In his small but insightful book entitled THE TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA, the renowned writer, Chinua Achebe pin-pointed Nigeria’s major ailment. The trouble with Nigeria, he posited, boils down to corruption and wanton greed as well as lack of political will to deal with these monsters. The solution? Make corruption difficult and unprofitable, Achebe writes. Reason? Nigerians are corrupt essentially because corruption is easy and profitable here in Nigeria. Once it is made otherwise, public office holders would need no one to encourage them before curbing their greed and itchy fingers. Sadly, many decades after the publication of Achebe’s seminal book, corruption has not diminished in Nigeria. On the contrary, it has ballooned from the toddler it was in the First and Second Republics to what it is now: a hydra-headed monster ravaging the land with reckless abandon. But that is not even the most worrisome matter. The most worrisome issue is the shocking level corruption has snowballed in Nigeria’s most hallowed institutions. Consider the House of Representatives. Not only is this Nigeria’s highest law making organ; it is entrusted with sensitive oversight functions. But, alas, being saddled with such sacred responsibility has not bridled our Reps’ appetite for corruption. Even as the House is still reeling from the shock of the gangatum sleaze that dogged the tenure of its immediate past Speaker, another sad chapter has begin to unravel in this same House. Refer, for instance, to the bribery scandal rocking the House on the one hand and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the other, over allegations that the House’s committee on capital market had demanded gratification from SEC. Read the shameful details of the scandal that has led to the resignation of the committee’s Chairman, Herman Hembe, in this issue of DH. No less scandalous is the astronomical rise in the so-called Constituency Project Allowance which each Rep collects on a quarterly basis. This money is specially for the execution of projects in all federal constituencies across the federation. But somehow, the Reps and their Senatorial counterparts simply hijacked it for themselves. No accountability!!! In a sheer demonstration of greed, the Reps have increased each member’s quarterly allowance from N15 million to N27 million. This 80 percent increase means that Nigeria will spend a princely N9.72 billion quarterly as payment for Reps’ Constituency allowance alone! As you read the details of these and other startling stories in the edition of your monthly magazine, DESERT HERALD, you would appreciate that corruption and greed are indeed the major trouble with Nigeria. And when you add our other juicy features and columns to the package, you would undoubtedly agree that this edition of DH is truly rich. Meanwhile, here is wishing all our Christian brothers HAPPY EASTER in advance. Remain blessed till we “meet” in our next edition.
Umar Abubakar, Deputy Editor