It was announced earlier in the week that Federal civil servants were being asked to declare their assets, and this of course has set off panic stations.
Alausa Boys: This directive could only have been made by a Muhammadu Buhari, aka PMB. A leader who has made it quite clear that he will tackle corruption frontally, almost to the detriment of other areas of governance and economic development.
That this is the way to go or not is a matter for conjecture. That the country is riddled with corruption at all levels is undisputed. It has permeated every facet of society and is the root cause of just about every evil currently afflicting society; from exam malpractices at secondary school level up, cultism, “runs girls”, funds’ diversion in both private and public sectors, to the indignant “happy weekend sir”.
The question now is, can other leaders emulate PMB?
Specifically, can Governor Ambode take his cue from this directive and ask Lagos state civil servants to declare their assets?
Those who have lived in Lagos over the past 16years, must have witnessed the wanton display of ill-gotten wealth by state officials. They bought choice properties on the island and selected areas on the mainland. They acquired the nicest cars. The young men from Alausa made everyone well aware of their new status as the nouveau riche of Lagos.
The Alausa Boys’ display of wealth was only matched and maybe even surpassed by the Niger Delta boys. The ND boys stormed Lagos with their petrodollars and “local content” funds. And this new wave of “aristos” managed to inflict some measure of inflation on several sectors of the State’s economy.
The Niger Delta boys were however lacking in the sophistication of their Alausa counterparts. And so they gorged on everything within reach, as long as it came with a hefty price tag. The Lagos boys were more couth. On one occasion, they were noted to have rejected Brut champagne at a function, and sent same to their drivers instead. The boys then warned their hosts to only serve up Rose or Nectar next time, or risk their wrath.
The impunity of the alausa boys
The ND boys have slunk back into the Creeks. But a good number of the young men in Lagos are still in the system. And those who have left have gone on to set up businesses, many of which are government dependent. All with total impunity.
The new governor will send out a strong message if he is able to address corruption in his state. He can then recover lost billions from administrations past, siphoned by or through the Alausa boys.
Governor Ambode has started on a very strong footing. There is no question. He is displaying an understanding of governance so far matched probably only by Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna. Both men have gone about their business without the typical cry for extra funding emanating from other States.
However, it is difficult if not impossible to truly develop without sanitizing the system from within.
As the Governor settles and consolidates, it is certain that he will build required structures within the system. It is these structures that will allow him face the giants and godsons of the giants still plaguing the state’s civil service.
The ongoing war on corruption is the biggest survival battle the country has faced since the civil war. It has to be confronted at all levels for the country to have a fighting chance at winning.