Political Thieves Within Nigeria

O. A. Asemota

Dec 13, 2017

Stealing is the taking of property without permission from the owner of the property. A thief is one who steals. There are various categories of thieves (petty thieves, armed robbers, etc). The thieves in focus in this presentation are political thieves (public servants by elections or appointments who steal public funds).

The consequences of stealing were very clear to all and sundries in pre-colonial Nigeria. Young adult thieves within families were punished within their families. Thieves who stole outside their family spaces were punished differently. Often they were chased on the shouts of Ole!, Ole! (meaning thief, thief) and beaten when caught by community members. There was no waiting for the police to arrive. If the thieves (women never stole then) were lucky, they live to tell their stories. When the colonialists came, they called this community behavior towards thieves barbaric and vigilante justice. Ironically, the justice system they brought has enabled political thieves in all political levels in Nigeria: councillors steal the people's funds; local chairmen steal the people's funds; commissioners steal the people's funds; governors steal the people's funds; representatives in the state and national assemblies steal the people's funds; senators steal the people's fund and presidents and their ministers steal the people's funds. Politcal thieves have become so many in Nigerian politics that a former UK Prime Minister was able to comfortably and confidently say that Nigerian leaders are fantastically corrupt. He should have added super to the fantastic.

Political thieves in Nigeria, and in fact in Africa as a whole are financial terrorists. Their stealings of public funds cause many deaths and other severe hardships in various ways (bad roads, bad hospitals, bad schools, lack of power, etc). The people want these financial terrorists to be subjected to the guilty until proven innocent measure of justice. They do not deserve the innocent until proven guilty measure of justice which they use to avoid justice. The amounts these financial terrorists steal on a regular basis mandate that they face some type of vigilante justice.

The implication of so many political thieves in Nigeria is that Nigeria will not be able to realize its potential unless there is a re-structuring of the political space. The primary re-structuring needed is not spatial. It is human re-structuring.

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