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*Nigeria in Serious Crisis and State of Emergency - Who's really In-Charge - Part 1
Masterweb Reports - May 4, 2012: Nigeria is in a serious crisis and state of emergency. There is crisis everywhere in the national space. There is crisis of commitment in the home, moral and spiritual crisis in the church, crisis of conscience among the citizens, crisis in national government, state and local, security crisis, employment and job crisis, electricity crisis, healthcare crisis, crisis in education sector, road and transport crisis, infrastructure crisis, and even crisis in the business and banking sector. The Nigerian State is chronically sick, ethically and morally decadent, and frankly, suffering from a serious and severe identity crisis. These are horrible and challenging times in Nigeria. And nobody cares. Nobody really seems to be in-charge here. Whenever there’s a crisis, people want to know, who’s in charge? People want to know what those entrusted with power and authority is doing to bring about stability and peace. In the case of Nigeria, no one really cares. No one seems to be doing anything. Who will deliver Nigeria and Nigerians from the murderous sect called Boko Haram and from selfish politicians and self-serving public servants managing the affairs of the nation today?
The problem of Nigeria is not just socio-economic but ethnic-religious. Nigeria is in a serious ethno-religious warfare that has been going on since her amalgamation. It’ll take spiritual, moral and courageous leaders to understand and deal squarely with the ethnic-religious challenges facing Nigeria. Our politicians, leaders and intellectuals need divine discernment and holy wisdom on spiritual and religious warfare confronting Nigeria today. And I firmly believe that lack of godly, courageous, and compassionate leaders are the root cause of Nigeria’s problems and the primary cause for poverty and the travails of our society.
As I reflect upon the sorry-state of affairs and the on-going conversation in Nigeria regarding – the urgent need for Sovereign National Conference, the call for Fiscal Federalism, the sincere need for Nigeria’s Break-up, the inability of Federal Government and Security Agencies to crush Boko Haram and protect innocent citizens, the rancor and ethnic hatred, the rambling for 2015 Presidency - still 3 years away, the risk of one-party demo-crazy, the rascals and rogues in the House of Assembly and Senate, James Ibori acquittal in Nigeria and recent sentencing to 13 years prison in London, and the mind-boggling and unbelievable Police Pension scam, my heart bleeds. However, I remain hopeful that one day – well meaning Nigerians will find the godly anger, muster the courage, and divine strength to work together to fight the enemies of human progress, flush out incompetence, inefficiency and combat evil and wickedness in our society. I am deeply convinced that the greatest need of our generation is finding Nigerians with righteous anger, godly fear, strong, compassionate and courageous men and women to take over the affairs of our beloved nation from the savages that are have hindered her progress for so long. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
In this piece, I’ll give some of my commentaries as well as offer some solutions on the current topics and on-going issues being debated in Nigeria today.
Bribery & Corruption
Let me begin with the satanic habit of most Nigerians, which is bribery and corruption. Since the return to democratic presidential system of government in 1999, we have seen an unprecedented scandal for bribe, tax evasion, stealing, embezzlement, fraudulent contracts looting and money laundering by the very people entrusted with power and management of public treasury. Let me name a few: Siemens and Wilbros bribery scandals for contracts, Halliburton tax bribery, Chevron, Texaco, Royal Dutch and Bake Hughes bribe for tax evasion, looting and money laundering by 31 governors during Obasanjo’s first and second-terms in office. Billions of Naira spent by INEC that regaled PDP the most fraudulent election in the history of Nigeria in 2003 and 2007, the national identity card project fraud, N300 billion of federal road construction without any good road to show for it, PTDF looting, privatization of federal establishments to friends and families, and trillions of waste in the energy sector, Fuel Subsidy corruption, scam and waste, etc. In 2007, Nigerians also learned that the past military rulers squandered nearly 400 billion US dollars in the last forty years. That same week, the World Bank and other international organizations reported that Nigeria risks collapse and disintegration if the current looting, corruption, and criminality do not stop. Currently a list of Nigerian looters and the amount deposited in various banks and currencies are circulating online – source: World Bank. The validity of this list cannot be ascertained; however, the list is missing critical names of Nigerian looters – former and current political actors.
( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Tafa Balogun, Nigeria's former Inspector-General of Police in cuffs being taken to court by EFCC April 4, 2005, after arrest for corruption.
The $400 billion that our military rulers looted and embezzled in the last fifty years is thirty times more the $13 billion Marshall Plan economic aid and technical assistance that was packaged to rebuild sixteen European countries after the devastation of World War II in 1945. Today our leaders travel to those European countries for holidays and medical treatment or send their children there for studies. The public funds that Nigerian past military and politicians looted and embezzled could have been utilized to rebuild the entire African economies and create the same luxury they see today in Europe, America, and Dubai. Rather our rulers preferred to steal, loot, and launder public funds into their private accounts in secret banks overseas where those same financial resources are then loaned to residents of those countries to start businesses and carry out major infrastructural projects and human development. Today, the loots of General Abacha are not only located in secret banks in Switzerland and other foreign banks, but are being discovered hidden in juju houses in Nigeria while poverty, disease, corruption and hopelessness buffet the people. What a travesty!
Police Pension Scam
Just a couple of years ago, we read the scandalous looting and embezzlement of Police budget by the former IGP, Chief Balogun, who looted hundreds of millions and acquired houses practically in every major State of Nigeria including a few overseas. He depleted the police department budget, paid the police personnel meager salaries that forced most of them to openly ask for N20 bribe at checkpoints. Today, it is Police pension scam. My heart bleeds when I read about the illegal financial transactions and mismanagement of N26 billion of Police Pension Funds into private accounts. Yesterday, the newspapers reported that five banks – First Bank, Fidelity, UBA, Guarantee Trust and Ecobank were engaged in the scandalous and fraudulent scheme. The on-going revelation of this monumental corruption and pension scam is minded boggling and unbelievable. How can this occur in a nation that have leaders and aspires to develop and prosper? How can the banks not suspect such illegality and huge deposits of funds without any business backup? The banks are not only supposed to encourage individuals to save and companies to invest and compete in capital markets, but must also question and discourage fictitious and illegal financial transactions.
Over the years, especially since the return to democratic presidential government in 1999, we have seen and read many scandalous reports about banks and their greedy CEOs issuing un-collateral loans – savings from poor Nigerians to themselves by using fictitious names and sometimes non-existent companies abroad to steal and stash billions of Naira to the detriment of the poor Nigerian masses. Case in point was Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and others. The appointment of Mallam Sansui by the late president Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007, to sanitize the banking sector after the failure of Prof. Charles Souldo to do so, was welcome news for most. But today, we have seen that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is also failing in this endeavor. His fiscal and monetary policies – including the introduction of Islamic banking, which kicked-off in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano, were designed to Islamize Nigerian economy and fund the jihadist sects for political power and control. Rather than establish and enact polices that will checkmate cronyism , illegal financial transactions and beefcake businesses, Mallam Sanusi is engaged in radical rhetoric Islamic discourse by establishing Islamic banking and promoting it. He has also become a Boko-Haram and Jihad apologist, defending Boko Haram murderous activities in the North. Recently, he’s been arguing that the North is poor because of the derivation formula, which rewards the South more, especially the oil producing states, than the North. Also, we have not seeing the effects of his cashless program, but rather, Mallam Sanusi is positioning himself to run for governor of Kano state in 2015 and ultimately for presidency at some point. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: A victim of Boko Haram Kano January 2012 attack
The CBN Governor and bank CEOs must understand that the 21st century bank must not only work to encourage individuals to save and companies to invest, compete, and hire a strong and well-educated workforce, but must have a vision to use information technology to benefit consumers and stimulate investment, innovation, and create jobs.
Those persons and banks implicated in the Police pension scam should be properly punished. I believe this is happening in other sectors as well. EFCC, ICPC, Police and other crime management agencies should be investigate other sectors of the economy and arrest and prosecute those implicated in this monumental fraud and illegality.
James Ibori conviction and sentencing in London
James Ibori is just one among many superficial, selfish politicians and self-serving public servants running and overseeing the affairs of things in Nigeria. During president Obasanjo’s 8-year reign, 31 out of 36 governors were indicted for various public funds looting and money laundering. Today, most – if not all of them, are walking free in Nigeria and reside in various countries of the world enjoying their loot. By the way, this same animal called James Ibori was acquitted of the same 170 charges in Asaba by a Nigerian Judge in 2009. What does that tell us of Nigerian Judges and courts? Our justice system – courts, lawyers and Judges have now become cohorts and share abundantly in the monumental corruption going on in Nigeria. It’s terrible and sad indeed. The very institutions that suppose to punish crime and protect against embezzlement of nation’s assets are now cohorts in the very robbery, bribery, corruption, embezzlement, looting and laundering of the nation’s oil wealth. James Ibori believed Britain is Nigeria where he would've walked scot-free. Will Nigerian Judges and courts learn anything from Ibori’s sentencing in London? What about the lawyers defending and arguing sheepishly for a crook and criminal like James Ibori? What about the many Ibori’s still in position of power and leadership positions today in Nigeria? Will they learn anything from Ibori’s trial and sentencing in UK? It’s really a shame that politicians and so-called leaders are reduced to fools and nonentities because of money and material things.
I propose the following threes things before anyone is elected into public office:
· That those aspiring for public office should go for psychological evaluation. Men and women aspiring for higher office or position of leadership in Nigeria must present a certificate of psychological evaluation.
· Aspiring politicians and public servants should be evaluated mentally, emotionally, psychologically and yes morally, before they are enthroned into position of leadership.
· Their private life, public record, and professional experience should be examined and scrutinized by an independent board before they are elected or voted into public office.
How to stop bribery & corruption – Measures and solutions to eradicate corruption and embezzlement of public funds
· I also propose and firmly believe that it is time to take corruption and public funds embezzlement very seriously in Nigeria, otherwise this aberration and savage habits will not stop. Let’s start by making people to swear in the name of their god or higher power. Personally I do not believe in capital punishment even in the case of premeditated murder, but because of the satanic greed and the mind-boggling looting, embezzlement and mismanagement of public wealth, I whole-heartily support capital punishment for those clearly convicted for such crimes like ex-governor James Ibori, Pension scam fraudsters and other monumental public funds mismanagement that we have read and seen in Nigeria.
· Setup a management office staffed with men and women of integrity and honesty, character and principle to oversee the payments of government workers and other civil servants, public servants, governors, ministers, senators, legislators, ministers, president’s aides, staff, VP aides, staff, VP and president - using the means of modern technology like electronic payment and direct deposits. This is 21st century and there are various technology software that can implemented and setup to directly wire and pay into the accounts of government workers and public servants on bi-weekly or monthly basis as designed.
· The management payment office should also be established in each State and with a central office in Abuja. With robust database like Oracle and electronic payment software, it takes just a matter of minutes to manage funds and disburse funds to each government officials and public servants bank accounts and email or mail the deposit slips to them. Basically, the idea of cash-less society and electronic means of payment will go a long way to discourage bribery and hinder corruption.
· The same mechanism should be replicated for State and Local government. If we are really serious about eradicating bribery and corruption, electronic payment and a centralized management office staffed with men and women of character, principle, honesty and integrity is the way to go.
· Make those serving in sensitive money departments to swear in the name of God or Bible, Allah and Koran, or god of thunder, etc., and finally
· Introduce and enforce death penalty for those convicted of embezzlement of public funds.
Until the use of technology is deployed and these drastic and draconian measures are taken to punish corrupt politicians and leaders in Nigeria, the nation will not move forward. Until, the Nigerian people learn to elect, appoint and put people of integrity and people that can be trusted in charge of the nation’s business, Nigeria will never see any genuine development and progress. Bad leadership, corruption, ineptitude, myopic and visionless leaders must be restrained from the nation’s polity for the nation to achieve any meaningful progress.
The Police pension scam is ridiculous, unbelievable, and insane. Such acts can only be carried out by crooks, criminals, savages so speak – by a crop of satanic minds that are superficial, cryptic, inept, greedy, corrupt, unqualified, arrogant and incompetent, whose stock in trade is to steal, embezzle, diminish and rubbish the potential of Nigerian people and society.
Dr. Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
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