"O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind"---Thomas Paine

Cancer is a very terrible terminal illness, and millions of great mind have succumbed to the impairment. Of recent, Steve Jobs, the man of great intellect who gave the world and intelligent smart mobile technology was exterminated by cancer some years back. Yinka Craig of delightful memory, who delighted our homes with A. M Express magazine television program on NTA  lost his life to cancer, and our Great Dora Akinyuli, Mama NAFDAC, who saved the nation from fake drugs which made his kinsmen turned her enemy, because they made billions of naira from killing drugs also succumbed to death facilitated by cancer. The most painful to me is the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, my mentor who labored for justice and corruption free society all his adult life, succumbed to cancer when this nation needed him most.

So, I need not define what cancer as death penalty is capable of doing. The moment you figure out what killjoy or destruction is, then cancer should come to mind. Of course, scientists  will tell us how some cells would outgrow abnormally in the body chemistry, and how the tumor could spread so quickly like  wild fire in harmattan, and how it would bring untold pain, and mortal suffering to its victims, but as a layman, I will say cancer is a  death penalty which follows no rule, and knows no justice. But my concern is not cancer of physiological explanation in this piece, but corruption as a cancer that has eaten the fabrics of this nation, and as you are reading this piece, Nigeria is on death bed called depression, and cancerous corruption is the result of diagnose.

Inferring from the data supply by National Bureau of Statistics, seven out of ten people are extremely poor, and that means millions of people must got to bed, if they have at all, with empty stomach; they would not have money to pay school fees of their children; retirees would not have money to buy drugs to sustain their old age, and millions of youth would be idling away in penury, and dreams, potentials and creativity would die a natural death.

Unfortunately, the "doctors"hired in the leadership of this nation to cure her, are threat to the quality of treatment. Majority of the people in power, and their aides in the corridors of power are rogues. They are elected and selected to rule their people, to safeguard the collective patrimony of their countrymen and women, to provide the needs of the people in term of distribution of the collective wealth, and use the wealth to provide social and infrastructural facilities, but majority of them are candidates for the kind of jungle justice visited on that seven year old boy who was caught by irate mob, beaten blue-black before he was burnt alive in Lagos for allegedly stealing gaari-cassava flour.

I hate violence, but not every change could be brought about by peace. When I saw a gory picture of that young boy who was subjected to jungle justice, I  became angrier at the system of this nation, because the boy was a minor in the first place, and it is a statement of fact that garri is the last resort for the poorest of the poor to survive. Quietly pathetic, our State Security Service (SSS) men who conducted sting operation to arrest the thieving judges were no where to be found. Please, don't talk about police; you know who they are-I think they can salute a thief as long as he appears like big man. Already, the police Commissioner in Lagos has asked us to ignore the story as untrue, but the quality of the picture online does not appear like a photoshop.  I am angry because this nation is elevating hypocrisy to a cultural level.

Unfortunately, the victims of corruption in the system are confused, they are now trending on delusion and illusion. Their brain states have been reconfigured in such a way that they are now sympathizing with their oppressors who robbed them to death. Sambo Dasuki who stole arms fund in billions of dollars are now getting sympathy, because he could not attend the burial of his deceased father. Meanwhile, there is no sympathy for millions who lost their homes and become refugees in the country, and thousands of children who are orphans, because Dasuki's mansions must be serviced;  Femi FaniKayode who got N850 million from the stolen fund was boasting of being guided by the boko haram suspects his action empowered to massacre innocent Nigerians, in prison, and he was reported by the media that is benefitting massively from corruption; governors who misused the resources of their people through phony projects and white elephant engagement, who stole peoples' funds to enrich their children, are now seeking election for would be successors who will continue with tradition of stealing. Interestingly, the victims of their misrule will still be waiting on them to show direction. What a country!

Some Ministers of the Federal Republic were said to be corrupt, but the President is justifiably demanding for proof. They are expecting the poor man out there who has been reduced to the basic, to bring proof of the big men in government, where would that happen? Some former governors who are parading courts to answer fraud charges are being celebrated by the ruling party, because they ported; the senate is populated by all manner of public robbers who stole their states and public institutions dry, and these are the lots the nation is expecting to make laws. Hail them, because when nation is going under, the nation's lawmakers are busy sharing wonder on wheel jeeps. Of course, it is a case of no consequence, after all, they would hire some hungry e-rats to man their tweeter handles and Facebook pages with a view to attacking anyone who poses question to their illicit conduct.

Given the fact that the executive and legislature are peopled by politicians, and we have assumed with "prejudice", but semblance of truth that politicians are born thieves, what about men and women in black gowns who claim to be "learnered" ? The temple of justice is so corrupt now that we are proud of billionaire judges, who are competing with the politicians in terms of wealth acquisition and compromise. Whereas, the higher institutions of learning which ought to be the bakery of learning, culture and morality are now riddled with corruption, because more and more Vice Chancellors and Rectors are robbers. They are richer than their schools. No wonder, the Presidents of student unions are claiming security vote from the financial contribution of their poor colleagues. Do you want to blame parents who are buying exam questions for their wards? Wait until you find out how difficult it is to get money to finance their children in schools before you judge them.

At the receiving end, Are the masses who are in millions. The people have been badly reduced to instrumental value instead of intrinsic value, they are seen as votes by politicians, they are seen as guinea pigs by the compromised judiciary ready to trade justice for the highest bidders; they are seen as specimen by quack doctors; they are seen as bargain chips by the security operatives who ought to enforce laws. So, if the causes of anomaly stated are corruption, then it suffices to say that corruption is a cancer. The question is, how do we get out of the quagmire? Obviously, it could not be from the President, because he lacks power to check the governors, and the eloquent testimony of it is what Ekiti drunken sailor, Fayose said that he could not be probed on the way he uses the bailout packaged for states in the state insolvency. It could not be governors, because they are part of the problem; it could not be civil service, because that is a cesspool of corruption. The answer lies in the hands of the citizens. If we choose to lay back or settle for crumbs in the next elections, then we should close the door of hope, and head for that proverbial state of nature. The last time I checked, it was ballots we put in the boxes not money, and those who elect to commoditize their rights should not complain about the bleak future.

Butika is an intercontinental journalist.


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