“We have got the leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain … Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.” – Prime Minster David Cameron
“I think he’s being honest about it… he’s talking about what he knows… I don’t think you can fault him.”- President Muhammadu Buhari
“The truth is that hypocrisy is the occupational disease of British leaders.” – Simon Jenkins in The Guardian
Just few days ago, something hit us about hypocrisy on the much lampooned issue of corruption. The British Prime Minister David Cameron gleefully told Her Majesty “We have got the leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain … Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”
Nigerians reaction to Cameron’s statement was predictable. They seemed to be saying “How dare you insult our great nation with a venerable Senate President Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki, and with distinguished Senators like Dino Melaye, David Mark, Stella Oduah, Godswill Akpabio, Peter Nwaboshi, Ike Ekweremadu, Buruji Kashamu, Ali Ndume and other notorious fools and comedians in the senate.
The hypocrisy of Cameron’s statement is blisteringly funny while the hypocrisy of Nigerians is bruisingly sad. But first David Cameron. Cameron’s British capital city of London is a safe haven for plundered and laundered cash flowing from corrupt money around the world.
According to Transparency International, a tenth of the properties in Westminster London alone are now owned offshore and anonymously. Cameron era will be remembered for the totems of indulging money-laundering property purchase metaphorically referred to as “inward investment.” In addition, towers of foreign money literally litters the Thames bank.
Two or three years ago, Cameron paid a visit to the ostracized dictator of Kazakhstan. With gratitude, the dictator blessed Cameron with praise and honor. Like Nigeria, Kazakhstan holds a pride of place for corruption.
Kazakhstan’s former police chief was linked to the ownership of 147 million British pound sterling worth of London properties. It was revealed that Cameron’s visit to Kazakhstan was “organised by Tony Blair under a 24 million British pounds sterling reputation-laundering “contract” with Kaza ruler.
British leaders always play the ostrich especially in the matters of corruption. They are quick to lecture and blame us about corruption in our country while at the same time they erect a firewall of protection for the loot from our country as well as profiting from the spoils of corruption.
Cameron is the wrong stand up comedian to poke fun at Nigeria as a corrupt nation. “The truth is,” Simon Jenkins in theguardian reminds us that “hypocrisy is the occupational disease of British leaders.”
Now to my fellow Nigerians who called for the head of Cameron for having the audacity to call Nigeria a “fantastically corrupt country.” As you often read, Nigerians are fond of misrepresenting the reality of issues or events in our country specifically when it comes to the hot button evil of corruption.
Nigerians despise, denigrate, demean, disparage, and dishonor blunt and honest critics of corruption particularly when the criticism is from a foreigner. Welcome to the upside down bizzaro world of Nigerian hypocrites – hypocrites without borders.
Lest the critics of Cameron forget, Nigeria meet the criteria for the London summit on corruption by being a “fantastically corrupt country.” That was why we were invited and why we played a leading role at the summit.
For those that want Cameron’s head on a platter who doubt the sincerity and authenticity of his characterization of Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt country,” hear me out. Nigeria is a celebrated rampant culture of corruption which has been proven over and over again.
President Buhari’s ongoing war on corruption has exposed the sodded level of corruption in Nigeria. The magnitude and degree of our corruption defies mathematical calculation. The stench that oozes out from the manure of corruption from Nigeria travels as far as to 10 Downing Street the official residence of David Cameron.
We can’t put a lid on it. President Buhari was brutally frank in his agreement with Cameron’s situational report on corruption in Nigeria when he said “I think he’s being honest about it… he’s talking about what he knows… I don’t think you can fault him.”
Nigerian brand of corruption is one of the most sought after export commodity in the world. Made in Nigeria corruption guarrantees Britain and other Western countries and United Arab Emirate – Dubai – uninterrupted cash flow into their economies and profitable real estate holdings.
The use of public funds for private gain is common in Nigeria. The misuse of power, position, and privilege is widespread. Corruption is a fact that affects all sections of our society. Misappropriation of public funds form important part of our way of life.
Corruption and hypocrisy go hand in hand. This is clearly demonstrated by the high profile corruption cases involving who’s who in our politics. As we have seen in Nigeria, corruption and power affect people’s behavior and thinking.
The corrupt ones among the ruling elites believe they deserve their power and position, morally pliable and abusive of their privilege. They feel a sense of entitlement. Their sense of privilege becomes private law. The culture of entitlement results in double standards – one for themselves, their family, and friends, and the other for the Nigerian por.
Corruption has been normalized in Nigeria. The abuse of public power, office, resources for personal gain is ingrained in our system. The prevailing culture of sycophancy aids and abets corruption.
Double standards in our public life are accepted. Hypocrisy is tolerated and is the norm. The corruptible always fights to enhance their position and privileges, and in pursuit of more unaccountable authority. Our system – institutions and structures – have normalized illegitimate power, support such people’s sense of entitlement.
It helps them to acquire public power for private gain. Their behavior creates a perilous culture and custom that have killed intelligence, diligence, strategic planning, and hard work to make Nigeria a better country. That’s why corruption is fighting back to rigidly maintain status quo, despite evidence of a need for a change.
Corruption in our country has metastasized into abuse of religion, language, ethnicity, kingship, privilege, and position. These are all embedded in moral fraud. Moral corruption has spread like wildfire and accepted as civilization.
We need to acknowledge that Nigeria is a “fantastically corrupt country” because the whole wide world is riveted with corruption revelations and dramas being reeled out every minute from Nigeria.
We need to come to terms with the hard truth about Nigeria being a “fantastically corrupt country. We may not like Cameron. We may hate what he said about our country. You may even crucify Cameron. But you cannot kill the message because that’s the bitter truth.
The criticisms of Cameron’s candid assessment of Nigeria is a self-serving hypocritical narrative that attempts to deny the existence of such cancer in our society. Yes! “Nigeria is fantastically corrupt.”
The best help we can give to critics – foreigners as well as natives – is to disrobe and humiliate and punish all the looters, scums, leeches, parasites, scoundrels, thieves, in the House and the Senate and get rid of them – fast!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Connect with the author, Bayo Oluwasanmi, via [email protected]