Friday, June 6, 2008

CAN WE NOW AGREE THAT THE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IS DEAD IN THE WATERS

'THOU SHALT NOT FOLLOW A MULTITUDE TO DO EVIL' -Exodus 23:2


Nigeria welcomed her first female anti-corruption czar last week, when Ms. Farida Waziri was confirmed by the senate and sworn in by the Attorney General, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa. The news itself would have been a “causa celebra,” worthy of celebration had it not been overshadowed by what preceded the senate confirmation hearing.

Two of Nigeria’s foremost gadfly, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s one and only “nobel laureat”, came out forcefully in opposing the confirmation. The crust of their allegation is that Ms. Farida had conflict of interest, giving the fact that he had posted bond for one of the corrupt suspect being prosecuted by the same office she is now going to head. The duo also submits that half of the senate is under investigation and as such could not be trusted to impartially conduct a hearing that will shine the light on Ms. Waziri’s relationship with corrupt suspect under investigation by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

As we have witnessed time and again with the current legislators in Abuja, the hearing was turned into a fa├žade. No attempt was made to ask Ms. Waziri any probing questions. Her tenure as police chief was completely whitewashed and the hearing summarily concluded with her coronation. The hearing turned out to be a comical farce that during the hearing Times of Nigeria online reported in“breaking news” expose that it reliably learnt while the hearing was still going on that Ms. Waziri appointment (read anointment) is a foregone conclusion.

As it turned out, Ms. Waziri could not cleared herself of the allegation, no efforts was made by the National Assembly staff to reach out to those who made the allegation to come forth with evidence that Ms. Waziri did posted bond for suspect under investigation by EFCC. No attempt was made to reach out to EFCC current staff and civil servant to ascertain the accuracies of the allegations against Ms. Waziri.

Again, the mighty power of People’s Democratic Party was displayed before our very eyes. The party to which Ms. Waziri is a card carrying member had earlier endorsed her. A final imprimatur was given to her appointment by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, who of course can’t see anything wrong in having compromising relationship with corrupt former governors, given the fact that he used to represent many of them in court. The zealous representation he had transferred to his current job as Minister of Justice.

One of my friends enthused thus, upon hearing the news of Ms. Waziri’s confirmation: “there goes our hard earned democracy.” I sincerely believe that the present crop of politicians cannot be trusted with democracy and I wrote elsewhere that the interest of Nigeria is not the directive principle of People’s Democratic Party or any other parties who remains “leprous fingers” in Nigerian’s hand. We are indeed in trouble as a nation.

I am willing to give Ms. Waziri Farida a chance to defend herself, but she cannot do so as chief executive officer of EFCC. She needs to clear herself of the charges that she is deeply connected with corrupt ex-governors who are holding our governance hostage to their whims and caprice. After all there was no vacancy at EFCC when she was appointed so she should do the right thing, withdraw her name and have the civil servant at EFCC investigate her connections with the rogues suspect in EFCC’s net. If they found the allegation to be bogus, then she can swung to action and start the arduous task of investigating corrupt entrenched politicians.

I know I am living in “la la” land if I expect her to resign after her confirmation. I can’t recall any Nigerian in recent memory who had resigned from office to clear her name. Everyone look at government appointment as entitlements, a personal fiefdom! The days of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe had long gone! Virtues are hard to find in Nigeria of today as perfidy is the order of the day.

With an attorney general, intent on defending corrupt criminals rather than prosecuting them and an EFCC czar with questionable suspected allegiance with corrupt governmental official. I think we have reached a point to formally declare the “nunc dimitis” of the war against corruption in Nigeria. The war is over! We can’t continue to live in denial. It is not going to happen as long as President Umar Musa Yar’adua is in power in Aso Rock and David Mark at the helms in the senate. If we add the fact that the House of Representative is also headed by the son of a second republic NPN politician, who got the position of speaker by promising not to rock the boat, then you get the picture.

Bye Bye, War against Corruption!

Francis Adewale
Spokane, WA
U.S.A

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