Culture, corruption and democracy

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    The raging news like the raging killing pandemic in Nigeria is the presidential probe of   Ibrahim  Magu, Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),  our  very  powerful anti- corruption   flagship.

    In  journalism, there  is a common saying that ‘when a dog bites a man it is no news,  but when a man  bites a dog ‘then  that is news. That really is the plight of the man at the helm of affairs of   the EFCC  in the  present  FGN committed anti-corruption war. To  me,  his trial is evidence  that the  Buhari  government has not gone to sleep on its self-set goal  to  fight corruption  to a standstill,   as it has certainly  done on the issue of security and supply  of electricity to Nigerians.

    Today,   my focus  is  on the anti- corruption war  in Nigeria  and I say  again  that the trial  of the EFCC  boss  in  the presidency with  the media  locked  out but with  news and allegations  of   corruption  filtering out in a media trial  of  sorts,  shows  quite clearly that  there is no sacred cow in the Buhari  government  anti – corruption   war. As usual, I expect  the opposition  PDP  to attack  the government more on corruption.  But now  that  the EFCC boss  himself  is being probed  and a  governorship  aspirant of the ruling APC in Edo State,  Mr   Ize  Iyamu is  in  court on allegations of fraud  of  700m naira,  so soon after the ruling   party guber primaries,  I  do  not see how the PDP can still  insist that  the government  is only hounding opposition figures in its  anti- corruption war.

    Certainly war, any war, is a messy  bloody  business on any  front and on any issue and some wise guy has cracked wisely   that  ‘war  is politics continued  by other means ‘. That is the approach I take  on  today’s analysis  of  events and issues  in the last week. Of  course we will  discuss this Magu Probe. I will  also  discuss the praises showered  on the outgoing Chinese  Ambassador in Nigeria by the Nigerian  government praising China  for its huge infrastructural support  for  Nigeria  during the tenure of the Chinese diplomat in  Nigeria. We shall also look at the American President Donald Trump’s July  4 Independence Day speech  in which he literally declared war on those he called anarchists destroying statues of great Americans and in which  he condemned  those  he said are using the’ Cancel Culture ‘ to denigrate and desecrate  American heroes and stifle free speech in the US. This really is not only  Trump’s own anti-corruption war,  it is the basis  of his campaign to be reelected in the November 2020  presidential elections just  four months away. These then are the issues we will decipher today.

    Indeed the trial   of the EFCC  boss   has shown  that  corruption can really fight back powerfully not only from  outside  of  government  but even  within it,   as the  probe has shown.  Certainly, the prosecutor in this Magu Probe is the Attorney General of the Federation Mr.  Abubakar  Malami SAN,  who is the Chief  Legal  officer of the land. It  is noteworthy that  part of the allegations against  the EFCC boss was the   reported  leaking of details of the EFCC cases  to the media   as well  as insubordination.

    Now, the EFCC  boss   is having a dose of his medicine even  though   the media  so far  has been  barred  from his trial.  Of  course some   senators who have cases  with the EFCC   will  be happy with the predicament  of the anti -corruption boss,  but that surely   is  fake  news,   because with or without him in charge,  the government through its  Chief Legal  Officer, has shown  that there is no sacred  cow in the war  against  corruption,  and the legislature is not  a  legal  sanctuary  against  corruption in this government. That indeed was why the Senate never approved Magu’s appointment as required by law as he has been acting ever since he was appointed before his rumored suspension and present predicament. His trial and the shocking revelations have shown that he has not heard of the Shakespearian injunction that ‘Caesar’s wife must  be above reproach‘. All  the same,  he should be given  a fair trial according to the rule of  law  and presumed  innocent  until  proven otherwise. That  is the only  way  that  government  can  show that in the fight  against  corruption,  which  is a major goal  of  this  government; ’those  who  live in glass  houses  should  not  throw stones‘. That certainly  is the moral of this evolving  EFCC  probe saga.

    We go now to the commendation of the Chinese Ambassador by Nigeria officials    praising China for infrastructural support in Nigeria. Nothing  wrong with that except  that  he should   have been  reminded that Nigerians are shocked  by the messy treatment given Nigerian students  in China at the outbreak  of his  global   pandemic  which US   President  Donald  Trump  has called  a Chinese  virus. Nigerian students in China   were racially discriminated against and some ejected from campuses.  That  is a sore  and    ugly  story  on  China.

    Secondly  on,   China’s  support  is no free  lunch   and government  should  be wary  because  the  Chinese   always    make sure their  loans are  paid  as at when due  and do not give free  loans. They  have seized airports  and  sea ports  from   some nations  in  Asia   which   could not redeem their  loans  when  due. Even in Nigeria they have been hostile in treating Nigerian workers and many Nigerians are not happy with  that. The   Ambassador  should  have been  told that on his way  out that Nigerians deserve respect  both here  at home and more so  in  China as  citizens  of a sovereign nation with  equal  rights  with  any  Chinese in any part  of the world.  That  really  is the  essence  of diplomacy  and the  duty  of  diplomats  all  over  the world.

    We  go on to  the US  where in   a rather interesting manner US President Donald Trump  deliberately   forgot  the pandemic  and declared war on those he called the radical  left   on July  4.  In  his widely published speech  he said  ‘We  are now in the process  of defeating the radical left, the anarchist, the agitators, the looters‘  and people he said had no clue on what they  are  doing. Of   course  the American  people by now know that their president is an unusual  one  and a perennial  verbal  war  monger  on many issues including the pandemic and his weapon of choice,  peculiar  to him is Tweeter, a technology that  appeared at the beginning of his tenure   and   which he has used  massively  and effectively  to fight  the opposition against  him  till  the raging pandemic broke his  stride  in the run up to this November presidential  election.

    Trump  is trying his best  to deride the achievements and protests of Black Lives Matter by diverting attention to history  and the preservation of statues of former American presidents, generals and politicians whose statues and legacies are being pulled  down because they had slaves in their time. It  is a fast  political  diversion and it is his own way of salvaging  his reelection plans, especially,   as his opponents are using  his handling and defiance  of the severity of the  pandemic to campaign furiously  against   him.  This  has  made  the election four  months away  a do or die matter  for both  parties  in this   November presidential  election. If  Trump  gets to win  and be reelected this  year, he certainly will  be  regarded  as the Houdini  of US  Politics and  his  statue  will  surely  be in the Garden  of  Heroes he promised on July 4   2020  to create in 2021.  That means he is confident of reelection in  November 2020.

    Once again, From the fury of this raging pandemic, Good Lord  deliver  Nigeria.

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