Home OPINION COLUMNISTS War On Corruption, Now And After Buhari, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

War On Corruption, Now And After Buhari, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

CorruptionMy wife who just received her monthly salary, arrived from market yesterday raving, cursing, agitating and dejected over what she called unbelievable high cost of everything, especially food items. To be sure, she has been an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially on his war against corruption.
She was so transparent in her support for the President that her colleagues call her ‘baba pickin’ and she would proudly answer ‘yes o.’
But as the cost of items sky-rocketed in the market, she, like many others, became confused, so much that she was no longer saying ‘yes o’ with confident to those who make jest of her.
“This Buhari change is causing us, the common people, a lot of havoc. One cannot buy anything again. Why should we suffer untold hardships in the name of fighting corruption?” She was virtually crying.
Less than a week ago, a friend of mine at the periphery of media, Isah Momohjimoh, raised similar alarm and even went as far as saying that he was no longer in support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is high time the President toned down this war on corruption so that those who are hiding money in their houses and offices would bring it out. We are gradually dying.”
Of course, on more than one occasion, President Buhari and some members of his team were honest enough to acknowledge that they were fully aware of the hardships which Nigerians, especially, the poor ones, are going through as a result of economic recession: the recession that was brought about by among others, ‘the corruption-fighting-back’ syndrome. The continued vandalisation of oil pipelines by the Niger Delta militants; the deliberate hoarding of the currencies, especially, the Dollars by the saboteurs hiding under the new Forex regime; the anti-corruption-war-judiciary and many other negative indices have combined to make the war on corruption as more of a curse than blessing for the common Nigerians. Yet, the war is originally targeted at making the future economic growth of the country bright.
A picture was also painted of the smuggling of grains, amidst the bumper harvest this year, by unscrupulous and corruption-fighting-back Nigerians, across the nation’s borders to neighbouring countries. The smuggling, as another form of corruption-fighting-back, is meant to make non-sense of the Buhari’s new economic diversification drive, with emphasis on food production.
Indeed, against such odds placed on the way towards cleansing the country of corruption, President Buhari has vowed to succeed. And the question has been that if Buhari succeeds in fighting corruption to a stand-still in his four years or eight years in office, as the case may be, what becomes of the war thereafter?
I have heard it said in many quarters that powerful Nigerians who have lived all their lives and earn their living through corruption are only just bidding their time and are in hibernation for the next four or eight years and will surface as soon as Buhari finishes his tenure: that such Nigerians are hiding their loots, in billions, away from the banking system and will return to their old ways once Buhari is out of the scene in 2019 or 2023. People have insinuated that when corruption returns after the Buhari’s tenure, it will be devastating and all-embracing, so much that every other person will be involved.
It is perhaps, because of the fear of such resurgence of corruption at any given time in the nation’s life that people of goodwill; people who are still blessed with God-fearing mien, are asking Buhari to look beyond his tenure to make the war against corruption an irreversible one, long after he is done with Nigeria.
One of the suggestions is that he should liaise with the National Assembly (if the lawmakers would cooperate) to change the nation’s currency, especially, the N1, 000, N500 and N200 denominations a few months towards the end of his first tenure in 2019. Those who made this suggestion said that this is the only way the President will deal ruthlessly with the people that are hiding the money in various places, other than banks now. With the change of the currencies, such clever-by-half die-hard corrupt Nigerians will suddenly find out that the currencies they are hiding are useless.
Another suggestion is that Buhari’s government should tighten security around the nation’s borders to forestall the smuggling of food items out of the country, by those who are bent on making a non-sense of the bumper harvest that God has endowed the country with this year.
Of course, there is no doubt that President Buhari and members of his team are aware of all sort of traps that have been mounted on their path by the powerful Nigerians, with their enormous dirty financial resources, and are doing everything possible to overcome the antics of such corrupt Nigerians. Every suggestion must not be taken for granted.
In this war against corruption, yes, the common people are suffering, even more than the targeted corrupt ones, but there is no other way the future, where the nation’s resources are equitably distributed and enjoyed amongst all the categories of the citizenry, can be assured than the fight now to streamline things.
The saying that nothing good comes easy is relevant here, but how soon things will ease off, and how sustainable the war against corruption will be, remains to be seen.
And in all that we say and do, it will be a national tragedy for the country, at any time, to return full swing into the world of corruption. [myad]

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