a whole lot, was lost by the ordinary Nigerian while the frighten thieves began to gain such confidence as to question why they feared in the first place, when the EFCC, ICPC and the Police still retained their methods and leadership which were known to prosper as corruption grew.
The judiciary continued to keep equally matched teams and renowned captains, which played for and against justice with balls made of lucre, and in the meantime, the thieves continued to see at the helm of affairs those heads of MDAs with whom they only yesterday, tidied up dirty deals and against whom they felt entitled to lesser punishment, on the basis that they took the smaller portion of the heist. They all remained by the grace of a President who was, and is still monkeying with such ideals of good governance as would please the West, which apparently were his quiet collaborators in the apparent effort to save Nigeria from sleaze at the last elections.
And so under the guise that their tenures were statutorily fixed, he retains in his government those whose guilt convicts them to eternal loyalty to the previous governments against which the charge of relocating our public purse continues to pend. It is no wonder then that while the head suggests one thing the body speaks of another – acting in every manner as the enemy within; giving the conspicuous criminals peeks into the heart, head and strength of a Government, now apparently confused about its own mandate by its obedience to laws.
Little wonder then that today, those who were offering to return loot have started listening, to be sure that none of us heard when they made the offer. Those who had hidden in all manner of gutters and crevices have started creeping out to the urgings of their ilk; champions of the desecration of our humanity, but who have now become protectors of the law, justice and democratic ethos; the same ones that didn’t prevent them from running away with our commonwealth. The same laws which ensured that we remained in poverty and want and read of justice only in scripture.
And now Ms D is creeping out too and seeks the hand of the chief law officer to abet her with a ticket into Nigeria. She wants to defend a suit in which no claims or punishments are sought against her. She is certainly running from some heat into a place of peace. Peace guaranteed by a systems dysfunction and a government of diddlers. I wish her well, as I do all the others.
But here is my promise to the President. The constrictions provided by his interpretation of the requirements of law will not provide him any defence when the people demand that he explains why at the close of his tenure, corruption still measures to the same height as he does. We shall not listen to claims that the judiciary is corrupt and frustrated his efforts at fighting corruption. We shall not listen, because it is from listening that we get deceived. We shall be deafened by our own shouts of rejection until we see people in jail.
Laws abound which demand that public officers must not be rich by their own efforts. They scream from the books which demand that public offices who stand taller than their salaries must be called to account for their height. Let him start using them. The law is made for the prosecution and the Defendants. Let the Government stop being prosecutors only. Let them take such actions that also make them defendants, for the benefit of what is left of our suffering humanity in Nigeria. Government was not elected to patent as theirs, the right to allege that ‘‘the judiciary is corrupt.’’ If the judiciary is corrupt, then let it be corrupt for all of us. Let the accused persons say it is corrupt too. Let the government start saying just in the same way as those who rob us and mock our judicial and other systems do, that they are innocent until proven guilty.
The law in its strength and weaknesses must be enjoyed by all. It was not meant to be a hindrance to good governance. It must never be allowed to be. The President must now fold up his sleeves and start cleaning his mess. Trust me. The law will protect him. In its strength and in its weaknesses. Certainly if its weaknesses can publicly protect Fayose and Wike when with bare chests they confront the law face to face, it would owe a determined, but frail President similar, if not more protection.