17 May 2016
It was a typical candid camera moment, when British Prime Minister, David Cameron was caught on video last week making unflattering statements about corruption in Nigeria and Afghanistan. The conversation that led to Cameron’s infamous “fantastically corrupt” statement took place in a private event with the head of the British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II and other dignitaries and was not intended to be broadcast publicly.
However, albeit how unexpected the publication of the statement was, Nigerians took to Social Media in their troves demanding a public apology from the Prime Minister, with a large majority taking offense at the statement not because it was false but because it seemed inappropriate and unfair that a foreigner was making public jest of a widely known Nigerian problem.
This is probably why public opinion was also upset that President Buhari when asked to address Cameron’s statement during the Anti-Corruption Summit which held almost immediately after refused to demand an apology but instead demanded for a return of stolen assets that were stored in Britain by corrupt Nigerian government officials.
The truth of this matter is encapsulated in the knowledge that Nigeria is immensely entrenched in corruption. One only has to look at the current situation in the country to find proof of this. The Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki is currently undergoing corruption trial with the Code of Conduct Tribunal at the same time that the massive data leak by alias, Panama Papers also implicated him of diverting government funds from his tenure as governor of Kwara state, to store in personal offshore accounts.
His is but an example of the many allegedly corrupt Nigerian government officials, yet nothing has been done to ensure that those who flout the rules and purposely go against their oath to serve and work for the good of the country are brought to justice. The system is constantly being manipulated by the minority in power at the detriment of the majority public and there is little or nothing that has been done about it for many years.
However, President Buhari came into power with the Change mandate and the hope and determination to drive corruption out of Nigeria. And so perhaps the one statement made in that video that we can all agree with is the one the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby made in response to Cameron’s controversial statement. “But this particular President is actually not corrupt”, Welby says.
And as the Queen replies with a “he’s trying” and Welby answers, “oh yes, he’s trying very hard”, it is possible that we too can look at the situation and agree that President Buhari is indeed working hard to turn the Nigerian reputation for “fantastic corruption” into a thing of the past.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.