In the buck passing in regard to the public concern about the growing spate of corruption in the country and failure of the dispensation to battle the scourge, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, blame the Jonathan administration for the irredeemable turn corruption has taken. He thinks that the fight against official graft has lost momentum due largely to the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan would rather set up committees to investigate corruption cases than refer them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission—EFCC— for prompt action.He forgets to mention that there are several cases of corruption allegations referred to the Lamorde-led EFCC that have not seen the light of day. He forgets also to mention that the EFCC lawyers were whacking up cases referred to the commission, until some of them were found out and sacked. All the corruption cases investigated by the House Committees including those involving Hon. Farouk Lawan and Herman Hembe, to mention a few, that are yet to be satisfactorily and effectively disposed off are presumed to be Jonathan’s fault. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, was chased about like a common criminal right from the day he left office by the EFCC. What has become of the corruption case involving him? Perhaps, President Jonathan prevailed on the EFCC and the courts to drop all charges against Mr. Bankole. What about the rot in the judiciary—about allegations that some multi-million naira assets and fat bank accounts have been traced to some judges of the courts? What about allegations that members of the House do collect bribes from agencies of state to pass legislations, such as police budget and the Securities Exchange Commission’s Act, for instance? Are all these episodes of unresolved corruption issues to be blamed on the Executive arm of government headed by the Presidency?What about issues of criminal legislations initiated by the House of Reps under the leadership of Hon. Tambuwal, such as the ongoing attempt by the House to pass a bill authorizing members to operate foreign bank accounts; a move that has been described as a legislative strategy to legitimize money laundering? Is this also the fault of President Jonathan? Where and to whom will Aminu Tambuwal pass the buck of the corruption episodes in the legislature?What discerning minds have come to appreciate is not that Jonathan as President should usurp the powers and functions of agencies and organs of government in the bid to stamp out corruption from the body politic, but that incremental wrong doings overtime with an entrenched culture of impunity nurtured and nourished by the military has made corruption, in our time, to spiral out of control.
The Jonathan dispensation, it has been contended, merely created the libertine ambience for corrupt practices to be fully exposed, as never before when Heads of State used to cover up for their cronies and protégés and allow only enemies who fall foul of the law to face the full wrath of the anti-graft agencies. What can be stated unambiguously is that the Jonathan government allowed corrupt practices to be fully exposed.Nigerians, today, have a long list of corrupt people in the corridor of power including the legislature and the judiciary as well as the financial services sector. Let Tambuwal and the defecting governors not be deceived that they can escape the wrath of the people when the bubble burst on the strength of their capacity to pass the buck to Goodluck Jonathan. Everybody, including past heads of state, is blaming the President for all the woes and corruption problems inundating the country. People who should know better, who are themselves part of the network of corruption, are creating the wrong impression that if all the blames for failure of the anti-graft war were heaped upon the President, they would be spared the anger of the people in the likely event of civil rebellion.Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State once warned that the way the political class is running the affairs of the country, they may not receive the support of the people if democracy in the country comes under threat. When Oshiomhole spoke, he never made excuses for himself. He was lamenting the deficit of credible political practice by the state actors—their lack of integrity, their corruption and profligacy, and their general inability to deliver service to the people.My point is not that the President should be spared where and when he errs. My point is that the buck passing going on now, as if the affairs of state are the sole responsibility of Goodluck Jonathan, is in bad faith. Aminu Tambuwal should not delude himself that Nigerians have a high opinion of the House of Reps which he superintends. Corruption issues are glossed over in the legislature as it is treated with a dignified nonchalance by the other arms of government.Tambuwal should be honest and tell the world the truth about corruption episodes in the country—that corruption is defended and protected on the platform of ethnicity. That is why no head of state has been able to deal with it frontally. General Murtala Mohammed who tried to deal with corruption issues in the military and the civil service constructively, did not quite understand the trajectory and networking of corruption, and did not know what hit him in the process.Corruption issues can be uprooted in the country mainly by taking the battle away from the centre to the federating units through devolution of power and fiscal federalism, the way it was at the birth and early days of nationhood. Smash the centre and give economic power to the zonal or regional power blocks and corruption battle will shift from the centre to the component units, where the dead would have to bury the dead until kinsmen can shout “enough is enough” and tell themselves to stop killing one another and use the commonwealth for the development of the fatherland for the benefit and happiness of all.Tambuwal should work for a decentralized Nigeria, a fiscal federal structure, a country where the people and their sensibilities, rather than the whims and narrow self-interest of the few who happen to be in control, dictate and drive state affairs. That is the time any head of state can launch a serious offensive against corruption.