“Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong”
- Daniel O'Connell.
By Remi Oyeyemi
It is very evident that Nigeria is in dire straits. It is clear enough that Nigeria is in serious trouble. For anyone that still doubts it, we have just been handed the evidence that this country called Nigeria is straddling the line between good and evil. It is about to decide whether to choose the good over evil or vice versa. It is about to determine whether this would be a country where justice and integrity shall be the hallmark of leadership or not. It is about to make a choice whether our public officials would continue to be moral reprobates or virtuous men. The test case is on hand as we speak.
Senator Bukola Saraki:
When an alleged Certified Bank Robber in “Senator” Bukola Saraki can sit on the top of the highest law making body of the land with impudence and impertinence, strutting and prancing the corridor of the country’s power halls without let or hindrance, then there is real fire on the mountain. It is a proof that this country would never make it, no matter how much we pretend. It is a proof that this country would never be able to rise to the height of its promise and potentials. It is a sign that the labour of our heroes past has been and would continue to be in vain.
Societies are made up of human beings. As we all know, human beings are never perfect. Even the Christian book called The Bible attests to the fact, “There is no perfect in human nature.” As a result we are not expecting perfection. But what we should not compromise is the attainment of excellence. And if, in the words of the famous American football coach, Vince Lombardi, we relentlessly pursue perfection, we can attain excellence without any iota of doubt.
More so, simply because we recognize that human beings are not perfect is not an excuse to go for the lowest denominators in morality. It is not an excuse to enthrone a bandit and a kleptomaniac in the seat of government. It is not an excuse to tolerate pernicious arrogance and insidious condescension in the affairs of the country. It is indeed not an excuse to banish integrity and dignity from the task of putting the country aright.
Hence the evident death of conscience amongst a people is always a sign of the beginning of the end for such a society in which they live. When there is a lack of modicum of morality and absence of decency, degeneration sets in and the society continues to fall apart. Nigeria has been falling apart for a long time. This is the only way to explain the defence of the former governors who left records of woes and gnashing of teeth for their people via kleptomania in their states by some morally depraved supporters. That Governors like Rotimi Amaechi, Godswill Akpabio, Gbenga Daniel, Rabiu Kwankwanso, Sule Lamido, Kayode Fayemi, Bukola Saraki, Murtala Nyako and a host of others still have defenders underscores the “moral paralysis” that has enveloped our society. They all left records of profligacy and corruption in their states
The reason Nigerians voted for President Mohammadu Buhari was to try to hold Nigeria together by resuscitating its moral fibre and imbue the social milieu with some degree of integrity. All this would not be possible unless “Senator” Bukola Saraki is shoved aside. Not only would there not be any progress for this country, there would not be justice. And where justice is impossible, peace would not be able to find a place. As Oliver Cromwell contended on September 12, 1654 in a speech to the Protectorate Parliament, “Weeds and nettles, briars and thorns, have thriven under your shadow, dissettlement and division, discontentment and dissatisfaction, together with real dangers to the whole.” This has been the lot of the Nigeria’s Senate since “Senator” Saraki has been in charge. It should not and must not be allowed to continue.
The entire country could not, should not and must not be held to ransom because of the inordinate and morbid ambition of an alleged certified bank robber and thief. “Senator” Saraki is the proof of what Harold Laski called “the moral paralysis” in the society.This has become more pronounced in recent years and that is why degenerates like Bukola Saraki,his godfather, Abubakar Atiku along with their peccant andincorrigibly acquisitive ilk could call themselves power brokers in our society. This moral paralysis is evident in the defence of criminal acts in the name of politics.
The continued occupancy of the office of the Nigerian Senate Presidency by “Senator” Saraki is not, cannot and must not be allowed to subsist. The fact that he is a “Senator” is enough insult to the moral integrity of this country, just like a few of them running around as members of that body. But as posited earlier, we are not looking for perfection, but we should not accept anything that is not good enough. Bukola Saraki is just not good enough, he is bad enough.
Thus for any person or group of persons to come out and defend the evil as represented by Saraki is a sign that there is no shame or conscience in this country any more. Not long ago, Mrs. Toyin Saraki was invited by the EFCC to answer questions on some corruption matters, and to the shame of this country, some of the lawmakers appeared in public with her in solidarity! They ran their mouths pestiferously, as they meander menacingly around the proximity of the anti-corruption body’s offices. In saner climes, all of them would have become immediate political casualties for appropriating opprobrium for their respective constituencies.
For Olisah Metuh, the spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), loquacity is an important requirement for his job. Since he also speaks for a political party, he could be pardoned if he sees politics in many issues that constitute challenges for the country. What evidently is not important requirement for his job is recklessness and shamelessness. One would expect that a spokesperson for a major political party would know where not to cross the line. By coming out to support the evil as represented by “Senator” Saraki is beyond the pale, immoral, conscienceless and audacious. It is lewd, insolent and brazen.
The country is at a crossroad when a major political party, through its spokesman is openly supporting and defending evil as represented by graft, robbery, peculation, skimming, thievery, embezzlement, larceny, pilferage, theft as allegedly personified by “Senator” Saraki. It is an action that is tantamount to treachery against the people. This is because any action that is aimed at destroying the economic well being of the people is traitorous. “Senator” Saraki’s case is not political. Rather it is an existential threat to the socio-economic survival of the people of this country.
One finds it amusing that President Buhari is being accused of being desperate to remove “Senator” Saraki. In one’s book, one has not seen enough desperation to do so on the part of the President. The body language of the President is like he does not even care about the ugliness that “Senator” Saraki represents as the Senate President of the country’s highest law making Chamber. But those who know the President very well contends that the demeanor of the President cocoons a controlled rage at the insolence of some Senate members shrouded in garish shamelessness aimed at defiling the Senate.“Senator” Saraki cannot be the President of the Senate in an administration that is engaged in war against corruption.
Fact of the matter is that the President has to do everything within the confines of the law to have “Senator” Saraki removed from office by encouraging and allowing the institutions to function. Such action would be in the best interest of this country. It would make the international comity of nations take Nigeria seriously. For those Nigerians, who do not travel the world, they could not fathom the insults, slights and disrespect that their fellow Nigerians who do so, suffer from international airports simply because they carry Nigerian passports.
For other loyalists of “Senator” Saraki who hire clerics to engage in prayers, vigil and fasting on his behalf to defend his evil acts, one wishes them good luck. Their act is a shameless show of conscienceless. It is also an unbridled insult to the justiciability of Allah and God. To read in the media that the Chief Imam of Ilorin is also involved in this despicable prayer for an alleged thief and Certified Bank robber speaks volume of who they represent. It shows why more and more people across our country are losing faith in religion and religious leaders who themselves are not better than glorified but cocooned criminals.
It is a sad day when the segment of the society that is supposed to be the moral conscience for all, is exuding iniquity by defending evil. The Chief Imam of Ilorin and his henchmen are advised in the words of Obafemi Awolowo who remonstrated as follows: “Contemporary political circumstances demand that Religious leaders must recapture and relive the great and noble ideals and the militancy of those inspired and immortal Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists who had the divine courage to proclaim the truth as God gives it to them to know the truth, and to call cant, humbug, political murderers, and brutes and devils in human flesh, by their proper names.”
Rather than pray and keep vigil for a crooked Senator, the Chief Imam of Ilorin and his partners should pray for the victims of “Senator” Saraki’s alleged crimes. The poor customers of Societe Generale Bank and Trade Bank who lost their savings and whose lives are ruined deserve some sympathy. They are the ones that need all the prayers.The shareholders of Intercontinental Bank who were reportedly duped of billions of Naira by Senator Saraki need a lot of prayers too.
Most importantly, the poor people of Kwara, whose destinies have been compromised, whose commonwealth have been commandeered; who have been burdened with poverty and want; whose dignity have been dented; whose self respect have been ruined and whose children’s future have been made futile need a lot of prayers for a turnaround of their fortunes. They need prayers to be freed from the bondage of the Saraki shackles.
It is incontestable that everything that has been alleged against “Senator” Saraki are not just criminal, but they are morally unacceptable. And if they are morally unacceptable, then they could not be politically acceptable. If they are not politically acceptable, then “Senator” Saraki must be removed from office by all legal means necessary, especially if he does not have the littlest integrity to resign or step aside.
“Senator” Saraki could not defraud two banks to extinction and the third to comatose and seat in the Presidency of the highest law making body of this country. This is among other alleged heinous crimes he is yet to answer to. Yes, Nigeria and Nigerians tolerate a lot of things, but this one is not going to stand. Not unless Presdent Buhari wants Nigeria to burst under his watch. Saraki must go to the Courts and answer all the charges against him. If he is vindicated, he would be welcomed back. If not, he would be welcome to the oblivion of History’s dust bin. And to jail!
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961