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Nigeria In One Minute

Who is not a thief?



By Joseph Edgar . . .

The seeming efficiency of the EFCC is beginning to gnaw at me, making me want to ask myself ‘who is not a thief’. The rate at which people are falling following a series of infractions during the immediate past regime is making me feel that this present war against corruption is actually a war against our very essence as a people.

What is beginning to emerge is the fact that those who are today in the gulag or under prosecution have only found themselves in this sad position simply because they belong to the wrong end of the camp.

I have heard a lot of people say that even those baying like the Roman mob asking for the head of those in the net today would have done the same thing if not worse if they had found themselves in the same position during that era. From politicians through military men, bankers and businessmen, everybody had their hands in the honey pot and one is wont to ask if this issue of corruption should not be legalized as the line between what is right and what is wrong when it comes to handling funds especially campaign funding remains very gray.

The question that is nibbling at me as I write, remains ‘who is not a thief’. If we take a clinical look at everybody in public life I feel very strongly that except the President who is famed for his forthrightness, I don’t think any other Nigerian would pass the litmus test.

Corruption and thievery has so ingrained itself into our national pastime that only the very little minority do not engage in it. It is now a simple fact of our daily existence as a nation. In fact you are expected to pillage once you find yourself in pole position. A refusal to do this puts you in a position to be mocked. The pressures that come with holding positions of influence and power makes resistance a joke. Indeed you are expected to steal, to bend the rules after all it is ‘government money’.

Read also: Herdsmen and the Killing Field

Is the government toeing the right line in its war? I think so, but will it win this war? I think not. As already stated, only the President seems to be immune and only one man cannot change a culture opinion in just four years and in a democratic era where there are effective systems of checks and balances. Despite this, he seems to be making a remarkable inroad as this war is taking no prisoners in its persistence and ruthlessness.

The only flaw is that all the victims so far seem to come from only one side of the divide. We have not heard too many people from the camp in power being prosecuted despite the fact that we all know what went down in the sates they controlled. The same way the opposing power funded their campaigns was the same way the party in power funded theirs. So if these people are being herded into the gulag, same should be done on all sides and then we will begin to see a true revolution.

The president is on the verge of history. He has a strong moral compass to lead this push. My only fear is the fact that he might want a second term and if that is the case, you can be sure that the steam on this train would vaporize. For success in this area would most likely lead to a series of negotiations, ‘give and take’ and bargaining that would most likely see him turn a blind eye to some of the very glaring cases of impunity in his bid to win a second term.

Not to digress, I still ask ‘who is not a thief’. I think the answer is simple. We are all thieves.



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