Corruption is a special class of offense in Nigeria. Only the Nigerian ruling class are accused of corruption, you must be privileged to be corrupt. Yes? or No?
If you are either religious or spiritually immature, it is a good time to stop reading this piece. I will not be politically correct, I might offend your religious sensibilities, and I am not in the mood to mollycoddle anyone in this season. Stop reading.
If you are reading, be warned: it is a long piece.
Caveats duly entered, let us proceed.
Saint Cameron it was, that famously declared that Nigerians are “fantastically corrupt”. I have had occasion to address the validity of the label he fashioned for us, and I shall not allow myself to rehash that argument all over, my purpose is different today. But I need you to keep his words in mind, as we interrogate today’s thesis. If Nigerians are fantastically corrupt, what are the British? The Europeans generally? What do we call the ones that have correctly but fallaciously, labeled us corrupt?
For every dollar that the corrupt Nigerian rulers have stolen, or are stealing, British and other western banks, have as much as 90 cents of the loot nestling in their vaults. Since the proliferation of religious extremism and terrorism, the international banking system has become completely unitary in its governance systems, and the origin of funds being kept in Western banks are closely monitored. How many of these illicit funds, have been returned to Nigeria by the British government?
Please do not point at Abacha. The Abacha case is a one-off, and it has happened because Abacha lost the power game, paid for his crime with his life, and the hegemony that succeeded him, punished him as a distraction from the real issues, and because he was succeeded in office by his victims, who were happy to demonize him. To understand his true place in the Nigerian pantheon of crooked rulers, listen to Buhari’s serial testimonies of Abacha’s honesty, and remember Malami’s characterization of the loot as Abacha’s assets.
The many palatial estates and homes owned in the UK and other western countries, how were they acquired, and beyond the self righteous and hypocritical noises about fighting the corrupt usage of western banks to launder stolen African wealth, exactly how much have the angelic British and others ever returned to the owners of the monies that were fantastically stolen to buy the little bits of their fantastically saintly countries?
When the angels lent money to our fantastically corrupt rulers in our names, and they watched the same monies shared and returned to vaults in their banks, what did the saintly British do? What have they ever done?
When the same rulers return to their stately homes in London and the countryside on holidays, or to see the doctors in the hospitals they had failed to build with their fantastic corruption, and in their leisure time speak with their saintly western bankers in the rarefied airs of God’s own country, do the saintly white men, remember the fantastic corruption of their African partners?
These saints came with Bible in hand. The guns and scabbards were also in attendance. The saintly white men found fantastically corrupt men on ground, and where they did not, they manufactured a few. The African was violently robbed of his original spirituality, and our totems of worship, became artifacts adorning their museums and Art Galleries. A people that were deeply spiritual without the constraints of religiosity, were rendered hollow, and made vacuously religious. The essence of our very humanity was undermined, and we have been reconditioned for several generations.
They dehumanized us in order to both rationalize, and then legitimize their evil treatment of the brown man. Our sense of esteem was systematically destroyed. Our ways derided, demonized, and deliberately obliterated, our identities lost and confused beyond redemption. We have had generations of defining ourselves in terms determined by our oppressors, and we have for long mistaken our enemies for friends. Our treasures, labeled pagan and primitive, adorn the walls of stately homes, stripped from their origins and roots.
And long before the Europeans came with their Christ, the Arabs had been trading and harvesting slaves in the land of the sons of Africa. As they went about the trade in the sons of men, they also ensured that they captured minds. Mecca and Medina makes more forex for the Saudi today, than Nigeria earns from the sale of its moribund crude, centuries after our ancestors had died in the salt mines of Basra. But we are the ones that are fantastically corrupt.
Cameron wasn’t talking about criminality, he was talking corruption. The account of DSP Alami of his “escape” from British justice is both important, and instructive, if we are to ever understand the point of my rambles today. Be patient.
The legend is that Alams escaped Britain dressed in women clothing, by taking the euro tunnel to Calais, from where he then escaped to Cameroon, and from where he boarded a speedboat to the Bayelsa creeks. But Alams had a different version of the story of his alleged escape. He said that he was driven to an airfield outside London, and was placed on an aircraft by the British Secret Service, who told him that they wanted no part in the games being played by Obasanjo. The Alams version is more believable, given the fact that the British have never been interested in fighting Nigerian corruption. If they are, how many of our crooked rulers would go there? They are not only complicit in the despoliation of our country, they are the principal beneficiaries of the serial idiocies and malfeasance of our rulers.
Cameron’s fantastically correct statement was a Freudian slip. He was describing his country’s historical partners, the rulers of the Nigerian state and peoples, the ones that have replaced the slave raiders of old, the traditional trading partners of the British Empire. The mirrors, umbrellas, gins, glass beads and guns, have long been replaced by newer baubles and toys. There are gold watches in place of the beads now, and the obsolete rifles have been replaced by even more obsolete military hardwares. Who needs to build hospitals and schools when there are wars to wage? How can you stop the wars that have yielded harvests of gold, and dividends untold
Corruption is a special class of offense in Nigeria. Only members of the Nigerian ruling class are ever accused of the crime of corruption, and you must be privileged to be labeled corrupt. The poor are routinely charged with the crimes of stealing, fraudulent conversion is a crime for the poor. Corrupt acts are rarely possible without extensive forgeries and alterations or falsification of records, but all these crimes become invisible when the powerful are involved. The crimes are repackaged and labeled corruption. The crime with which an accused person is charged, denotes his status, and the humongous amounts that they have stolen.
Cameron speaks for the slavers and he spoke the minds of his forefathers: they paid fair prices for the slaves that they bought, fantastic businessmen were the natives they declared, even as they traded guns in exchange for men, umbrellas in exchange for maidens. Fair trade that the good British Christians had with the foolish natives, that rendered the English crown, owner of the empire on which the sun never set. But Cameron was not speaking to me, and he certainly wasn’t talking to the average and unfortunate Nigerian.
Lord Brexit was addressing the historical partners of the British colonists: our rulers are fantastically corrupt, fantastically so because they are above the law. How else would you describe Obasa, AKA Ninalowo the Speaker? How else do you describe a man that is alleged to be the proud owner of 64 bank accounts? Obasa is fantastically corrupt, and he is not different from other members of the Organized Crime Family to which he belongs.
The Nigerian is not corrupt. To be corrupt, you have to be immune and not subject to the laws of Nigeria. That is the status that the Nigerian state has conferred on its ruling class. They are not subject to the operation of the same laws that governs everyone else, anywhere in the world. The fantasy of every reprobate criminal, is that they become immune to the consequences of their criminality, and to thereby reign with impunity.
This impunity is what has come to be wrongly characterized as corruption, and it is what has bred the general state of anarchy that rules over Nigeria. The Nigerian state is in itself criminal in its focus, and it is these very attributes, built under the permissive supervision of the British hegemony, that David Cameron unwittingly spoke to.
The British, colonists, missionaries, the western world, are the ones that have rendered us fantastically corrupt; because they are themselves fantastically inhumane, exceedingly racist, and incurably avaricious. Nigeria and Nigerians, are the victims of the corruption of our rulers, and their foreign collaborators. We have been fantastically corrupted.