THE BLAME GAME
Free press, freedom of expression, the right to form associations, hold opinions and freely express them are some of the fundamental basic rights guaranteed under the United Nation Charter on human rights. Which was adopted by the Nigeria constitution.
It is also the bedrock upon which liberal democracy derived its power.
According to Lipset, for liberal democracy to thrive and flourish in a given society there must be the prevalence of the following;
1, High level of literacy in that society,
2. Absence of hunger and mass poverty,
3. Rule of law,
4. Good governance
5. Actors in the political arena must play politics by the rule of game;
Where these rights are absent or deliberately curtailed, trampled or denied liberal democracy may not flourish and thrive in such a society.
If the State through its apparatus operate in gestapo style to stifle or deny its citizen these fundamental basic rights the government in power may be tilting toward dictatorship and anarchy.
Gradually, the Nigerian State is moving towards these tendencies. The Government zero tolerance to constructive criticism on issues relating to governance is becoming so alarming and disturbing.
If some faceless agents of the state, interpret issues not based on the rule of law and good governance, but defines issues on the basis of “them versus Us”. When relationships are reduced to those with us are “good” and deserve the protection of the State. while those who hold contrary views are our enemies, they must be cajoled to submission , labelled and punished.
If citizens blindly follow their leaders even when they were wrong on issues and are ready to defend them for their selfish, religious, political, and subterranean reasons that society can not progress.
I have no choice but agree with Professor Soyinka, when he referred to some segment of our society as the “Mumu’s” of the internet.
He posited that the opportunities provided by the social media for society to participate in governance has given rise to “new group of journalist” who write all sorts of junks regardless of its consequences on the society.
These group would write salacious articles defame, libel and attack any counter views with vigour and intensity in defence of their perceived leaders, even when their rights as citizens are continuously being eroded and denied.
Worst still they often do so without understanding the import of the discourse they are commenting on or fighting for.
In a presidential debate between Mr. Nelson Mandela and Fredrick W. Clark of South Africa. Mr Mandela said “the essence of government is to provide security, housing, reduce mass poverty, provide infrastructure and good governance” not just defending the few who already are at upper level strata of the society.
Amazingly, when government which is suppose to improve the lives of its citizens becomes enmeshed in dubious blame game, that government has nothing to offer to its citizens.
Especially, when the strategy of the blame game theory was designed to collectively hoodwink our collective psyche, to internalise that everything that is bad in the system is the fault of their predecessors, whom they accuse of plundering our common wealth, through corrupt practices.
It is an ordinarily accepted norm for the government of the day to pass on its failures to turn the table round on its predecessors, when the government realise it lacks the capacity, vision and carefully tailored programmes to convince the population there would be light at the end of tunnel.
The best option to adopts is the blame game theory.
These failures funnels the society to became restive and turn against its leaders no matter how much they love the actor (s) in the game.
if the “good work” of the government does not translate in to providing the basic human needs of the society, despondency, rebellion and agitations for change becomes more pronounced.
Corruption is bad and it must be condemn in all aspects. It also true it stifles development, but the world has also seen some corrupt nations that have turned the table round through visionary leadership, commitment, patriotism and pride.
They did so by creating hope, exemplary leadership, transparency, accountability and trust.
It did so by changing the way its national budget is being crafted, by showing respect for human rights, institutionalization of due diligence and due process, selfless leadership, respect for the rule of law and good governance. It demonstrated clearly where they were and where they want to be, not business as usual.
They try to build trust and openness and empathy so that the citizenry will identify with its programmes.
But not in the manner the corruption crusade is being carried out in our country. Which is selective and most cases it ends on the pages of news papers, without corresponding sanctions being applied on the corrupt.
The corrupt freely roam the streets, give lectures, represent us at international events, enjoying their loots, complicating our issues, hero worshipped by the gullible members of public, who lack the basic necessities of life.
Another major worry is the way corruption is being narrowly defined and portrayed to mean only the thievery committed by public officers to corner public fund for their personal gains.
In defining corruption Stephen D. Morris, a professor of politics, writes that “political corruption is the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest.”
Economist Ian Senior, defines corruption as an action to secretly provide a good or a service to a third party so that he or she can influence certain actions which benefit the corrupt, a third party, or both in which the corrupt agent has authority.”
Daniel Kaufmann, from the World Bank, extends the concept to include ‘legal corruption’ in which power is abused within the confines of the law, as those with power often have the ability to make laws for their protection.
The effect of corruption in infrastructure is to increase costs and construction time, lower the quality and decrease the benefit.”
Corruption can occur on different scales. Corruption ranges from small favours between a small number of people petty corruption, to corruption that affects the government on a large scale, grand corruption, and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime.
When we reduce corruption to only thievery of public funds or labelling or using the blame game, in order to deal with your perceived political opponents, by gaging or stopping them from participating freely in the political discourse, the crusade towards the elimination of corruption or at least minimizing its occurrences will at best remain selective, and it would not yield the desired benefits.
In other words to identify some as corrupt, while others as innocent in spite of the fact that the thievery that made others corrupt is still going on unabated. By protecting some corrupt officials because they are part of the cabal, in spite of the public out cry against them, means something is seriously wrong with our fight against corruption.
While I was preparing to put this article together three fundamental un intended things happened which I want to share with you.
Firstly, a friend munched to me audio recording of BBC Hausa service interview granted by the former Governor of Jigawa State Sule Lamido, who himself is on bail for alleged corrupt practices in which he succinctly interpreted the Nigeria situation.
He said “that the Government that is crying foul that the PDP is corrupt, is a creation of the corrupt people who left the PDP.”
By implication he means it is the corrupt wealth of those who decamped from the PDP that facilitated the electoral victory of the APC, which means the government too can not purge itself of corruption. click the link below to hear him
Secondly, some few weeks ago after my frustrations with the system I asked the followers of this platform to suggest to me a country that is corruption free so that I will immigrate. This thought was recently shared by Rev. Kukah when he was frustrated by certain happening in the country, that would form the subject of my next article.
To date no single country has been suggested to me. While some people tried to suggest some less corrupt countries. But they could not find an absolutely non corrupt society to recommend for me.
They finally advised me not to be “Andrew.” By this it simply means no society is corruption free but rather corruption is measured based on its prevalence in the society.
I did so deliberately because I knew there would be none but just to amplify how badly we are handling the fight against corruption.
So I decided to stay and keep talking might be one day some one would care to listen.
Thirdly, I wrote an article on this medium demanding that the former NSA Dasuki should be allowed to have his day in court so that the Nation would know exactly what happened.
I also said he should not be denied his right to bail. I made this call after four courts of competent jurisdiction granted him bail, but was denied by the state to exercise his rights on the pretext he would jump bail. I find this assumption laughable.
While other tried to use the Boko Haram insurgency sentiment to justify their dislike for the article.
Nigeria is a sovereign country with all the apparatus of the state that could be deployed to protect the lives and property of the citizens.
If after 47 years of independence we could not put our acts together and tackle simple things like people jumping bail, then the least we could is not to wash our dirty linens in the public by showing in competence.
To my amazement also most of the people who commented on my article played to the gallery, incentivised by sentiments of the killing perpetuated Boko Haram. They refused to look deep down and understand the real import of my article.
I also lost four of my first cousin during insurgency, but choose to show compassion because my religion preaches it .
I also wanted to know the real truth and inner working of the NSA Office and why is it that it must always be a retired General to head that office.
In America where we fashioned our democracy according to their models allows civilians to head such offices, after all in democracy all institutions are expected to subject themselves to Civilian control.
So the Dasuki’s case provides us with the opportunity to know all these and the only place where we would know the truth is in the court. where he would be subjected to cross examination by lawyers. The cabals know the implication of allowing him to talk in open court.
Dasuki did not create Boko Haram, he was merely a foolish pawn used by the power that created him, most of whom are now going around enjoying their spoils while he languishes in jail.
We also have the school of thought that the government needed time to in order to correct the wrongs done by the previous administration. This could be true, but when the government presented its self to the Nigerian electorates seeking for their mandate, it did so on the grounds it has superior programmes to tackle our problems as a nation.
It is almost three years down the line since it came to power, its actions has not built confidence in the Nigerian people to believe that there would be that change they promised.
The thievery of the public funds continued with ferocity, in security and wanton destruction of human lives are on the rise, abduction and human trafficking unabated, abuse of court ruling, violation of human rights and extra judicial are still rampant.
Mal- administration, incompetence, bad governance, lack of visionary leadership and rule of law is still prevalent in all the strata of government at all levels.
It would soon be another cycle of campaigns and grand lies, the electorates have right to raise their concerns. Allow me to use a Hausa proverb which says “an indication of a good Friday manifest itself from Thursday”
When a leader plunders the goodwill of his base by calling them as impatient, turning a deaf ear to their sources of discomfort, treats them with disdain, and lack of human face, he is bound to witness some hues and cries and discontent from the society about the way he governs.
This government came in to power through popular support and in order to maintain its popular support it must change the way it governs.
The human ability to withstand pressure is limited, its ability for blind support may be strong but it can quickly wane, once it perceive some threats that are likely to challenge their essence and make them unable to fulfil their basic needs.
I therefore call on this government to rethink and change the way it is governing as its base is thinning and rapidly. “A stitch in time saves nine”.