"When you fight corruption, it fights back"- Nuhu Ribadu
The ominous title of John Campbell blogpost at the American Council of Foreign Relations website on January 20, 2016 was apt "Corruption fights back in Nigeria". At the time, some Nigerians commented glibly that the write up is too simplistic and that Buhari's fight against corruption is selectively targeted at the opposition party. Fast forward four months later, even the blind could see that any attempt to fight corruption in Nigeria must contend with a virulent fight back by Nigeria Corruption Industrial complex, also known as Nigeria Corruption Inc (NCI).
In Nigeria, the endemic corruption in our body politic is not only deliberate and purposeful but deadly when it fights back. It is a corporation with huge arsenals in its armory and a "for profit" enterprise (I meant parasite). The hydra headed monster has several phalanges it can call up in its fight back. For instance, when cornered NCI could always rely on the retinue of Senior Advocate of Nigeria some of whom are permanently on its pay roll. If that fails, they could notch it up a bit, by summoning their Rolodex of retired, tainted but powerful justices also known as "legal luminaries". These are justices who retired as civil servants but today owns oil blocs and billions of dollars stashed away in Seychelles Islands.
How are they deployed? Check out the communique issued recently by some "legal giants" who met at a center in Lagos to pilloried the Supreme Court decision on Saraki's CCT trial. These "legal giants" and "leading legal luminaries" to quote Vanguard newspaper, wants CCT tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, to resign to ensure fairness in the matter. Their conclusion is neither grounded in law or facts, in actual fact, one could argue that they stood facts on its head when they claim that Umar is facing threat of prosecution. Danladi Umar, like every Nigerian who dare to fight corruption had a petition filed against him (by the way, this is another modus operandi of NCI, when cornered they cried "tu quoqe"- what about you!). The petition was first investigated by the Goodwill Jonathan administration and summarily dismissed. It was again refilled recently and dully investigated and dismissed by EFCC. There is no doubt that our "legal luminaries" care less about fairness or the constitution but rather to do the bidding of those who strut them out to defend the indefensible.
There is however more arsenals in the armory of NCI, if legal luminaries could not do it, they can always turn to law makers, who can be called upon to abandon their duties at the National Assembly and march in lockstep to any tribunal for solidarity during trial of any member of NCI shareholders. It doesn't matter if the nation's task or budget is delayed, corruption fight back is more important than law making for NCI. They don't care!
Perhaps, the most perfidious of NCI shenanigans in their corruption fights back gimmick is the "rent a crowd" scheme. Like the youth earnestly ask for Abacha crowd of yore, NCI can always round up hungry masses who for a fee can be made to carry placards proclaiming the innocence of any accused corrupt officials. They will of course follow up with "journalist for hire" who will help write sponsored slanted stories in major newspapers.
When you look at all of their gimmicky moves, one could pessimistically concludes that there is no hope for Nigeria, but I beg to disagree. In fact, their desperation is a sign of their end. Gone are the days when a slanted story in Lagos/Ibadan/Kaduna/Enugu press will bury reform efforts in Nigeria. Now, they have to contend with hundreds of bloggers and the indefatigable Saharareporters. Folks who will risk life and limb to get out the stories of corruption online before the muezzin call in Nigeria. The real heroes however are those judges, who like Ceasar's wife remains above board and refuse to compromise at the danger of losing their promotion, like the judge who dismissed Obanikoro's lawsuits against Punch and saharareporters. Others are those brave protesters in Abuja who refuse to look at every news stories from Nigeria from an ethnic prism. Therein lies our hope.
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