Nigeria has gone to the World Cup with a third eleven team

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  • Some of us truly believed Nigeria was ready to fight the corruption which has traumatized and pauperized a massively endowed nation like ours.

COSON chairman, Tony Okoroji.
Tony Okoroji

Bukola Saraki is a member of the ruling APC. By the constitution, he is the Number 3 person in the country, only third to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. He is the Number 1 man in the nation’s legislature, the President of the Senate of Africa’s most populous nation.

But for nearly two years, Saraki was presented to the world as a common criminal and prosecuted like a thief by the same government and party of which he is the Number 3 man.

Then, suddenly, Bukola Saraki has no case to answer. He did not even have to put up a defence. He is discharged and acquitted! Wow! If it is not dizzying and confusing, I do not know what is.

The prosecution of Bukola Saraki by his friends in the APC was evidence to naïve, trusting and perennial patriots like me that finally, Nigerians have voted in a government that is not afraid of stepping on toes no matter how big.

Some of us truly believed that our country was ready to confront the canker worm of corruption which has traumatized and pauperized a massively endowed nation like ours.

READ: How Dino Melaye celebrated with Bukola Saraki after the latter was cleared in false asset declaration case

I am devastated by the outcome of the Bukola Saraki saga. It is so scary I do not know who or what to believe any more.

It is indeed possible that Bukola Saraki is completely innocent. If he is, who conducted the investigation that came to the conclusion that a man in that position should be docked and subjected to the treatment he received? How do you pay him back for the massive injury to his character?

The truly frightening aspect of this matter is this: if an innocent number 3 man in the country can be subjected to such trauma, what hope do those of us Nigerians who are Number One Million and lower have?

There are those who have said that Saraki escaped because he can afford a battery of senior advocates. It therefore means that we are doomed in Nigeria if we are not filthy rich and our government decides to terrorize us. That is down-right frightening.

What if Saraki in fact committed the offences for which he was docked? You are left with the conclusion that a flood of water has gone under the bridge or that there was sheer incompetence in the way the matter was prosecuted.

When you think of the Justice Ademola verdict and the Patience Jonathan affair, you are left to ask: when is someone going to man up, take responsibility and resign for this big mess inflicted on the Nigerian people?

Anyone who reads this column regularly will recall that a few weeks ago, I published some vile text messages sent to me by a ‘big man’ at the Federal Ministry of Justice, an adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation.

My offence was going to the ministry and requesting that the law related to copyright collective management in Nigeria be respected so that the creative industries in our country can thrive.

ALSO: Read the vile text messages I received from a senior official of the Buhari government

There is no name that this ‘big man’ who knows nothing about copyright did not call me. Anywhere else, this big man would have been called to order but I guess he is still in Abuja sending out vile text messages to those who believe that we have the capacity to run a great country.

By the way, I was a member of the committee that drafted the Nigerian copyright law. I also served on a smaller committee that drafted the first amendment to the law. I served twice on the Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

I have written extensively on the subject of copyright and my book, ‘Copyright & the New Millionaires’ is used to teach the subject and resolve copyright issues across the continent. I have served as a consultant to several international organizations on the subject.

Few years ago, when Ghana had problems with its copyright collective management system, I was invited by the Government of the Republic of Ghana to help resolve the problem. I went to Ghana, intervened and the problem was resolved and their system is thriving. I have been so invited by several other countries.

My work at home on the copyright issue both as President of PMAN and as Chairman of COSON is there for all to see. Yet today, the people who are making policies on copyright at the Federal Ministry of Justice are people who have never attended a copyright class in their lives. They create chaos everywhere, listen to no one and act like they own the country.

If the quality of people I have met at the Federal Ministry of Justice represents the quality of people supervising the prosecution of the anti-corruption cases in Nigeria, everyone should brace up for more disappointments and anguish. They do not have what it takes.

Poor poor Nigerians! We have gone to the world cup with a third eleven team!

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