Ayobami Oyalowo: Corruption as an art of governance in Nigeria

by Ayobami Oyalowo


The Nigerian government as currently constituted is led by inept, unconscionable and wicked individuals who have all failed to grasp the simple notion of patriotism and nationhood. They live in obscene opulence using public funds, while impoverishing Nigerians daily with their ill thought out actions and inaction.

The government is so out of control. It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power. – Ted Nugent

The Nigerian government as led by President Goodluck Jonathan is extremely wicked and inhuman. This terrible character trait is consistently manifested in several forms. From a lukewarm and an “I don’t give a damn attitude” to bloody harvests of untimely mass deaths in the North Eastern part of the country, to massive looting and hemorrhaging of the treasury by various individuals serving in this government, it has been one sad tale of woe for poor citizens of Nigeria to another. This government doesn’t care about Nigerians and it is showing it in various ways and manners.

Two days before the jamboree dubbed “Centenary Celebration”, 59 Nigerian children were slaughtered in a callous and barbaric fashion by bloodthirsty demons of Boko Haram. The president of Nigeria meanwhile led a jamboree of dancing and drinking in Abuja, in the guise of centenary celebration. No thoughts were spared as to what agony the families of those children were going through. As I write, almost a month after, the president is yet to acknowledge; let alone visit/commiserate with families who lost their children. Indeed he doesn’t give a damn, does he?

Just recently, it came to light that over $20billion had been stolen from the State run oil corporation, the NNPC, through connivance with the minister of petroleum. But up until today, not one person has been suspended; neither is there any serious effort made to unearth what went wrong. The president rather surreptitiously suspended the man who alerted the nation to such crude and naked rape of the public treasury. And to divert the attention of Nigerians, the government and her cohorts created a severe artificial fuel scarcity situation which is still on, two months after. By so doing, Nigerians were kept busy and engaged so that the noise generated by the stealing of public funds by the Jonathan appointed officials will be drowned. But is this the right way to treat the citizens?

In India, the Jamnagar Refinery was commissioned in 36 months, housing the world’s largest refining complex with an aggregate refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels (197,000 m3) of oil per day, more than any other single location in the world. The total cost was around $10billion.

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW). This dam was constructed at the cost of $22.5billion.

Nigeria on the other hand imports refined fuel. Nigeria is the ONLY OPEC member country that wholly imports refined PMS for domestic use. In 15 years of PDP misrule, rather than fix local refineries and if possible build more, the federal government led by the PDP handed fuel importation licenses to their friends and cronies to continue to cheat poor Nigerians and make them suffer in the midst of plenty.

Imagine if the NNPC and the minister of petroleum had not stolen $20 billion, we could have built enough refineries to refine crude for domestic use and even export some. Nigeria would have made more money that way, but why should they do that when they could steal and buy exotic homes in Vienna and other places or buy private jets?

Imagine if they hadn’t stolen that $20billion, like China, we could have fixed our power problems. But why should they fix it when their friends are the ones importing diesel and generators? The clowns running Nigeria don’t care about Nigerians in general. All that matter to them is to steal more and get richer. Any wonder they deliberately destroyed the educational system? They’d rather send their children to schools abroad while ensuring the children of other Nigerians are barely educated to distinguish between right and wrong. The plan is to keep a large number of barely educated goons at home to serve their own children in the future. And their plan is working. If you doubt me, read the comment section after this write up. Some barely literate youths will be paid a pittance to engage in mudslinging and vitriolic abuse of the writer and others who are not afflicted by their apparent Stockholm Syndrome.

Few days ago, the minister of petroleum, was bold enough to declare that subsidy MUST be removed from PMS as the government can no longer sustain it. IMPUNITY of the highest order! Meanwhile she promised Nigerians that she will ensure a Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of all the four refineries in Nigeria within 9 months. That was in January 2012. Maybe 9 months means something else to her. Billions were spent by her ministry, yet we continue to import PMS and NOBODY is asking her any questions.

Meanwhile, the AIT writes on the report on the House of Reps investigation to Minister Diezani thus: “The petroleum minister Alison is allegedly committing the sum of N130million monthly to the minister’s Challenger 850 aircraft and in two years has expended about 3.12 billion naira towards the upkeep of the private jet used solely for her personal needs and those of her family. Till date, the lease of the aircraft is said to have gulped about 10billion naira. Huge sums have said to have been used to fly the leased jet all over the world for leisure… all allegedly from public funds.”

According to the motion mover, Samuel Adejare: “This has been going on for two years and a lot of money has been committed–N10 billion. When I read this on the pages of that paper, that was on the 9th of march, what happened about one weekend ago where youths of this country gathered to look for 4,500 jobs, came to mind. Somebody serving this government is wasting that amount of money to hire a plane”.

That is the same woman who wants poor Nigerians on N18,000 monthly wage to pay more for petroleum products. Sadly, nothing will come out of the so called investigation as we all know she’s a co-president and Jonathan cannot fire her because they are in cahoots; illegally milking Nigerians while asking the poor, about 120 million of whom earn less than $2 daily, to cooperate with government and sacrifice by paying more for fuel.

The Nigerian government as currently constituted is led by inept, unconscionable and wicked individuals who have all failed to grasp the simple notion of patriotism and nationhood. They live in obscene opulence using public funds, while impoverishing Nigerians daily with their ill thought out actions and inaction.

As I write, another N20billion has been reported missing from the police pension fund. Add that to the initial N151billion allegedly stolen by Maina, who incidentally is still roaming free, from the same police pension fund.

Yet our “humble” president still believes corruption is overrated in Nigeria? Well, Mr. Jonathan may be right. Corruption is not much of a problem as the impunity displayed by the president and those whom he surrounds himself with. Stealing in this government is free for all. Their creed seems to be: “steal as much as possible so that you can guarantee a slap on the wrist as punishment”. Indeed only a fool steals millions in Nigeria because a small thief ends up in prison while the big ones get national honours and are now the Jonathanian branded “elder statesmen”, most of whom were also nominated by our “amiable” president to represent “us” at the national conference and chart a course for our future. What a future that is turning out to be!

The same impunity was at work on Saturday 15th March, 2014. when the NIS out of wickedness and unbridled greed invited over 500,000 applicants for an interview, knowing that the slots available were a mere 4,000. But they went ahead, collected the sum of N1000 from each applicant made up of mostly unemployed or underemployed youths. In their usual ill-preparedness, there was a stampede that killed about 19 young Nigerians. It is a week today, yet not one official or the greedy minister, Abba Moro has been fired. Governor Christie of New Jersey, in Jan 2014, fired his top aides who orchestrated a mere traffic jam. But here in Nigeria, President Jonathan merely warned a minister who killed 19 Nigerians out of criminal negligence. You be the judge.

While impunity and wickedness characterize the present government, they will do well to pay heed to James Madison and I quote: “Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.” The danger now is that when power is abused, it leads to chaos and chaos is such that may sweep the abusers away.

In conclusion, Nigerians are no fools and if subsidy in PMS is no longer sustainable, then those in authority must not only tell us the ill of subsidy, but they also must tell us why we cannot REFINE fuel for domestic use and even export refined PMS. If Singapore, a small nation without crude oil, has 3 excellent refineries in good condition and even exports PMS to Nigeria, then we have no excuse to continue to import PMS for domestic/local consumption.

Sadly, those at the helm of affairs in Nigeria are a greedy lot without shame; neither are their various policies made with altruism. Their belly is the god they worship. But as the saying goes “one day go be one day, monkey go go market…”


Ayobami Oyalowo tweets from @Ayourb


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (0)

  1. We should continue to speak out! This write expresses the common man's frustration with Nigeria. Our problem is our leaders and politicians. The Nigerian is peaceful to a fault and are being taken for a ride as such. I pray indeed that soon, this abuse would cause the abusers to be swept away

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