Corruption: Rampant Political Corruption (Law Enforcement, Justice and Penal Systems, Legislative System, Misappropriation of Funds) Corruption is Embedded in Society. Date 9th March 2011. University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, CV4 7AL.
First, let me express my gratitude to the organizers of this event, for considering me worthy, to speak on the above subject matter. Your invitation came at a time when corruption against leaders is helping to fuel revolution in North Africa and Middle East. Back in Nigeria, the question of who can fight corruption will surely be a factor in the April 2011 election. I will dwell more on Nigeria. Discussing Nigeria’s corruption, can take the whole time and space. Therefore, I will use few examples to buttress my points.
Let me start by defining corruption. According to the Oxford Compact English dictionary, second edition, revised. Edited by Catherine Soanes. It means; willing to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain. Evil or morally depraved. Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors.
Corruption is all over the world. The difference between Nigeria and the rest of the world is how the system treats offenders. For example, Bernard Madoff committed a fraud of $65bn (£38bn) in America; he was sentenced to 150 years in jail. Olabode George committed a fraud of over N85 billion naira in Nigeria, and was given only 2.5 years (two and half years jail sentence).
Celebrating Corruption and Criminality in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, criminality is celebrated. Criminals are given chieftaincy titles, made deacons and deaconesses in churches. Using Olabode George as example, when he was released from prison on 26th February 2011. Newspaper adverts were placed about his coming out of prison. He celebrated a thanksgiving church service that was televised live on a national television. Dignitaries that attended the church service were, Ex President Olusegun Obasanjo, Lagos State PDP Chairman and top members etc. On 1st March 2011, the same Olabode George appeared on a presidential rally in Lagos where the President acknowledged his presence. Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former MD/CEO of Oceanic Bank was jailed 6months for stealing N54 billion naira.
International Recognition As A Corrupt Country.
“We are internationally recognized for corruption, inefficiency, business uncertainty and infrastructural decay”. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, ex head of state. “The World Bank estimates the country’s generals and gangster politicians stole $300 billion in the three decades to 2006”(Time Magazine, May 3rd 2010 Edition, Page 42). Nigeria appeared on the list as 10th most corrupt country in the world, by Transparency International corruption perception index of 2010.
Former President of Nigeria, late Musa Yar’ Adua acknowledged publicly that the election that brought him to power were marred with irregularities. The following State governors (Peter Obi, Anambra State. Amaechi, Rivers State. Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State. Rauf Aregbesola, Osun State) had to battle very hard thru the courts to reclaim their mandates. As we speak, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had discovered 500,000 double registrants on the just concluded voters registration exercise. The People’s Democratic Party, the ruling party has over 100 court cases arising from aggrieved members, who felt cheated from their just concluded internal party primary elections. Till date, no one has gone to jail for political corruption. Ex Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was denied access to campaign to some People’s Democratic Party delegates during the party’s primary in Abuja. Over $5,000 (five thousand US Dollars) was given to each PDP delegate at the presidential primary in Abuja, to vote for either of the aspirants then. The PDP delegates were over 3,500 (three thousand five hundred people). I will leave you to multiply the figures.
Corruption Within The Law Enforcement Agencies (Police).
Former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun was convicted of N20 Billion naira fraud and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. Another Ex Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero was caught trying to smuggle out N200 million naira out of Abuja. Assistant Inspector General (AIG) late Raphael Ige, led a team of police officers that kidnapped/abducted Dr Chris Ngige, then sitting Governor of Anambra State. The list is endless.
Justice and Penal Systems.
“The greatest incitement to crime is the hope of escaping punishment” Marcus Cicero. The justice system appears to be lenient otherwise how can you explain the sentences given to people mentioned above. In 2009, Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High Court, Asaba discharged and acquitted former Governor James Ibori on all 170 count charges of corruption, money laundering, bribery etc. A London Court indicted Ibori on the same charges he was set free in Nigeria. Ibori’s associates have been jailed in London. Justice Kastina-Alu (Chief Justice of Nigeria) was accused of asking Justice Ayo Isa Salami to compromise the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the protracted Sokoto Governorhip legal tussle.
Mr. Micheal Aondoakaa former Nigeria Attorney General and Minister of Justice presured the United Kingdom Authoities to withdraw criminal charges against former Delta State Governor (Jame Ibori). Aondoakaa used his position to frustrate former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Boss (Nuhu Ribadu) from fighting corruption. He helped to drive Ribadu to exile. Aondoakaa was also alledged to have bribed supreme court judges with about $20 million dollars to return the late President (Yar’ Adua) as the winner of 2007 presidential election.
It took the National Assembly over 10 years to pass Freedom of Information Bill. Though, it’s only the lower house that has so far passed the bill. The Senate is yet to pass the bill. Other bills are still lying fallow at the National Assembly chambers. Ladies and gentlemen, I can go on and on. Simply put, corruption is embedded in our society. However, every problem has a solution.
The Way Forward.
The solution(s) is to elect credible leaders who can fight corruption without fear or favour. Permit me at this juncture to recommend you Buhari/Bakare for Presidential and Vice Presidential positions come April 2011 election. Vote Buhari/Bakare, Vote CPC Party For Presidential Election.
How You Can Get Involved.
(1) Please visit www.buharibakarevolunteers.net and www.buhari4change.com
(2) Download/print out this message and distribute to people who do not have access to Internet.
(3) Send thru sms. For bulk sms click http://www.txtlocal.co.uk/?tlrx=8752.
(4) Pick up phones and make calls to families, folks, and friends and pass the info above to them.
(5) Translate this message or related messages to vernacular/local languages.
(6) Hold town hall meetings etc. Mobilize one another etc. Send to all your contacts on facebook, twitter, myspace, yahoogroups, mailing lists, etc. May God Bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An activist and leader of “Support Option A4 Group” Leicester-UK
Facebook / C.v.Akuta.