Fellow Countrymen, Corruption deserves to be put to death - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Monday, 13 March 2017

Fellow Countrymen, Corruption deserves to be put to death

A Book Review

Title:             Antidotes for Corruption: the Nigeria story
Author:        Senator Dino Melaye.
Publisher:    AfricAgenda Limited, Abuja, Nigeria.

Reviewer:    Babatunde Faniyan

“In the Beginning, God created the heaven and the earth . . .

. . . And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth . . .

. . . And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good”

- The Holy Bible; Genesis 1:1-31.But this Very Good setting by God was soon polluted by Man.

The pollution began with the temptation of the first man and the first woman with the lure of an “attractive” apple and the promise of the power of knowledge, instigated by Satan who manifested in the form of a serpent. And today, the Very Good World setting established by God in Creation, has become VERY BAD. Why? Because the original pollution caused by Adam and Eve has evolved into Corruption that has become, arguably the Number One enemy of Man and of the world to-day.

Because of this Corruption, God destroyed the entire world in the day of Noah – sparing only Noah’s family as fully recorded in Genesis 6. But the subsequent population that again grew from Noah’s family did not learn from history. 

Corruption has continued to grow in leaps and bounds to this day, the 21st Century. Because of this Corruption, wars have been fought. Whole nations and civilizations have been destroyed. Millions of human beings have died. Because of this Corruption, Mankind has never been at peace.

To a large extent, and for all intents and purposes, it seems as if the authorities and citizens of Nigeria especially, where Corruption is ravaging like wild fire in the harmattan, are helpless against the onslaught of Corruption which is threatening to kill the country. Here, many things are falling apart in virtually every socio-economic sector, and Nigerians are no longer at ease. Indeed, corruption has become a “sub culture” in Nigeria.

With its terribly destructive effects on mankind the world over – especially on Nigerians to-day, the discerning mind should wonder why and how Corruption has continued to grow, expand and become more devastating over the centuries. Why has man not found a solution or antidote to the scourge till the present moment? Why has Corruption defied all strategies to tame or eradicate it?

Are we afraid of, and helpless against the scourge?

At least, someone is not helpless, and is not afraid of the intimidating and destructive credentials of Corruption. Someone has decided to dare. Someone has arisen to confront it with a mission to taming the monster. 

Who is this someone?

He is Senator Dino Melaye, author of the exemplary book, ANTIDOTES FOR CORRUPTION – THE NIGERIA STORY. He happens to be the founder of the Anti Corruption Network, a Non-governmental organisation. So the reader would have an idea where this rare breed of a Nigerian is coming from, and get a sniff of his pedigree. He is no neophyte in the realm of going head to head against Corruption. He is at home when it comes to raising his voice against all forms of injustices and corruption any where it raises its head.

Sampler: when Melaye was in the House of Representatives, a time came when the House went to war against the then Speaker, Patricia Ette based on some allegations against her. Dino Melaye sifted through the allegations and saw that they did not hold water. He saw through the mist that the honourable lady was being victimized, mainly by the male Northern-Muslim representatives because they found it difficult to bow before a woman as protocol demands. Melaye then stood firmly in support of the Speaker till the end. 

Again, in 2011, governmental or official corruption came to one of its climaxes, when, instead of the appropriated and budgeted 280 Billion Naira for fuel subsidy, the government expended a scandalous, indefensible and outrageous sum of Two Trillion, three hundred billion Naira (N2,300,000,000,000.) extra budgetary allocation for fuel subsidy against all extant laws and constitutional provisions.

They then raised the pump price of petrol from N65 to N140. Dino Melaye would not allow this to stand while he is alive. It’s on record that he was then the Executive Secretary of the Anti-Corruption Network and the very first person, to kick-start the protest at the Eagle Square in Abuja, almost a week before the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and others joined the protest. 

Hear him: “This protest, painfully, did not achieve the total reversal of the price as demanded by Nigerians, because the NLC aborted the protest in a manner that was suggestive of an unholy compromise - so it was rumoured. The protest however achieved a modest price reversal to N97 per litre”. The disappointments of Nigerians regarding this aborted protest and seeming triumph of governmental corruption, eventually inspired myself and a few others to mull the idea of establishing a Non-Governmental Organization to fight the menace of moral, governmental, political, official, systemic and leadership corruption in Nigeria. Hence the establishment and registration of the Anti- Corruption Network in the month of January 2012. 

Among its harmful effects, the Book categorically proves that Corruption has inevitably become  a major clog in the quest for sustainable growth and development and raises the cost of government;
-          the single most critical impediment to achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs);

-           a deadly virus, attacking the vital structures and systems that engender progressive functioning of the society, It undermines democracy itself and civil society;

-          has largely retarded social development, undermined economic growth, discouraged foreign investments and reduced the resources available for infrastructural development, public service, and poverty reduction programmes;

-          leaves the poor perpetually disproportionately under-privileged, even as it renders the development of democracy and the building of a society of opportunity more problematic, Increasing overall cynicism towards government.

The Book is a monumental and powerful saga that has dug to the very depths of history to expose the machinations of Corruption vis-a-vis the welfare of Mankind through the ages. Dino Melaye traced the pollution from the Garden of Eden; to eye-opening studies of the fate of old civilizations and kingdoms such as the Roman, Greet empires. He followed this up by shifting emphasis – in line with the title of the book - on our motherland Nigeria. He examined the Nigerian story from the Colonial era – and painted a vivid, comprehensive, and very alarming picture of the “activities” of Corruption through all the governments from Tafawa Balewa to the Present Day. 

One thing that stands out in the writing of this book is the courage put into it by the author – Dino (Daniel) Melaye. He did not pull any punches in the revelation of names, facts and figures on Corrupt episodes. As has been mentioned in another piece by this Reviewer, the writing of this book conjures in the mind of the reader, the Biblical Daniel going into the ferocious den of the lion! Now, Melaye, our 21st Century Daniel has plunged into the den of the lion (Corruption), dragging the “lion” out into the open, unmasking and exposing what makes it tick. This demystifying and expository job on Corruption is no doubt, a vital step in the crusade to fighting the scourge to a standstill for the survival of Nigeria. Having exposed Corruption for what it is, Dino Melaye went on to proffer suggestions on ways to either wipe it out completely or, cut it down to its minimum in our societal fabric for the wellbeing of ourselves and posterity.

Here is a work in which Corruption has been dragged into the open, with the searchlight turned fully on the scourge. Dino Melaye has further “belled the cat” - so to speak, by standing up to be counted as a soldier against Corruption. With this book, he has thrown the challenge to patriotic Nigerians to rise up with him in the crusade that Corruption must be halted in its march, before it shuts down the country. 


Babatunde Faniyan is a Lagos based author, publisher and communications consultant.


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