New Telegraph

Atiku and his ‘corruption’ (II)

A functional system acts as a bulwark against any shortcut to riches. A dysfunctional system does not see anything wrong in profligacy and financial malfeasance, because the strength of an individual is determined by the depth of his pocket. A functional system sees the state as an institution for all, but a reckless and dysfunctional system will end up disparaging a Michael Achimugu for daring to expose his boss. That’s Nigeria for you. Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister, a rich man by every standard, was caught by the UK metro police, contravening the seat belt laws and he was appropriately fined; he faced justice, and it serves as a deterrent to others who may want to circumvent the law. Sunak didn’t flaunt his ego because he is UK Prime Minister. He didn’t make a call to the Head of the UK Metropolitan Police to query the young officers who apprehended him. He knew that as a leader and Prime Minister, he needed to show leadership and take responsibility. He knew he had to lead by example and show the way to other citizens. If he decided to wield his influence and circumvent the system, that could easily have landed him in further problems. It might have even cost him his job as Prime Minister. He paid the fine to show that no matter how powerful one is, the law applies. That is what makes the society tick. It provides a leveler for all. Here, the leaders are above the law; maybe even the law. They lead by mere body language. That is why the confessions of Michael Achimugu are still left unattended by the relevant agencies even, despite and in spite of Festus Keyamo taking the right step, to notify and petition them for justice because of the allegations. If all was well, Atiku Abubakar should have by now been invited for further questioning and maybe arraigned. The law would have applied without equivocation and conspiratorial silence. He would have been summoned to give his own version, to further unveil the entire saga, as a way of showing that the leadership has nothing to hide. If Sunak, the UK Prime Minister had tried to wield his power, the long arm of the law would still have caught up with him. In a working system, the society metes out justice to all persons. Sunak is richer than Atiku Abubakar, but the humility he displayed in immediately paying the fine is indicative of the lawful society they have built over the years. We are all waiting for Atiku Abubakar to be subjected to rigorous interrogation to unearth other unspoken details of the Special Purpose Vehicle transactions. He should by now not be carrying on with a gay disposition knowing that such a matter is trending. Let us see that Nigeria has changed or is changing. Corruption and other incidences of financial profligacies should not continue to be treated with kid gloves. In Nige

ria, corruption has cousins, brothers, nephews, uncles and sisters. It appears to be an entity in its own right. But a dysfunctional system breeds strong men who can easily armtwist her and go away with alleged crime. They develop strong muscles to muscle the system out of the norm. In one fell swoop, they pick up their phones, make calls to the dysfunctional system, and get a dysfunctional response. The system accommodates such calls. Corruption has become a way of life; not because there are no laws to checkmate the incidence, but those who should apply the law are themselves complicit in the crimes. It is a circuit; run by elite solidarity, akin to the gang of sinuous fawns, looking after the backs of their fellow conspirators. One hears all manner of phrases to downplay the seriousness of this trending crime: “what is the meaning of SPV?”, “did you hear that Atiku Abubakar was given money?” “He should be allowed to finish his contest.” In support, rather than respond to the real allegations, his spokesmen decided to accuse another, “eh, what of Tinubu, who has tried him?” Pressed further that the issues are not the same, they resort to name-calling just to divert attention from the real issues at play. God help Nigeria!!! I have said it repeatedly that all manner of controversies surround Atiku Abubakar and his aspiration, dating back a very long time and they all border on injustice and lack of fairness; all functions of corruption. The PDP presidential primaries was fraught with abuse of process. The resolve to abandon zoning which is a PDP constitutional requirement, was a conspiracy that exposed the conquistadorial nuances within the top echelon of the party; they twisted logic and supplanted it with fraud. During the primaries, there was an

Nigeother abuse of process; one of the aspirants, having spoken within the time frame alloted to all aspirants, he, the Governor of Sokoto State, reappeared from nowhere to announce his step down for Atiku Abubakar. He ought to have done that in the first instance when it was his turn to speak at the convention. Moving on, in show of impunity after the convention, amid allegations of dollars exchanging hands, the party chairman who ought to maintain an unbiased posture, showed his legs and hands in the entire sub-plot. He visited the home of Governor Tambuwal to give him a pat on the back. Corruption is not just about naira and kobo. It is defined as monopoly plus discretion minus accountability. The chairman of the party simply applied his monopoly of powers to impugn on his discretionary powers, and delivered a convention outcome that was lacking in accountability. Outcomes of electoral process and internal democracy of parties also have their telling impact on the credibility of the process. Having finished the convention, what ought to have been done, was to deliberately rein in all the factors at play at the convention; but the nomination of the Vice Presidential candidate opened another can of worms for a plot that was most illconceived and set to fail. Governor Okowa was named by the same factors that conspired to abandon zoning. His emergence was yet another product of corruption. A committee that was set up had reportedly recommended someone else, but the power oligarchs within The PDP announced Okowa; the plot was unveiled. Okowa it was, who hosted the 17 governors of the South when they made a declaration that power should be ceded to the South as President Buhari rounds up his term of office. He lavishly hosted his friends and colleague governors, but little did they know that it was part of a sub plot, to gain recognition of having a support base. While he was shouting during the day about power shift, he was subterraneanly working for Atiku’s aspiration, in order to get a VP slot. I am told that in politics, the number of people you are able to betray, stab in the back, and undercut, will determine how politically savvy you have become. But anything that is wrong-headed will usually show its defect, in time. The PDP and Atiku Abubakar’s shortcut to his candidacy, has left the party utterly quarelsome and unable to knit itself back together. Every day and night, they go cap in hand, searching for The APC’s supposedly disgruntled elements to join the The PDP’s sinking boat. In trying to build a sane society, we must be resolute about our choices and what we actually desire as a country; especially as we are in dire need of responsible leadership. A man like Michael Achimugu who has acted within the precincts of whistleblowing ought to be supported in order to get to the bottom of the saga. What he has released thus far ought to form a serious basis for enquiry. We cannot be pretending to be building a society of rule of law, when we treat serious issues of corruption with levity. Strong nations are built on the basis of zero-tolerance for corruption and respect for the rule of law. We must not only apply law as a leveler for all, just like in Rishi Sunak’s case, we must impress it on our leaders to live by example. There are copious evidence to show that The PDP candidate has fallen short of the conditionalities of his candidature. He must be made to face the law. That way, we will be building a society and a system that respects law and order, no matter one’s status in the society. We can start with the revelations from Michael Achimugu to test our anti-corruption laws in a more holistic manner; than mere sloganeering in the face of these overwhelming evidence against The PDP candidate. The time to act is now, if only the Code of Conduct Tribunal, EFCC, ICPC and NFIU will move to so act. We are waiting.

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