My Interview with Corruption by Odusote Oluwakayode
Whilst rushing to keep to time, my mind was bustling with damning questions to be asked towards unraveling the unanswered questions of our corrupt national life. I murmured what I wrote in my earlier piece ‘My race, our hope’ thus:
“Today, we live in a country, filled with people in the throes of decadence, a nation in the turmoil of corruption. A nation where sanity is silenced, where bravado is courage, where eloquence is honesty, where integrity is tranquiled, where brutality is victory, where reason is killed, where virtue is a taboo, and where hypocrisy is loyalty. No arm of our government is free from corruption. Corruption roams freely in the corridors of our Ministries and parastatals. It is flaunted with honor and pride by our leaders; it is adored by heads of corporate firms”.
So rampant is corruption in Nigeria that the lists of those engaging in bribery cut across border. We once heard of a U.S. Congressman (indicted after $90,000 of marked money was found in tinfoil-wrapped bundles in his freezer) and a Fortune 500 energy company (that had a link to the former US Vice President Dick Cheney). Indeed, the Berlin-based group Transparency International has consistently ranked Nigeria among the world’s most corrupt countries.
According to the World Bank, the top 10 per cent of income earners in Nigeria accounted for 38 per cent of the country’s wealth in 2010 – up from 32 per cent in 2004. More than 80 per cent of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day despite the fact that Nigeria pumps 2.2m barrels a day of top grade oil. Government oil receipts in 2008, according to the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative topped $59 billion up from $43 billion the year before.
In this exclusive interview, we questioned Corruption on several issues relating to his existence and war in Nigeria.
Below is the complete version of the Interview I had with Corruption:
Question: How have you been these entire years sir?
Corruption: I’m doing pretty well except for times when my immortality is being challenged. You know I have the total control over minds of those you name after me e.g Corrupt politician, Corrupt sportsman, Corrupt this Corrupt that. I’m always pleased to know I have so many adopted children who adopt my name as their surname.
Question: How do you view your adventures in Nigeria and the number of adopted children and institutions you have?
Corruption: Nigeria has been a wonderful terrain for me and my adopted children. Some other terrains like Ghana, South Africa, and Cote d’Ivoire etc have not adopted a technique of propagating my name against enemies as Nigeria does. In fact Nigeria is the Cash cow of my existence.
Question: Could you please explain how you adopt your children because the term adoption is not really clear to me?
Corruption: laughs. That’s a humorous question. For one, my style is about integration. I’m always willing to integrate greedy minds to my scheme for survival. Their acts of greed are good for my existence and popularity so I don’t need to formalize our relationship once I encroach on their minds.
Question: So you are somewhat of an imperialist?
Corruption: Well if you say so.
Question: How do you react to the challenges faced from EFCC and ICPC? You know these institutions were put in place to save Nigeria from your hurting claws?
Corruption: I think some of your people like that Gani Fawehinmi and co don’t understand that my activities never started from the institution of government. For you to fight me, you must start the way I started. That’s all.
Question: Could you please tell us how you started your war against Nigeria and…
Corruption: cuts in, Never! So you expect me to give you my joker? Find out yourself.
Question: okay could you just give us an insight into how you started your crusade?
Corruption: Well that is beyond you. It goes way back into the period of your founding fathers. I took advantage of your social and cultural differences which I implanted into the minds of the colonialist by the introduction of a political power base in the north and the economy power base in the south – divide and rule system.
Question: Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan some months back claimed that Nigeria was the second most improved country in Africa in fighting corruption, citing Transparency International as the source.
Corruption: What was the outcome of that claim? You see, GEJ as my beloved is trying to be like my Ota farm boy. He loves to be comical like OBJ but he’s not just getting it.
Question: okay, we understand that corruption is not about money, some practices are also termed your name “corrupt practices”. These acts have caused so much destruction to so many things; thereby creating poverty in the country through systemic decay. What are your views about such allegations?
Corruption: You do not blame me absolutely. If you look at historical realities, you will understand that I explore the minds of the greedy. Their minds call on me as much as I sit quietly. I don’t destroy; I only try to sustain my existence. The practices of so many of you beckon on me. Right from the youth in the secondary school to the institutions of higher learning, I sting minds. Their laziness to study, the greed of lecturers, the sexual deception of ladies and need to seek fun are ways through which many of you beckon on me.
Question: So what you mean is that your activities have links to youths in the secondary schools and the institutions of higher learning?
Corruption: Definitely. However, the students at those levels are not the only culprit. Their teachers, principals, proprietors, lecturers Rectors, provosts and Vice Chancellors are always my willing tools. I take advantage through admission seeking by parents and wards and through the need for higher marks to avoid failure or carry over to carry out my crusade. Those are practices that earn some of you my surname! You know I laugh most times you call these youth leaders of tomorrow. They have my blood already!
Question: but do you have any regret seeing the level of poverty and destruction of Nigerians goes through especially the poor masses?
Corruption: Never! Most of your leaders and several institutions are not that innocent. The poverty is not of my making, it is of your leaders. I only accommodate those with greedy mind set so maybe you have to question Greed himself. For example look at Nigeria’s 2013 budget and the several billions allocated for selfish reasons. Do you blame me for that? I only aid greed, I don’t cause greed. It’s just unfortunate that my name is the most sought after but who cares anyway, so far it sustains my existence
Question: sir, your final statement is of greed too or don’t you think so?
Corruption: Well everyone has a motive.
Question: Now, let us go into the issue of poverty, which you had a lot to do with including the unemployment, bad roads and lack of basic amenities which your name helped to create. These devils exist cause of your adopted children. Do you feel any guilt?
Corruption: Like I said, I don’t create the will, I only work on the will to use my name. So I do not feel any guilt at all for the unfortunate hardship your people go through. You ask me questions expecting me to feel pity for your people? Don’t assume that I’m a god. I am a parasite and I have to exist so I exist where there are attitudinal decay. If you have not woken up to that reality, please do now!
For example did I beckon on Tafa Balogun, James Ibori, Gbenga Daniel, Farouk Lawan, Bode George, Doyin Okupe, S.M Afolabi, Ayo Fasoye just to mention a few to be involved in shady deals? Like you know some of them have been served jail terms for being my son while others are still being tried. I won’t however deny them with the mess they have created with my name; I’ll still be readily available for them when they emerge from their troubled waters.
Question: hmmmm. That’s more disturbing to hear that you are readily available. Anyway, if you are a parasite like you affirmed, don’t you think we must get a way to chase you out of our shores?
Corruption: I wish you Goodluck. Unfortunately for you he is my adopted son.
Question: Don’t you think its dumb trying to challenge the strategies that will destroy your existence in Nigeria?
Corruption: I will advise you and your government not to create what you can’t sustain. My roots are strongly tied to your system of governance. I challenge you to name your gladiators.
Question: we have many of them! We have institutions like the EFCC and ICPC, we have individuals like Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana, Frank Kokori, Taiwo Otitolaye, Nuhu Ribadu and co. We have the NLC and opposition parties like ACN and CPC to hack you down. Do you care for more?
Corruption: well EFCC for example was a fine institution when that boy called Nuhu Ribadu was its Chairman but as usual my roots fought well and got him out of the place (few minutes of silence) kai! May the soul of Musa continue to rest. Have you heard anything since Aondoakaa and Co took advantage of Yar’adua’s weakness to bully him out of office? We have that place secured. As for ICPC, that has been under our grip since its creation. My roots encourage your government to put in place old, retired and less ambitious men. They can’t fight the army I have. I see that institution (ICPC) as a toothless dog, not even a bull. You see, for that Wole Soyinka, I admire his intellectual power, I have tried to lure him but he keeps being slippery. His vocabulary is however not enough to get me out, although, I must agree that his voice is like a missile on my base but for the anti-missile apparatus provided by my boys in government, he would have weaken me seriously.
You see that legal stubborn boy you call Falana, he has taken over from Gani Fawehinmi that died few years back but not absolutely. His voice is still manageable unlike Gani that would have rushed to the court. That Gani was a serious thorn in my flesh. I felt a relief when he died. If the likes of Gani and Fela were to be alive, ah, I can’t imagine the uneasy life those boys would have unleashed on me
Finally, I heard you mentioned NLC. Well to some extent they have been good gladiators but not champions. I lured them easily and once their selfish expectations were met they gave up. For example the greatest threat to my existence came in January, 2012 when my son Goodluck removed subsidy. I never knew the spirit of Fela and Gani could still control such crowd especially in Lagos. I noticed it was getting out of hand and we had to device a means quickly. Fortunately for me, I got one from the one time victorious gladiator who once said “if you are on the passenger side, you do not see what the driver sees, but if you are driving, you see clearly” do you know whom I’m talking about?
Question: No sir. Can you please tell me?
Corruption: Laughs! I used that khaki boy to scuttle that crusade. You know Gani once called him adamant Adams. I clouded his mind with the reality of power and the sentiment of his region. He blabbed severally when he was asked where he belonged. The truth is that he is no longer with the people, level don change! So with him as a sentimental ally, I defeated the crusade. I think he called on his boys to see reason and they eventually agreed with my boys to call off the strike. What have you heard since then?
Question: Well I don’t think we’ve heard something serious apart from the various reports from the House of Reps and the Ribadu committee reports. But sir, the opposition parties have also been talking against you seriously, what do you say to that?
Corruption: You see he who wants to come with equity must come with clean hands. I agree that within my adopted children there are serious wars. Those you mentioned are not different from those you question me about. The war going on in my family is basically due to ego and power. I’m proud of them all. In the course to outwit each other, they propagate my name the more, in fact, they get me additional time line. Go and ask one of their ring leader resident in Lagos this question, was he as rich as he is now before he became governor? Let his answer give you a clue to him being my son or not. Same goes to their whistle blower that jumps from Lagos to Abuja all the time making press releases. Well just like my most desirous son once said, “it’s a family affair” we’ll sort our differences at the appropriate time.
I heard Some other boys have joined the band wagon of the critics. I understand one Dino Melaye has been making noise all over. Well he is better advised to keep calm so as not to die of lung cancer. I know what he needs. My boys are looking into their case and I assure you that he’ll keep quiet once he is absorbed back into political lime light.
The only political boy I’m worried about is Buhari. Going by his ruthless antecedent against me when he was head of state, I can’t trust him with political power. To add salt to injury, he is associated to that short man devil called Nasir El-Rufai. That boy dealt with my expected messy scheme in Abuja when he was minister of FCT.
Question: Sir, I’m becoming amused at this revelations. I don’t know you are this rooted but don’t you think the subsidy reports will destroy your base.
Corruption: My dear wake up! Haven’t you seen the taint that has greeted the reports? My boys fought a one-time feared and outspoken Farouk Lawan to his knees. If you can’t beat them you join them. We have him on our side now. For the Ribadu report, I knew he would be stubborn in fact I didn’t know what came to Allison’s mind by getting him involved. We have however handled the matter by scuttling their efforts through my intellectual boy Oronsanye. Let me tell you at this point that I’m still working to adopt Buhari, El-Rufai and Ribadu to boost our force from the Northern region.
Question: Ah! Buhari, El-Rufai and Ribadu? How do you intend doing that?
Corruption: You leave that to me. I’m glad Nuhu is politically associated with my guy in Lagos. Jagaban will work on him. Buhari and El – Rufai are also being lured currently. I’m waiting patiently and I hope Bola won’t disappoint me.
Question: for this war between you and good governance to end, what do you want?
Corruption: Now you are talking. I demand that my existence be recognized legitimately
Question: Hell, No! You can’t live with us
Corruption: I thought as much. I noticed you have the spirit of Wole Soyinka, Gani Fawehinmi and Fela. Let the war continue. You have just started your anguish. Guess you have seen what my boys created for themselves in your country’s 2013 budget? That’s just a beginning.
Question: Yes sir. Outrageous N2.2 billion Naira for banquet hall at a time the country is buffeted by serious economic and security challenges. So it’s part of your making?
Corruption: Well partly. I worked on the will. You have not seen anything o. haven’t you seen the allocation for the Vice President’s residence and allocation to maintain presidential air fleets? My dear wake up and be part of my team.
Question: ok, for the benefits of our esteemed readers what are your demands?
Corruption: I like that question. I tell you one thing though; the Western worlds have gotten rid of me to a large extent but not totally. You guys can take this advantage to change the world view about me. Look at what has been spent on the war. I even profit from the war itself. Names have only been devised to paint me white but in those names I flourish.
All I want is a ministry created in my name. Something like Ministry of Corruption
Corruption: Well it’s the best you can do to stop wasting money fighting me unnecessarily. Like I said, I exist through coloration of my service. Some people color me with Gifts, Public Relations etc. Ask those who give gifts and do public relations what those are meant for? To whom and what is the expected return? Yet you bring forth some institutions again to fight me when those institutions in itself are swimming from my good will of such gifts and PR. Ask Farida to lecture you about such gifts.
You guys pretend I exist only in government. Ask your public servants how many of them live and rely on their peanut salary. Ask your media organizations how many of them survive on paid adverts. Ask your journalist how of them don’t get brown or white envelops to grant interviews. Ask your corporate organizations how many of them don’t give to get. Ask your most revered critics if their sons and daughters are not eventually given political appointments. Ask your sports men and women if they don’t sort themselves with their coaches. Ask young Nigerians why they lie their way through to the develop Nations just to stay without permit.
These are the issues about me. You live in me yet you want to fight me. So instead of the irrelevant battles, why not give me a legal and recognized status.
Question: So how do you think such would work if at all its accepted?
Corruption: Well, just create a ministry to cater for me. Legalize my activities and let funds to be used in my name pass through the ministry. I’ll then be a fund generator for the instrument of government. I’ll operate just like the Nigerian customs. So the money wasted on institutions like EFCC and ICPC will be channeled into areas like job creation. Don’t forget that my legal recognition will also bring about jobs for some unemployed youth
Question: Frankly, I don’t think all you have said will sell at all. Even if it sails through with your millions of adopted children in government, I trust that Wole Soyinka will take your case to the United Nations and Femi Falana will head to court immediately. I can’t even stand it. Legalize you? That’s too much of a demand to settle this war.
Corruption: Sorry. That’s all I demand and if your view is what others like the WS, Falana, Frank Kokori, El – Rufai and the host of my few enemies share, then let the war continue!
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