Sometimes around the early 1990s when I just left the catholic major seminary after I changed my line of perceived divine calling from that of completing my courses to become a catholic priest to then chase after my other passions such as journalism, free thinking and creative writing, something remarkable happened to me. I had then sauntered into Nigeria’s apparently biggest commercial city centre with lots of opportunities -Lagos with the view to settle down and design, activate and methodically engineer my future career going forward.
My first stop in Lagos was a thriving Roman Catholic Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos in Marina Lagos whose Chief Operating Officer then was a very amiable and patriotic priest of the Archdiocese of Lagos Reverend Father Mike Umoh. Reverend Father Umoh didn’t advertise for any job opening in that Church media but my instincts directed me towards his own parish somewhere in Ajegunle-a bustling part of the poverty stricken Lagos. But when he listened and heard my odyssey as a boy freshly out of the Roman Catholic Seminary and with a burning flair for writings, the talent gunter in this jolly good Priest was immediately activated and he offered me a position in that newspaper which sells over 50,000 copies per Month around the many Parishes of that urban Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.

I had narrated that something happened whilst I sojourned as editorial staff of that official Catholic tabloid (its name I cant even recall but i think it was something like Catholic Herald Newspaper or so it seemed) in Nigeria’s business capital. That incident was only but a friendly banter between reporters and editorial staff concerning Nigeria. That Catholic Newspaper had a very lively but small opening within the Church as the editorial office whereby the periodic publications are planned before going to the press.
The editor of that Catholic tabloid then was a certain Veteran with a name that sounded as if he is a Brazilian even though he is a native of Lagos Island known as, I think, Mr Cardoso.This friendly man made a joke to my hearing that “Nigeria is such a place whereby if you push a Nigerian to the wall,rather than react angrily,he will just jump the wall and run away ”. He further reminded us that unlike in most civilised climes whereby if you push the citizens to the wall, you as a government will immediately witness violent revolution. This last reminder has only just happened in most North African countries leading up,to the emergence of people’s oriented popular democracies. Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan and a couple of other nations witnessed what is called Arab Springs when the common people felt that their oppression was enough and they matched out decisively on the streets leading to the crumbling of those dictatorial regimes.

What Mr Cardoso told me and few other editorial staff of that colourful Catholic tabloid in Lagos has happened not long ago but it can be said also that in Nigeria,it is not the case of once bitten,twice shy but a case of “Severally bitten,zero shy”.This state of paralysis when it comes to the collective behaviours of Nigerians to the Persistent bad governance that has impoverished over 130 million citizens in the last 7 years, is the reason too many things are wrong with Nigeria and in Nigeria. Infact there is the fear that some Nigerian voters may as well vote in the same political parties that have over the past 7 years totally destroyed the economy of the nation, engaged in widespread theft of public funds and have abandoned thousands of citizens to be killed by terrorists, kidnappers, armed Fulani herdsmen and sundry other armed non state actors who are actually calling the shots in most parts of Nigeria with the official armed forces lying prostrate like a castrated bulldog.

However, one area in which institutionally, Nigeria as a dysfunctional nation and the government specifically is wired never to be pro-active and effective in stopping bad things from happening over and over again, is in the security sector and sadly, the law enforcement sub-sector is not spared of this deadly virus. Corruption, nepotism and downright demolition of competencies in the security agencies have made these armed security forces to become somewhat very weak and almost compromised to a point that you would think that terrorists may just take over Nigeria.
To demonstrate how bad things keep becoming, around March of last year, some terrorists operating from some forests in kaduna, bombed a kaduna bound train from Abuja with 970 passengers, killing scores and Made away with dozens of passengers whom the terrorists kept and tortured for 6 months before a negotiated release.
It will interest Nigerians to note that those terrorists are walking around free and have till now, never faced justice for their mass murder of many Nigerians.
Nigerian government did not learn any lesson that ill -fated bombardment of the Abuja to kaduna train created for Nigeria. Those North West terrorists so thoroughly messed up Nigeria so much so that the international community and advanced nations shut down their embassies in fear that what happened in Afghanistan leading to the overthrow of the US backed government by Islamic terror group known as Taliban was going to happen in Nigeria. This was just before December.
But just two days ago, in Edo state, terrorists suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded a train station, shot sporadically, injured many and kidnapped over four dozen Nigerians whose only offense is to use the services of the train operated by the federal government of Nigeria.
As expected with a dysfunctional Nation with rogue government, government officials from both Edo and the central governments have gone on over- drive with media statements condemning the dastardly terrorism carried out in broad daylight by armed outlaws who clearly are emboldened by the lack of any sort of punitive measures by government on other outlaws. Terrorists in Nigeria are actually never punished by the current administration.

In fact, as we write, President Muhammedu Buhari has pencilled down over 600 Boko haram terrorists that soldiers Captured that his administration will release back to the society in which they masterminded genocides.
Recall too that when the bombing of the Kaduna train happened, there was a revelation that the then transportation minister, Rotimi chibuike Amaechi had proposed for the building of a National technologically wired security network for the railways but due to politics, the idea was perished and train passengers have been let down and allowed to perish in the hands of terrorists. Funnily, two days after the train was bombed by Kaduna terrorists, the then Transportation minister Amaechi who was eyeing the Presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, headed to PortHarcourt stadium to inaugurate his campaign and he was caught on video running around the stadium like one of these carnival attendees during a bull fight in Spain. It was such a shameful spectacle but in Nigeria that lacks accountability, who cares?

As I said earlier, a leaked memo obtained by The media around March last year after the terrorists attack of the Kafuba train revealed why a proposal for security equipment along the Abuja-Kaduna rail track, which was presented to the Federal Executive Council by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was rejected.
Recall that Amaechi had while fielding questions from journalists after the train bombing that left at least eight persons dead, said he had predicted the attack and presented a memo to FEC for the procurement of security equipment, but it was rejected.
According to the minutes of the FEC meeting of September 24, 2021, marked EC (2021)236, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, while the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was attending the United Nations General Assembly, Amaechi recommended that a firm, Mogjan Nigeria Limited, be given the contract worth N3.7bn.

The firm, which was incorporated on August 6, 2019, by Prince Godwin Momoh, Chioma Momoh and George Momoh, had a turnover of N84.9m.
“We had doubts about the capability of a company, which was formed less than two years prior and had no track record of handling a contract of N3.7bn or a contract on surveillance systems. The company was also to be paid upfront. Our investigation pointed to a conflict of interest,” said a top Presidency official.
According to the memo sighted by journalists, Amaechi in his presentation stated that the Bureau of Public Procurement had reviewed the process of procurement and had given a certificate of no objection for the contract, adding that the project would be funded from the N71.4bn budget of the ministry.
The minister subsequently asked the council to “approve the award of contract for the procurement and installation of electronic surveillance system and interrogation unit on the Abuja (Idu)-Kaduna (Rigasa) 200km railway monitoring rail intrusion detection system and emergency response system in favour of Messrs Mogjan Nigeria Limited/Cagewox Dot Net Limited in the sum of N3,780,827,410.66 inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a completion period of four months.”
However, ministers in the council questioned the capacity of the firm to deliver as well as the failure of Amaechi to provide proper detail on the capabilities of the equipment.
There was also a scanty record of the company’s past projects, which could prove that it was capable of executing such a project as a report by the Federal Ministry of Transportation leaked to a specific media House, showed that the firm had no evidence of carrying out such a project in the past.

The minutes of the meeting read in part, “Some members expressed concern about the quality of the memorandum as there was no description of the surveillance system concept note, brand name, country of manufacture or review by the previous user to enable them to make informed decisions.
NIGERIA is indeed in such a bad state that criminals arrested by Police simply bribe their ways out and escape justice. For instance, Lekan Adekanbi, the only suspect arrested in connection with the killing of a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kehinde Fatinoye, has escaped from police custody in Ogun State.
After the killing of Fatinoye, his wife and their only son, the police said they had arrested Adekanbi as the prime suspect in the case.
Adekanbi was the driver of the late CBN staff until the day he was assassinated.
The Ibara police divisional headquarters had nabbed Adekanbi and held him in custody to aid their investigation.
On Tuesday, two policemen from Ibara division were said to have taken the suspect to a hospital after he complained of fever.
“At the hospital, Lekan was said to have pretended like he wanted to urinate and he escaped,” a source told our correspondent.

According to the source, the policemen did not handcuff the suspect, from the time he was arrested up until the time he was in the hospital.
According to sources, the suspect fled when he discovered that the domestic staff of the Fatinoyes, who was taken away by the assassins alongside their son, did not die.
Media report said he had become restless the moment he set his eyes on the domestic staff, it was learnt. And with his escape, the life of that maid is endangered and it is not likely that Nigeria Police will protect that maid who us the only eye witness to that dastardly crime. This is how sordid the governmental affairs of Nigeria has degenerated.
These hydraheaded monster of inefficiency and deliverate sabotage of government by officials reminds me of what Jaideep Prabhu wrote in his book “How should a government be?”
His words: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language,’ Ronald Reagan once said, ‘are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Are governments really so bad at getting things done? And if they are, what should their scale and scope be? That question is the most bitterly contested in contemporary politics.
On one side of the argument are the libertarians, for whom governments are incompetent and inefficient at best, and dangerous at Worst. For them. the only good state is a small one that Ieaves much of the work of running an economy to the market
and civil society. This is the intellectual tradition of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and of politicians from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to the Tea Party Republicans.
The author argues further: “Ranged against them are the statists: those who believe in the inherent benevolence of the government and wish to grow its powers and use them to influence society and the economy. This is the tradition of the Fabian socialists and central planners as well as contemporary politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth
Warren and movements such as Syriza, Five Star and Podemos.
For them, governments are the only force that can redress the vagaries and injustices of the market and ensure that all lives are valued properly.
It is no surprise that these factions should disagree, and it is no surprise that they might both be wrong. (HOW SHOULD A GOVERNMENT BE? the New Levers of State Power by Jaideep Prabhu).
For us to get it right and get the wobbling and fumbling nation to work again, Nigerians must elect sets of political leaders in the February 2023 poll that will work and develope frameworks on anti-corruption following the ten footprints suggested by a research group within the World Bank. These ten steps are as follows-: 1. Corruption is not only about bribes: People especially the poor get hurt when resources are wasted. That’s why it is so important to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses. 2. Power of the people: Create pathways that give citizens relevant tools to engage and participate in their governments – identify priorities, problems and find solutions. 3. Cut the red tape: Bring together formal and informal processes (this means working with the government as well as non-governmental groups) to change behavior and monitor progress. 4. It’s not 1999: Use the power of technology to build dynamic and continuous exchanges between key stakeholders: government, citizens, business, civil society groups, media, academia etc. 5. Deliver the goods: Invest in institutions and policy – sustainable improvement in how a government delivers services is only possible if the people in these institutions endorse sensible rules and practices that allow for change while making the best use of tested traditions and legacies – imported models often do not work. 6. Get incentives right: Align anti-corruption measures with market, behavioral, and social forces. Adopting integrity standards is a smart business decision, especially for companies interested in doing business with the World Bank Group and other development partners. 7. Sanctions matter: Punishing corruption is a vital component of any effective anti-corruption effort. 8. Act globally and locally: Keep citizens engaged on corruption at local, national, international and global levels – in line with the scale and scope of corruption. Make use of the architecture that has been developed and the platforms that exist for engagement. 9. Build capacity for those who need it most: Countries that suffer from chronic fragility, conflict and violence– are often the ones that have the fewest internal resources to combat corruption. Identify ways to leverage international resources to support and sustain good governance. 10. Learn by doing: Any good strategy must be continually monitored and evaluated to make sure it can be easily adapted as situations on the ground change.

Whilst I recommend these ten footprints on anti-corruption campaigns in Nigeria Post election February 2023, my only fear in Nigeria is that we are the only people amongst humanity in the Universe whereby the wise saying that “Once bitten, twice shy”, doesn’t work. Nigerians are wired to electing and re-electing thieves, drug barons, killers and gangsters as their political leaders. Are Nigerians now ready to change and be rational? Only the outcome of the coming election next month will tell.
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.



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