By Morgan Adikwu
” He who must come to equity must come with clean hands”….
The maestro Afro beat legend, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti of the blessed memory did not anticipate the enormity of the truism in his song entitled “Authority Stealing Pass Armed Robbery” in the early 1980s. Thus the Paradoxical theme in the said song has been the bane confronting our contemporary society, a quintessence of Benue State. Authority is the right confer on some certain individuals in the society to make and enforce laws or policies which the citizens must obey. However, it is worrisome and disheartened, when this
Authority is being use to steal from the same people they command obedience.
The ethical values which uphold how the affairs of the people is been administer, depend on the manner in which government resources are used within tenets of efficiency, effectiveness and improve productivity toward achieving the confidence and trust of the people. The effective management of government resources is determine by the level of fairness and transparency in which those entrusted with statutory responsibility meticulously and diligently discharge their duty.
It is in line with the above, that the Benue State Government constituted a Commission of Inquiry to probe the allegation of Financial diversion and Embezzlement funds, of the Suswam led Administration. This platform provided the former Governor the opportunity to come and clear the odious and opprobrium attachment to his Administration. Rather than coming to set the aclaimed record straight, the former governor seeks for a Stay of Execution, to stop the commission of inquiry to probe his administration.
Very disturbing is the manner in which the social media is been awashed with comments such like, ” Is it only Benue State that is indebted?”, ” They want to tarnish Suswam’s ‘reputation’ “, “The process is to witch haunt Suswam”. I just laughed at their naivety and said to myself, if the truth must be told, ” a guilty conscience is always scared of accussation”. These social media analyst failed to educate the people, that Anambra State is not an oil producing State, and with Federation Allocation to the State that is less than that of Benue State but yet had a surplus to the tune of Seventy billion naira (70,000,000,000), when the former governor Peter Obi left office. While Ekiti State that is among the States with the least Federal Allocation was indebted to the tune of thirty billion naira (30,000,000,000) when Dr. Kayode Fayemi became the governor, but he was able to pay off twelve billion naira (12,000,000,000) out of what he met despite the huge infrastructural development in the State and it so in other States.
But in Benue State, the former governor left a debt burden of over one hundred and thirty billion naira (130,000,000,000), amiss infrastructural decay and total collapse of governance. This scenario in Benue State is an empirical case of “Consideration of Acvountability in the process of economic development has completely been neglected”. This is a clear case of ‘Corruption is not Stealing’ as we are meant to believe.
It is my humble submission, that the above Benue State scenario is worse than Armed Robbery, unlike what some of the social media analyst in Benue State will push for. For the catastrophe and damages this Authority Stealing has caused Benue State is in billion times worse than what Armed Robbery had caused the State. That is why in some Asian country such a related crime is punishable by death sentence.
As Felabration is being celebrated this week to honour of the late Afro beat legend, who had used his style of songs to emancipate the poor masses and kept the government in check, I am so obliged to state that, things has not change from how Fela left them. Our politicians and top government officials whose pen is more powerful and mightier than the gun, no longer steal in unit of billion but in hundreds of billion and in trillions. They further impoverished the masses in their acts with their usual concepts of MISAPPROPRIATION, MAL ADMINISTRATION, DEFRAUDMENT, EMBEZZLEMENT, MISMANAGEMENT, DIVERSION, FALSIFICATION, CORRUPTION etc, which to them is not stealing.