Friday, 30 October 2015

frankwash: NIGERIANS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION POLEMICS

frankwash: NIGERIANS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION POLEMICS: NIGERIANS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION  POLEMICS For  the purpose of this article, it would be appropriate to offer a working definition of polemic...

NIGERIANS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION POLEMICS

NIGERIANS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION  POLEMICS

For  the purpose of this article, it would be appropriate to offer a working definition of polemics and corruption respectively. This would no doubt, throw some light on the subject matters and help present a clearer picture and understanding of the topic.                                                                                      

According to Wikipedia, a polemic is a contentious argument that is intended to support  a specific position via attacks on a contrary position. Polemics are usually seen in arguments about controversial topics.

On the definition of corruption, Wikipedia puts it this way: ''In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is the abuse of bestowed power or position to acquire personal benefit. Corruption includes many activities, including bribery and embezzlement''.

There is no doubt, that corruption among political office holders in Nigeria, is the major bane of Nigeria since independence. It is responsible for the plethora of economic, social and political problems and woes plaguing Nigeria. This has  caused and still causes untold hardship for millions of Nigerians, who live in abject poverty in the midst of 'immense economic resources' in their father's land.

There seems to be a unanimous agreement among Nigerians that corruption is the major problem facing their country. Unfortunately, however, there is no unison or agreement among Nigerians, on the meaning or definition of corruption; who is corruption and how to go about the fight against corruption. Put succinctly, corruption is a very polemic topic or subject among Nigerians. Its discussion as a topic, causes a barrage of altercations, recriminations, quarrels,  debates and even physical exchanges among Nigerians along tribal, party and even religious lines. This is the thrust of the topic: Nigerians and anti-corruption fight.

Now, a very pertinent question that readily comes to mind  regarding the question of corruption and who is corrupt in Nigeria, is whether Nigerians do not know the meaning of corruption and how to determine whether an individual is corrupt or not. This question becomes imperative in view of the consideration that many Nigerians deliberately  refuse to agree on what corruption means and who should be prosecuted for engaging in acts of corruption and who should not. For me, like every other burning issue in Nigeria, the views of Nigerians on  corruption reflect the wider disagreements and political, religious and ethnic divides among them on key issues and challenges confronting the country. The  judgements of many Nigerians on issues of corruption are how to go about the anti-corruption fight, especially as it has to do with who to prosecute and otherwise, are influenced by sentiments and emotions based on tribal, party and even religious inclinations. This disagreement or polemics among Nigerians regarding anti-corruption fight in the country is a major reason the quest to win the war  against the biggest monster facing Nigeria may be a mirage for years to come.

At this juncture it will be imperative to take a look at some popular allegations of corruption leveled against some political leaders in Nigeria and the polemics generated by them.

DR. GOODLUCK JONATHAN
It has been alleged by the All Progressives Congress, the APC, and some Nigerians, that the most corrupt government in Nigeria is/was that of former President Goodluck Jonathan. It is said that trillions of Naira were stolen by government officials under the watchful eyes of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015. For instance, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, now Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, after playing with various conflicting figures, told the world that the  sum  of twenty billion United States Dollars  ($20, 000, 000, 000) was missing, stolen or was not remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), under the watchful eyes of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria. This is equivalent to the sum of four trillion Nigerian Naira, which is about Nigeria's annual budget for the year 2015.                                                                                 
As expected, this grave allegation of financial corruption leveled against the government of Goodluck Jonathan by Sanusi, sparked off a barrage of polemics among Nigerians. As it were,  the APC as an opposition political party then, and millions of its supporters used the missing twenty billion dollars saga as an instrument of political and electioneering campaign against Jonathan as they were pretty sure, even before investigation, that such money actually got missing or stolen under him. It is trite to add that the missing 20 billion dollars saga and other numerous cases of corruption leveled by the the then opposition party, contributed in no small measure to the defeat of Jonathan in the 2015 Nigerian presidential election.

On the contrary however, responding to Sanusi's allegation, the then Peoples Democratic  government of Dr. Jonathan had argued that the allegation of missing 20 billion dollars was baseless and unfounded. It had maintained that Sanusi was confused as he had presented various conflicting figures, before settling for 20 billion dollars. Supporters of the PDP nationwide were not left out in the fray generated by the alleged missing 20 billion Naira as many of them had aligned with their party's position  that no money was missing.

SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI
Another allegation of corruption that generated a barrage of polemics among Nigerians was that against the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, who is now the Emir of Kano. In March, 2014, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, had released a damming report accusing Sanusi of financial impropriety while in office as the head of Nigeria's apex bank. The 13-page report by the FRCN had revealed a far reaching allegations of financial impropriety against Sanusi. The report accused him of committing numerous acts of financial recklessness and misconduct that are/were inconsistent with the vision of the apex bank. The report had it that several millions of Naira either went missing or was appropriated and spent by Sanusi with due process and without approval from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The direct and immediate outcome of the this was the suspension of Sanusi from office as governor of Nigeria's Central Bank and his replacement by Sarah Alade, by then President Jonathan.

Sanusi's suspension and replacement from office by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan led to serious polemics and cacophony among Nigerians. The APC and its supporters as well as many Northerners saw it as witch-hunting of Sanusi by the Jonathan government. This was also made more serious by the fact that Sanusi's ordeal coincided with with his whistle blowing that 20 billion dollars had gone missing under Jonathans watch. So, for many supporters and sympathizers of Sanusi, Jonathan was only out to humiliate him out of office because of his whistle blowing of corruption against him. However, many supporters of the PDP were of the view that Sanusi's removal from office was justifiable as they believed that he actually committed monumental financial malpractices while in office as CBN governor.

ROTIMI AMAECHI.
Another Nigerian, whose alleged case of corruption has generated and still generates rancorous noise  and polemics among  Nigerians, is the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. The PDP in Rivers State and its supporters have accused Rotimi Amaechi of looting several billions of Naira belonging to the state while in office as governor. The then governor of Rivers State, Mr. Wike Nyesom, whose election as governor of Rivers State has been annulled by the state election tribunal,  has alleged that Mr. Amaechi stole over 57 billion Naira from the state treasury among other cases of corruption leveled against him. In his response, Mr. Amaechi has denied and still denies ever stealing a dime belonging to the Rivers State government while in office. Responding to a question on this at the Senate chambers, during his screening as minister, Amaechi said this to the world: ''Believe me, if there is anyone who does not like corruption, its me....... I have never taken bribe in my life''. Some may say this is a political answer and statement. It is up to anyone that feels so strongly that he likes corruption or has ever taken bribe to provide evidence to that effect.  As expected, Amaechi's supporters in Rivers State and other parts of Nigeria are of the view that Amaechi did not loot Rivers treasury, arguing that anyone that feels strongly otherwise should provide evidence to that effect or go to court to establish his case. Amaechi, on his part, argues that his enemies are behind his ordeal, maintaining that even the panel of inquiry set up by Mr. Wike to probe his alleged case of corruption in office, did not indict him of corruption. Amaechi's case of corruption became more controversial than any other one in Nigeria following his nomination as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by President Buhari. Following this development, the polemics over Amaechi's corruption case shifted to Nigerian National Assembly, where legislators disagreed sharply along party lines whether he should be cleared or not. However, at last, precisely Thursday 29/10/2015, the Nigerian Senate under the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, confirmed Amaechi as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even after senators  from the PDP staged a walk out, following inability to resolve their differences with their counterparts from the APC, over Amaechi.

Having taken a cursory look at some instances of allegations of corruption against some Nigerian leaders, lets briefly examine the current anti-corruption fight by the APC-government of President Buhari and the polemics being generated by it.


PRESIDENT BUHARI'S ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT
We now have a new government in Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu  Buhari of the All Progressives Congress. President Buhari was voted into power by over 15 million Nigerians based on his promise to fight corruption, bring an end to the Boko Haram menace rocking Nigeria and fix power and the economy, amongst other things.

President Buhari's anti-corruption fight so far since assumption of office on May 29, 2015, seems to be generating monumental polemics among Nigerians even more than before. In the course of his election campaigns, Buhari had promised Nigerians and the world that he was going to fight corruption and bring corrupt persons in Nigeria. However, his tone changed after he was voted into office when said he was going to limit his anti-corruption probe to only Dr. Jonathan's government. This did not go down well with a cross section of Nigerians, the PDP and sympathizers of Jonathan who saw and still see it as an attempt to witch-hunt  Jonathan and his former government officials. On his part, former President Jonathan had said it a few days before leaving office as president that there was nothing wrong with the intention of his successor  to look into the books of past governments in Nigeria with a view to seeing if there were cases of corruption on the part of those in such governments. He added that he was in support of probe of past governments in Nigeria but that it should not be limited to only his government as every past government in Nigeria since independence had soiled it hands in corruption.

As it is now, the PDP is the current opposition party in Nigeria, having lost power to the APC in the last general election. The PDP has released several statements accusing the APC-federal led government of Nigeria of engaging in selective anti-corruption fight. The PDP alleges that the Buhari government is rewarding corrupt APC leaders and members with ministerial positions and other offices while intimidating, arresting and charging their counterparts in the PDP with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other government agencies charged with the responsibility for fighting corruption in Nigeria. The PDP in a statement, mentioned the rewarding or compensation of the former governors of Lagos and Rivers states, Fashola and Amaechi respectively, with ministerial positions by the the Buhari government as well as the compensation of former governors of Bayelsa and Kogi states, Timipriye Sylva and Prince Abubakar Audu with APC governorship tickets of their states for the 2015 governorship elections in the two states. However, the ruling party has dismissed PDP's claims as baseless, arguing that any Nigerian that feels strongly that any APC member is corrupt should provide evidence or go to court to stop such a person from being appointed into an office. In all this, the reactions and arguments of many Nigerians are been influenced by their party, ethnic, regional and religious sentiments and emotions; and the polemics continue.

MY TAKE
Corruption is the major bane facing Nigeria. It is responsible for the country's underdevelopment and the numerous social and economic challenges bedeviling Nigerians. Corruption is corruption and a spade must be called a spade, not shovel. Drawing from the definition of corruption earlier given in this article, it is clear that is largely a moral and ethical question or issue. It therefore follows that any Nigerian political leader that is involved in corruption is committing moral and ethical sin against fellow Nigerians. Wikipedia offers bribery and embezzlement as some of the instances of corruption. It is not arguable that some, if not most Nigerians in government (pas and present) were/are involved in acts of bribery and embezzlement of public funds. This is very common among government officials that approve contracts and procurement. They are fond of inflating contract sums and accepting bribes from contractors.

If corruption could be reduced to bribery and embezzlement, it is logical to assume that majority of government officials are corrupt as many of them cannot be said to be free from taking bribes and embezzling state funds. It is my personal opinion that any government official (past or present), that is worth over  a billion Naira is corrupt. Some many not agree to this position of mine and I do not expect anyone to. The highest number of years any political office holder could spend in power under the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution is eight. Though we have had few cases of some legislators and others spending up to twelve years in governments. No Nigerian political leader, be that person president or whoever should earn more than one billion (legitimately) from salaries and allowances even if he or she spends more than eight years in power. My assumption here that any Nigerian political leader that is worth over one billion Naira after leaving office does not fail to take into consideration what they spend on various things and areas, including luxuries, while in office.


The major challenge therefore about fight against corruption in Nigeria is that many Nigerians themselves have deliberately refused to agree on who is corrupt and who should be prosecuted for corruption and otherwise. Political, regional and ethnic sentiments and emotions have blinded many Nigerians from standing for the truth as far as anti-corruption fight is concerned in the country. More so, Nigeria is a country that worships materialism and wealth. This explains why many Nigerians are biased when it comes to issues of corruption as some of them are beneficiaries of corruption one way or another. Furthermore, the high rate of poverty among millions of Nigerians does not help matters as some Nigerians rely on the remnants they receive from corrupt political leaders and are therefore ready to fight anyone that dare talks about corruption on the part of their benefactors. The saddest part of the the story is that ordinary Nigerians are divided along party, tribal, regional and even religious lines when it comes to issues of corruption, who is corrupt or not and who should be prosecuted for corruption of not. On the other hand, the political class is united when it comes to looting/stealing Nigeria's wealth, irrespective of their party, religious and ethnic affiliations. The masses of Nigeria are the ones who bear the brunt of corruption in form unemployment, hunger, poverty, poor socio-economic infrastructure, poor power supply and more.  This is one of the major banes and paradoxes of Nigeria. 

I wish to concluded by positing that Nigerian political leaders play politics with corruption along party, tribal and regional lines. However, the fact remains that they are united in looting Nigeria's resources through their bogus salaries and allowances and involvement in corruption through bribery and embezzlement of public funds, among others.  Nigerians MUST put an end to the polemics among them and unite in their opposition against corruption and corrupt leaders in the country. We must take our destiny in our hands and insist that the theory of Social Contract must stand. This is the only way our leaders can be made accountable to us, shun corruption and use state resources to fix the country for the benefit of her citizens. The essence of government is to use power in the deployment and application of state resources for the welfare and security of citizens of state; not for those in power to loot state resources and keep the citizens in perpetual penury and hardship.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015

PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI'S ECONOMIC LIFESTYLE, NIGERIAN POLITICAL INVESTORS AND THE REST OF US.

PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI'S ECONOMIC LIFESTYLE, NIGERIAN POLITICAL INVESTORS AND THE REST OF US. WRITTEN 02/06/2015.

General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) became the substantive president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria, following his swearing in on 29 May, 2015 by the chief justice of Nigeria.

President Mohamadu Buhari is not a new comer in Nigerian politics. He was the military head of state of Nigeria from 1983 to 1985. As a military leader, he was reputed to be a no-nonsense man that handled Nigeria with an iron fist for the two years he was in power. He was said to have applied draconian laws in handling state affairs generally, which made many see him as a dictator even till date. More so, the retired general from Katsina State in Northwestern Nigeria, is said to be incorruptible, courageous, bold, prudent and  economical  in management of state resources (though not all agree that he has all these attributes and virtues).

There is no doubt that a major challenge facing Nigeria since independence in 1960 is poor management or mismanagement of state resources on the part of persons at the helms of affairs. You may call it corruption if you like, as it encompasses all acts of unlawful financial practices in government and public offices in general . This has been the major bane of Nigeria since independence. It is responsible for the country's underdevelopment and the plethora of social, economic and political woes plaguing her as a state.

It is the view of some Nigerians that Buhari's economical and prudent nature and the fact that he is not ostentatious pust him in a strategic position to manage Nigeria's resources for over all national development. He was said to have patronise the economic class of the British Airways that he boarded to London recently and also rejected the luxury car provided by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron to convey him from London Airport.But can Buhari stick to this frugality that is has been known for? Will the political class not frustrate his efforts to fix Nigeria if he refuses to allow them access to Nigeria's wealth for their personal and selfish aggrandizement? Is Buhari really economical or is he pretending? How well can he cope and be liked by the elite in a country that is notorious for great opulence by the wealthy? Why did Buhari contest for the office of the Nigerian president that appears to be an exclusive preserve of the rich since independence? Only time shall provide answers to these burning questions.

The rate of corruption in Nigeria especially during the military era and in the past sixteen years since the country's return to democracy in 1999, has reached an alarming and unbearable proportion.  Corruption was one of the major factors that led to the fall of the PDP-led federal government in the last presidential election in Nigeria. The electoral revote that saw the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party ultimately  ushered into power, at the federal level, the former opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, with Mohammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. Many analysts and commentators have contended that the emergence of Buhari as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a confirmation of the confidence reposed in him by those Nigerians who voted  him, and believe that he is capable of fighting corruption and fixing the country thereby, making it a better place for the benefit of every Nigerian.

There is a very remarkable and salient line from Buhari's inaugural speech delivered immediately after been sworn in as the president of Nigeria. To quote him: ''I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody''. This powerful statement credited to President Buhari has been trending in the conventional as well as the social media in the past few days he was sworn as president of Nigeria. Technically and diplomatically, President Buhari, by this statement made it clear that he is president of every Nigerian, including the common man, and that he is not liable or answerable to political godfathers or godmothers in Nigeria, therefore demonstrating clearly that he is not ready and willing to be at the beck and core of the so-called political big wigs, godfathers or those I have chosen to describe as 'political investors' in Nigeria.

The political influence or weight of political investors over political office holders in Nigeria, the president inclusive, CANNOT be overemphasized. These men and women, who are either past presidents, senators, governors, business men, traditional and religious leaders, etc, could be described as the pillars behind the throne. Many of them are known to operate from behind the scene but influence greatly, actions and decisions of political office holders in Nigeria, who most times, have appeared to be puppets or stooges whose actions are scripted and teleguided by these so-called godfathers or political investors in Nigeria.

In the case of President Buhari, we were told, during the course of his election campaigns, that he is a poor Nigerian, who even though had access to Government in the past, did not corruptly amass state resources and therefore, did not  enrich  himself at the expense of ordinary or poor Nigerians. President Buhari also told the world that he had obtained his APC presidential nomination form partly on loans as he was unable to raise the money for the form.While I express huge reservation here it is not my task to determine whether President Buhari actually obtained some loans to add to the money at his disposal for the purpose of collecting the presidential nomination form of his political party, the All Progressive Congress. I do know however, that President Mohammadu Buhari was one time military administrator of defunct Northeastern State in the 1970s, Minister of Petroleum under Obasanjo's military government, and more recently, Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Trust Funds, under late General Sani Abacha's government in the 1990s.

President Buhari is known to have disdain and great intolerance for corruption and embezzlement of public funds. As has been noted above, he borrowed some money in form of loans  to collect his party presidential nomination form. Collection of party nomination form is not the main thing that cost money in an election but the actual electioneering and campaigns. In Nigeria, billions of Naira are injected into election campaigns from start to finish. In the case of President Buhari, we were told that he was sponsored and supported by market men and women as well as commoners from the length and breath of Nigeria. While I may I agree that this was the case to an extent, it cannot be disputed that President Buhari must have received huge financial support from big wigs in his party and those I refer to as political investors in Nigeria.

Political investors are persons who invest in politics for the purpose of profit making. In Nigeria, they include mufti-billionaire business men and women, political godfathers and godmothers, amongst them present and past political leaders, so-called elder statemen and women, and so on. A major characteristic of political investors is that they are business men and women who invest in persons wishing to contest for political positions or offices for the benefits they stand to gain. They are always  in government and continue to sponsor persons to attain political offices, not because they like such persons but because of what they stand to benefit in the event that they win political power.

For President Buhari, therefore, all those political investors who may have put in their financial resources into his political adventure did so because of what they stand to gain should he gain access to power. Politics is an investment in Nigeria. Those who put their resources into it do expect to get rewarded by the government they are supporting. In the light of the above therefore, one may argue that those who assisted President Buhari in one way or another to rise to the one number office in  Nigeria see him as a means to an end, that is their own political end. There is a saying that there are no permanent friends but permanent interests  in politics. I wish to state however, that there is no permanent interest in politics as interest too changes depending on the political circumstances and expediences of the time.

Buhari's political party, the APC, is an amalgam of various political parties, groups and interest who came together mainly for the purpose of wresting power from the PDP. There are political investors in APC just like in any other political party in Nigeria. Now that the APC has taken over power at the federal level and in more than twenty states in Nigeria, how does President Buhari settles the interest of those political investors who supported him, while also taking care of the interests of ordinary Nigerians. This question becomes very imperative  in view of the dwindling financial fortune of Nigeria as a consequence of the drastic fall n the price of crude oil in the international market, Nigeria's major earner.

A renowned political analyst and commentator has said that President Buhari needs to make sure he takes care of the interests of those that supported him to office while also using Nigeria's resources for state development for the benefits of every Nigerian. In his words, ''President Buhari has to make sure there is money in the hands of politicians''. However, the body language of President Buhari since he was sworn into power on 29 May, 2015, seems to suggest that he is not ready to use Nigeria's money to service political investors who had invested in his political ambition. He aptly demonstrated this when he said that he ''belongs to nobody', a clear warning to political racketeers and profiteers in Nigeria, that the new president of Nigeria may not be ready to use the country's money to service them in the name of godfatherism.

Does President Buhari have the nerve to lead Nigeria without using state resources to favour political investors or godfathers?  Only time shall tell. His economical and frugal nature does seems to suggest that he would be able to use our state resource to fix Nigeria. It has been categorically stated earlier in this piece that the appropriation of Nigeria's resources by the political class is a major reason behind the country's underdevelopment and the barrage of woes bedeviling her. In all this, the ordinary citizens are the ones bearing the brunt and consequences of corruption in Nigeria in form of unemployment, hunger,  scarcity and high cost of petroleum products, poor power supply and so on. As I conclude, I wish to say that many Nigerians are in favour of  the prudent or economical application of their country's resources to develop their country for their own benefit. Against this backdrop, they MUST support President Buhari in his determination to change what appears to have been the statuesque since independence: appropriation of the country's wealth by the ruling class and their cronies. They are those I refer  to as political investors here. The rest of us are the ordinary citizens or masses of Nigeria. If Buhari is able to fix Nigeria with our support, the country would be an Eldorado for every Nigerian. If he is unable because of the forces of political investors and godfathers who have been the stumbling block to Nigeria's development since independence, your guess would be as good as mine. We therefore need to support the president to rescue Nigeria from the hands of political investors that have held the country to the jugular since 1960 for the good of the rest of us.

Frank, Chukwuka Osimi is a PRO/MHO Officer, historian, writer and blogger. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. I take responsibility for any errors that may be found in this article. I wrote this article on 02/06/2015.

PRESDIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI'S ECONOMIC LIFESTYLE, NIGERIAN POLITICAL INVESTORS AND THE REST OF US.

PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI'S ECONOMIC LIFESTYLE, NIGERIAN POLITICAL INVESTORS AND THE REST OF US. WRITTEN 02/1O/2015.

General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) became the substantive president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria, following his swearing in on 29 May, 2015 by the chief justice of Nigeria.

President Mohamadu Buhari is not a new comer in Nigerian politics. He was the military head of state of Nigeria from 1983 to 1985. As a military leader, he was reputed to be a no-nonsense man that handled Nigeria with an iron fist for the two years he was in power. He was said to have applied draconian laws in handling state affairs generally, which made many see him as a dictator even till date. More so, the retired general from Katsina State in Northwestern Nigeria, is said to be incorruptible, courageous, bold, prudent and  economical  in management of state resources (though not all agree that he has all these attributes and virtues).

There is no doubt that a major challenge facing Nigeria since independence in 1960 is poor management or mismanagement of state resources on the part of persons at the helms of affairs. You may call it corruption if you like, as it encompasses all acts of unlawful financial practices in government and public offices in general . This has been the major bane of Nigeria since independence. It is responsible for the country's underdevelopment and the plethora of social, economic and political woes plaguing her as a state.

It is the view of some Nigerians that Buhari's economical and prudent nature and the fact that he is not ostentatious pust him in a strategic position to manage Nigeria's resources for over all national development. He was said to have patronise the economic class of the British Airways that he boarded to London recently and also rejected the luxury car provided by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron to convey him from London Airport.But can Buhari stick to this frugality that is has been known for? Will the political class not frustrate his efforts to fix Nigeria if he refuses to allow them access to Nigeria's wealth for their personal and selfish aggrandizement? Is Buhari really economical or is he pretending? How well can he cope and be liked by the elite in a country that is notorious for great opulence by the wealthy? Why did Buhari contest for the office of the Nigerian president that appears to be an exclusive preserve of the rich since independence? Only time shall provide answers to these burning questions.

The rate of corruption in Nigeria especially during the military era and in the past sixteen years since the country's return to democracy in 1999, has reached an alarming and unbearable proportion.  Corruption was one of the major factors that led to the fall of the PDP-led federal government in the last presidential election in Nigeria. The electoral revote that saw the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party ultimately  ushered into power, at the federal level, the former opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, with Mohammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. Many analysts and commentators have contended that the emergence of Buhari as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a confirmation of the confidence reposed in him by those Nigerians who voted  him, and believe that he is capable of fighting corruption and fixing the country thereby, making it a better place for the benefit of every Nigerian.

There is a very remarkable and salient line from Buhari's inaugural speech delivered immediately after been sworn in as the president of Nigeria. To quote him: ''I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody''. This powerful statement credited to President Buhari has been trending in the conventional as well as the social media in the past few days he was sworn as president of Nigeria. Technically and diplomatically, President Buhari, by this statement made it clear that he is president of every Nigerian, including the common man, and that he is not liable or answerable to political godfathers or godmothers in Nigeria, therefore demonstrating clearly that he is not ready and willing to be at the beck and core of the so-called political big wigs, godfathers or those I have chosen to describe as 'political investors' in Nigeria.

The political influence or weight of political investors over political office holders in Nigeria, the president inclusive, CANNOT be overemphasized. These men and women, who are either past presidents, senators, governors, business men, traditional and religious leaders, etc, could be described as the pillars behind the throne. Many of them are known to operate from behind the scene but influence greatly, actions and decisions of political office holders in Nigeria, who most times, have appeared to be puppets or stooges whose actions are scripted and teleguided by these so-called godfathers or political investors in Nigeria.

In the case of President Buhari, we were told, during the course of his election campaigns, that he is a poor Nigerian, who even though had access to Government in the past, did not corruptly amass state resources and therefore, did not  enrich  himself at the expense of ordinary or poor Nigerians. President Buhari also told the world that he had obtained his APC presidential nomination form partly on loans as he was unable to raise the money for the form.While I express huge reservation here it is not my task to determine whether President Buhari actually obtained some loans to add to the money at his disposal for the purpose of collecting the presidential nomination form of his political party, the All Progressive Congress. I do know however, that President Mohammadu Buhari was one time military administrator of defunct Northeastern State in the 1970s, Minister of Petroleum under Obasanjo's military government, and more recently, Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Trust Funds, under late General Sani Abacha's government in the 1990s.

President Buhari is known to have disdain and great intolerance for corruption and embezzlement of public funds. As has been noted above, he borrowed some money in form of loans  to collect his party presidential nomination form. Collection of party nomination form is not the main thing that cost money in an election but the actual electioneering and campaigns. In Nigeria, billions of Naira are injected into election campaigns from start to finish. In the case of President Buhari, we were told that he was sponsored and supported by market men and women as well as commoners from the length and breath of Nigeria. While I may I agree that this was the case to an extent, it cannot be disputed that President Buhari must have received huge financial support from big wigs in his party and those I refer to as political investors in Nigeria.

Political investors are persons who invest in politics for the purpose of profit making. In Nigeria, they include mufti-billionaire business men and women, political godfathers and godmothers, amongst them present and past political leaders, so-called elder statemen and women, and so on. A major characteristic of political investors is that they are business men and women who invest in persons wishing to contest for political positions or offices for the benefits they stand to gain. They are always  in government and continue to sponsor persons to attain political offices, not because they like such persons but because of what they stand to benefit in the event that they win political power.

For President Buhari, therefore, all those political investors who may have put in their financial resources into his political adventure did so because of what they stand to gain should he gain access to power. Politics is an investment in Nigeria. Those who put their resources into it do expect to get rewarded by the government they are supporting. In the light of the above therefore, one may argue that those who assisted President Buhari in one way or another to rise to the one number office in  Nigeria see him as a means to an end, that is their own political end. There is a saying that there are no permanent friends but permanent interests  in politics. I wish to state however, that there is no permanent interest in politics as interest too changes depending on the political circumstances and expediences of the time.

Buhari's political party, the APC, is an amalgam of various political parties, groups and interest who came together mainly for the purpose of wresting power from the PDP. There are political investors in APC just like in any other political party in Nigeria. Now that the APC has taken over power at the federal level and in more than twenty states in Nigeria, how does President Buhari settles the interest of those political investors who supported him, while also taking care of the interests of ordinary Nigerians. This question becomes very imperative  in view of the dwindling financial fortune of Nigeria as a consequence of the drastic fall n the price of crude oil in the international market, Nigeria's major earner.

A renowned political analyst and commentator has said that President Buhari needs to make sure he takes care of the interests of those that supported him to office while also using Nigeria's resources for state development for the benefits of every Nigerian. In his words, ''President Buhari has to make sure there is money in the hands of politicians''. However, the body language of President Buhari since he was sworn into power on 29 May, 2015, seems to suggest that he is not ready to use Nigeria's money to service political investors who had invested in his political ambition. He aptly demonstrated this when he said that he ''belongs to nobody', a clear warning to political racketeers and profiteers in Nigeria, that the new president of Nigeria may not be ready to use the country's money to service them in the name of godfatherism.

Does President Buhari have the nerve to lead Nigeria without using state resources to favour political investors or godfathers?  Only time shall tell. His economical and frugal nature does seems to suggest that he would be able to use our state resource to fix Nigeria. It has been categorically stated earlier in this piece that the appropriation of Nigeria's resources by the political class is a major reason behind the country's underdevelopment and the barrage of woes bedeviling her. In all this, the ordinary citizens are the ones bearing the brunt and consequences of corruption in Nigeria in form of unemployment, hunger,  scarcity and high cost of petroleum products, poor power supply and so on. As I conclude, I wish to say that many Nigerians are in favour of  the prudent or economical application of their country's resources to develop their country for their own benefit. Against this backdrop, they MUST support President Buhari in his determination to change what appears to have been the statuesque since independence: appropriation of the country's wealth by the ruling class and their cronies. They are those I refer  to as political investors here. The rest of us are the ordinary citizens or masses of Nigeria. If Buhari is able to fix Nigeria with our support, the country would be an Eldorado for every Nigerian. If he is unable because of the forces of political investors and godfathers who have been the stumbling block to Nigeria's development since independence, your guess would be as good as mine. We therefore need to support the president to rescue Nigeria from the hands of political investors that have held the country to the jugular since 1960 for the good of the rest of us.

Frank, Chukwuka Osimi is a PRO/MHO Officer, historian, writer and blogger. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. I take responsibility for any errors that may be found in this article. I wrote this article on 02/06/2015.