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The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari rode into power on the shiny wings of well-oiled integrity machinery. But the selective manner in which government instruments under the control of the executive arm witch-hunts the opposition while ignoring corrupt practices by the incumbent party loyalists is quite alarming.

While many have tried in the past to pin Buhari’s name to corrupt practices in the few capacities that he has served in the past, none has been really successful. Events in the past 4 years, however, have stated the contrary and shown that the much-touted fight against it is too selective to be taken seriously. Apparently, bringing Professor Yemi Osinbajo on board as Vice-President was the additional masterstroke to camouflage the Fighting Corruption mantra which was brilliantly marketed to Nigerians pre-2015. The integrity gambit was sealed, and it is still working on the psyche of a section of the polity who prefer to be fooled twice.

It was widely reported in national dailies yesterday that Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro is now testifying against his one-time ally, Ayodele Fayose, on a matter which transpired during the Goodluck Jonathan era. It now appears that he is indemnified of all charges that his accomplice, Fayose, might be guilty of. Surely, his immunity is granted as long as he remains in the All Progressives Party (APC).

Politicians such as Orji Uzor Kalu, Iyiola Omisore, Godswill Akpabio and many others have suddenly found safety from being hunted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) concerning past corruption allegations just because they cross-carpeted to APC. Many others who are loyalists and cronies to Buhari, Tinubu or other powerful people in the APC, have also been protected times without number by the presidency, and to the chagrin of the people. Ibrahim Maina, Abba Kyari, Rotimi Amaechi, Kayode Fayemi, Tunde Fashola, Abdullahi Ganduje and others are without any executive immunity but they are known to have been smartly shielded from major corruption scandals which could have made them culpable. It is also now evident that the incumbent administration holds corruption trials over the head of strong opposition figures just to break them and join their bandwagon.

It was even more remarkable that the president was quoted to have said in Ekiti, a few days ago, that “fighting corruption in Nigeria is difficult.” One does not ordinarily expect fighting corruption in a nation like Nigeria where corruption is so much entrenched in the bloodstream of the average Nigerian, to be so easy. One would wonder if President Buhari really understood the gravity and extent of the goal of eradicating corruption which he set as his number one campaign promise, especially if such fight against corruption does not start from his own backyard.

The consensus, however, as feelers from many quarters of the country have shown, is that the fight against corruption has failed again. Perhaps this fight against corruption would have been easier if corruption itself is a human entity – at least the president would have been more disposed to sending the best men from the military to emasculate the jinx. But it mostly takes exemplary leadership to make people desist from being corrupt.

Cases of corruption in the past administration continue to haunt us as a nation; even more, issues cunningly swept under the carpet, bedevil our psyche. The polity is yet to see any serious signs from this administration regarding the famous fight against corruption. Rather, the fight against corruption is being used to bully a lot of political enemies and the opposition into silence.

It will take a long time for the entire citizenry in our nation to have a change of heart as regards corrupt practices. To shorten the time, it will require sincerity and zeal by the leadership to curb corruption and effectively discourage the vice by adequately making provisions for the future of the citizenry.

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This article was first published on 6th February 2019 and updated on February 7th, 2019 at 1:17 pm


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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