big men and women, alleged to be stealing so much, in so little a time. Governance in Nigeria has literally become a hec­tic and unceasing crime scene. And even rescuers actually come in to join the robbery.

Nigerian Governors entitled to loot money by Kenneth Obi


Today, there is great news in the land. It is of several ex-governors (currently the former governor of Plateau State) and other high officials under one form of interdiction or the other, for corruption. And the figures involved are frightening, the least being billion and billions of naira. The wondrous matter is not whether these men are petty thieves or plain heroic saints. The matter is that we are in an era, where there are so many, big men and women, alleged to be stealing so much, in so little a time. Governance in Nigeria has literally become a hec­tic and unceasing crime scene. And even rescuers actually come in to join the robbery.

Let us for matters of simplicity concentrate on the cast of governors. Today, to be elected a governor in Nigeria and not end up a common thief, requires that one be superhuman, a divinity as it were. But no man ever became god and still bore his human flesh. That is man cannot be both material and god.

Yet, this is exactly what the constitution requires of elected governors. Thus, the image we have of these governors as the guilty or likely to be guilty parties, is not exactly correct. We can canvass their innocence before any properly constituted justice system in the world. It is the system that really lays this great men low. It is the system that is cor­rupt and merely coopts the innocent into its rot and thievery.



The point is as follows. It is that the powers that have been gathered and given these governors are so much that no mortal can keep them and be saint­ly, or even sane. The constitution, apparently, in the enthusiasm to push for fast-paced national devel­opments gathered all extant and imaginable pow­ers and handed those over to the governors. That is, these governors are for all practical purposes, elected as dictators over and above their states. And like all dictators, these governors control more powers than gods and yet are mere mortals like the rest of us. This is the source of all the problems of corruption.

Corruption in public office is in summary, the giving of omnipotent powers to mortal man. It is the stress of controlling omni-prevalent powers while remaining man, which is the source of sys­tem-pervasive corruption.

That is, in failing to be gods as they must, these governors scale up and morph into monsters. So, it is not really that they are thieves by practice or birth. It is that thievery is the only way to run the Nigerian system. If you don’t steal in Nigerian gov­ernance, then you are not human. Forget the ser­mons, this is the plain truth.

And the monster with so much powers in him and thus, no need for decency, no sense of culture and or civilization, naturally converts public property, including offices, into personal and family assets. Or simply, he is unable to distinguish the two. Lat­er, he scales down to being a petty thief, the fruits of being made a monster. So, it is not the ‘authority thievery’ we should bother. We should stop them from being monsters. All monsters are rogues. And all attempts to make a man a god makes a monster invariably. North Korea is ‘monsterism’ gone hay­wire, and Nigeria is on the march. Nigeria ronu.

So, these governors are not particularly evil. They are normal persons like you and I. Thus, who­ever else is put there with so much net powers to dispense, will in spite, of himself become a petty thief. That is, we must cure and heal ourselves of the error of thinking that Nigeria is gone so low in the quality of political personnel. In fact, so many go to the extent of canvassing that we once had a golden era of men. And they list such names as Dr. M. I. Okpara, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Awolo­wo, etc. The point is that is conjectural and wrong. We can assure that if any and or all of these men were to be born in these times, they will, one and all, end up as petty thieves.

And the reason is simple and fundamental to hu­man nature. It is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Corruption is a power function and not a person nexus. We are corrupt to the extent of net powers we wield.

So to repeat, the question is what made corrup­tion go industrial with us lately. If you sought an answer you will find it in the intervention of the military. The military dictator and armed political robber despite his intentions or claims is the ag­gregator of power par excellence. That is military governments are power concentrators and sole ‘ac­quisitors’. All the dictator does whether he comes in as a thief in the night wearing military fatigues or rigging vote counts, is to aggregate all the powers into a few hands.

To give a quick example. On the success of a coup, all powers judicial, legislative, executive and thievery powers, are concentrated in the Armed Forces Ruling Council or Supreme Military Coun­cil in a pyramid-style architecture. Therefore with or without intending it, the military government is in its every being and spite of itself, a cesspool of corruption, thanks to its power aggregation and constrictor instincts. That is to be a military coup maker and or dictator is to be a constrictor and gatherer of all powers. That makes you to be cor­rupt a priori, even before your every first act of be­traying your nation by taking up arms against her.

But the military is gone? Apparently. The truth however is that they are not done with us or even themselves as a political force and politicized and largely regionized army. The point is that the mili­tary dictators left, but they left their shadows and body odors with us. Perhaps if the military dicta­tors had gone with their offensive body odors and penumbra shadows, all the world would have been round and Nigeria in grace. But trust rogue re­gimes, they left us a forged constitution. And that constitution is patterned after Arab despotisms. Ap­parently there is no word for democracy in Arabic language and worldview. Meanwhile there is no Arab country that is a democracy and Arabs are the only geo-polity in the world that has no democracy. All Arabs do and have done in history is to aggre­gate and concentrate all powers in few hands and ultimately in one hand. And the authors and or forg­ers of the Nigerian constitution are all stooges of Arabist despotisms, as the way to progress.

So, the extant Nigerian constitution is a draw­down from Arabism. That rag-sheet of a constitu­tion is deluded that it is dictatorship that develops a nation. Yet, no Arab nation is developed. So, in imitation of Arabism, the governors are satraps, are like flag bearers to central dictator lording it over unpacified regions.

In summary, corruption is native to the present constitution and the present constitution was born in corruption. That is why being governor and hold­ing political office in Nigeria is just as profitable as, only safer than robbing a bank. Nigerian constitu­tion and or rogue constitution asks that elected of­ficials be god, have the rectitude of gods. Perhaps the constitution forgers did not know that the Arab court poetry that beatified Arab leaders is praise po­etry and has no reality. It is a magical thing. The true Arab poets are all in exile. The resident Arab court poets sing: The office transforms the fool into a wise man, the thug into a king, thus consecrating the pasts, the sordid pasts of the leaders.

So what is the cure to corruption in Nigeria? It is to return the state to the people. Only the people in owning the state can and or may protect it. The state is not the stolen treasure, a coup maker makes it. If we allowed or habituated to the state as a stolen or hijacked treasure, then the stealing, the scepter of the state as a robbery scene, an ongoing and never ending robbery scene, will go on forever. Thus if we don’t return the stolen Nigerian state to the peo­ples, Nigeria will remain literally a fallen elephant and all kinds of butchers, poachers, godogodos, thieves, governors and all, will be upon her. And it is moral. At least the extant constitutions says so.

But the devolution of power is not just a question of devolving power from the central government to the states. It is more about the nature and distribu­tion of that power in states, LGAs and all. The gov­ernors must be made increasingly powerless and the peoples increasingly powerful. It is the people not government that are to be allowed to develop their nations, regions, states and LGAs.

The idea that one man, the governor is the de­veloper you need, is rooted in ignorance. In fact democracy is the granting of the greatest powers to the greatest numbers. America understood this like we made bare in our book, Corruption in Africa: Development through new Diagnosis.

Perhaps a way out is to return to the parliamen­tary system. And if we don’t fix this wahala, we should come to terms that our people, whether as governors or civil servants are empowered to steal; they don’t steal to be empowered. Today if you are a Nigerian governor and you are not a thief, you should consult your babalawo, dey no born you well. Or in fact you are telling a lie.

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