There is no doubt that corruption in Nigeria has become a malignant tumour tearing into every fabric of the nation from The Presidency, to state governments, national assembly to state assemblies.
It has become whatever comes round goes round.
It is doubtful whether the mountain of revelation that has come into the open space since President Muhammadu Buhari’s departure, has not made his government the worst in terms of pilfering than his predecessors.
Though Buhari remarked shortly before election in 2015 that -Corruption will kill Nigeria if Nigeria doesn’t kill it, it was taken as a sign of no more business as usual, revelations upon revelations after his departure have almost made former military President Ibrahim Babangida and the late General Sani Abacha’s governments saintly when compared to Buhari’s.
From the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, where its Governor for nine years, Godwin Emefiele, distinguished himself by being the only chief executive that got detained for seven months after his inglorious removal; to National Poverty Alleviation, NIPA, operators that helped themselves with N44 billion kept in secret banks away from the poor it was meant for; the country smells high of corruption. And in the words of the late Dr. Tai Solarin, it stinks to high heavens with its putrid smell.
The smell is showing its hand so early in Bola Tinubu’s government, which made him suspend Alima Shehu of the National Social Insurance Programme, NISPA, last week over her alleged involvement in corrupt practices which dated back to when she served under Buhari.
Indeed, the mountain of corruption that has reared its head in Nigeria in the past one week is a direct confirmation of the saying that Nigeria, as it is, is a country of one day, one problem.
Besides, pilfering of natural resources which has been a deadweight to previous governments has reared its head and develop a life of its own under successive governments.
Buhari, perhaps in apparent late discovery that most of the lieutenants he assembled had disappointed him, later into his tenure (nobody knows why he was helpless in dealing or curtailing them) warned that, nobody should come to him at Katsina when the enquiries into their roles in government comes into the open after the end of his tenure, adding that, should they come, “I will relocate from Katsina to Niger, where my brethren live.”
But today, Buhari could not relocate or run to Niger as his friendly Head of State who would have provided shelter for him is himself under detention by the military junta which seized power few months ago.
While the furore over the corruption in the top hierarchy of government rages on, the nation’s education sector was engulfed in scandal over the prevalence of ‘fake’ professors in the nation’s Ivory Tower.
At the last count, over 100 alleged “fake” professors were fingered in some of the private umiversities, most of whom have been in the defensive to prove their genuineness.
With Achievers University, Redeemers University and others now forced to defend the integrity of their human capital resources, it is apparent the education sector has over the years had its fair share of the endemic rot.
In neighbouring Togo and Benin Republic, Nigerians who patronise these institutions in the past now have to defend their integrity that their certificates are worth more than the papers on which they were written.
The undercover story of a Daily Nigerian Reporter has unveiled the rot in these institutions and has extended Federal Government’s axe on them falling on 46 other higher institutions in West Africa and other countries.
It is apparent that the integrity of certificates awarded in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions is in serious doubt.
But if the education sector is in trouble, the business exploits of the Dangote Group of companies is under serious scrutiny as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has beamed its searchlight on it.
For Dangote, today, it is a case of a time will come when a king may not know Joseph. This is because no government agency has ever asked it to open its books since decades as a result of the monopoly he enjoyed in business over the years.
It is also apparent that the covert monopoly enjoyed by the Dangote Conglomerate is under serious threat not with governments underhand support for its rivals like Rabiu the owner of BUA Cement.
Even, Dangote’s potential dominance and monopoly of the oil industry via his $6 billion refinery is now in doubt just as EFCC’s raid on its national headquarters last week over forex deals with Emefiele’s CBN portends that the holiday of government protection for Dangote is over. Also over is the preferential treatment and upper hand over other competitors.
Today, the National Assembly members are also in the eye of the storm over its tight fist over President Tinubu’s largesse of hundreds of bag of rice as palliatives for their individual constituencies, which most of them converted to personal use.
Now if legislators could not be trusted with extending care and love to their Constituency, through distributing relief materials, who else can be trusted?
Corruption in the previous government and the burden of today is a potential flash point for Tinubu’s government, more so as it has reared its head so early in the case of Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs.
If at the end of the investigation set up Sunday by the President, the Minister and her cronies are found culpable, then it means youths have flunked the chance to make a difference in governance in the country as they clamour for.
Without jumping into conclusion of Edu’s probable culpability, the question remains when has conduct of government and official task been reduced to personal bank account as claimed by Edu.
Are there no trusted or competent hands in the department more so when Dr. Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, the Accountant General, has declared that her own ministry does not make payments on behalf of government agencies.
That she claimed the ministry and agency was advised on appropriate steps to take in making such payments in line with established payment procedure speaks volumes of operations in agencies, more so one now presided by young professionals on whose shoulders the country’s future lies.
That the Accountant General in a way faulted the decision of the Humanitarian Minister to use the Chief Accountant of the project, Mrs. Bridget Oniyelu Mojisola’s personal account speaks volumes.
If the money is for Vulnerable groups -Grants for Vulnerable Groups, GVGs, scheme- as claimed by Edu, could the fund’s transfer not have been handled using official channels?
More questions like this are waiting for answers from Edu -a supposedly brilliant young professional on whose shoulder hopes of a new youth leadership are being placed.
The nation waits for Tinubu’s next move.