Nigeria, like every other country – India, UK, US, Iran, Ghana etc, has its share of corrupt public officers who steal from the common wealth of all for their personal interests. However, it is how the state responds to corruption that makes a huge difference. I have over the years observed the typical pattern of how we fight corruption in Nigeria and have come up with this script, played out in 10 scenes:
1. EFCC or Police nab high-profile suspects; issues press release which the media gullibly goes to town with.
2. Supporters of suspects allege witch-hunt.
3. Suspects are arraigned in court and media again splashes photos and video footages.
4. Ordinary Nigerians celebrate, abuse the suspects in commentaries, at pubs, and at newspaper “free readers’ club” stands.
5. Suspects apply for bail and are initially denied.
6. Suspects again apply for bail citing medical reasons and court eventually grants bail with conditions that seem difficult to meet.
7. Bail condition is met and suspects leave custody.
8. Case drags for a while, suffering adjournments upon adjournments.
9. Public forgets about the case and looks forward to another high-profile, celebrated arraignment.
10. Suspects meanwhile are fully integrated into the society and carry on with their endeavours as usual, (Orji Uzor Kalu, Jolly Nyame etc) including holding high offices as ‘Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’ (Saminu Turaki, Chimaroke Nnamani etc.).
And the beat goes on…