- A very long time ago, each time I wanted to withdraw money from my bank account, no matter how small, I must be compelled to physically visit the bank, and carry along my cheque book or passbook. I would be made to drop it on the counter on top of a mountain of other cheque books or passbooks, waiting to be attended to.
I would watch the messenger take these cheque books or passbooks, not necessarily in the order in which they came, but as it had pleased him or whoever might have talked to him. He would sort out the ledger from hundreds of other ledgers stockpiled at one corner of the banking hall.
Thereafter, he would carry the ledger to the bank manager who in turn would meticulously go through it before giving approval and then passing it over to the cashier for payment. By the time all these processes were completed, it would have taken up to three to four hours and even more.
When later I was privileged to travel outside the country, I was amazed at how promptly I was always attended to whenever I went to the bank. The cashier would simply place his/her fingers on the computer and I would be called upon to collect my money.
Years later, when I saw the same system begin to operate in Nigeria, I very much delighted. Today, one can comfortably do all his bank transactions without moving an inch from his house. Traders who travel from one state to the other to transact businesses no longer have to carry bags of cash at the risk of endangering their lives and their hard earned money. The system not only saves time, it also reduces risk and drastically cuts down on human labour used in production.
Former military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, is an ingenious man. He invented several words which have greatly enriched our political vocabulary such as “new and old breed politicians”, “visionary leadership'”, “political engineering”, ” Option A4″, “a little to the right, and a little to the left”, etc.
In his “I write, I did not write, I write ” letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, typical of Maradona himself, Babangida who took a swipe at the lacklustre performance of the present administration, said the time for “analogue” politicians was over and that the stage should be left for “digital” new breed politicians.
Without specifically mentioning any name, Babangida declared that it was “enough of this analogue system”. He stressed that Nigeria should embrace “digital leadership orientation with the trappings of consultative, constructive, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the accountability and transparency in governance”.
Babangida who knows how to deliver his punches without making it appear hard, stressed “need for new generational leadership evolution with the essential attribute of responsive, responsible and proactive leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and to jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technological-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance”.
The former President chided the method adopted by the present administration in fighting corruption, saying that it is about “plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption”.
“Contemporary leadership is to be proactive and not reactive”, he said, stressing that “accountability in leadership should flow from copious example. It goes beyond mere sloganeering?
Following from this hard punches delivered by Babangida, what other new system has the present administration adopted in their so-called fight against corruption other than the same old method which Buhari and Idiagbon had used in the 1980s, of clamping people into detention? Living in the past. Reactive. No innovation. That is why Babangida said that the analogue method should give way for the digital system.
At least the Buhari government has been honest to admit that they did introduce the Treasury Single Account (TSA), only that the Jonathan regime which initiated it, did not, at that time, have the political will to implement it.
For almost three years, Sambo Dasuki is still languishing in jail in spite of several court orders for his release, while Olisa Metu had to be brought on a stretcher to the court. In the same vein, the EFCC notwithstanding the noise being made about the arrest and detention of corrupt politicians, is yet to make any conviction. This is the analogue system which Babangida was referring to.
But has the system been able to stem corruption in the country? Not many people will positively affirm it.
Corruption is a symptom of an unjust social system. Corruption exists because there is opportunity for it. But if you plug all the holes of corruption, like electronic collection of government revenues, there will be little or no room for corruption there, because those who usually benefit from it will no longer have the opportunity of enriching themselves from the system. Even if you bring an angel to Nigeria under the present socioeconomic set up, you cannot stop him from being corrupt, just as you cannot put yams before a goat and expect the goat not to eat them.
Those who benefit from the unjust social system in Nigeria, like those who benefit from the importation of petroleum products, or whose interest is in power generation, etc., will never allow the system changed because they are benefitting from the system.
If the Buhari method was able to curb corruption, there wouldn’t have been the case of Babachir Lawal, the grass-cutting former Secretary to the Government of the Federation; there wouldn’t have been the Baru/Kachikwu face off and the N20 billion contract saga; and there wouldn’t have been the N919 million fraud allegation against Prof. Yusuf, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme that led to his suspension by Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewale, etc.
By the way, I hear that the Presidency has ordered for Yusuf’s reinstatement, the same way they had secretly reinstated Maina, the suspended chairman of Pensions Board. That was what Babangida said in his letter, reactive, instead of proactive. Sloganeering saying one thing, but doing a different thing.
I pity President Buhari watching him as he was being conferred with anti corruption award by African leaders at Addis Ababa. The man does not seem to know the level of corruption going on in his government, or he knows it but prefers to look the other side. This will be manifested when the administration is no longer in power.
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