by Debo Adejugbe
Let me quickly use Newton’s Laws of motion to explain to Jonathan why it is important for him to not just be seen as campaigning for the white hat, but in this case he must wear the white hat to show people that he is truly ready to fight corruption, not just with empty and ineffective words,….
It is good that our president finally woke up and decided to take a stand on corruption. His stand, however controversial, is still a stand and we applaud him for his observations. Like all observations the world over, there is bound to be consequences and I’m here to discuss the expected consequences of the saintly president’s pronunciation that Nigerians are corrupt.
You see, the speech itself is a walk to remember in irony. The personality of the speechmaker is another aspect of the picture that is inconsistent with the observation. It is however important to separate the man from the speech—if possible—or we can just forget all the niceties and rip into him once and for all. After all, we are the corrupt generation and our every action helps foster the trade—according to our OgaAtTheTop.
Never mind the fact that the man elected to fight corruption, one who campaigned rigorously on eradicating corruption and who should be at the forefront of the fight to make Nigeria corruption-free has said he knows the corrupt people—in both private and public sectors—but will refrain from naming and shaming them “so that I won’t be attacked.” He said this with a straight face, with no discomfiture whatsoever and went ahead to pillory us for “just blaming government or blaming the police”. He wants us to question those with questionable wealth, but as the head, he has decided not to name them because they could attack him. A lesson in irony.
Let’s get this out of the way, first. Nigerians are corrupt people as typified by our government. They are evil and very selfish to a fault. How else would you describe a people who voted Goodluck Jonathan as President? Oh! You see the point? It is unarguably the clearest of opinions to say: Nigerians are corrupt, but he who comes to equity must do so with clean hands. In Jonathan’s case, his hands are smelly and rotten.
Apart from starting a debate on morality or otherwise; Goodluck Jonathan, the man who granted state pardon to convicts and serial thieves like Alamieyeseigha and Bulama, who presided over a tainted subsidy regime that has produced so many accused and indicted but has so far failed to successfully mount an effective prosecution of such persons, lack the locus standi to make such statements. Here is a man who harbours the serially indicted Diezani Alison-Madueke and several confirmed corrupt politicians such as Tony Anenih, Adoke Mohammed—“who covertly stifled the Police Equipment Fund, Vaswani brothers, Halliburton prosecutions and had issued an anti-graft dampener gazette”—, Emeka Worgu, Goddey Orubebe etc. in one capacity or the other; yet he wants Nigerians to shun corruption while he rewards those with the highest stench with National honours.
Let me quickly use Newton’s Laws of motion to explain to Jonathan why it is important for him to not just be seen as campaigning for the white hat, but in this case he must wear the white hat to show people that he is truly ready to fight corruption, not just with empty and ineffective words, but with the full apparatus of the state, established for such purposes.
The first law, known as the law of inertia, states that: “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.” Contrary to Mr. President’s believe that corruption will just run out of town without any effort on his part, the law has admonished otherwise. “There is a natural tendency of objects to keep on doing what they’re doing. All objects resist changes in their state of motion.” And they will remain so if no unbalanced force is exerted on them just like our corruption problem.
Newton’s second law says: “Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).” In this case, corruption in Nigeria is bulkier than anyone could imagine and at such, it requires more than an ordinary push—like Mr. President’s ‘Nigerians are corrupt’ speech—for the desired effect to be accomplished. It requires the complete support of his cabinet, which in the present case is impossible. They are the harbinger of corrupt practices.
The third law says it all. “For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.” Of course, we know. Fighting corruption is not just a rhetoric-driven business. The patriarchs will fight back and call for his head. They will attack him—as he rightly noted—but that will determine the success of the crusade. You can’t just rain on someone’s parade and you expect them to sit still. The fact that no one is fighting back on the corruption front means the Goodluck Jonathan presidency is doing absolutely nothing to fight it; he should be worried—if he doesn’t condone it. The other reaction is for Nigerians to reject him resoundingly at the polls—that is if he is not actually right about them.
For the president to fight corruption, he should start with his cabinet. He keeps huffing and puffing about corruption but harbours some of the most viciously corrupt Nigerians in his cabinet. He should move to his household afterwards. He needs to sit his mother, Eunice, down and ask her where she got the money to donate a multimillion naira block of hostels to the Federal University in Otuoke, from—After all, she is just an ordinary dependant. He should also take a critical look at himself, ruminating on his actions and body language since he became president, weighing them against reasonable, acceptable behaviours of a commander-in-chief who is not corrupt. What is the score on that?
After all these, he should empower the various anti-corruption agencies to prosecute all corruption cases without fear of their wings being clipped by him—he supervises them—when it involves him or one of his inner circles; then we will see him as the unbalanced force that will halt our famed corruption problem. From then on, we would take him serious when he lambasts us for corruption and grafting.
But for now, he should just keep quiet and stop making a fool out of himself. He should govern and give us value for the trillions they keep appropriating to themselves on our behalf without attendant progress on our lives and not just name the corrupt people he is afraid of, but prosecute and jail them all. That should be all.
Debo Adejugbe is a trained Telecommunications/Electronics Engineer and a certified IT professional living in Lagos. Dad to amazing Hailey and an advocate against Sexual and Domestic Abuses. Debo has political sympathy for the Labour Party. He tweets from @deboadejugbe
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.