From Left: HRH Bokumor Orukari of Sagbagrea, Bayelsa Stat; HM Felix Otuarikpo of Upata kingdom and HRM, Disreal Bobmanuel of Abonnema of Rivers State at the occasion

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -All Nigerians agree that corruption represents a major factor militating against fair distribution of resources and the quest for the nation’s economic independence. Past administrations had made attempts to address the problem but it had persisted. It was one of the reasons Nigerians voted for change in 2015. The All Progressives Congress, at the time, appeared to have a better offering in terms of candidate and manifesto: They promised Nigerians change and zero tolerance for corruption if voted into power, and brandished Muhammadu Buhari, the man they claimed was integrity personified.
However, since after taking over power in 2015, emergent realities have not been inspiring to most Nigerians. The anti-graft posture of the administration has been alleged to be selective, skewed against opposition politicians. While, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is running after those who served in the immediate past administration, reports emerge regularly of corrupt practices among officials of the current administration, and such allegations are said to be often swept under the carpet.
In the last few days, Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardships following the emergent scarcity of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit ( petrol). In Rivers State, Federal Capital Territory and other states in Nigeria, there have been widespread reports of scarcity and hike in the price of petrol. In some cases, vehicles are not even available to convey travellers who are willing to pay more because of the great difficulties in obtaining the product, and this development has sabotaged the Christmas plans of many citizens.
Response to the unfortunate development, President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly attributed the long queues of motorists at various filling stations across the country to hoarding of petrol and price inflation. He however sympathized with the citizens while assuring that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was working hard to improve the situation in the next few days.
Meanwhile, citizens whose plans for the yuletide are being threatened by the sharp practices among marketers of petroleum products and the ineptitude of the supervising government agencies are not impressed by the president’s statement that he has directed the regulators to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding of the products and price inflation by marketers.
They blame the president, who is also Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum, and the regulatory agencies of failing to be proactive, and allowing Nigerians to suffer needless pains at a time they should be celebrating. Some also accused the government of President Buhari of incompetence and failing to meet the legitimate expectations of Nigerians. It is also argued that the president’s acknowledgement of hoarding of petroleum products is a clear evidence that his administration is only paying lip service to the fight against corruption.
While we commend efforts by the federal government to address the scarcity of petrol, it is important that those in government understand that Nigerians are no longer swayed by rhetoric and demonisation of the immediate past administration of Dr. Good luck Jonathan. While the citizens are yearning for change in the ways and means of running the affairs of Nigeria, it does appear that, more than two years of the current administration of President Buhari, the promised change has remained elusive.
All over the world, the purpose of government is to provide for the welfare of the citizens. Where the citizen’s welfare is not guaranteed, their trust in government is threatened and the natural tendency is to look elsewhere for the change they so earnestly desire.
If the present administration is being reactive, instead of preventing hoarding of petrol and other forms of corruption said to be still prevalent, then the war against corruption is lost because, according to George C. Marshall, “The only way to win a war is to prevent it”.

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