Please note that the following words are used interchangeably here: looting, looters, gifts, stolen, et cetera.
I am going to try and make this not too long as you cannot have the time for such. Equally important is the fact that those who used to read my essays in The Comet/The Nation on Sunday and the hundreds of thousands (among whom are some of my older fans) who are recorded to have visited this blog since its inception on March 30, 2011 already know my politics.
The first four essays on March 30 and March 31 were all on Nigerian politics: the first dealt with the corrupt-ridden system engendered by the PDP and the fact that Nigeria had to rid itself of the cancer; two dealt with the dubious “opinion polls” then recently-introduced by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI) Polls which I suggested Nigerians must be wary of while the fourth merely announced that “Buhari’s quest for Nigeria’s presidency forces the birth of a long-gestated blog”.
My letter, a plea, really therefore, should be taken as coming from the same belief that led to that essay of March 31, 2011. While congratulating you on the work you’ve done so far on trying to right all the terrible wrongs of governance that have turned Nigeria into a land of utter misery for most while a few with ill-gotten or wealth that cannot be explained, live in sheer luxury, I wish to express the frustration being expressed by millions of Nigerians on the pace of your war on corruption.
Those who want the old ways to continue are few but control enough resources to alter the direction your government is taking Nigeria so that we can return to the old ways, especially Nigeria’s immediate past its full potential. The common wealth is in the hands of these people, men and women, who are fighting their utmost to derail this government. Sponsored essays and ill-motivated though unsponsored ones are showing up in foreign press about how badly Buhari this-and-Buhari-that – is hampering Nigeria’s economic fortunes; how the CBN and the country’s foreign exchange regime are being run badly, blah blah blah.
Permit me, Mr. President because you must have experts and qualified others who are advising you, PLUS, you arrived at the job knowing exactly what the country needs. These are all well being done but the financial muscles of the looters are possibly more than perhaps what the government has when combined.
Apart from having almost arrived at the very defining three-scores-and-ten time post myself, I may not live beyond than today even if I were just thirty because to none of us is guaranteed the next second. If their wishes were horses, you won’t see tomorrow but that’s a finality that is in only God’s hands.
The vast majority of Nigeria’s populations are 101% behind you – yeah, the extra 1% is naturally hyperbolic but it’s to show they want you to succeed in the onerous task. They are clamoring for you to take-our-money-back-before-anything-first even while employing the rule of law. It is what the masses are saying and there is not a moment to lose with this kind of momentum.
When I announced on this blog in 2011 that young people, all Christians, in the southwest that I interviewed in informal small contained polling, told me they preferred Buhari, people close to me were very surprised while quite a few dismissed my finding as “unbelievable”.
• Please do not allow any tide to turn on the momentum you have with majority of Nigerians right now. Our people are so desperately poor and the looters so rich that in a country like Nigeria, anything can happen in a situation of such explosive mix.
• Have the names of looters, including those claiming non-culpability for money received from so-called “Dasukigate”- the “gate” from America’s Republican Party’s break in into The Watergate, aka “The Watergate” scandal – PUBLSHED as soon as each is VERIFIED as being accurate.
• Weekly or at intervals, have the criminals assembled at Abuja and PERSONALLY ADDRESS THEM on the need to return ALL the stolen money or go to jail where they will remain till they pay up.
• Have the names of those who return their loots/gifts … published AND the amounts returned.
As far as most Nigerians are concerned, it this is the only skirmish of Nigeria’s myriads of problems you win, you would have set Nigeria on the path of greatness. The punishment for the thieves can be decided and passed through legislation or whatever route the law supports.
We do not need to wait till all looted funds are investigated before these people pay up. Your achievements cannot be reversed no matter who of the thieving ranks get back to rule Nigeria which, I am sure Nigerians would no longer allow to be anything-goes-sham-elections and governance. While ALL true patriotic Nigerians are praying against any bad thing happening to you – there are payers in churches to the best of my knowledge – you still need to act fast:
• on getting looters NAMED;
• In place of getting those named to be locked up in proper prisons, a version of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation body should be set up at which those who pay up – criminals, if a space is to be called anything but its real description – publicly confess their crime against Nigeria and her citizens.
Such criminals must be banned from EVER being given public offices – elected or selected. In my opinion, their names should also be entered in the records of their local government origins.
I am sure many of my long-term fans may wonder at my volte face but I think it’s more important for the country to be able to move forward while leaving the criminals to face the shame that would remain theirs; I feel certain that some of those from the Southwest may become hermits/recluses because iku ma ya ju ẹsin fun nwọn. [To those from Yorubaland’s Southwest with shame, they may never go to public places again because death is considered better than becoming a ridiculed person.
Of course, bad habits die hard and we will definitely find loads of these most-hated-Nigerians-to-ever-live who will want to hide their ill-gotten gains. Nigerians should be encouraged to come forward with facts and, possibly, figures on hidden wealth. Some of the criminals have multiple homes not only in Nigeria but overseas, especially the UK and USA.
Monday, February 1, 2016. 12:30 a.m. [GMT]