Sometime ago, I came across a report by some researchers who argued that a leopard can change its spot. But their report was not convincing because of some high sounding medical jargons used to justify their findings. So, I humbly say that the answer to the above question is a resounding NO. The leopard cannot change itself and it is not blessed with the capacity to change its spots. When one says that a leopard does not change its spots, it literarily means that the character traits of some individuals do not change no matter the condition they find themselves.
Specifically, bad character traits do not change easily. This essay is on the current Maina debacle. A few reports on the Maina saga reminds me of one of my respected senior professional colleague and a friend, who always stressed the importance of courage: “When in doubt” he would say, “do what is right”.
I have come across decent people in our society and beyond the shores of our country, but I have not come across an angel. In the real world there are people who can help you make it and then there are those who make life miserable without you ever knowing. How can a Maina who was dismissed in 2013 by the federal civil service for absconding his duty post now become a director in the Ministry of Interior? So, who smuggled Mainaback into the country, and on what basis was he promoted to grade level 17?Who are his Janus-faces in this matter?
I heard this particular Maina is aspiring to be the governor of Borno State, but I argued strongly that this tale cannot be true. If it was true, then the people of the State will not sing doxology. I guessed he must have conducted a research and found out that corruption allegation levelled against him cannot stop his ambition. In fact, corruption allegation against him is helpful to enable him achieve his political ambition in a country where uprightness is rarely celebrated. The more crooked you are the better in a society that favours those who are morally bankrupt.
For those who have perfected the act of compromising their integrity and principles on minor issues, it gets easier to make bad choices on the big issues. Every day you get to read or hear stories about how organizations and individuals fail to do what is morally or legally right- political scandals- “how top officials in the federal government (FG) of President Muhammadu Buhari played prominent roles in the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, into the civil service”. What do we say about government functionaries who abuse their authority and trust reposed on them by the people of Nigeria? This particular Maina and some highly placed people in the government must have concluded long ago that President Buhari is alone in the anti-corruption struggle. Without credible and truthful allies, he might be forced to either now or later give up the fight against corruption. The effort made by Buhari’s allies to reinstate Maina and grant him with a brand new identity may be a preamble to the grand surrender of the Buhari administration to the 1000-ton monster called corruption.
In both the military and the civilian world, it becomes challenging to blow the whistle when the bad behaviour you observed is directly coming from your boss. Where will you get the courage to expose your boss who is busy using his office and status in the society to perpetrate fraud? Summoning the courage to fight for what is right may be difficult if you are to protect your job in a nation where unemployment is rising alarmingly. Courage is “doing the right thing for the right reason.”
Humanity is in trouble when we lack leaders with the courage to do the right thing for the right reason. I smell a conspiracy against pensioners nationally. Nobody had the guts to ask this particular Maina to provide the money he fraudulently mismanaged. The “change” song that the current regime of President Buhari has taught Nigerians to sing will not solve the problem of corruption in our polity. For this singular act, I say with a lot of regrets that Nigerians have not been treated with dignity and respect by those who conspired to elevate a man who was accused of squandering pensioners’ money.
Most pensioners are disturbed by this Maina’s saga. If appropriate sanctions are not meted out to this culprit, a time will come when no pensioner will receive pension. Why is it that the Minister of Interior did not have the courage as a military veteran to do what is right by exposing this Maina? This is what politics can do to a general especially when “blood is thicker than water”. The Minister of Interior only reacted when his principal ordered the immediate disengagement of this particular Maina from the office.
The Head of Civil Service Commission denied knowing anything about this particular Maina. It is only in Nigeria that a fugitive can be elevated to the post of a director in a federal ministry. Just like that, a runaway civil servant emerged to become a director in Nigeria and was warming up to be a governor when those who come to work regularly are marking time on one appointment/rank for years without promotion. This is an embarrassment to the nation. Nigeria, I hail you!
Nigerians can now see clearly what our so-called leaders are doing to us. We trusted them and handed over Nigeria to them to help us manage her. What we got in return is corruption- nepotism, inequity, plus injustice amongst others. There is something about this particular Maina that needs to be further investigated. Albeit, it is not easy for the leopard to change its spots!