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When Officials Are Enmeshed in Graft

Nigeria is indeed an exciting country to live in particularly because of the diverse shades of characters that make up the top echelon of governments not just in the current dispensation but even in almost all previous administrations.
Ordinarily, Nigeria ought not to be a neighbour of poverty but due to crass indiscipline and unprecedented official graft made worse by greed the nation’s enormous financial resources have all but disappeared into private offshore accounts of thieving elites. The nation’s foreign reserves are been depleted with a speed of lightning even with the presence of the so-called Ivy League economic managers.
Governance in the states has become anything but good even as nepotism has been elevated to an official policy. In Plateau, the octogenarian governor has appointed his son a Commissioner and in Abia both the governor and his son gave themselves the party tickets to the national and state assemblies in the next dispensation. In other states, outgoing governors who have served out their tenures that contributed to massive penury to the people have handpicked their successors.
Nigeria ought not to have anything to do with poverty, but the primitive acquisitiveness and evil ghost of corruption brought about by the depraved political and economic elites, have robbed many homes of the ability to have three square meals a day. Terrorists have severely threatened the territorial integrity of the country while the armed forces have fought for three years but still haven’t been able to defeat a rag tag bunch of armed Islamists. Today, due to the shaky nature of global price of crude oil, the country is now gripped with anxiety, hysteria and paralysis. There is a general climate of fear because of the devaluation of the national currency vis-à-vis other international currencies. This means that inflation would rise and the cost of living will assume a frightening dimension.
There is a general atmosphere of cash crunch coupled with the fact that workers who constitute a small minority in the midst of massive unemployment haven not received their wages in most states. Yet many of the governors are spending money as if they would soon go out of circulation.
In the midst of all these shenanigans is the recent quarrel between the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Adamu Bello and his successor, Dr Adesina Akinwunmi over who is lying about corruption in the agricultural sector. This finger pointing has rattled quiet a lot of feathers in the corridors of power especially coming at an election period when the administraton is revolutionary claims of wiping off corruption in the distribution of fertilisers to farmers.
The altercation between these two officials has revealed that all the noise by the Minister of Agriculture of rectitude in the sector is nothing but hot air. Some of us have been hoodwinked into believing some of those accomplishments in the ministry. I must state that I have always expressed my doubts because as someone whose mother is a rural farmer, I know that I have not come across any farmer in my state that has benefitted from all the advertised credit facilities as claimed by officials of the ministry.
The former agriculture minister who unarguably served longer than his predecessors had alleged that the present minister made many bogus claims of ending the regime of corruption in the distribution of fertilisers and subsidy to farmers. He also denied that the administration has saved N80 billion from these corruption schemes. He said from 1999 to 2007, total subsidy for fertilisers stood at less than N25 billion. He dismissed the claim that N26 billion was stolen annually for 40 years.



*this was published in the Daily Times dated Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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