Where Is Thy Whip, Mr President?

Until last week, the apparent eerie silence of the masses had made me lose hope in this country. I had lost hope in the ability of the masses to rise up and fight against the blatant rape of the nation’s resources. But I’m very glad to say I’ve revised my notes, and I would tell you why. I received close to 200 responses following the publication of the piece, “Opulence and fraudulence are our bane”, last week. Each of the responses could not help but express disgust at the level of corruption and the subsequent ‘I-don’t-carism’ posture being exhibited by the leadership of this country. One could literally feel the venom in the responses. The show of anger by my compatriots gives me hope. It gives me cause to be hopeful because the mounting anger in their hearts would sooner than later explode like a volcano. And when that happens, then would the leadership of this country realise that it has underestimated the resolve and power of the masses. Trust me, the eruption here would be far stronger than what we witnessed during the Arab Spring. Do I want a re-enactment of the Arab Spring here in Asomdwekrom? Certainly the answer is a big NO; and I’m sure many of my compatriots would say same. But what we want or do not want is not the issue here. The main issue is that we are gradually creating a conducive atmosphere for an eruption to take place here in Asomdwekrom. And that is my fear! We’ve heard many stories of flagrant looting of state resources in the past 24 months. The SUBAH debacle, the GYEEDAH rot, the Akomfem saga, the Woyomisation palaver and the Isofoton loot easily come to mind. They are all heart-wrenching stories. But what appears to be the last straw to have broken the camel’s back is the rot uncovered at the National Service Scheme (NSS). The leadership of the scheme was said to have connived with some regional and district directors to pay close to eight million cowries to ghost national service personnel in July 2014. Some of them are alleged to have paid various sums as bribes to Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) officials in order to cover the rot. Many of my compatriots have blamed the NSS officials, but I beg to differ. They are human, and have only acted as such. They’ve seen how plundering of huge cowries from state coffers have gone unpunished. They are also not oblivious of the fact that some officials have even been rewarded with juicier appointments after pilfering state resources. It is therefore natural that the NSS officials would take a cue and dip their hands into the national kitty. I’ve heard some say the present management of public resources gives the impression that there is no authority to crack the whip and save the country’s resources. They also say the negative effects of corruption on our national life and psyche call for immediate action to stem the tide. They are therefore calling on Mr President to crack the whip and bring sanity in the system. Those are very nice sentiments, Abusuapanin. Nice sentiments, indeed! But many of my compatriots, Yours truly inclusive, cannot help but wonder where Mr President has hidden his whip. That he has a whip, given to him by the Constitution, is not in doubt. It is his persistent refusal to use it that is making some of us wonder if he has forgotten where he has hidden it. Mr President, however, disagrees vehemently. He believes he is doing enough to curb corruption. When asked what he was doing to curb the menace while in the US recently, he said he had taken a member of his party and government to court, in reference to the charade of a trial involving Abuga Pele. According to Mr President, that is cracking the whip. I could not help laughing when I heard him. His action could be likened to an over-protective mother who taps the buttocks of her over-pampered son with a whip in order to make others believe that she is not sparing the rod. Obviously, her son would only continue in his errant ways until the law catches with him. You see, Mr President is deluding no one but himself. The resultant effect of his so-called whip-cracking is what we are all witnessing today—corruption galore! Little wonder the government is finding it difficult to make statutory payments to GETFUND, NHIS and the district and municipal assemblies. Did I hear you ask about Parliament? The least said about it, the better. Parliament has oversight responsibility over many state institutions. As to whether it performs that function effectively is another matter altogether. It does well in exposing corrupt acts and misappropriation of public funds through the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). But what is the relevance of those revelations when our cowries are not recouped? I, however, do not blame Parliament too much. I rather blame those of us who vote for persons who do not deserve to be addressed by the title ‘honourable’. To say our House of Honourables has many bootlickers is not an exaggeration. That is why this county is in this mess. It is my prayer that the leadership of this country would soon wake up from its slumber. As for Mr President, he should remember that a blow on the head may be painful but it reinforces the neck; so he should not take our criticisms and lamentations personally. See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!