By Talemoh Wycliffe Dah
If we feel corruption is the bane of our country and people see us from afar as fantastically so, then anytime, anyway and anyhow it is fought is excusable and anybody doing the fight must be appreciated and commended, especially when there are no sacred cows.
But we may not go far with the fight if caution is not taken to ensure that the might of our plurality is not whittled in this fight that needs all of us to defeat the hydra-headed monster.
If the elements of our collective might push in opposing directions because our leaders fail to direct them towards one goal, our efforts will hover around or equate nothing. When that happens, corruption would have successfully mainstreamed the anticorruption fight, making it a branch of corruption. This is why recent events are worrisome, having been timed out of caution.
If non-partisanship makes us hold our peace even when our hearts are filled with trepidations as to the unsavory effects of the accusation and arrest threats to the CJN and the Presidential Flag Bearer of the PDP on the peaceful conduct of the 2019 elections, we will be doing our country injustice. Should the CJN and the PDP flag bearer be arrested, it will be events so wrongly timed that every well-meaning Nigerian cannot keep mum to, however non-partisan he/she is.
At present, and we must let the world know that, there sure is an unannounced pan-Nigerian agreement that peace should reign around and during the time of elections. Some of us are angry at peace accords because they seem to confer on the accorders the right to act against the law of the land. Peace accords also falsely assume that we are at the edge. But the reality is that Nigerians are tired of conflicts so much that they just want peace. In Maiduguri, the Police can attest to the fact that crime and conflicts are rare amongst the populace, everyone having seen horrible days.
This is same everywhere; we are tired of unknown gunmen, herdsmen, kidnappers, robbers, insurgents and militants. Their mayhem has beaten our psyche to pulp and, from the depths of our hearts, we just want peace. We do not want to fight ourselves at all!
Bringing up, therefore, issues which could wait is nothing short of heating up the polity, this time right from the centre of the pot by government elements, like an electrified element in a pot which does the job faster than fire from outside. It does no good to the ruling party and their sympathisers as it is obvious that they are overdoing things. It is a force that will easily push those on the fence to the opposition. It brings the country to ridicule. This is not a defense of any person but a call to reason so as to safeguard our peace.
One wonders what is intended to be achieved. If it is to show that corruption will be fought whatever the circumstance, it falls short of wisdom. In Nigeria, we know about the doctrine of necessity, about expediency, about restraint, about our good intentions not to be misinterpreted and about caution; and we do exercise them.
Recently, an issue came up at the cusps of a state election about the certificate of a gubernatorial candidate. The President impressed us by ordering the police not to arrest the candidate until after that election. The President’s party won the election and the law is presently taking its course. If that candidate was arrested at that ‘wrong’ time, we know that there would have been a violent conflict. But that has been averted and everybody is the better for it.
If the intention is to name and shame the PDP Flag Bearer, it is not likely to have any effect at this point in time. When people are sworn to support somebody, even if you show his picture stealing dollars from a Bank PHB or stuffing Dollars in his Babban Riga and Zanna Bukar they will still vote for him.
It is instructive to also note that everything said by someone against another in the opposition is seen as mere political propaganda at this point in time and will not have effect. And should the person prove himself innocent, the accuser will be seen as a peddler of fake news and hate speech.
Also, in the two cases of the CJN and Atiku, process is faulted by experts, aside from timing. The issue of the CJN has been well discussed in the press. In the case of Atiku, the news was given to us by the Nigerian Honorable Minister of information. With the many parastatals under him and his busy schedule, this act is, in the least, misplaced priority. Even if the issue was intended to be politicized, he is not the APC Publicity Secretary. Even if the findings are true, he is not a prosecutor and the event is not a court session. As a financial crime, he is not a staffer of the ICPC or the EFCC or a policeman for that matter. No wonder he found it difficult to voice out and to look up during the terse press conference.
Let’s get back to the intention. If the intention was to throw a big ball into the court of the Atiku camp to destabilise them, then the APC is doing what it accused the PDP of doing: reneging on their promise at the Peace Accord to stick to issues. It is also not smart because if you insult an Agbero, you know he is better than you at hauling insults. Again, the debacle makes Nigerians not to trust the both of you.
For now, one must advise the government that anything that might smell fishy should be left to the appropriate government agencies while the honorable minister promotes his principal’s re-election bid and intensify his preachments about peaceful elections and against hate speech and fake news. The pains of governance under a violent atmosphere is a lecture the present administration qualifies for better than everyone.
▪ Dah, an Abuja-based medical practitioner, sent this via firstname.lastname@example.org