16th September, 2010
Without gainsaying, the present travails and undue persecution being faced by Hon. DinoÂ Melaye in the House of Representatives can be likened to Mallam Nuhu Ribaduâ€™s experience inÂ the Nigeria Police Force under the then leadership of I.G. Mike Okiro (retd.).
Going by the alarm raised over corruption in a no-holds-barred presentation made by JusticeÂ George Oguntade of the Supreme Court at the 2009 Annual Law Week of the Benin Branch of theÂ Nigeria Bar Association in Benin on Monday, June 22, 2009, where the learned judge warnedÂ the Nigerian citizenry on the danger inherent in endorsement of corrupt practices â€œthat wasÂ glaringly inimical to the survival of the countryâ€, there is need for stocktakingÂ collectively as a nation as far as the fight against corruption in the land is concerned.
The legal luminary, as reported on page 7 in the Punch edition of Tuesday, June 23, 2009,Â also berated lawyers in the country â€œfor aiding corruptionâ€ and â€œaccused them of being usedÂ as avenues to compromise judicial office holders in the country,â€ adding that â€œtheÂ corruption menace deserved the concerned efforts of the citizenryâ€ to combat.
He also averred that â€œthe problem of corruption in Nigeria has assumed a worrying dimensionâ€Â and concluded in the biblical language that â€œwe have done those things we ought not to haveÂ done and failed to do those things we ought to have doneâ€.
Patriotic citizens such as the Chairman of EFCC, Chief (Mrs.) Farida Waziri, ICPC Chairman,Â Justice Emmanual Ayoola (rtd.), the former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Major GeneralÂ Ishola Williams (retd.) and the eleven anti-corruption and conscience-driven lawmakers inÂ the House of Representatives led by Hon. Dino Melaye, have no doubt risen to the wake-upÂ call by Justice Oguntade but the price paid for their patriotism is well known not only inÂ our country but to the whole world.
The all-time vibrant and enterprising rumour mill in our polity is being subtly employed toÂ run down the good works of the incumbent Chairman of EFCC, while the concerted patrioticÂ calls by the duo of the ICPC Chairman and Major Ishola Williams (retd.) on public officeÂ holders to shun corruption continue to fall on deaf ears.
The humiliation of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu at the National Institute for Policy and StrategicÂ Studies where he was denied graduation with his course mates and his demotion from the rankÂ of an Assistant Inspector General of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police (his new rankÂ has now been restored) stood out as his reward for his internationally acknowledged selflessÂ service that he rendered towards stamping out corruption from his fatherland.
Hon. Dino Melaye and his group in the House of Representatives were suspended for anÂ indefinite period for calling on their colleagues and the House Speaker to toe the path ofÂ honesty and accountability in the manner by which public funds were being administered inÂ the House.
To say that our House of Representatives as presently constituted without the suspended 11Â members has been facing credibility problem from the Nigerian public and civilised nationsÂ of the world since the inglorious and inhuman treatment meted out on Hon. Dino MelayeÂ masterminded by the House Speaker and his comrades in the House is to say the obvious.
President Goodluckâ€™s intervention in the travails of Malam Nuhu Ribadu in the hands of theÂ Nigeria Police Force no doubt saved Nigeria from the accompanying embarrassment faced by ourÂ country while his humiliation lasted during the Yarâ€™Adua administration.
It is also hoped that the Mr. President will also use that milk of kindness flowing in himÂ to call the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his cohorts to orderÂ by ensuring a return of the suspended members in the House without any further delay. By soÂ doing, the President would have been seen to save our country from further embarrassment.
Closing of eyes to institutionalised corruption in our House of Representatives, as isÂ unfortunately the case today, will not augur well for the fight against corruption in theÂ larger society. May God save our country which, 50 years after independence, is stillÂ gasping for air of freedom under the weight of the CORRUPTION monster that has no doubtÂ continued to ravage our nation.
â€¢Odunayo Joseph, an ex-staff of Nigerite Limited, writes from Mopa, Kogi State. Tel:Â 08053488121.