By James Ogunjimi
Three important stories have dominated Nigeria’s political airwaves this past week. There was the release of 82 Chibok girls and President Buhari’s return to UK. There are renewed conversations on President Buhari’s integrity and we saw the new faces of Nigeria’s anti-corruption warriors.
The Chibok Story
The Chibok story in Nigeria, while the most popular and controversial, is also the one no one really knows anything about. Forget the books written by intellectuals about it. Forget the brilliantly-carved essays. Forget the “BREAKING NEWS”, “SHOCKING” and other traffic-drawing titles that news platforms use to draw traffic to their websites as they promise to tell “the full Chibok story”. Forget the “according to reliable sources”, “an Aso Rock source”, “an army source” and other nonsensical tags that kwashiorkor journalists use to give some semblance of credibility to shoddy journalism work and badly-written pieces on the Chibok story, NOBODY REALLY KNOWS THE CHIBOK STORY.
This lack of useful information on the ‘abduction’ of an ever-changing number of girls by the ‘boko haram’ sect has turned the Chibok story to a tale that can be modified to suit individual – and most times, selfish – purposes.
If there’s one thing we know about the Chibok story though, it’s that the achievement(‘s’) of the Buhari administration revolves around the Chibok story.
From the first year anniversary of the Buhari administration till now, every time there’s a genuine inquiry into what exactly the achievements of the Buhari administration are, Chibok comes to the rescue. Twenty girls will ‘escape’ from boko haram the next day. The next time questions are asked, a release of some of the girls will be negotiated in three days.
Expectedly, as calls intensified on for President Buhari to resign and cater to his health, especially after Sahara Reporters’ report that the President was so sick that he was being fed intravenously, Chibok came to the rescue again.
82 girls were released by the terrorist group and in the midst of the celebration, President Buhari dashed off to the UK for checkup. The last checkup lasted 51 days. Who knows how long this will last?
The Chibok story is being milked by this administration and one begins to wonder if it does not serve their interest for the girls to be released installmentally to be used as answers to the question of performance of the administration instead of a swift operation led by the army to reclaim the girls especially since the army said the terrorist group has been uprooted from the country.
Having integrity for most Nigerians mean you don’t steal or cheat or cut corners or collect kickbacks on contracts or do backdoor recruitments. That is why today, inspite of everything going on in the country, there are still folks who will swear on their children’s lives that President Buhari is Mr. Integrity.
But at what point does the foundation of integrity start to quake? At what point does it collapse altogether?
Is it when you insist on appointing a man wanted by probe panels all over the country as Minister? Or is it when inspite of your health, you insist on spending taxpayers’ money on treating an undisclosed illness in the UK while the country battles recession? Is it when you renege on all your campaign promises or when you write letters to clear someone who has obviously flouted constitutional dictates? Is it when you refuse to sell Nigeria’s array of private jets as promised or when all the shady additions to the budget that you criticized as Presidential aspirant are not only retained but jerked up? Is it when you still go for treatment in foreign countries despite speaking against it during your campaign or when you grow comfortable with things that once repulsed you?
Is it when you hold a struggling nation to ransom despite calling for the removal of the late President Yar’Adua during the illness that incapacitated him? When exactly does integrity become a fluke?
President Buhari may have had integrity at some point in his life, but right now, nobody serious sees that again. All we can see are acts of a desperate man bent on clinging to power at all cost and at whatever expense, no matter the damage it does to the country’s stability, growth or economic wellbeing.
Nigeria’s New Anti-corruption Fighters
Since the Buhari administration came on board, President Buhari has acted as a lone-ranger and one-man mopol in the war against corruption. Well, not anymore.
At the book ‘luanch’ of Kogi West Senator, Senator Dino Melaye’s N50, 000 naira per copy book, ‘Antidotes for Corruption”, new faces of Nigeria’s anti-corruption fighters were revealed.
There was Senate President Bukola Saraki. The man who just months ago had been battling not just for his seat as Senate President but his political career. He stood trial at the CCB for false declaration of assets. The man under whose watch the Senate has been dragged into issues of illegal shipping in of cars with the Nigerian Customs Service, an act that led to a power tussle between the Senate and the Comptroller-General of Customs. Well, he’s one of Nigeria’s new anti-corruption fighters.
There’s the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara. A man who was accused of padding the budget along with executives of the House, an accusation that earned the accuser a year suspension from the House. Yakubu Dogara later came out after a meeting with the President to say that budget padding is not a crime. He’s one of Nigeria’s new warriors against corruption.
Ah, yes! Dame Patience Jonathan of the ‘Ojukwu’s manhood lives on” fame. Our immediate past First Lady was also there. Her account has of course been frozen by the EFCC after she failed to explain how she came about the billions in her account but not to worry, she is another face of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war.
Nigeria really is lucky to have these many people going to war against corruption. Corruption does not stand a chance. In fact, according to ‘reliable sources’, Buruji Kashamu, Bode George, Tinubu, Fayemi And Amaechi are planning another coalition to fight corruption.
Corruption will fall by fire by force in this country with these knights in shining armour fighting for Nigerians against this evil. I’m telling you, people, it’s a good time to be a Nigerian. Who would have thought corruption will die in our lifetime. God bless our new anti-corruption warriors. God bless Nigeria!