The Executive Governor of Ebonyi State in South-Eastern Nigeria, David Umahi, is a gentleman who plays the politics of service to the people. Like the 36 governors of the component states that make up the Nigerian federation, Governor Umahi is not exempted from accusations and allegations of looting of the treasury and dictatorial tendencies in power. While abuse of power is rampant in many states’ capitals across the federation Umahi is known to be serious about his legacy post-governorship.
The Governor recently addressed newsmen at the Governor’s Lodge in Abakaliki shortly after a virtual meeting with other governors of the zone and Igbo leaders. The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum had lamented the stealing of public funds by Nigerian leaders declaring undiplomatically bluntly that no amount of EFCC, ICPC could stop Nigerian leaders from stealing.
His words: “People don’t fear God any more in this country. It’s not about EFCC, ICPC and whatever thing….There is no amount of EFCC, ICPC that will stop a leader from stealing. It is only God and conscience that will. When you get older as a leader, what do you want to see in a path that you have crossed before? What do you want to see? We should know that all these wealth are nothing. It must pass from one hand to another”.
And continuing he had these to say: “The leaders of this country want to steal, so that their generation will not see poverty but it’s not true….Little sickness can take over the whole lot of that stealing”.
Governor Umahi counselled the youths to be more involved in politics to be able to change the narrative advising them against receiving peanuts from politicians during elections and doing their bidding. It is indeed true that the Nigerian youths need to wake up and stop being used as thugs and bodyguards by the corrupt elite.
In Edo state the gubernatorial poll looms dangerously and the political atmosphere is charged presently. The election, scheduled for the month of September, has zeroed down to a battle between the former governor of the state and the immediate past National Chairman of the ruling APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and the incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki.
From Benin City came the disturbing news that youths were allegedly being imported into the state armed to unleash violence. There is controversy and recrimination from one political divide to another over rigging, violence and partiality of the electoral umpire. War of words is raging.
And concluding the ebullient chief executive promised the Ebonyi people that no godfather anywhere dictated the pace of his administration. “One thing I have told the people of Ebonyi is that I will not share the money that is meant for developing the state to stakeholders. I will not share it, no matter whatever anyone can think, do or say” he had said boldly.
The Nigerian “executhieves and ‘legislathieves’ are a special political breed from every corrupt indication. They perform poorly yet loot greatly! Starting from the lanky retired general in Aso Rock down to the executive governors and legislators there is a criminal scramble for illicit acquisition of wealth.
Governor Umahi may have dropped a bombshell but what he was saying was not music to our ears. We have argued patriotically long before now that corruption has eroded every aspect of our national life. While the powers-that-be pretend to fight the scourge more earth-shaking revelations emerge daily to put a lie to such claims.
Minister ‘Lie’ Mohammed and SSA Shehu ‘Garbage’ may think or say otherwise but they cannot convince us otherwise. The President is faintly fighting corruption, yes, yet corruption is submerging his administration!
With monumentally scandalous corruption issues involving Ibrahim Magu, the former EFCC boss, and the Minister of Justice and AGF, Abubakar Malami, exploding before our very eyes and waiting to be dealt with dispassionately the Buhari regime seems powerless as corruption spreads its tentacles entangling the high and mighty.
And even institutions and authorities charged with the responsibility of combatting the same or providing oversight functions towards its successful execution are fumbling and wobbling.
Alas the conclusion is hereby drawn that Buharism has not only failed in ‘technically’ defeating Abubakar Shekau and his mad jihadists but failed in their anti-graft campaign. If you add ubiquitous failure to secure lives and properties of Nigerians then President Buhari deserves pity for minimising the presidential task before he sought and obtained power from the Nigerian electorate.
Nigeria must be made to get a ‘life’ as a nation. We have argued that restructuring of the federation constitutes the best way to start the national recovery initiatives. Nigeria is not working and cannot work (now or in the future) if radical constitutional changes are not introduced into how it organizes herself politically and how to provide leadership to the millions of Nigerians challenged daily by the hopelessness and helplessness of the present national condition.
Governor Umahi had spoken well. We commend him for reminding his peers of the vanity of their mad rush for filthy lucre. In the end power or money is not everything. We must all play our parts and leave for the great beyond at the fullest of time.
If the Coronavirus pandemic could take down the likes of Abba Kyari, Dahiru Saleh and a host of other powerful figures then the biblical injunction of mundane things belonging to nothingness ought to be enough reminder of our mortality status in this vast garden we know better.
While the looting spree continues unabated the nation is populated with politicians that have looted, those that are presently looting and potential others waiting patiently for their turn to loot. It is such a vicious cycle! No one could hurl the first stone because all has come short of glorious expectations.
Let the ‘executhieves’ and ‘legislathieves’ repent! And put the nation first in their priorities and engagements. God or Allah is watching us from afar and near.