President Jonathan and his delusional chest-thumping – by Garba Shehu

Published:24 Nov, 2012

President Jonathan and his delusional chest-thumping – by Garba Shehu

“President Jonathan is far from reality by praising his anti-graft effort at a time no big man has been successfully jailed for corruption”Garba Shehu

In his weekly televised media chat on the television network on Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan came out forcefully to explain the efforts his administration is making to tackle and eliminate corruption in public life. I have never seen him so prepared for a television appearance. He smiled a lot.

Contrary to the perception of lethargy that seems to characterize the war against corruption, the President explained the strategy of his administration, which he said, includes a stage-by-stage approach to the biggest challenge facing a developing country like Nigeria.

According to this strategy, President Jonathan explained that his government focused first on eliminating electoral corruption and fertilizer distribution scams. He argued that this approach was yielding results, citing the successful conduct of the Ondo and Edo States’ governorship elections as one of the signs that the war against electoral corruption was working. The President’s confidence is bolstered by the fact that both Ondo and Edo are opposition States.

Eliminating corruption in fertilizer distribution is another area of success cited by the President. One is not, however, sure if many Nigerians would agree with the President that the strategy he announced is actually working according to plan. The “success” story announced by the President may have stemmed from the briefings he received from his officials and state governments. The story of the so-called “GSM fertilizer” cannot be the basis of this outlandish claim. GSM fertilizer is a mere sprinkling of fertilizer distribution to meet the needs of propaganda by government. To say that other countries are sending their officials to study how it is done here is the height of deception. Can corruption be tackled by half measures?

To say that corruption has been eliminated in fertilizer distribution is a bit too far-fetched. When party men and women handle fertilizer distribution, the beneficiaries are mainly party loyalists. To receive two bags as allowed under the “wallet” or GSM scheme, farmers were made to undergo further screening by party committees. Theoretically, the fertilizers are supposed to reach farmers without intermediaries.

If, indeed, corruption has been eliminated from fertilizer distribution, how does one explain the fact that fertilizer allocation enriches officials of local governments, state governments and party leaders? But for corruption in the fertilizer distribution system, the price of fertilizer would not be as high as N5, 000 plus  per bag it’s been sold plus to non-party members. It gets even more exorbitant by the time it reaches farmers.

The fact is that the corruption in the fertilizer distribution system is making a few people rich overnight at the expense of the average farmers who are supposed to be the intended beneficiaries. Nigeria seems to be like a country that has lost its soul. If pensioners’ funds are been stolen greedy and corrupt officials, one wonders how fertilizer distribution system could have escaped the deadly grip of corruption.

Can President Jonathan assess the success of the war against corruption from the cozy comfort of Aso Rock? When election observers were describing the 2011 election as orderly, peaceful, free and fair, it took the audacious intervention of a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell to jolt us from our complacency. He said that voter queues at polling stations might seem orderly and peaceful, but the devil lies in the collation centres to which election observers have no access.

Is it not too early to declare victory against corruption when the government itself is taking panic measures to reassure a skeptical international community that the war against corruption has not lost momentum? The re-arraignment of the former Minister of Works, Dr. Hassan Lawal, and such other cases in a fit of frenzy in the last two weeks on fresh charges of corruption is part of the desperate official efforts to deflect criticism of lethargy on the part of the Jonathan government.

When she visited Nigeria in August 2009 during her first-ever African tour, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, regretted that the war against corruption “had fallen back.” As expected, rather than being humble enough to accept honest criticism, Mrs. Clinton came under attack from government officials, including Senate President David Mark, who had warned her to mind her own business.

Living in denial and rejecting honest criticisms as needless interference wouldn’t help Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts. We cannot fight corruption by wishful thinking or rhetoric. Contrary to Jonathan’s strategy of stage-by-stage approach, fighting corruption demands radical action. It demands courage and iron will to confront corruption.

What our President seemed to have played down is the hydra-headed nature of corruption and its deadly grip. Can we declare success when the judiciary, the police, the civil service, the EFCC and the politicians appear stubbornly corrupt? When corruption sinks its teeth into the souls of these key public institutions, is it safe to declare success by stage-by-stage approach or method? Do you scotch a deadly enemy like corruption or eliminate it totally? If it takes three years of his war against corruption to declare victory on only two counts in this litany of corruption, how much time does Mr. President require to achieve results dealing with the scourge in the NNPC, the Courts, the Police, the Civil Service and the entire gamut of public life?

In fact, one may even go further to ask whether the forces of corruption are not stronger than the state. Fighting corruption goes beyond courtrooms drama when fuel subsidy fraud culprits and corrupt officials are briefly presented before judges and granted bail. No big man has been successfully jailed to serve as a deterrent. While ordinary criminals who steal goats, wrappers and handsets are sent to jail almost daily, corrupt officials use technicality to escape justice.

The irony and hypocrisy of fighting corruption came to light during the recent public hearings on constitutional amendments held at zonal centres across the country during which governors were said to have opposed the death penalty for corruption. This is a very interesting revelation in a country that frequently wastes no time in jailing and hanging ordinary offenders. Are we doomed? Has corruption defeated us? The late radical A.B.U. lecturer, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman once predicted during the rule of former President Obasanjo that if the government could not fight corruption, the monster would fight it. Is Dr. Bala’s prediction coming to pass?

 

Garba Shehu

via PremiumTimes

  • Jamjam

    Very insighhtful. Excellent and challening write-up. I wish GEJ would take up the challenge.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

AMAZING! Find Out What The Chinese Zodiac Says About You

The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with an animal representing each year. As 2016 is the year of the monkey, it is believed that those born under this sign will have a good year with plenty of luck and opportunities ahead. The Chinese zodiacs are determined by birth year, and every zodiac gets the spotlight every 12 years. Chinese folklore says that their order was determined by a race, which the rat won, only by riding on the ox's back...

FG Partners With NASCO To Produce ‘Special’ Biscuit For Free School Meal

In keeping to its campaign promises of providing quality education in the country, the Federal Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with NASCO Foods limited, Jos for commercial production of high nutrient density biscuit for the national school feeding programme. Speaking at the occasion at the weekend, the Director General and CEO, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. Mrs. Gloria Elemo, said the MoU was meant to provide a strategic guide for the...

Racist Or Nah! Watch Beyoncé’s “Formation” Video & Judge Yourself

Comments trailing Beyoncé's surprise video, "Formation", suggests that it is racists and there is mad arguments in the comment section of Beyoncé's youtube channel. Some say the song and video is over rated and some actually said the song is wacky. Watch the video below and reach your conclusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrCHz1gwzTo

Dambazau Probes Own Ministry From 1999

The Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd) has inaugurated an 11-member Ad-Hoc Committee to examine the operationalization of Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into by the ministry since 1999. The Press Secretary to the Minister, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen disclosed this in a statement on Monday. He quoted Dambazau as saying the move was in furtherance to his determination at...

Fashola Begs Nigerians To Accept Hike In Electricity Tariff, Faults Jonathan’s Privatization Of Power Sector

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has noted that the increase in electricity tariffs is the first major policy the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is coming up with, describing same as “a painful pill,” which consumers have to “swallow.”Fashola disclosed this Monday during the second monthly meeting with stakeholders in the power sector in Lagos, where he also inspected some projects at the Alagbon Transmission and Distribution Complex. Fashola’s comments...

Gunmen Blow Up Agip Gas Pipeline Over Suspect’s Arrest

A group of armed men believed to be cultists have blown up a gas facility in Akala Olu village, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State for the arrest and continued detention of a suspect, Mr. Emmanuel Odum. The attack on the gas facility, according to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 2 Brigade in Port Harcourt, Captain Eli Lazarus, disrupted production activities of the Nigeria Agip...

Nigerian Army To Court-Martial Officers, Soldiers Over Recent Borno Attacks

The Nigerian Army has set up a court-martial to try cases of misconduct, indiscipline, among other misconducts that led to recent deadly attacks on Dalori and other Borno communities. A statement by the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, said the Nigerian Army had already begun investigations into the matter, noting that those found wanting “will be dealt with”. “The recent unfortunate attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on communities close to Maiduguri, despite our...

Amnesty Programme To Exit 3,232 Beneficiaries

The Presidential Amnesty Programme has announced plans to exit 3,232 beneficiaries from the programme. Those billed to leave the programme are those who have been trained as entrepreneurs and have received business and setup/ starter packs. Also affected are all beneficiaries of the Oil and Gas International Foundation (OGIF) programme and the 400 whom the office had secured employment for. The spokesman of the amnesty programme, Owei Lakemfa, said in a statement that by exiting...

Oyo/Osun Customs Command Generates N14.59bn

The Oyo/Osun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated N14.59 billion in 2015, as it prepared to build on its revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities.   The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Tope Ogunkua, made the disclosure on Monday in Ibadan when the Customs Zonal Coordinator, Zone 'A', Mr Eporwei Edike, visited the command’s headquarters in Ibadan.   Ogunkua, who assumed duty on Jan.11, 2016, said that what was generated in 2015 fell short of the revenue target of N21.83 billion set...

Video: Base One – Werey Re (Remix) ft. Phyno & Olamide

Headies 2015 Rookie Of The Year’ nominee Base One follows up his single release with the visuals for Werey Re (Remix), which features heavyweights Phyno & Olamide. Directed by Frizzle.   https://youtu.be/HbVfP93myS4

N500bn Social Welfare: 1million Poor Nigerians To Get N5,000 Directly – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant on Media in the Office of the Vice President, Adeolu Akande, on Sunday revealed that one million extremely poor Nigerians would be direct beneficiaries of the N5,000 monthly cash transfer. A statement by Akande disclosed that a total of N60 billion would be directly transferred to one million extremely poor Nigerians in accordance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of building human capital. The payment which is to commence once the budget is approved by the...

Karrueche Tran’s New Makeup Line Angers Gays and Transgenders

Karrueche Tran recently launched her new makeup line in collaboration with ColourPop cosmetics. The new makeup line, called KaePop, features liquid makeup in shades and pigments targeted toward Asian, Hispanic and light skinned women. While Karrueche’s KaePop makeup line totally ignores 100% black women, it’s the transgenders who are coming for her neck on Instagram.com. Karrueche angered her transgender followers by including handwritten “notes of love” with every KaePop purchase. The gays and transgender community are upset that Karrueche’s...

Abuja Rail To Commence Operation December 2017 – FCT Minister

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has said that the Abuja rail would begin operation in Dec. 2017.   Bello stated this while receiving the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the NNPC Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachichwu, who paid him a working visit on Monday in Abuja.   He said the commencement of the rail operation would complement the present mode of public transportation and reduce traffic gridlock often experienced at peak periods in the Federal Capital Territory.   "The...

Court Issues Ultimatum For Tompolo’s Arrest

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday rejected the plea to set aside the bench warrant issued on January 14 against a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.   The judge, in a bench ruling, said the warrant of arrest issued against Tompolo still stood and ordered all the law enforcement agencies in the country to ensure that Tompolo was produced before him on February 19.   Tompolo is wanted by the court over...

Video: Beyoncé, Coldplay, & Bruno Mars’ Performance At The Super Bowl 2016

Bruno Mars hits the stage with his hooligans to sing his smash hit song “Uptown Funk” during the 2016 Super Bowl Halftime Show live from Levi’s Stadium on Sunday (February 7) in Santa Clara, Calif. Coldplay performed at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show on Sunday with Beyonce and Bruno Mars which was a very emotional performance with clips of former legends who have graced the super bowl half time show. Check out the video below! https://youtu.be/UoGTDEPfAyg

Crude Oil Slips As Saudi, Venezuela Meeting Yields Little

Crude oil prices eased in thin trade on Monday as a meeting between OPEC producers, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela showed little indication that steps would be taken to boost prices.   Global benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 were down 8 cents at $34.98 while U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell by 23 cents to $30.66. Both contracts firmed slightly earlier in the session on Monday in see-saw trade on low volumes as many Asian markets were on holiday for the Lunar New Year.   Saudi Arabia's...

We Put 2016 Budget Proposal On Website To Attract Comments, Criticism – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant (Media) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, has said that the Federal Government will continue to welcome constructive criticism of its policies, budget and expenditure.   Shehu said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that such criticism would assist the government in fulfilling its promises to Nigerians, adding that "it is the only way the change promised the country will have a meaning’’.   He said that it was on account of this and in line with...

Court Refuses To Stop Dasuki’s Trial, Orders Continuation

Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal capital Territory (FCT) high court, Abuja, has struck out the application of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), to stop his trial. Dasuki had sought three prayers from the court, ultimately to stop his trial. He predicated his prayers on seven grounds implicit in the violation of his rights to bail by the federal government. However, Justice Baba-Yusuf held that the central issue to...

Zayyad I. Muhammad: How To Get Rich From Buhari’s Government

Some people oppose the Buhari government because they think people cannot get rich from his government. Some people love Buhari so much because they think that people cannot make a penny from the government.  They are all wrong, at the same time, they are all right depending on the prisms they are seeing things. Some Nigerians question whether the practice of self enrichment from government coffers that flourished in...

Court Fixes Feb 18 For TB Joshua, Engineers’ Arraignment

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday fixed February 18, 2016 for the arraignment of the Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, founded by Prophet T.B. Joshua.   The defendants were charged before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on one count of building without the approval of the Lagos State Government.   The said building collapsed on September 12, 2014 leading to the death of 116 persons.   Also to be arraigned on 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter are the two engineers...

Kanu Nwankwo, Pele, Ronaldo Da Lima Named As World Football Legends

Kanu Nwankwo is officially a football legend. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) have named Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu in the list of top 48 legends of football worldwide. The body released the first phase of the list which also includes Brazilian greats Pele and Ronaldo da Lima. Other notable Africans who made the list are former World player of the year George Oppong Weah, Roger Milla, Rabah Medjer, Muhammed Aboutrika, Mohmud El-Khatub and...