Some sentences, at their mere expression, should not require explanation. Like “Two Yoruba women were sitting quietly”, some statements will have you laugh and yell “Ehhn! How can?!”
But, yea, Distinguished Senator Melaye has written a book on anti-corruption, which was presented to the public on Monday, 15th May, in Abuja. Esteemed guests at the occasion included the heads of both chambers of the National Assembly, Dr Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara, and former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. As Sahara Reporters and many others have pointed out, the highest ranking Government official at the launch, Senator Saraki, who also wrote the foreword, is on trial at the Code of Conduct Bureau for false declaration of his assets; we may have to consult his colleague’s book to know if that qualifies as corruption or not.
That is not the subject of this brief expression of bemusement.
The real interest here is to answer the question “How can?!”. To be sure, we’d have to read the book to find out. From its title, ‘Antidotes for Corruption: The Nigerian Story’, we should expect something of a history of Corruption in Nigeria, going back to anytime between when Shell gained their first Oil Prospecting Lease 80 years ago, through the squalors of the first two Republics, to the well-oiled democratically engineered corruption enabled by the instrumentality of our intentionally mal-instituted Governance and Administrative structure (if he puts it like that ehh…). The actors will be well expounded upon, in the full regalia of their escapades, and how various leaderships failed in tracking them and tackling them. Ultimately, there will be “Antidotes” for the present and the future – which is where the ingenuity of the Distinguished Senator should fully come to play.
The first temptation here is to think of the Senator: “How dare he?”. In his favour, there have been no allegations leveled against him officially on the grounds of corruption. “Officially” because those photos and posters that are occasionally circulated and plastered on the streets of Asokoro in Abuja, are almost always aimed at getting him to prove how he earned or inherited such vast bounties within the borders of his statutory allocations. But nothing has been charged.
Beyond that, though, “How dare a man who just recently could not be entirely forthcoming about his basic education give antidotes about corruption?” Unless corruption, in his meaning, does not include the weakness of core societal institutions such as the Education system, sitting and passing exams legitimately without aid from the HOD, etc.
It doesn’t help much that those who joined in the launch are not exactly role models of anti-corruption, definitely not the former First Lady, the Guest Launcher. She was famous, in her time in Abuja, for many things, being a mother of the nation to some and a tolerant aunty to many. But anti-corruption was definitely not her strongest point.
2017 is turning out to be the Year of books, with Segun Adeniyi’s masterpiece still motivating discussions. Rotimi Amaechi, Bola Tinubu and Goodluck Jonathan are just three of the heavyweights whose works are in the works, due to be released soon, too. We encourage our politicians to right (abi?), the least we can do is give them the right to be heard and read. Judging by his twitter feed, Senator Melaye does have his audience, especially when he lifts up his hand to rain benedictions on them.
Let this book not just be a notebook, containing collection of quotes and sweet-sounding anecdotes. (BECAUSE: Is it spiral bound?)