16 November 2018

Nigeria: Gandujegate - Lest Impunity Prevail

Abdullahi Ganduje — Though even before the issuance of the controversial court order barring the Kano State House of Assembly from carrying on with its purported investigation into the bribery-taking scandal involving Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, I never took the investigation seriously. After all, going by the way the House was handling the matter, it was already obvious that the Governor would almost certainly be "cleared" of any wrongdoing eventually.

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries and aspiring beneficiaries of corruption, paid and even unsolicited governor's apologists who albeit deep down never doubt the authenticity of the leaked bribery video clips carry on propagating empty and ridiculous arguments in their desperate attempts to absolve the governor.

However, though many unsuspecting Kanawa who albeit suffer the most as a result of corruption have fallen for such empty arguments, the subsequently released third and fourth audible clips as well as the audible version of the first clip obviously cleared up any doubts any unbiased person might have had about the authenticity of the video clips.

Also, disappointingly enough, despite the gravity of the scandal and it's implication on the economic wellbeing of the state, its image and indeed the collective dignity of Kanawa as a whole, the reactions of the state's prominent elite who are supposed to be particularly interested in the matter have been largely apathetic, to say the least.

Likewise, though a few civil society groups in the state have demanded for a proper investigation into the matter, a lack of effective public campaign and lobbying strategies rendered their efforts ineffective.

Interestingly, even Governor Ganduje's political opponents in the state who are expected to take advantage of the scandal to finish him off politically never seem interested enough in the matter, which may seem quite confusing to unsuspecting observers. Well, the only explanation is that they simply lack the moral high ground to challenge him, having been previously almost certainly equally involved in similar acts of stealing over their respective periods in public service. Besides, knowing that the governor can, by virtue of his position, easily unearth their past hidden records of similar acts, they feel too vulnerable to capitalize on his political predicament for fear of provoking him. In fact some of them have even gone to the extent of feigning a tacit sympathy for him out of sheer hypocrisy.

Yet, it's even more disappointing how those trying to dismiss the scandal on purported moral grounds are misquoting some Islamic injunctions to absolve the governor, even though they equally almost certainly know deep down that the bribery video clips are authentic.

By the way, they base their misquoted arguments on: One, Islamic injunctions against exposing a person caught sinning secretly; two, Islamic injunctions against dissemination of unverified stories; and three, Islamic injunctions against defamation of character; none of which however actually applies to Ganduje's case. Because Ganduje's case is basically a case of stealing public funds, and stealing, being a crime usually committed secretly, exposing whoever caught committing it is in fact a religious obligation, especially when the person involved is the very person entrusted with what he is caught stealing.

Also, the injunction against defamation of character never applies in this regard. After all, if the governor is indeed innocent, as he wants everybody to believe, why can't he go ahead and sue the journalist who published the video clips, so as to challenge the authenticity of the clips with superior technical proofs, if any.

Though some fellow Kanawa may wonder what warrants this "excessive" obsession with Ganduje's scandal in particular as though kickbacks and other forms of stealing aren't rampant in the society. Well, obviously Ganduje's scandal is particularly disgraceful because the incriminating evidence against him is certainly the most explicit leaked evidence ever leaked in Kano and arguably in Nigeria as well showing a top government official of his status being handed bundles of raw cash in US currency amid unremorseful and indeed sadistic smiles emanating from hearts too heartless to feel pity for the millions of impoverished Kanawa deprived of essential infrastructure and basic public services as critical as education, healthcare, etc. as a result of that very act and other similar acts of stealing perpetrated in the state over the years.

Now, though Kano has unfortunately declined politically over the years leading to the emergence of the current generation of the largely inept political elite, it must not be neglected to get any worse. It's already one of the worst places to live on earth, going by its scores on the Human Development Index.

As an immediate measure to arrest the decline, there should be concerted and coordinated efforts among key political players in the state irrespective of their partisan affiliations to ensure that Governor Ganduje isn't reelected.

In the meantime, patriotic Kanawa elite from various academic, professional and business backgrounds, even though many of them have quite understandably withdrawn from public affairs to safeguard their dignity from infringement at the hands of 'yan jagaliya in the name of politicking, should form formidable non-partisan interest groups with a focus on the grassroots affairs in order to influence people's choices on the calibre of politicians they elect.

Also, as a long-term strategy, there should be a well-defined and comprehensive agenda for the state to serve as the guiding reference for nominating aspiring candidates for all political offices in the state, and of course for government's development strategies and projects.

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