Former President Obasanjo: “Grandfather of Corruption“ and Implications

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Imagine you had children or grandchildren ““ perhaps, a lot of them – you never knew of! To many, the idea could lead to anxiety, sadness or other psychological stress ““ especially in the African environment.

The cultural belief in Africa that blood is thicker than water speaks volume. Definitely, there is nothing more terribly worrisome to many Africans, than not knowing their offspring. The traditional expectation in many African societies that children inherit their family`s name and legacies when the head of the family has died, explains the much attachment Africans have to their family lineage. With this in mind, it has become a serious social migraine to many culturally conscious people ““ especially those who have African interests in their minds, to hear the House of Representatives of Nigeria, accuse former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday of being the grandfather of corruption in the country.

But before any speculative conclusions, actually, the major problem is not the accusation itself, but the perception in many quarters, including the accused himself, that President Obasanjo does, in fact, not believe that he is a grandfather, talk less knowing his children. You actually cannot become a grandfather without first being a father. Fatherhood is a grand title one inherits, not out of age, but purely on one`s meritorious bedroom Maradonaism or Peleism. But again, before jumping into an impromptu conclusion, President Obasanjo has constantly made it absolutely clear that he cannot remember fathering, any child, talk less being a grandfather. No, he seems to have it wrong. He is accused of being not just a grandfather, but the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria, in the sense that, according to the accusation, he first introduced corruption to the National Assembly on its first working day in 1999. Ok, so we are not just talking about biological children here, but corruption. Humm! I am not sure an accusation of this nature merits a champagne celebration.

While speaking at the first Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos on Wednesday, Obasanjo lambasted the lawmakers:

“National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged,“ He went further to accuse the parliament of operating a cabal “worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time.“

Former President Obasanjo`s accusation did not go well amongst many law makers. The Chairman, House Committee on Media & Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas quickly responded, calling former President Obasanjo a hypocrite who lacks the moral authority to criticise others, in view of Obasanjo`s alleged corrupt past. Wow! If former President Obasanjo is indeed the grandfather of corruption, who introduced the canker warm in the National Assembly, then logically ““ and biologically ““ speaking for that matter, there must be many offsprings of his, still lingering around in the National Assembly ““ and perhaps other places in Nigeria as well. Definitely one expects these children to most likely love and protect their (grand)father. You now understand another aspect of the blood is thicker than water concept, don`t you? Very serious, indeed.

However, one thing is to be called a grandfather ““ whether of children or corruption ““ another thing is for the accused to accept the responsibility ““ especially without a convincing proof. Obasanjo has, as usual, vehemently denied fathering any corruption in Nigeria. Perhaps, one starts to understand why often we are strongly advised to wear protection during the games. It is not just about protecting one from AIDS, but such a protection helps one avoid damaging accusations like those from both Obasanjo and Mr. Namdas. But come to think of it, our modern democratic society is such that such strong accusations can easily be verified through a DNA test. This is where the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria comes in. With the accusations and denials of the corruption fatherhood and doubts in many quarters, it is the time the EFCC made the much-needed corruption DNA test to clearly decide who the grandfathers and children of the corruption in Nigeria are. No, Africans hardly believe in bastardism; children don`t come from the sky. They are born after a sexual encounter. So, children have parents. Would the EFCC`s DNA test not be the best way to settle this unknown corruption “parenthood“ debacle once and for all ““ and clear the names of those found innocent?

On the other hand, the parents and children of corruption in Nigeria must be made to account for their economic plundering and other nefarious crimes, if the present regime wants Nigerians to believe its so-called corruption crusade. With the Nigerian economy going down the abysmal pit of the recession, there seems no better time to take responsibilities ““ especially for our actions ““ than now.