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African view: Insane with greed

Sanni Abacha, Joseph Mobutu and Jean-Bedell Bokassa
The current corruption harks back to Africa's most notorious kleptocrats

In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Sola Odunfa considers the possibility that Nigeria's corrupt officials may need psychiatric help.

I was settling down to write this letter when a back-page column in the Punch newspaper seized my attention.

We have observed people amassing public wealth to a point of madness or some form of obsessive or compulsive psychiatric disorder
EFCC's Farida Waziri

The Punch is a daily published in Lagos but its distribution spans the length and breadth of Nigeria, and it claims to be "the most widely read newspaper".

The columnist in that issue dealt with the well-flogged subject of corruption in the country.

I had thought that there was hardly anything more to say about the brazen ravage of the Nigerian treasury by public officers and officials but this columnist brought a fresh insight into the subject.

Obsessive, compulsive

That insight was provided by the executive chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Farida Waziri in a public lecture.

Her statement bears quoting verbatim: "The extent of aggrandisement and gluttonous accumulation of wealth that I have observed suggests to me that some people are psychologically unsuitable for public office.

Weapons handed in by Niger Delta militants, 3/10
Some say the Delta crisis and amnesty are rooted in greed

"We have observed people amassing public wealth to a point of madness or some form of obsessive or compulsive psychiatric disorder."

How else does one describe a situation in which a public officer who has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the public purse acquires property in key Western countries and, of course, South Africa, maintains multi-million bank balances abroad and yet continues to steal?

They can hardly keep track of their wealth, the full extent of which they must hide from even their spouses and children.

Their obsession with stealing is such that they are totally incapable of having any feeling for the scores of millions of other Nigerians around them who are bearing the consequences of their action in poverty, deprivation, disease and hopelessness.

Business as usual

The Niger Delta crisis is a direct product of that obsession.

Officials at all levels cornered so much of the revenue from oil and gas that there was nothing left for the welfare of the hapless populace.

Dollars will also start flowing again - into the permanently open mouths of gluttonous public officers

When youths of the region rose in protest the army, backed by helicopter gunships, was sent in.

The youths responded by stealing oil to acquire weapons. Eventually revenue into the public purse was reduced by half.

There was less money in the kitty to steal. Panic set in! Amnesty came to the rescue. High-profile militants have since surrendered their arms. They are now talking peace with the government.

What happens in this new era of peace in the region?

I think oil and gas will resume flowing in the pipelines. Dollars will also start flowing again - into the permanently open mouths of gluttonous public officers.

The situation will return to normal. Business as usual.

Honestly, Mrs Waziri's concern and suggestion of psychiatric evaluation of some people in public service made comic reading only here.

Something tells me that the legacy of Mobutu Sese Seko, Jean-Bedell Bokassa and Sani Abacha (former leaders of Zaire, the Central African Republic and Nigeria respectively) is alive and well somewhere not far from here.


Thanks for your comments. Please read a selection below:

There are many things I like about Nigerians. No matter where they are, they are well educated and informed. I like their confidence and they are fun to be around however they have an insatiable Appetite for everything-from food to cash. They have a culture of showing off by any means necessary. Even respectable professionals have no qualms boasting about their friends in high places. The same friends that loot their country mercilessly!!! So, they need to look into their culture that worship money and riches unconditionally. I strongly believe that is the root cause of their problem. if they could address this one and major factor collectively, then, it is much more easier to have respect for the rule of law. Nigeria with all its natural resources and relatively good human capita can truly be the gain of Africa and beyond. Don't let greed destroy you.
Mama Africa, London

Nigeria and Nigerians will soon be a course to be studied in universities around the world. This is because no one really understand us. Every single Nigerian want to be rich by hook or crook and without working for it. Most Nigerians who have been living abroad now wants to go back home just because they have realised that the quickest way to get rich is by knowing one "THIEF" up there who tells them how to steal. Some have left their wives and children in horrible conditions here and could not careless. While they were out of Nigeria they saw all the leaders as thieves but now they have joined the band wagon of looting they are all saints. This can not be right. Very soon a revolution will take place in that country and many people will be made to account for their wrong doings.
Frank Johnson, London

What we experience in Africa in particular Nigeria is just a reflection of a society where corruption is celebrated. Former Inspector General of the Police Mr Tarfa Balogun was removed based on allegations of corruption and charged to court for trial, months later in his hometown he was conferred with a chieftaincy title. Former Speaker of the House of Representative Mrs Patricia Etteh was impeached based on allegations of corruption yet she still remains a member of the esteemed house of Representatives . She still occupies the front row during deliberations is it that the whole of that state do not have any other person to represent them NO its just the celebration of corruption in NIGERIA.
Usman Lawal , Kaduna ,Nigeria

This group of evil mafians have held Nigeria hostage for decades. The painful aspect is that some from the younger generation are also lured to the 'Luciferan flag'. But their time is very short, and they know it. A new order is in the making! That beast with seven heads, called corruption will soon be bound with fetters of iron. No mafia in the world can stop a dream whose time has come. Nigeria will rise sooner than expected.
Julius Mba, Stavanger, Norway

"Too much talk, yet no action..." The issues highlighted here have never been new to anyone of us reading it today. So the question is, "Where and how do we start to change this?" Having lived in a western society for a reasonable-enough time to have observed Governments working well due to the fact that they can be held accountable, I then ask EFCC's Farida Waziri, (1) What have you done till date on Ibori, Peter Odili, Chimaroke Namani, & all the ex-governors indicted on corruption charges exposed by Ribadu, as highly curroupt officials? (2) How many public office holders have been indicted or persecuted under her watch of the EFCC? My message to her: Either you put-up or you shut-up! Some of the people can be fooled sometimes, but not all the people all the time... - R.N.Marley.
henry ekpemandu, Uk

Thank you Sola for this write-up. The story of corrupt nigerian leaders are similar to the story of the rich man in the bible that thought he has got enough wealth so he can eat and wine till he die, the corrupt leaders has forgetten that all this wealth they are gathering they leave one day and none of them will spend it on their way to heaven or in heaven or hell wherever they find themselves. Like what someone said sometimes that is a mentality of a poor man that was just privilege to have money in his or custody. Please someone ask them about the story of ten richest men on earth, they all died as poor so also those leaders they have got nothing in thier brain so if don't finish spending it l think their children finish it and that same family end up a beggar. And l think they need prayer. Thanks.
olaore olushola, lagos,nigeria

I would be most grateful if Sola Odunfa can do justice to the comment made by Tumba, Yola, Nigeria. That is, by doing more research on the comment and perhaps agree or disagree...and let us open a new debate.. It is ironical that When Sola opened a Punch newspaper, the only article that caught his attention was Corruption in Nigeria..No other news..Economics, social or cultural. Please let us read more positive news from Nigeria and indeed Africa or are you engaging in media war with Nigeria, now that the Niger Delta has ended.
Abiodun, London Uk

Nigerians are good people but have bad leaders.you become a wicked follow in when you try to right the wrong. Stealing is a booming business in the govt. Everyone sees godliness as a means of making gains. that's why nigerians are religious. A man who went to office with nothing comes out a billionare and then goes to court to restrain the anti graft agency from investigating him.no good roads, collaps educational system, erratic power and stealing has brought everything to a standstill. Stealing thrives through the presidency to the local council. They loot even to the detriment of those they claim to lead.its really unfortunate. I hope scientist will comeout with a vaccine to vaccinate nigerian leaders.
Olokpite Elijah, Otukpo Nigeria

i agree with most of the comments made before me. i only want to add that no one suggest way out of the situation. practically, what do we do. talk on pages of news papers?, enlightenment?, going to the crecks?, resign to faith?.i think this is what we should be doing. i think most of us are guilty, from a labourer, clerk, artist, to the man seen on top.
sani ibrahim, abuja nigeria

it is getting there, the time is getting nearer. this article and the response received, gives me joy. That the time for true leaders. The African leader is coming sooner than perceived. We have been governed mostly by wretched unrealistic lunatic opportunists. ONLY A FEW ARE LEADERS."WE SAY SHAME ON YOU" But this PHASE is about to fade away for GREATNESS, To who say all NIGERIANS are corrupt, YOU LIE. To who say they complain because they do not have the opportunity to be in position and will do same, your research sampling method is defaulted by the great few. The great few will get there and they will convert many the nation and Africa will bear witness to these comments...PEACE AND GREATNESS AFRICA PEACE AND GREATNESS NIGERIA.
Amaechi Agunze, Lagos, Nigeria

i like the comments by Yinka from Canada and agree 100% with it. corruption is something that has eaten into the fabric of the common man on the streets in Nigeria...it has become the heart beat of most nigerians and being in government positions only gives one the opportunity to express the true condition of the heart and soul. So the question is : what's the solution and the answer is: Revolution..unless a number of people arise and say enough is enough, a people who at the risk of their own lives are able to stand up...i know that lots of times when people say this, the next question is..ok why don't you go and fight an die...Lets be honest no body wants to face the prospects of dying a violent death in the course of fighting for what one believes (well except maybe the taliban and al qaeda; guess that's why they are so popular!! ), so the alternative is let sleeping dogs lie..correct?. God bless Nigeria
ade, UK

1 lve 2 all of u who r proud 2 b nigerians irrespective of all its 'downsides', enof of all the big big grammer and the apportionin of blames. u dont hav 2 b in a place of authority to loot, so make all of una chill. i wish more people from nigeria n not people livin abroad can hav their say. upon evrytin where d hapen 4 9ja, nigerians still live their lives with a smile, what else can u ask 4? long live d federal republic of nigeria, long live our leaders, long live forums like dis!
9ja 4 life, UK london

Nigerians never seizes to amaze me. When anything happens, they point fingers at the West. Are these criminal looting the money not still in Nigeria and shielded by the same government in Power. We always look for outsiders to blame for our own failures. If you loot money in US or UK, the systems will first take care of you. The looters of Nigeria are not abroad, they are in the country. Your biggest mistake is to run when you loot. Nigerians have mastered the art, stay and bribe your way out. We are like a man that complains about his inability to control his family but puts every blame on his neighbours. To blame the West, let us hand them our police and the judiciary system.
T.Oyee, Dallas, TX

Sola, while corruption seems endemic here in Nigeria, its by no means a Nigerian or an African thing; it's everywhere! The peculiarities of our own situation stems from the fact that there are no enabling laws, or where they exist, they are not properly enforced. And, honestly, this comes from the imposition of foreign rules and governments on the indigenous peoples. Please consider these: Pyramid or Ponzi schemes come from the west, they are not African. All the oil and gas deals in Nigeria, are always hatched in the West; have you heard about the Naira polymer issue in Nigeria? Its an Australian thing! Yes, a US governor was impeached for selling a senate seat. Do you know how many of such seats would have been sold undetected? Greed, corruption, name any vice, they are global issues and to me it is uncharitable to situate them in Nigeria or Africa for that matter.
Segun, Lagos, Nigeria

No amount of wealth will ever make corrupt Nigerian government officials acceptable among the G8. No matter how well they live the stench of oppression will always follow them and though not spoken about the pariah will scream in their wake. We will hold our nose whilst taking their money. Bless you Mrs Waziri.
John Grandin, Calgary, Canada

This is near accurate but still scratches the surface. There is a clear cultural identity issue here and we all seem to function in the country as a group without any sense of kinship with the state..... in that context, the madness appears as a means to an end to everyone....an unsustainable way of life.
Olufemi Awoyemi, Lagos, Nigeria

That the African continent and Nigeria have a problem is an open secret, the situation of the country is as a result of our own doing, that I concur to as well, but what I will not subscribe to is comments such as Yemi form London, and Sembe in Dallas. They seem to bit disillusioned about who Nigerians really are? She is home to about 150 million people; there is that slight chance of some bad apples. Ironically, she's home to the first black Nobel laureate, 2 time nominee for the same price in Physics, a million and one professional world wide, but to name a few. It's an unfair stereotype saying any Nigerian given the chance will do the exact same thing as our past or present leaders. Some of us still have moral consciences. I believe there are still a few good Nigerians left not only in the world, but in Nigeria. So my fellow Nigerians lets not be quick to point fingers and call names. In as much as we are part of the problem, if we look inwards we can be part of the solution. Then Western world has a big part to play also in helping not only Nigeria but Africa in riding this rot of corruption.
Deji Amao, Johannesburg, South Africa

i think this aticle should be given an award because to me it is 78.9 percent correct. i wish the writer Gods protection 4 such mighty truth.
Hussaini Abdullahi, Kaduna, Nigeria

The issue with corruption in Nigeria is due to Lawlessness. Lawlessness breeds excessive corruption, and corruption creates poor leadership and performance, lack of accountability and fiscal irresponsibility, poverty and unemployment, low economic productivity, marginalization and neglect among others. The corruption in Nigeria cannot be reduced if the law is not enforced because most of the public officials that are perpetuating the corruption live above the law, and the so called EFCC chairman is aware. The question is; "who will bell the cat", because the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria are more dishonest than the corrupt Officials.
Chukwuma O. Nwaonicha, Riverdale, MD, USA

The cause of this pandemic is with nigerians. The average nigerian goal is to amass wealth by any means. until there is moral regeneration in the country, nigeria can never survive this plaque called corruption. l work and live in south africa, you will never see this aggressive crave for money in south africans or other african nationals as you see in nigerians living in this country. From the clergy to pews, from elders to the youths the yardstick for the measure of success in life is material acquisiton by any means for nigerians.
victor odede, lephalale, south africa

i promise you the change is coming, i have watch this fat cat loot the treasury and i have cried my eyes to death. now, the time has come for change, the people matter from where i stand, everybody wants power but no vision. let me tell in khana local govt area some of the so call cansa..my *** can not even sign their name.why are they in office. for sake of the poor people, why appoint them into office PDP?
sarogbote nwambo, balie-Ogoni

Oh, there is nothing wrong with these individuals except some of them having Antisocial or Narcissistic personality disorders. But on a broad sense, nothing. However, what is wrong is there is there are no adequate and efficient check and balances until very recently. The law does not protect the innocent or efficiently pursue the criminals. Hence if you are a position of power you are 'expected' to 'spread' the wealth and 'help' your people. This has nothing to do with culture or the person's personality. The person who leaves a government job with 'nothing' is seen as mad.
Tunde Ajao, London

If there is any other word to use aside GLUTTONOUS, it would have been better. They are simply mad. They see political office as their work place. They are group of people living doing nothing and feeding fat on other people's sweat. They are not mad but worst than mad. They have no CONSCIENCE.
Onabajo Ademolu, Lagos Nigeria

Public office holders in Nigeria and other african nations to be sworn into office by ATR oaths and not the bible or the koran which are foreign to africa. for example in Nigeria, swear by shango, ogun, erede, amadioara, eziza, ayelala etc, etc, and you will find truthfulness and honesty come to play. There are some good christian and moslem leaders but these are not our religions and cannot stop corruptive minds. stop them by what they believe in., even in the name of the ancestors of the land. they fear to go crazy or die quickly by these African Traditional Religious oaths if they breach them.
Monday Eson, Madrid-Spain

Thanks for your contribution, Sheldon A McDonald, I couldn't have said it better. It's not about your race or colour or any other one of those artificial demarcators that we all love or hate so much (depending on how you look at it), it's about putting in the right checks and balances, and making them transparent. At the risk of sounding cynical, let me just state the obvious, i.e. human nature is selfish and self-preserving, and if people think they will get away with something, they will do it.
Chicandyou, London

No!...Nigeria is not a failed state. It is just a state going through a tough metamorphosis. Of course, Her problem of corruption is overwhelmingly and awesomely great. It even gets scarrier when you begin to examine the mindset of most youth who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow. It is a nation where it seems almost nothing positive works. Yet we cannot begin to give up hope on her as a state that may come to prevail someday however bleak that hope may seem. Of course this may not happen in our lifetime but we can always work hard and aspire for it at least for our children's sakes. Sometimes it takes just a courageous push from a patriotic one to change a whole nation. It would seem that is happening already in Lagos state. The level of improvement being experienced there may seem very minute compared to the gigantic menace of corruption and the awesome potential of Nigeria but let's not forget we read David Killed Golliath! I believe the earlier we started accepting our faults the better. Yes, Nigeria is corrupt but she cannot be held responsible for corruption elsewhere. They say when you identify your problem you are halfway closer to your solution. We may come to find a Nigerian solution to the Nigerian problem that can be modelled all across Africa. Naija for Life!!!
Taofiq Amoloye, Göteborg, Sweden

A good piece... but it's very unfortunate that the so call 'leaders' and 'officials' don't read this kind of articles and they won't change until something like revolution, a powerful ruler with compassion for the poor arise and change things. These people don't have hearts nor fear of God. They kill for rituals and for the position they are occupying. In Nigeria we truly need a communist state with candid rulers like that of China! What is good for the West is simply not good for us for now; corrupt officials perpetuate evils under these systems.
Ayorinde, Ekiti, Nigeria.

What else shall we say about Nigeria? We have highly educated persons who do not use the knowledge acquired to do good for the nation. The Nigerian elite are as crude, even worse than, illiterate, mischievous and barbaric African rulers who sold their kith and kins as slaves to Europeans. Some persons are optimistic, but I don't think there is hope for Nigeria. Even when we have a 'graduate-president', things are getting worse. God will certainly be angry with Nigeria - a blessed country being destroyed by the greed of its inhabitants.
Theophilus Abbah, Abuja, Nigeria

I think in addition to psychiatric test one need to continually pray for nigeria because the situation (corruption) seems to be irredeemable. How else do you expect a police sergeant who earn less than $50 a day to enforce laws? I suggest travel ban on all corrupt individuals & all properties linked abroad to all corrupt individuals should be confiscated.
Ibeawuchi wilfred, Lagos, nigeria

well said over the years that we do not have good leaders.but the last time i checked, the leaders are from among the people they govern. No Nigerian leader was from mars. Meaning we all practice corruption on the levels we are, then when offered public office we perfect and climax those acts.THE DAY WE CHANGE US, LEADERSHIP HAS CHANGED.
Adams Isaac Galare, Abuja, Nigeria

It has been said a thousand times that absolute power corrupts. When there is no rule of law, and the law is how much you have and how wealthy you are, people steal and loot to get the power to provide security for themselves. For example we all know these leaders are corrupt, but our police, army and other security personnel still stand guard at their residence and provide security when they travel. In a society where we glorify wealth and materialism, this will continue unless, we as a populace elect leaders and not select them based on their wealth.
VALENTINE, Lagos, Nigeria

This is a good article. Though it may sound insulting and condescending to a foreigner, we Nigerians know that every word is true. The corollary is that very few demand government accountability to the point of self-sacrifice (a necessary condition for change). Rather, terror of poverty and death make even the young to aspire to become like the thieves in power if they get a chance, or at least to get close enough to these thieves to obsequiously grab some crumbs from their tables. This is Africa. It will never change, unless we force it to.
Righteous, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

The leaders we have are , at times, a reflection of the readiness and hidden desires of our hearts. The evolutionary desires of most africans still exist is a static mindset to enrich materially rather than enrich the soul. A strong sense to fill the colonial gap of nothingness that had existed. The weaknesses that exist with the followership in combating these gluttonous leaders is an attestation of the secret desires to replicate same behavioural pattern when the opportunity arises to lead. The solution lies not in pointing out the bad leaders we resemble but rather in a fundamental shift to an evolutionary dynamics of behaviour that emphasizes immaterial wealth, embraces spiritual health, extends love, desirous of equality and justice in our current communities.....until we change the focal point of our innerself from a culture of acquisition and greedy accumulation to that of selflessness and continuous community....we will keep breeding the unintentional hidden secrets of our inner desires
Yinka, Calgary, Canada

You have missed the point. Our leaders are playing out the script of their imperialist masters like Britain and America. Where do they take the stolen monies to? Imagine those trillions of dollars in Africa's economy. Where did Mobutu ran to when he plundered Zaire? Were his loot taken back to Africa after his demise? Come on brothers think about it. How did Britain get developed? Europe had nothing except colonialism and the Church to cheat and extort resources from the most endowed Africa. So the real thieves are the Europeans! We should not be deceived by brainwashed agents of European imperialists.
Tumba, Yola. Nigeria

Obviously these glutinous permanently open mouthed corrupt politician are not mad men and neither do they need psychiatric help, they are shrewd evil men, and they exists every where. The problem which Nigeria is facing pales in comparison with Pakistan while the cause and effects remain the same, the tolerance and idolization of these corrupt civil servants and politicians by the population. I always wonder why amass at there call and they are able to show their popularity.
Mouladad Gichki, Pasni

It is sad, very sad. I never believed in the amnesty stuff. The elections are drawing near and they (the politicians) need oil money. How else should they go about it? AMNESTY! But it all goes down to their greed and avarice. The youths have to rise up one way or the other. We will soon see how far they can go.
Bernard Olwafemi Jemilohun, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Blame it on the Dictatorship of the privilege under the guise of democracy. Before we take the brush and paint the whole country as corrupt a close and honest examination will show that the most corrupt, the plunderers of the treasury, are mostly western trained and those with western affiliation. The political godfathers supported by their western patrons. The perverted democratic tyrants! Impose a system that is inappropriate for any society much less unsophisticated political class, the result - predictable disaster.
emem inyang, los angeles

This nonsense will end when the Nigerian people have the gut to say enough is enough. Nigerians are nothing but a bunch of crying babies who groan daily about corruption, but are unwilling to sacrifice to end it. The corrupt thieves know this and are taking advantage of it.
MG, Fremont, California

Its not just the African leadership that is corrupt. The entire gamut of African society is equally terribly corrupt. The African leadership didn't come from the mars, they're a product and a reflection of a culture that demands and expect the leadership to loot and to terrorize. A people gets a government it deserves.
Charlie Igbonoba

Some Nigerians home and abroad male and female given the opportunity to be in any position of power in Nigeria will steal money. I have the facts to support my claim. It is a disease running thru the blood of young and old men and women. Nobody wants to work for the so called daily bread, most just want to steal the daily bread as if it is a right (blue blood) mentality. Just imagine probing people for ever in our courts for corruption, land disputes etc. What in the world is all that about? Given a case to a court should have time limit, why is Nigeria so different in all instances, why? It is that same disease that Gani talked about, Fela talked about it and a lot of notable Nigerians talked about it. When is this madness going to stop? ONE DAY, ONE DAY.
Walt Olushegun, Atlanta, USA

@Sheldon A. McDonald, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. I tend to agree with you. There is no balance in this article. The author is African but now writes like a non-African, seeming to appear with no cultural identity, distancing himself from the subject. In my view non-Africans are also very greedy and corrupt. Besides for every tar brush there is a purifying brush for an Nkrumah, Zik, Tafawa Balewa, Haile Saliese, Kenneth Kaunda, Kofi Annan, Kuffour, Wade, Mandela and other leaders from Botswana, Namibia, Morocco, Tunisia etc who do not fit the profile painted in the article. I cannot see any similarity to me an African and to billions of Africans. The educated middles class in Nigeria for example neither votes or hardly seeks office hence you have the rejects and misfits in power. It is this group that have betrayed their fatherland and eagerly adopt non african perspectives. PS: I am not in support of corruption only corrupted identities and perspectives.
Tony, Lagos, Nigeria

Africa's corruption in fact stems from a system of government called colonialism, which had a structure that ultimately meant that the people ruling over Africans enjoyed the bulk of the wealth and sent it back to their queen/king and country whilst the people around lived in dire poverty and were in servitude to these leaders in making them rich. Ironically even today Africa's most corrupt leaders seem to be supported by the same powers when it ensures they will benefit from Africa's massive resources. Just look at Sudan, Nigeria, DRC and you will see my point clearly.
kwansah Lomotey, Axim, Ghana, London UK

Your comment is a bit biased. Is Abacha the only one who have ruled Nigeria and stole from the country? As long as we have unaccountable govt, corruption will continue unabated. Africa is still in its own dark age.
Adeyinka O McAdewunmi, chicago, Ill

The article hits a home run. But Nigeria is not alone. Corruption is everywhere in Africa. In Kenya for example, a billion dollar contract was awarded to a non existent company and funds disbursed without the product. Now the recipient cannot be found! The entire Uganda Cabinet and al the family members of the President are multi-millionaires. In Uganda, if you want to be a millionaire, be nice to the president and you will be rewarded with a "job" that puts you in direct with public money to convert into your own with no consequences. Even international aid is not spared. Bleed Africa Bleed.
James Momo, Dallas, Texas, USA

Though am not an Abacha fan but I wish to observe that what Abacha did was child's play compared to the present situation in Nigeria. Abacha's case is popular because he is dead. Am sure that if he is alive today, he should be a PDP kingpin directing and protecting Nigeria's ever 'nascent democracy'. There are worse thieves now who even established and supervised anti-graft agencies meant to catch weaker and disobedient thieves. Who is decieving who, God will liberate Nigeria.
Alfred, Abakaliki, Nigeria

At last some truth about Africa is coming out. All these while, Africans have been blaming the Western World for all her woes but the truth is that the problem is with the Africans! Take Nigeria for example, we are talking about rebranding ourselves but that exercise of rebranding smacks of corruption - another way of looting our treasury for no good. Another one is the amnesty for the Niger Delta militants, the government has already started failing on their own part of the deal. Where does it happen except in Nigeria where the country's university workers are on strike due to poor working conditions and the universities are closed, the President and Commander-in-Chief flies off to another country to open a university? 109 members of the Senate earn more than what all the university workers are asking for and the ignorant Nigerians have the audacity to say that the striking workers are greedy. Judge for yourself the greedy one. We choose to deny that corruption is in our character rather than accept it and change. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that Nigeria is the citadel of corruption from where it is doled out! The Nation is sick! Prove me wrong if anyone can!
Chigbo A. Mgbemene, Nsukka, Nigeria

Here we go again. always blame the other person. What about "we the people"? Let us first stop worshiping corruption, let us stop heaping accolades on corrupt officials be he or she a politician, banker, contractor, church minister etc. It will give them food for thought.
Chukwuyere Anyandu, Imo state NIGERIA

I think people should be specific on their discussions. The article is about corruption in Nigeria and not Africa. Corruption is not a major problem in some African countries and it is unfair to label every country in Africa as corrupt. There is so much differences on African countries in terms of culture, governance and is not correct to ignore that on discussions.
Big T, Scotland

Nigeria is slowly but surely becoming a failed state not like Mogadishu but with corruption which has entered the bone marrow of all citizens; public offices are used as licenses to loot. Little wonder you see almost fifty aspirants vying for primaries of a governorship slot in eastern Nigeria, what a shame, people most especially Nigerians no longer value hard work. Unless we change our mindset I see no hope in Nigeria.
Wehnam Dabale, Jos, Nigeria

This is is exactly what happens when people are not guided by their conscience but rather are in hot pursuit of their selfish interest. It is high time we learnt to acknowledge the fact that leadership is not an avenue to siphon money from public coffers but to help advance the interest of the very people who vote us into power. Until then, those of us who think there is hope for Africa are living in a fantasy land of their own imagination.
Atia Fidelis , Kumasi, Ghana

The corruption in Africa-Nigeria happens everywhere even in Developed country. In West when you are caught the full extent of justice is measured out to the corrupt perpetrators, however in Nigeria there is nothing like justice therefore the leaders are not afraid of any repercussion of their corruption and not accountable (to whom will they be accounted?). The lesson of Niger Delta issue is prime example of what could happen if the Africa masses revolt against their selfish-psychopathic corrupt leaders we currently have. The great nations of the world had one time or the other revolted against their bad leadership and won: France Revolution 1793-1794, Britain 1649 and more. Until the Africa leaders have fear of the masses then we may have positive change in Africa.
Chris-Alade Zeaqraht, Canada

Nigerian's who have commented on this article need to read the contribution from Sheldon A. McDonald, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago above. The fact of the matter is that all Nigerians both home and away are corrupt, including those that have contributed, call them to come and serve the public, they would do the same. They are complaining because they never had the opportunity to be in government. Otherwise why should you agree with all that have been written when the same blood run in you. Whatever happen, Nigeria is your country, If you allow the country to be destroyed, by this type of writing, it is up to you. It does not matter if you carry British citizenship, but the fact remained that you are first and foremost a Nigerian. If your leaders are corrupt mobilise to fight collectively, not by destroying the whole country as a whole, forgetting that you will still continue to carry the name wherever you go. This is an advice for you, including for Sola Odunfa. Nigeria is not the only country where you kleptomaniacs. They are available here in UK, America, Africa and most Oil producing countries and Asia.
Yemi, London UK

Nigerians in general have an unusual trait as far as money and material acquisition is concerned compared to other African nationalities. They have heavily spread their wings into europe, other African countries and most prominently in the U.S., and exploited every loop hole of exercising illegal activities there is to enrich themselves. The average nigerian is not too different from their leaders, it is just that they have not yet got the opportunity to do the same. If you dont believe me, check out the statistics of smuggling, money laundering and drug trafficking occurrences globally, Nigerians have not spared even strict communist countries like China. If a Nigerian complains about harassment in airport security, I think they ought to be reminded that it is all for the fruits of their labour.
sembe, Dallas, USA

All well said. My problem is that the same people complaining end up doing the same thing when the opportunity comes their way. That is the bigger of the problems because if you get rid of all the public officials currently serving, you will have to replace them from the crop of people who are most likely as corrupt as the ones you have eliminated.
Ogochukwu Okaro, Teaneck, USA

This article is right on target. When corrupt African leaders don't know what to stop stealing from the public coffers, one has to conclude that these leaders definitely suffer from some form psychological disorder. Having said that, the Western Countries that provide safe havens for these thieves are equally as guilty. When Western Countries stopped providing havens for their loots, these leaders will have no choice but to spend those money in their countries and for the original intended purposes. I must say that, I don't understand, why receiving stolen goods is a crime in many of these Western countries, yet they gladly receive and hide stolen monies from corrupt African leaders. Bottom-line, African leaders have to stop stealing from their citizens and Western countries have to stop providing havens for stolen monies.
Kingsley Obayanju, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Your little piece is more comprehensive than a 400 page book in telling about Nigeria officials and stealing (not corruption) . My pain is that while some individuals in the Western World are seeing the evils and the pains the citizens of Nigeria are being put to , the Western World governments tax agencies , banks and real estate deceits are always calling on our officials to steal more money and bring to their "safe heaven" countries . It is only when an official fail to dance to the tune of the Western World in awarding them contracts at inflated prices that they will start telling us about the officials wealth that have been in their country for years even when they are aware that the real people who the money belong to have been suffering untold hardship. The Western World is really enjoying the MAD DANCE . The Western World is not there brothers keeper but they forget that the nose can never be at peace when the eyes are in sever pain . Who then is wondering why we have the vicious circle of evil in the Nigeria society ?????
Nwoye Igweagu, Lome Togo

The "permanently open mouth" have increase in number. The consequences include, bad Roads, no Electricity, lack of employment, educational system collapse and many more. Its more oil more problem.
Enobong Aniebiet, Lagos, Nigeria

its true and i agree with the author of this article. we all knows that Mobutu seseko was a leader who made citizens of congo to suffer and while geting the wealth of the country to himself and families.
festus, windhoek, Namibia

This obsessive-compulsive affliction is pandemic e.g. examine the lives of politicians, insurance industry executives etc. See the parallels? AIDS, H1N1 virus and other pandemics seem to pale in comparison to the Greed Pandemic. We desperately need a vaccination against this scourge! We must examine our instincts and the behaviour we follow in pursuit of satisfying our perceived needs. Do we have a drive to preserve life or are we only stimulated by instant gratification? Are we parenting our children in a manner that prevents them from developing into mature personalities where altruism is dominant. Are we retarding our children's personal growth, by restricting their life experience to materialism? There seems to be so much infantile behaviour in all societies and a worldwide - Where are the adults and wise elders? When last were they in leadership positions? Thank you for the article "African View: Insane with Greed", please publish much more of this type of news, the world desperately needs wisdom.
Karin, Philadelphia, USA

Are UK Members of Parliament Kleptocrats, are the Private sector scions who pay themselves billions to destroy your economy kleptocrats, are you bridge building firms kleptocrats. It is egregiously offensive to insult a whole continent and a race with this kind of irresponsible writing.
Sheldon A. McDonald, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Stealing of public wealth has become an obsession for our leaders. Nigerians are not asking these gluttons for amenities that can be found only on Mars but basic infrastructure like power, good roads, hospitals and schools furnished with equipment... Are our leaders Aliens brought to rule the country? The system is just in a mess and what hope lies in this country for young people like me who loves Nigeria? Leadership is a sacrifice to serve and not an opportunity to rob the public!
Sam, Cambridge, UK

Majority of public office holders, and probably the generality of Nigerians see public office as an invitation to cut their own slice of the National cake. This explains why a public officer goes into office not so wealthy, but is stupendously rich a few years later. The fact that no one is punished for corrupt enrichment also serves to fuel and legitimize this plunder, and the results are so obvious as is the case in the Niger Delta. Aspiring public office holders ought to have a psychiatric evaluation as no other malady but madness can aptly describe this flagrantly insatiable appetite for materialism that drives a man to keep amassing the national wealth of the people which he holds in trust for them.
Ehi Okupa, Kaduna, Nigeria

Time to stop beating about the bush, Nigeria as a State has failed, from all indicators. The never ending hope that every next election or military regime will sort the nation out should now be validly questioned. Corruption is only a symptom rather than the cause of a dysfunctional amalgamation of peoples with obviously different goals and modus operandi…
Ayo, Telford

This is one of the most Honest, Direct and credible criticism of African Leaders that i have read. How else can someone explain why the Continent that has the most valuable Raw material is at the same time the poorest, most backward and the largest recipient of Aid in the world. As a black person from the Caribbean i have never witnessed Corruption on such a large scale until when i was working in Africa, from the Airport to the Hotel to walking on the streets, it was like swimming in a lake full of Pirhanna fishes. Everything was for sale, birth certificates, drivers licence etc, etc. It is time Africans realise that development is within the individual and not in building mansions, the lack of Pride, Honesty, Selfesteem is really what is keeping Africa down and their greatest enemy is themselves.
E. Campbell, Montego Bay Jamaica

All the corrupt African leaders are taking cue from Nigeria where corruption is the alternate governor. Nigeria has infected other countries with corruption, and that is another reason why all the past leaders should be lined up and shot. The uprisings in Niger Delta will soon settle all these because the youths cannot take it anymore. This uprising will consume Nigeria. It is a country where governors lack ideas and initiative and copy colleague governors and replicate something from a sister State. The governors in turn mimic the president and repeat and make some pronouncement without knowing the full import. When words are pandered and repeated like this, it becomes a tired cliché. The pity!
Mike Onwukwe, Arusha Tanzania

That is Africa for you. Charity begins in the home. If they can steal from the masses, chances are some of them have stolen from their own families. There is a difference between sacrificing for others to have, and having things stolen at the expense that one cannot even survive. The majority of the people have been exploited. This unfortunately nothing new, ever since the dawn of the slave trade, Africans have been guilty of selling each other. The demons of the past are alive and well.
Ezekiel Olagoke, Denver



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