On corruption, accusations and real governance
With accusations and counter-accusations in the most indecorous of words, neither the new government and the ruling party nor the ousted ones are doing Nigeria much good and this is unacceptable.
The other day, some ministers who served the Goodluck Jonathan administration issued a statement of complaint against what they called ‘the vilification of the Jonathan administration’ and ‘concerted effort by the Buhari administration and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to condemn, ridicule, and undermine the efforts of [the Jonathan] administration.
This, according to them, was in addition to impugning the integrity of its individual members, ‘to portray each and every member of the Jonathan administration as corrupt and irresponsible’.
The statement, partly self-justifying, partly accusatory, dripped with such angry phrases as ‘ill-intentioned’, ‘bad faith’, ‘lynch mentality’ and ‘political witch-hunt’.
It is certainly within the rights, basic and constitutional, of the group to express its views on the conduct of government especially when they are directly mentioned, or indirectly affected as a group of major actors in a Jonathan government that has been widely regarded both inefficient in the management of Nigeria’s resources, and ineffective in the delivery of good governance.
Of course, no one would declare that the Jonathan government did absolutely nothing to advance Nigeria. That would be both dishonest and unfair.
But, in the discharge of the very fundamental constitutional duty of government to assure the welfare and security of the people, the straight and incontrovertible verdict on its performance was the rejection by Nigerian voters of Jonathan and his team, as well as his political party at the last general elections.
In fine points, this means that, notwithstanding what the ex-ministers claim to be ‘our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation’ and regardless of their pride ‘to have served Nigeria…so diligently and to the best of our abilities,’ the citizens who, as beneficiaries of good governance or as victims of mis-governance, must decide a government’s fate found these ‘contributions’ not honest enough, the ministers not diligent enough, and the best of their so-called abilities just not good enough. This hard truth is the overarching verdict the government they ran.
And they must live with it. Having said these, Nigerians cannot but be concerned with the persistent dwelling of the Muhammadu Buhari government and the ruling APC, on the myriad forms of bad governance alleged against the Jonathan administration.
It is now as if a government was elected merely for the purpose of complaining. Besides, too many persons are speaking for this government on just the same theme, namely acts of corruption by the last batch of public office holders.
A greater tragedy, however, is that in this government-by-allegations, the language is not only indecorous as the facts are sometimes warped and ignorance is raised to high art.
Sadly, the situation is such that the President alleges, a governor alleges, as in the case of Adams Oshiomhole’s altercations with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and one or two other former minsters, APC spokespersons allege and even presidential spokespersons are not left out of the rash of allegations.
And, as Jonathan’s aides and his party, the PDP respond, the air is just thick with claims and counter-claims with the overall effect of a polity distracted by a barrage of accusations, denials and counter-accusations.
Amidst all these is lost the focus on putting an APC government together and getting it running in the manner construed by the extant constitution.
Certainly, any act of illegality by public officials must be investigated and subjected to the due process of law. But there is too much talk of the past misdeeds at the expense of clear and firm acts of governance.
Furthermore, governors must concentrate on issues in their respective states and leave federal matters for federal officials to comment on. There should also be far more decorum in the manner in which issues, especially alleged acts of corruption, are presented to the public or responded to by whosoever is concerned.
Nigerians want diligent investigation and prosecution of misdeeds and not perorations on such. The electorate voted President Buhari into power on the strength of his party manifesto as well as his personal promise to tackle unemployment, secure lives and property, and wrestle corruption to the ground.
This government is expected to confront corruption frontally and comprehensively but without leaving unaddressed the other critical issues that bother Nigerians.
So, even as the hydra-headed corruption is confronted with a lot of hot air, this government must get its structure and acts together to govern in the fullest intendment the 1999 Constitution of this federal republic. The days are counting.