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Fantastically corrupt or fantastically incompetent

HomeCommentaryFantastically corrupt or fantastically incompetent
Fantastically corrupt or fantastically incompetent
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By Ugo Nwagwu

Niger Delta Avengers, Tomato Ebola, economy heading full steam into a recession, incoherent foreign exchange policy, civil unrest in the southeast….the list reads like a nation in turmoil and that’s because it is.

It was only a little over a year ago that PDP and APC campaigned on differing personas to lead the country into the future. Not much differed in terms of substance but in the end, the people decided to change course and elected APC into power.

How and why did APC win? One word, Change. All promises evolved around that idea of change. Change from corruption, lack of consistent power, jobs, a plunging naira among other issues that have plagued Nigeria for so long.

One year in and even the most ardent supporters of the party in power will tell you that the change they sought is at best a little slow in coming. At worst, you hear the phrase “one chance” which basically means, they’ve been duped.


The answer is actually quite simple. Campaigning does not equal governance. APC and it’s flag bearer and now President, Muhammadu Buhari campaigned earnestly, making promises I believe they thought were achievable; well, other than the alleged dollar to naira conversion promise of $1 to N1.

However just as the US President, Barack Obama promises to close Guantanamo Bay in his first term in office, the actual situation on ground when the oath of office is taken has a way to altering the plans of incoming governments.

Basically, you don’t get to pick and choose what situations remain on ground when you take office or what situations will arise when you take office. What you can’t do is continually blame past administrations indefinitely without seeming woefully inadequate for the job.

Fantastically Incompetent

Engage the average Nigerian and you’ll hear angst in their voices. Many recognize the problems. They want to be patient with the current government but they don’t see a way forward or ahead.

They remember a Nigeria not too long ago where the US Dollar traded at $1 to N150. They remember a Nigeria not too long ago where a liter of petrol sold for N97. They remember a Nigeria not too long ago where no one had ever heard of Tomato Ebola (note that this isn’t the first time this pest has struck). They remember a Nigeria not too long ago where economic growth was routine year after year.

They also remember a Nigeria not too long ago where her government and its officials were reportedly pillaging the financial resources for personal gain routinely; where political office was a means to a personal financial end; where the former CBN Governor and current Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi for example claimed that $20b was unaccounted for in the nation’s treasury.

The Real Question

My conversations with friends and associates led me to one simple conclusion. The previous administration was fantastically corrupt (to borrow the tired phrase from British Prime Minister, David Cameron) but quite aptly competent.

On the other hand, the current administration appears to be aptly incorrupt but (based on current mood), fantastically incompetent.

The real question is, which situation is preferable? The fact that we have to ask that question only tells you the sad state of where we are as a country.

Unfortunately this is a question many citizens, businessmen, youths, business are struggling to answer today. Some have answered. Back on March 27th, 2016, #IStandWithCorruption (a play on the popular #IStandWithBuhari) was trending in Nigeria.


Competency and morality as it relates to governance should not be mutually exclusive. In the end, the current administration may have to something they would never had imagined a year ago, reach back and ask for help to learn how to govern. And do so while maintaining the same anti-corruption mantra that got them in power.

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