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Who Wants Mr. President Dead?

Posted: Jan 11, 2016 at 10:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Adewale Kupoluyi

During the week, I had the cause to ponder over the controversy generated by the recent revelation made by the Enugu Catholic priest and Founder, Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, who alleged that there were plans by unnamed people to assassinate President Muhammadu Buhari. According to the clergyman, many people were plotting to kill the President because of what he described as his campaign against corruption, saying, “I am not a sycophant, but I want to tell you that so far, God is happy and he, who God has blessed, no one can curse. Many people are planning to kill Buhari – there are many plans on how to eliminate his life so that corruption will continue, so that embezzlement will continue.” The priest had described Buhari as the answer to the prayers of Nigerians.

As expected, the priest’s message has elicited a litany of reactions and criticisms from a cross-section of Nigerians so much so that while some people have praised his courage, not a few have decried the pronouncement as political. Specifically, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has dismissed the prophecy as “sensationalism and rumour peddling” and went further to ask the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, the highest policymaking body for the Catholic Church in the country, to sanction Mbaka within 21 days for allegedly abandoning his sacred vocation and delving into the politics, failing which the body threatened that it would report the priest to the Holy Father Pope Francis, in Rome. Let it be noted that Mbaka cannot be speaking for the Catholic Church.

While I am not in any position to ascertain the veracity of Mbaka’s prophecy, what is, however, certain is that if the prophesy is truly “political” rather than being factual, then the matter is strictly between the priest and the Supreme Being. But if on the other hand, the prophesy is actually meant to become a reality, then the next question that should trouble one’s mind is: “Who wants Buhari dead?” For now, let’s leave the messenger and reflect on the message. We certainly do not need neither a prophet nor a soothsayer to tell us that some of the major problems tearing Nigeria apart revolve round the monsters of corruption and impunity. It is not an exaggeration that corruption has assumed a frightening dimension, a highly endemic disease that has infected virtually every aspect of our national life. Or, which sector of our economy is completely free from endemic corruption? Certainly, none!

The adverse effects of corruption in any society are enormous. Corruption makes it impossible for the state to function effectively in carrying out its sacred duty of delivering good governance to the citizens. Corruption, a big setback, has been identified as the major culprit for the arrested development in Nigeria. It has also been blamed for the reduced public expenditure regime, which brings about huge infrastructure deficits, especially unavailability of potable water, poor roads, lack of electricity, inadequately-equipped hospitals, fallen standard of education, poverty and now, as current events have shown, insecurity, due to the failure on the part of those concerned to adequately equip our security agencies so as to guarantee the safety of lives and property.

Before the current administration came on board, many Nigerian had clamoured for a new government that would tackle the recurring problems of official corruption, brain drain, low value of the naira and undercapacity utilisation of industries, among others, causing many people to suffer in Nigeria. Certainly, there can never be a way out of the quagmire until and unless the necessary environment and policies are put in place to restore Nigeria on the path to sustainable development.

That is why the ongoing reforms to revamp the economy – though biting in some aspects – may become inevitable if we are to move forward as a nation. That is the price we have to pay for the maladministration. We should realise that the need to put our nation on the right track is not about one person alone, though with purposeful leadership, the task becomes feasible. Hence, there should be a collective determination and effort by all stakeholders to make things work for their country. In other words, silencing of one man would definitely not be an end to the collective will by the people to free their nation from hegemonic bondage of the ruling elite that has impaired its development over the years.

That is the reason there should not be any reason to cry wolf over mere routine exercise by anti-graft agencies in carrying out their statutory duties. Or, why would those currently undergoing investigation and interrogation on corrupt allegations have the cause to fear? Sentiments apart, this is not about partisan politics. It is purely a legal issue. They should be made to realise that no accused person is guilty until proved otherwise by competent authorities. Overtime, anti-graft agencies have had to contend with the challenge of non-performance as a result of official interference. To buttress this point, a United States of America government report entitled, “Corruption and lack of transparency in government,” confirmed that efforts of the anti-graft agencies were deliberately stifled by the government. This was what played out when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission once confessed that it was broke. Aside from this, many public officers accused of engaging in corrupt practices in the past are alleged to be walking freely as long as they are in the good books of the government in power.

Why would anybody suggest that stolen funds from public till be left in private hands when the country’s economy is in deep crisis due to the over-reliance on oil? Recovered looted funds should be injected into the economy at a difficult time when global oil prices have been dipping below $35 per barrel and capable of putting in jeopardy, the N6.08tn 2016 budget that the President has presented to the National Assembly, which was premised on an assumed average oil price of $38 per barrel.

The war on corruption is not about Buhari as a person. What any responsible government owes its people is accountability and this cannot be achieved without first tackling the hydra-headed monster headlong by adequately funding anti-graft agencies such that corrupt individuals and corporate bodies are disallowed to go scot-free with their loot. This would not only send the right signal that the anti-corruption is on course, it also remains the most effective way to discourage others from engaging in corruption and impunity. A lot of distractions will come the way of the government such as name-calling and unholy alliance such as defections into the ruling party by some strange fellows in order to evade prosecution. Buhari should remain focused.

Rather that dwelling on the messenger other than the message, what should be our concern as a people is how to restore our nation to the path of peace, progress and prosperity. This feat cannot be achieved by one person alone, just as the elimination of one man can never abort the collective aspiration for a positive change. That is why the war on corruption must be won!

Kupoluyi wrote in from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, via adewalekupoluyi@yahoo.co.uk,@AdewaleKupoluyi