In his book entitled”Nigeria/Biafra Civil war: My Experiences”, the then Imo State Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, wrote thus:”There is this story of a Nigerian minister who went to a conference in another country. His counterpart in that country took him to his country home. It was such a beautiful building. The Nigerian Minister asked his counterpart how he managed to build such a house. The counterpart replied:”You see that bridge there (pointing at the nearby bridge), 10% of it is this house.” When next the same conference was being held in Nigeria, the Minister invited that his counterpart to his own country home(i.e. in Nigeria). The visitor was startled at the state-of –the-art mansion. He quickly asked:”How did you manage? The Nigerian Minister replied:”You see that valley there(pointing at a nearby valley), there is supposed to be a bridge there; that bridge is this house.” The above statement by DR. Udenwa clearly defines the level of corruption in Nigeria. It is a hydra-headed monster that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. Please read White Paper Newspaper of 7th-8th November, 2011, page 3 which is an excerpt from the serialization of Achike Udenwa’s book:”Nigeria /Biafra Civil War-My Experience.”Alternatively , you may wish to read the actual book in order to understand the context of usage and how the cankerworm of corruption has become deeply –embedded in the foundational structure of the Nigerian nation.
It is interesting to note that DR. Achike Udenwa who was Imo State governor in the period, May 29th, 1999-May 29th, 2007, is one of the few former state governors who were given a certificate of clean health by the anti-graft bodies(EFCC/ICPC) after he left office as governor thus culminating in his appointment as Minister in the administration of the late President Musa Yar’Adua. So, his comment on the state of corruption in Nigeria should be seen as a frank and candid state of affairs on the bogey of corruption in Nigeria. The object lesson of Dr Achike Udenwa’s lamentation on corruption is that corruption has become a carcinogenic virus in the country to the extent that if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us. This is why it behoves every Nigerian, irrespective of his political , ethnic or religious affiliation, to give President, Muhammadu Buhari the necessary support in his war against corruption. In spite of the real and perceived shortcomings of Buhari’s war on corruption, he has blazed a trail in his courage to frontally confront the monster of corruption by probing the immediate past government that handed over to him. The fact that I did not cast my vote for either the APC or President Buhari is immaterial. There is a national outcry that his war on corruption is skewed against the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Yes, there is an abundance of evidence to lend credence to this allegation. But President Buhari has started a task which no administration in the past was able to embark on i.e. the courage to probe past acts of corruption, more so, probing a predecessor administration. By embarking on this courageous task, President Buhari has set an agenda of probing past administrations. Those who allege that there is partisanship in the war on corruption, should calm down and work assiduously to win the 2019 poll so that they also can probe President Buhari’s administration.
It may not be easy to expect President Buhari to probe some of the alleged corrupt members of his party, more so, since these perceived corrupt politicians funded his presidential electioneering. Such perceived corrupt politicians- and they are so well known- should be severely probed when another political party takes over the levers of power, say in 2019 or so. It is despicable that at a time a political party like the PDP should put its house in order, it is dissipating so much energy in intra-party crises. It is provocative that the Imo State PDP which lost the governorship elections in 2007,2011, and 2015 is still unable to conduct a simple congress election at the ward, local government and state levels. This shows that the PDP in Imo state has not learnt any lessons from its previous travails. It is for the sake of people like the members of PDP in Imo State that the revered scholar , George Santayana, once posited the maxim: ”Those who do not learn from history always repeat their mistakes.” It is the wish of any good citizen in Imo State, especially those who do not belong to any political party, that there should be no intra-party or even inter-party crises in the political parties in the state. This is the only way the state can make genuine progress. We pray for a harmonious relationship among the various political parties in the state.
Finally, it is my advice to Governor Okorocha to ensure he emulates the example of President Buhari in probing the predecessor administration prior to his ascendancy to power ; of course, this applies if he feels there were cases of corruption. So, Governor Okorocha must take adequate steps to screen the immediate past administration; this is to guard against any complaint in the future that a future administration is carrying out a probe that is skewed against his administration. So, he should decide what to do with his tenure now that he is controlling the levers of power.
This is the morale of Buhari’s ongoing war on corruption. President Buhari knows full well that the next administration will subject his administration to scrupulous scrutiny.
Finally, one feels disorientated by the spate of denials from the members of PDP in Imo state in regard to the over N1 bn which was allegedly collected by the Presidential Campaign Committee, Imo State in 2015. It is distressing that up till now, nobody has accepted that he collected the money. One of those who was alleged to be involved in the scheme trivialized the issue when she said that a bullet should be shot in her head if she was found guilty, while others treated the matter in a perfunctory and cavalier manner. Well, nobody wants to bludgeon or decapitate anybody’s head. The simple answer to the question has yet to be addressed i.e. who collected the money and how was it shared? In Oyo state, Chief Olu Falae said ,”Yes, I collected the money and disbursed to the party officials of Social Democratic Party(SDP)”. In Enugu state, Chief Jim Nwobodo said ,that he actually collected the money and remitted to the other groups. That was the situation in other states. It is only in Imo State that nobody has owned up to collecting the money; yet, nobody has said that the Presidential Campaign Committee in Imo state was not given any funding. Some of these shenanigans and intrigues from the PDP in Imo State do not go down well with the members of the citizenry, more so, those who had sympathy for the PDP in the 2015 elections. The PDP in Imo State should strive to outgrow petty and mundane crises in order to put its house in order.