Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Corruption As A Quasi Class War.

When we consider historical instances of class wars,one quickly remembers the Bolsheivic  Revolution,and the French Revolution. They were clear instances in which two distinct classes,the upper,and the lower,went to war,and one prevailed over the other.

It also led to wealth redistribution in one,and social re-engineering in the other. 

At the heart of every revolution is a dissatisfaction with the status quo,and a desire to right actual, or perceived, injustice.

That there are two distinct classes in Nigeria is obvious for all to see.

There is no middle class. They have either migrated upwards,or fallen through the social cracks to make their beds with the humbled! This lack of the middle class,is the source of social and political inertia currently witnessed in Nigeria today.

The people who ought to drive the change that we need do not exist. They have either been bribed with stupendous wealth,or hounded out of livelihood.

I have said in many fora, that the individuals who are qualified to win government contracts worth two hundred million naira in this country today,are not up to one hundred thousand! 

They know themselves,or know people who know other members of the group.

The rest of the country are rank outsiders,and they do not get a look in at all. They are like a chicken longing for grains in a bottle!

Membership of this elite group is by invitation,not by aspiration,or excellence! That you are professionally qualified is not enough qualification. Your Ph.D counts for nothing where you are concerned. You must just belong. 

One needs a godfather,or mentor to join. Membership can also be inherited,fathers pass on membership to their children. That is why certain names seem to perpetually circulate in government circles.

It is not because those families enjoy permanence of brilliance,rather,it is their birthright!

It is this same group of people that are responsible for ninety 99.999 percent of corruption in Nigeria!

Membership cuts across political,ethnic, and religious lines! They determine who gets what,and when. They decide how much government pays for contracts.They belong to the same cults,or social clubs!

When upstarts,and interlopers, attempt to barge their way into this group,they are usually destroyed with the resources of the state.

That is why we sometimes see a government policy seeming to targeting a single individual! It is because they want to send a message to others! Beware,we are in charge!

When Umaru Musa Yar'Adua was president of Nigeria, certain Nigerians were mentioned as being receivers of huge sums of money from a foreign company. The list of individuals resembled the annual national honours list! 

Everyone,who was someone in Nigeria,was on that list.If you were not on that list,you did not matter! Yar'Adua instructed his Inspector General of Police then Mike Okiro,to investigate the matter. They did. It was too hot to handle,or publish! They could not even recommend a clear course of action. 

Two lists have actually been circulated of individuals who collected bribes,one from a German based multinational,and the other from an American Fortune Five Hundred multinational. The lists were actually a litany of those who matter,or their proxies that front for them.

There were more than four former heads of state on that list, we only have six former heads of state alive today!

People thought,for a change,that something would finally happen, nothing did.

In the only case that went to trial,government has discontinued  prosecution. It was a case involving one   small,insignificant,and inconsequential fellow on the list,a personal assistant!

We have gone back to business as usual. It is the Nigerian way. 

There is a programme on Nigerian Television that promotes illegality. It is sponsored by the Nigeria police force,it is called Crime Fighters. 

In it, they usually parade individuals arrested by the police for petty,and other horrible crimes. 

One would be pardoned to expect that the common qualification needed for being on the programme, was the committal of a crime; that is far from the truth.Rich people do not get their five minutes of fame on it,only the poor get the glory! 

I believe the programme is illegal because it judges people before they have had their day in court,and prejudices their case before a judge has even heard it. It makes nonsense of the trite legal maxim coined by the English lawyer, Sir William Garrow, the view that an accused is "innocent until proven guilty"

I have never seen any national figure of note,accused of some malfeasance,or convicted of same,paraded on Crime Fighters! 

It is as if when a poor man steals fifty thousand naira,it is a more heinous crime,than a bank chief executive who steals one hundred and fifty billion! 

Curiouser still,is that fact that while rich people always come up with a medical report declaring the need for the court to allow them "holiday",sorry serve, their sentence in a five star designer hospital of their choice,the presence of a life threatening injury like a gunshot wound, or matchet cuts, is no excuse to prevent the poor fellow being remanded in maximum prison custody!

And the people now understand perfectly,there is one law for the rich,and another for the poor! 

And that is the dividing line between the poor,and the rich. It is perfectly good for you to steal if you are rich,your friends will protect you. God help you if you are poor,and are accused of a crime unjustly,you may spend seven years of your life in jail,on remand for an offence whose sentence is one year imprisonment!

The classes are at war,and right now the battle ground favours the rich. The poor can only grumble and foam in the mouth,it is their sad lot in life. 
But history teaches us that one day,the poor would strike back in dissatisfaction. When they do,it would not be with reason. They may kill the good, and the bad. The collateral damage would be cataclysmic,and epic! 

The only qualification for being a legitimate target then,would be wealth.

Whether we like it or not,things would resolve themselves with,or without our consent,it is the natural order. The only question now is when? And how far?


Street demonstration, Petrograd, 18 June 1917.The banner in the foreground reads"Down With The 10 Capitalist Ministers/ All Power To The Soviets Of Workers', Soldiers',And Peasants' Deputies/ And To The Socialist Ministers/ [We Demand That Nicholas II BeTransfered To The Peter-Paul 


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