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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dilemma Of A Public Officer



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There is no gainsaying that corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten away the soul of the public service in Nigeria. The rot is so deep that corruption almost readily passes as an alias for public service in the country. The populace seem to have resigned to the ugly happenstance and have almost accepted corruption as a fated attribute of every public servant. The distrust is so rife that surprise usually greets honesty when found in a public servant. Hence, our people are more inclined to listening to accusations of corruption against a public servant than protestations of innocence no matter how passionate. But are all our public servants necessa
rily corrupt? I doubt much. Can we safely conclude that once Mr  A is a public servant, Mr A must be corrupt at all times in all things?
The allegations of corruption shot like a hot arrow against the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke by a citizen reporter iRerport-ng.comturns up curious dimensions that warrant a questioning of this popular thesis. Can we conclude that ‘Mr Adoke  is a public servant and therefore, must be necessarily guilty of every accusation of corruption’. Or can we say that once we read something on the internet, it must be true?
What is the measure of objectivity in the unfolding drama? iReports-ng.com accuses the AGF of mind boggling corruption. The blog lists a series of accounts in which it claims the AGF has stashed millions of pounds and dollars. The AGF in response accepts that like any other responsible citizen, he has accounts in banks which he fully declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau. He protests that he by no means has that kind of money. He invites the security agencies to investigate him thoroughly and begs his accusers to petition the EFCC against him.
This shouldn’t be a problem. Since iReport-ng.com is so certain of its allegations against the AGF, one would have expected a barrage of petitions: to the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau. But alas! All we have is the old logic: ‘the AGF is a public servant, therefore, he must be as guilty as charged! After all, public servants are corrupt!’ True, corruption could almost pass for an alias for public service in Nigeria but it could as well be that this gentleman is not guilty of the accusations. Is it okay to heap the accusations on him simply because he is a public servant?
And the response of iReports–ng.com is, ‘resign first before the allegation can be investigated’. An impressive logic indeed! Suppose that end is what is intended ab initio? Is someone on a hatchet mission to oust the gentleman from office? What has happened to the concept of the benefit of doubt? Is someone fighting him through a faceless proxy? Sure, there is plenty of corruption in the public sector but corruption is not unknown on internet enterprises. What has happened to investigative journalism; what has happened to the standard practice of hearing from the other side? Sure we want to boot corruption out of Nigeria. Could iReports-ng.com be gracious enough to do the patriotic duty of putting a face to its accusations, turning it into a petition and helping to stem corruption in our beloved country? Or, could iReports-ng.com, in the esteemed tradition of wikileakes, publish hard evidence to support its allegations? I thought we are all agreed that Nigeria is a country of naïve fools?
Ebo Socrates, ebosocrates”yahoo.com

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