Let Us Detonate This Grand Corruption Conspiracy (2) By Sonala Olumhense


sonala_Winning-logo_2This follow-up to last week’s article addresses Nigerians who are tired of the debilitating corruption in their country; people who wonder what they can do.

There is, and I propose the following cause of action strictly for citizens.  This is not about the government; it is self-defeating to engage a government led by people defined by a lack of character to lead by example.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Let us be clear: unless there is violent uprising, it is impossible to upturn corruption overnight in any significant measure.  The suggestions I make here are aimed at redefining the relationship between those who vote and those for whom they vote; they are targeted at undermining corruption over time but within the law, causing its foundation to erode irretrievably.

The first task is to understand that Nigeria’s corruption oligarchy counts on the ignorance and cowardice of Nigerians to fuel the culture of impunity.  The first task is to empower and therefore embolden the people with information.  A people armed with the truth, can never be defeated.

The second task: to concede that fighting corruption through the front door is a daunting task.  That is why the strategy is to find a weak link.  Coming in through an unguarded door is fair and wise in war.

Such an unguarded door is the annual report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), described here last week, which the law compels the commission to submit to the National Assembly (NASS).

Something about that report makes officials, especially the EFCC and the National Assembly, to do everything to hide it.

The EFCC had however admitted it is available for the asking: “…Having been presented to the National Assembly, members of the public may be apprised of its contents by their elected representatives or seek to obtain copies by laid down procedures of the Senate and House of Representatives.”

This is the back door through which, I propose we commence a Peoples Anti-Corruption War (PAW).  We can use this small opportunity to PAW away at the menace, starting today, because there are no sentries guarding that door, no Kill&Go, no gbomo-gbomo.

Once we access the reports, we will be able to understand why so much care is being taken to hide them, and why the looters are unafraid.

If the reports show respectable work being done, Nigerians ought to support the EFCC.  Its chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, says there is, and that he is simply avoiding dramatizing it.

This is a ruse.  It sounds like footballer JayJay Okocha picking up a pass from his own 18-yard box, driving and dribbling the entire opposition into desperation all over the field, and then, face-to-face with the opposing goalkeeper in the six-yard box, shooting…into touch.

With that reports in our hands, we can establish how the inmates claimed the asylum.  We can show up at the front door of the commission and the government, and ask educated questions.  We can weep in the streets; there is nothing in the law against weeping in the streets.

Of greater importance, we can weep at the feet of those who represent us in the highways and byways of power: National Assembly members (NASSers, for short); and in the States the Assemblymen.  Beginning today and pulling our friends, relatives and colleagues along, let us contact the NASSers any way we can: letters, email, phone calls, office visits in groups, and demand these documents.

In order to make this and similar efforts workable, we must eliminate the artificial veneer that NASSers have built around themselves by making their public information public: office addresses, phone numbers, email, websites, and official residences.  By doing so, we will enlist the legislators in redefining the future.

What civil society can do: Anti-corruption campaigners such as the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, the Anti-Corruption Network, Save Nigeria Group, Public Accountability League, Premium Times, Campaign Against Corrupt Leaders, Public Interest Lawyers League and SaharaReporters should compile and publish this database urgently.  Where official phone numbers are unavailable, a legislator’s private number is justifiable.

Making such a database widely available will help to penetrate the outer courtyards of government.  In the next stage, the database should be expanded to include contact information for all elected officials from the president down to local councilors and government offices.

What you can do if you work for NASS or your State Assembly but love Nigeria: send this information discreetly to any of the groups listed above.

What you can do, Nigerian citizen?  Be proactive: Contact those that are doing something to undermine corruption.  Encourage.  Suggest.  Assist.  Volunteer.

I have no doubt that some NASSers are eager to work for their people, although they may at first be shy about heavy public attention.  But by definition they are employees of those who should now contact them relentlessly to obtain the EFCC reports.

Once we learn to ask elected officials hard questions, they will—as lovers of peace—in turn learn to ask harder questions of other officials, elected or appointed, as they are supposed to.  Citizens will be able to pile unprecedented pressure on their representatives that will translate into law and improved governance.  They will open the doors of accountability and transparency.

Once we put the power of this information in the hands of every citizen armed with a pen or a phone, they will discover a voice that is normally denied them in between elections.  They will jumpstart the national conversation the corruption oligarchy fears.  Nigerians will learn where all the bodies are buried, and who dug the graves.

The beauty of democracy is that legislators who do not like power in the hands of voters can seek another line of work, including the unemployment line.

What the telecommunications companies can do: They can provide a breakdown of phone numbers across the country by State/local councils/constituencies.  This is not against the law, and it will enable anti-corruption campaigners to design demographically-appropriate bulletins that may be delivered directly to phone handsets.

What the political parties can do: Demonstrate understanding of democracy beyond holding power. Parties such as the All Progressives Congress, which I cite because it claims to have the answers, should demonstrate understanding of the concept of a new politics defined by grassroots party organization, membership recruitment, voter education, accountability and the rule of law.  Groveling at the feet of the very forces that threw Nigeria into the sewer in the first place is no indication of living by example.

What anti-corruption campaigners can do: Unite to establish a genuine annual National Honours scheme, perhaps to be called Nigeria People’s Heroes, to restore meaning to the concept of honour.  Honorees should be nominated by Nigerians on the basis of exemplary character, patriotism and achievement, enabling us to celebrate people we can be proud to introduce to the world and to our children.

What Nigerians in the Diaspora can do: Admit you are a disenfranchised, marginalized afterthought, but you can now actively liaise with relatives and friends to undermine corruption and influence voters and institutions. You can supply information, expose corrupt officials, use the Freedom of Information law.

No PAW is too small or too weak in detonating the corruption conspiracy.  This is our country, and our war.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

Share post:



More like this

IX Africa Launches Kenya’s First Hyperscale Data Centre in Partnership with Schneider Electric

July 16,2024. IXAfrica Data Centres has launched East Africa’s first...

NECO releases 2024 examination results for Unity schools

July 16, 2024. Azonuchechi Chukwu. The Federal Government has released the...

Nigerian Singer Wizkid celebrates 34th birthday

July 16, 2024. Azonuchechi Chukwu. Nigerian singer and songwriter Wizkid triggered...

Chinedu Ikedieze celebrates wife on her birthday

July 16, 2024. Azonuchechi Chukwu. Nollywood actor Chinedu Ikedieze popularly known...
× How can I help you?