History and Civics
In 1959, when that lofty subject called History was introduced to us in Primary V, we were made to believe that it was important so that the errors of previous generations could teach us lessons. Simultaneously we were introduced to Civics which classified man into three sub-species; the active, the passive and the bad (who we can view as the regressive).
In those days there were three types of secondary schools (SS); the Government-owned (GOS), the Missionary-owned (MOS) and the privately owned (POS). The POS were the reserve of those who could not gain admission to either GOS or MOS. There was a parallel secondary school which was tagged Secondary Modern School (SMS) for those whose parents could not afford to send their children to boarding schools (I fell into this category). Unlike the SS which lasted five years, the SMS lasted three years after which, on successful completion you, could either proceed to Teachers’ College in the South West, including Mid-West or enter into Nursing School. I learned that it was Auntie Victoria (Gowon) that changed the status of nurses and the entry qualification became the West African School Certificate (WASC). SS were far between. There were three types of SS, namely; Secondary Grammar School (Oshogbo Grammar School), College (Igbobi College) and High School (Christ High School). I don’t know the difference between them because they all took the Cambridge School Certificate (CSC) as their proficiency certificate. The CSC was later replaced with the WASC. Most of my contemporaries took the WASC.
I ended up at St Andrew’s College, Oyo, a Teachers’ College (Now Bishop Ajayi Crowther University). It was a Mission College. The discipline was such that you dared not walk on the lawns, pluck a mango fruit, even though they would be knocking your head when doing your morning duty, study on your bed during light out, be outside your bed during afternoon siesta, etc. All these were to teach us that we should not appropriate to ourselves what belongs to the public and that we should effectively manage our time. I learned that it was more demanding in the days of our seniors; the Obasanjo-TY Danjuma-Abdullahi Ango youth days. It is a misnomer that these same people are the ones looting the economy and laundering national currency.
There is a Chinese proverb that says 父債子還 in traditional Chinese or simplifies as 父 债子还. This is pronounced Fù zhài zǐ huán and is literally translated as “Father’s debt, son to give back”.
But our grandfathers and fathers (Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikiwe) did not incur debt.
At least, Macaulay, Awolowo and Azikiwe did not pass unto us the spirit of debt. Osuntokun (2014), in a private research inspired by Prof Abdullahi Ango’s outbursts, deduced. “The totals of actual revenue and expenditure for 1936-37 of all the native treasuries together were GBP1453718 and GBP1477818 respectively (Northern provinces GBP913954 (revenue) and GBP985755 (expenditure); Southern provinces GBP539764 (revenue) and GBP492063 (expenditure). When you reconcile the revenue and expenditure profile of both group of provinces as highlighted in the consecutive figures corresponding to the North and South, the former spent more money than it earned while the traffic went the other way for the latter. The North had a deficit of GBP71905, while the South had a surplus of GBP47701.”
Grandfathers and Fathers’ Legacy
The issue now is that our grandfathers Macaulay and the likes, our fathers Awolowo, Azikiwe and Bello left lofty legacies of commitment to development and good governance but our uncles, our generation and those immediately following threw the morals impacted on us by the colonial administrators into the winds and revel in immorality, lasciviousness, greed, avarice, corruption, money laundering, etc.
Our Uncles, Our Generations (Male and Female) and Our Immediate Juniors (Ditto)
The first generation of military rulers, within their administrative period, impacted positively on the Nigerian nation. Good national policies were formulated, programs for national economic development and self-employment schemes were established and infrastructures were gradually being put in place. We would not go through History because we do not learn from it. Audu Bako left a number of earth dams which Kano and Jigawa States have not been able to completely harness for water supply, irrigation and agriculture; Ogbemudia sponsored education so much that even SMS outputs could travel abroad for studies, established a sports institute and invested in roads; Adebayo introduced bursary awards for indigent students, embarked on health programs while Ojukwu embarked on secession.
The Status that Nigeria Never Gained
Naswem (Undated) reiterated Titus Terver Mamadu’s view that Nigeria would have been the best country in Africa and one of the best in the world if not that corruption was institutionalized and most of the leaders never saw anything wrong in it. According to him, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida was the worst head of state Nigeria ever had because of so many atrocities and impunity he committed during his era of dictatorship. Naswem further stated that apart from the so many lives lost during Babangida’s administration, there was a great damage done on the economy whose effects have been felt till date. In 1986, the despot introduced the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), as the Panacea for Nigeria’s economic problems. But it was clear, after only a few months, that Babangida’s administration lacked the strict financial discipline that economic revivalist programs like SAP entailed. Of him declared “In what could have been a historic transition from military to civilian rule in Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida, who ruled the country for nearly a decade in the 1980s, organized the best-run presidential elections ever conducted in the nation’s history, only to prevent the 1994 scheduled installation of that election’s formally quantified winner, MKO Abiola, so as to impose General Sanni Abacha as the head of what turned out to be one of Nigeria’s most repressive, corrupt and sadistic military dictatorships” (Jakumo, 2010).
Obasanjo destroyed the culture of maintenance and rehabilitation that the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund was trying to establish and sold all assets belonging to Government. In his civilian administration, he destroyed all the accomplishments of his military era. He is acclaimed to have stolen the highest amount of money; despite his anti-corruption drive. Nigeria Newspaper (2016) claims that CNN reported him as stealing $25 billion from 1999-2007 ($16.4 from power sector alone). His colleagues (Nigeria Newspaper, 2016) in loot are:
- Ibrahim Babangida –$15 billion from 1985-1993 ($12.4 billion from oil windfall in 1990);
- Abdulsalam Abubakar –$9 billion from 1998-99;
- Sani Abacha –$7 billion from 1993-1998;
- Ahmed Bola Tinubu – estimated at $6 billion and continues to steal from Lagos State treasury since 1999 till date;
- TY Danjuma – He fraudulently got enriched through oil blocks from the Niger Delta worth $20 million in the 70s after the counter-coup. Those oil blocks worth billions of dollars in today’s value;
- Sanusi Lamido Sanusi –$1.2 billion as CBN Governor from 2008-2014.
- Bukola Saraki – Through his father, Olusola Saraki, their bank, Societe Generale and as a governor of Kwara State (2003-20111) he stole $1.1 billion;
- Nasir El Rufai – As FCT minister he seized landed properties that belonged to Nigerians and resold them with huge It’s estimated that he stole $1 billion from 2003-2007;
- Tunde Fashola –poster boy of Tinubu. built his personal website for N78 million, drilled boreholes for over N100 million each and built a kilometer road for N1 billion. He stole $900 million from 2007-2015. He is now a minister to continue the looting;
- Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi – From 2007 to 2015, he stole $700 million and $150 million which adequately aided him to effectively sponsor Buhari and APC;
- Atiku Abubakar – claimed that “he was always at the right place at the right time.” Atiku is an astute businessman, but through shady deals, he stole $500 million from 1999-200;
- James Ibori – He stole $150 million from 1999-2007 as governor of Delta State. He’s serving his term for money laundering in the UK;
- Amina Mohammed – This woman was the founder of Afri-Project Consortium (APC) that was in charge of all PTF Projects during Abacha’s regime. About $125 million was stolen from PTF accounts from 1994-1998. Buhari has just nominated the same woman as a minister to continue to stealing;
- DSP Alamieyeseigha – He stole $120 million and was arrested for money laundering. He pleaded guilty and long served his term;
- Sule Lamido – He stole $110 million between 2007-2015 and from that amount, $50 million was found in his sons’ bank accounts. He was arrested and detained for days together with his sons;
- Rabiu Kwankwaso – He stole $100 million as a governor of Kano State. EFCC has arrested many of his aides and they are “singing” how they siphoned the money.
I remember also, that women used to be appointed or elected as treasurers at Community Development Associations, etc. because they were adjudged to be honest. Let’s check the list below if they can still be trusted:
- Diezani Alison-Madueke: Her name has become the synonym with the embezzlement scandals and embezzling cosmic sum of $20 billion On Shady Oil Deal and stealing at least $25 million from Indian businessmen in a shady oil deal (Har, 2015);
- Stella Oduah, the former Nigerian Minister of Aviation in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, was involved in the corruption scandal of buying two bulletproof BMW cars at an allegedly inflated rate of N255 million. However, Justice Mohammed Yunusa restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting the former minister of aviation on September 3 (Har, 2015);
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was accused of stealing $1 billion while serving as finance minister in Jonathan’s administration (Har, 2015);
- Toyin Saraki, the wife of the Senate president and former governor of Kwara state, Bukola Saraki, was invited this summer by the EFCC to explain the strange inflow of funds into companies where she had interests when her husband was the governor of Kwara state. Reacting to the commission’s invitation, Toyin Saraki said she will honor the invitation (Har, 2015);
- Marilyn Ogar, a former Department of State Security spokesperson, was also accused of collecting bribes shortly before the governorship elections in Osun state from the Petroleum Products Marketing (Har, 2015);
- Zainab Dakingari, the daughter of former president Umaru Yar’ Adua and the wife of former Kebbi state ex-governor Saidu Dakingari, was accused by the EFCC of a fraud worth N2 billion perpetrated during her husband’s tenure as governor of the state (Har, 2015);
- Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, the daughter of Nigerian ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, was embroiled in a money laundering scandal worth N300 million. In 2008, the EFCC charged her to court, but she urged the court to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the money allegedly given to her by the ministry of health had been spent for a bribe given to the members of the Senate Committee on Health (Har, 2015);
- Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, the first female Speaker of the Nigerian House of representatives from June till October 2007 was involved in N628 Million Naira Money Laundering (Nigeria Newspaper, 2016);
- Cecilia Ibru, Former managing director of Oceanic Bank International. Cecilia Ibru is said to be involved in one of the biggest female corruption scandals in the history of Nigeria. Multi-billion Money Laundering Scandal (Nigeria Newspaper, 2016); and
- Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, Former Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. was accused of misappropriation of funds and carried out fraudulent transactions which includes the purchase of N186 million worth of wristwatches without proper accounts and a yacht for N39 million Under her leadership, there was the misappropriation of funds of over N1.5 billion which almost led to the crash of the Nigerian Stock Exchange market in 2009 (Nigeria Newspaper, 2016). It has also been established that her claim to have earned a Ph.D. in business from the City University of New York (CUNY) in 1983 and to have worked for years at the New York Stock Exchange (the world’s largest stock exchange) before returning to Nigeria in 1983 are fake (Kperogi, 2011).
The “Upcoming” Youth
It is very difficult to sympathize with today’s youth across Nigeria. If our grandfathers and fathers did not steal but put in place good legacy for us and our own illiterate parents sent us to good schools with good moral teaching yet we indulge in looting our treasuries, what will become of our children whose parents would not allow their being scolded or rebuked by their teachers because “we know the pain of childbirth”. I dared not let my parents know that I was flogged in school; that was earning another flogging from my father and nagging from my mother; my mother would top the nagging up with nail and biting when you were about to sleep yet crying and telling the story of why she did not go to school.
The pain of childbirth was worse in their time due to limited medical facilities, personnel and care; yet they were obedient to the Holy Bible instruction “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov 13:24) and the Yoruba adage which says “Oju meji l’ o n bi’mǫ, Igba oju l’ o nwoo”
Now that we have destroyed the economy, the infrastructures, the governance, and worse still the youth, who would come in to rehabilitate them? The children:
- Whose teachers cannot correct and the parents are not available to train but put under the care of untutored house helps?
- For who we employ mercenaries to write their WAEC examinations through special centers?
- Who we allocate funds to for gratifying the palms of their lecturers for appropriate grades and passes?
- Who rape our house helps and we severely punish the house helps for sleeping carelessly?
- Who get impregnated by our house boys and we take them out for abortion; after dismissing the houseboys?
- Who we send abroad to study only to come back as drug addicts, terrorists and hooligans?
- Who don’t know how to write application letters but we seek juicy appointments for?
The price we’ll pay is that scarcely shall we close our eyes in that final sleep when they would start wars against one another; if we close our eyes before they start.
Hart, B. (2015). 7 Women Embroiled In Huge Corruption Scandals In Nigeria. Accessed 14 Nov 2016.
Jakumo( (2010). The Evil Genius of Minna Mountain. Accessed 14 Nov 2016 http://www.nairaland.com/428180/evil-genius-minna-mountain
Kperogi, F. A. (2011). Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke;s Fake Doctorate and Professorship. Accessed 14 Nov 2016 http://saharareporters.com/2011/06/25/ndi-okereke-onyiuke%E2%80%99s-fake-doctorate-and-professorship
Naswem, T (Undated). How Ibrahim Babangida Promoted Corruption And Stagnated Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Development. ABUSIDIQU. http://www.abusidiqu.com/how-ibrahim-babangida-promoted-corruption-and-stagnated-nigerias-economic-growth-and-devt-by-terfa-naswem./
Nigeria Newspaper(2016). CNN Releases List Of 20 Most Corrupt Nigerian Politicians; Obasanjo Tops List, Others Will Shock You. Nigeria Newspaper On June 03, 2016 Accessed 14 Nov 2016 http://www.nigerianewspaper.com.ng/2016/06/cnn-releases-list-of-20-most-corrupt.html
Nwaeze, A. (2016). Top 5 Notable Nigerian Women Whose Corruption Scandals Went Viral – Naija news. Accessed 14 Nov 2016 http://buzznigeria.com/top-5-notable-nigerian-women-whose-corruption-scandals-went-viral/
Osuntokun, A (2014). For Every Dangiwa Umar; There is Ango Abdulahi: DIALOGUE WITH NIGERIA 07 Feb 2014 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sahara Reporters (2007). Saharareporters discovers trails of OBJ/Uba loot. Jun 24, 2007. Accessed 20 Nov 2016. http://saharareporters.com/2007/06/24/saharareporters-discovers-trails-objuba-loot