It was with great relief that the news of resignation of erstwhile Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, hit the airwaves. In a press release, she gave a rather convoluted explanation of the NYSC exemption certificate controversy which has not only rocked the integrity boat of the current administration but also her own credibility for more than two months now. While that was a great move for preserving the sanity of the polity, the elation about having a corrupt-free society was not going to last for long. Sources revealed she has since left the shores of the country: no investigation, no prosecution.
In a further twist of events, the Federal Government rose to her defense, offering their own version of explanation of the certificate saga using presidential media channels. In a matter such as this, one would expect the executive arm of government to have allowed the individual under scope to handle the allegations and its defense with relevant authorities. But in a rather unfortunate move, the Federal Government has turned into the umpire in a game which it is playing too. In the least, the Police should have swooped in to further investigate the matter while the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should have gone ahead to prosecute and recommend whatever disciplinary measure may be necessary and as the case may be.
This however seems to be a trend. We vividly remember the position taken by the Federal Government when Alhaji Babachir Lawal was scandalously involved in a chain of indicting practices related to awarding shady contracts at IDPs. In a similar vein, the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, was recently alleged to have taken a bribe of ₦29 million from unsuspecting victims to influence a Toyota Hilux supply contract. The victims went as far as going on air with the damaging allegations but all the Federal Government media channels did was to go subjudice, debunking the allegations on behalf of the accused individual. This is not a matter proper enough for the presidency to have involved itself in. Again, a thorough police investigation could have sufficed, considering the bunch of evidence provided against the accused. Years ago under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, when Stella Oduah resigned as a cabinet minister in the BMW scandal, it was this same cold feet that investigative agencies developed when she should have been drilled instead. Is it now safe to say everybody can go scot-free no matter their sins?
To make matters worse, a renowned teacher of Law, Professor Itse Sagay, who also doubles as the Chairman of Presidential Action Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), was quoted to have remarked about the Adeosun scandal as irrelevant enough of investigation and other matters should be focused on. This evidently is a new height of shameless tone-deafness exhibited by some officials of this administration. If the foundation of governance is this shaky, how then do we get other things pertaining to governing 180 million people right?
If truly we had an independent body of relevant state authorities and watchdog organizations spanning across the likes of EFCC, ICPC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), with the wherewithal to determine whether particular cases of corruption or impunity is worthy enough to be prosecuted, our Corruption Index monitored by the likes of Transparency International will greatly improve. Such dilly-dallying by the State as those stated above only portrays us generally as paying lip service to that which we constantly claim.
That people in high places of power get a different treatment with respect to the law and state authorities whenever such allegations arise is a summons to anarchy. The citizenry begins to lose trust in the government and in many cases, mob justice begins to suffice as a deterrent in the eyes of the people. This is nothing other than beckoning for a culture of incipient corruption.
This is why while there is still time, a reversal of this trend is necessary before it affects the general psyche of the polity where everybody does things the way they like, damning any consequences. The Federal Government and our leaders must be exemplary and upstanding in their position at all times, no matter whose ox is gored, and most especially if the sloganeering of such an administration-ANTI-CORRUPTION, is constantly being shoved at us at every available opportunity.