It seems Saraki is trending on social media now. Will he attend his summon today by the CCB, or will he not? Why doesn’t he just go and clear his name? He should resign. He should go to jail. Abbla bla.
If he resigns his senate presidency or even his senate membership as a fallout of the current debacle, will that mark a significant turning point in the anti corruption war in Nigeria?
Saraki will not be the first senate president or legislator to be disgraced out of office. There was a certain Enwerem. There were Salisu Buhari and Chuba Okadigbo, the latter falling out spectacularly with the then president Obasanjo, losing his senate presidency, and getting tear-gassed in an opposition rally. And speaking of jail terms, Bode George was in jail, and back.
Saraki must clear his name. No question. He will probably be forced out of office, perhaps out of the senate. He may even go to jail. What next?
In our collective penchant for simple solutions, I think Nigerian citizens are missing more than a few tricks in this current episode of political theatre. The politicians are engaged in a desperate battle for supremacy, mobilising their allies as they seek to outmanoeuvre their adversaries or find some deals behind closed doors.
Citizens must find and fight their own battles. As far as I am concerned the battle does not include mediating or taking side in the current political theatre. Dramatic and explosive as it is, the current spectacle is ultimately superficial, and will not produce any lasting change.
This is, for example, an opportunity to draw attention to the way our existing institutions work in tackling corruption. This is an opportunity to mount focused and sustained pressure to ensure that every case of official graft is treated with necessary speed and seriousness, and not just once-in-a-while token associated with political alliances and dalliances.
The current episode has shown, at least, that citizens have the energy and the passion to engage on long term institutional issues, but we are collectively lacking in the discipline and the will to do so. And the frustrating thing is that we have enough experiences to draw from, to realise that we need to focus energy on the effectiveness and efficiency of our institutions. Did anti corruption institutions change for the better following the ousting of Enwerem or Salisu Buhari, or after the jailing of Bode George?
That is something to think about. We can’t keep going around in circles.