FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeThursday, August 24, 2017
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IMPUNITY, ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS LOYALTIES, THE BANE OF NIGERIA

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he apparent failure of things and rules that work well in developed countries to function in Nigeria or do I say, the inability or refusal of Nigerians to obey in Nigeria, the same laws they obey abroad, has continued to confound many who wish Nigeria well.

During my recent visit to Nigeria, I came face to face with this monster which we were assured Obasanjo and Jonathan gave lethal wounds and the only thing that remain is for Buhari to bury it.

At the Charles de Gaulle Airport, all the Nigerian passengers behaved themselves and queued politely. Once we landed at Port Harcourt airport, there was a complete change in behaviour as I watched the struggle to show who is important by breaking the rules.

First the military men simply refused to go through the customs. Their aids came and collected their luggage and took no notice of the custom. Then the money men simply brought out their wallet to respond to the shouts of Oga welcome from the customs and security officials. When it came to my turn to be screened, I bent down to open by suit case, which was different from what those before me were dong. They were simply having a very peculiar hand shake with the officials and they would be waved by. The immigration officer asked me Oga, wetin you bring for us. I looked at her and asked, don't you want to examine my suitcase? I told her she should search by five suitcases and that I can wait. She looked at me, murmured and asked me to go.

Ever wondered why things are the way the are in Nigeria. Do not look further, the culture of corruption, impunity, loyalty to ethnic group and religion would seem to explain it to considerable extent. Nigerians break the law in Nigeria because they get away with it.

Nigerian constitution have been approved by dictators and her laws made by corrupt elites, who have skeletons in their cupboards and have no understanding of how to exercise power and build a strong, successful and united country

In Nigeria the wolves look for the Lost sheep, the poachers are the game keepers and foxes guard chickens.

There is no other way to describe the attempt by the Senate to probe EFCC, while code of conduct bureau has ordered the arrest of the senate president. This also explains why a president, who practices nepotism and lies about his age and educational qualification would see himself as honest.

All these raise questions about the state of Nigeria's polity and Buhari's plan to fight corruption and unite Nigeria.

Under such an abnormal circumstance it would be difficult for any country to evolve into a civil society under the rule of law.

Buhari was marketed as an honest man. After he won he has declared assets of a rich man.

I suppose the right way to start is with restructure of the country, institutional reforms and ending of undeserved privileges like The excessive salaries, pensions of ex president, and governors and security and The excessive salaries, Housing allowance and constituency projects allowance of senators and members of house of representative. Nigeria cannot depend on a strong leader to enforce what should evolve to become a culture. We need to build an engine for the Nigerian car, instead of depending on a strong leader to push it.

Nigeria is a country with very high unemployment rate and inequality where many people benefit from corruption and underserved advantage.

During this visit to Nigeria, I saw an army of unemployed youth who hawk on highways. In port Harcourt, 90 percent of youth hawkers are Igbos. Brilliant, entrepreneurial determined, but ill- educated and trained because parents could not afford school fees. Moreover, they are all from large religious families.

This is the time bomb from which future criminals and Politicians would graduate.

In Developed countries when a politician is accused of impropriety or corruption, his colleagues wait for due process before reaching conclusion.

In Nigeria, if a senator is accused of corruption senators publicly declare their support to the accused and use their position and power to frustrate due process.

Their loyalty is neither to the law nor nation, but to their colleagues.

Therefore, the recent declaration of support by senator for The senate president, who is accused of corruption is another shameful display of the absurd state of things in Nigeria.

No country develops when politicians' loyalty is first to themselves and their colleague.

Nigeria cannot make progress if politicians continue to abuse their power to protect and advance their selfish interest and undermine due process.

Countries are developed by making institutions independent and empowering them and, making individuals who run them responsible and accountable.

This creates the freedom that enable individuals to be creative and innovative in finding solutions to the problems. This is what is lacking in Nigeria.

At the moment, Nigeria is run like a cartel and politicians behave like members of a mafia and leaders more like godfathers dishing out patronages and punishments.

This is wrong. The fight against corruption will not succeed until politicians are subject to the law and law makers stop enacting laws that exempt them from accountability.

Power must be taken from individuals and handed over to institutions and the individual that exercises institutional powers made accountable.

It is not rocket science. An honest and sincere government can achieve this in weeks, if it is honest and sincere.

Eke 21 September 2015

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