Politics and moral courage: Distinguishing heroes from the villains of our history

Wed Jun 13th, 2018 - Ekiti

In Nigeria, only powerful people have rights or are allowed to call themselves “victims” despite all they gain from our dysfunctional system. Perhaps, it is human nature to love and worship power and to hate the victims of our corrupt social order because they are precisely that, victims who remind us of our own defencelessness.

So, we make looters and thugs our heroes, thinking their might and stolen funds will sustain or protect us from the injustice others suffer. We can’t rebuild our society without interrogating our history and establishing the truth: how and because of whose action or (inaction) did things go wrong? We need convictions for corruption so we can stop hiding behind the word “alleged” attached to “looter” and stop making excuses for bad behaviour or pretending it doesn’t exist.

Recognising and distinguishing heroes from villains is the moral challenge we must pursue.

Obasanjo Obasanjo

THE former President alleges there is a plot by the Buhari administration to frame him and detain him for an unspecified crime to which the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, responded only the guilty are afraid. Interestingly, Governor Fayose of Ekiti seemed to share this sentiment as he asked Obasanjo to prove his innocence by submitting himself to a probe.

He warned the former President about making his personal problem a “Yoruba issue”. That is indeed the usual playbook Nigerian politicians use to confuse the public and to gain support, as opposed to answering important questions.

Our leaders always prefer to cry “victimisation” on ethno-religious grounds than to provide real answers to any question, backed with evidence and facts. It is up to Nigerians to make sure each question receives a logical answer outside of the victimisation rhetoric.

President Buhari started a process; Nigerians are yet to make the anti-corruption fight their own. We fail to realise a government can only be as bold as its public support on an issue.

If politicians knew Nigerians wouldn’t relent, couldn’t be swayed or convinced to move on, to forget all the revelations and allegations, then Presidents, now and in the future, would be forced to prosecute and we would get to a stage where certain behaviours are universally accepted as criminal, if not treasonous. We need to stop personalising justice and get answers, through proper investigations and convictions, no matter the nature of the persons involved.

Governor Fayose went on to say about Obasanjo “he set up EFCC why is he afraid of probe? Let him tell Nigerians how he made his money. People can recollect the level he was before he became President and how he left office.”

Femi Falana (SAN) Falana

COMMENTING on the Offa robbery and the need to remove all sentiment from the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases, the acclaimed lawyer and activist said: “you are looking for the vehicle with which a bank was robbed and you find it in the state house.

“That is the level of impunity in our country. Let us separate criminality from politics. Wherever a criminal is identified the law must have its way; the full weight of the law must be brought on the person.

“Otherwise you may be a victim tomorrow if we don’t eliminate criminality in this society”. It is precisely because most people envisage a future where they will be in a position to commit a crime, steal money, launder funds (and get away with it) that very few people in the public eye are able or willing to stand for what is right.

In a system that allows crime to fester, in a country that celebrates fraud and criminality, it is no surprise that everyone believes they should try their luck as so many others before them have gotten away with illegality.

Tabia Princewill is a strategic communications consultant and public policy analyst. She is also the co-host and executive producer of a talk show, WALK THE TALK which airs on Channels TV.




source: Vanguard