Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous. (The Story Behind The Headlines) – By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
This book documents the travails, dealings, and interactions the author had in her second stint as a Minister of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, from her own perspective. The title of the book is a testament to the ordeals people go through in trying to serve or represent their Country, without being tainted by the “proverbial corruption” which is a behemoth. That has consumed and kept consuming many saints, sinners, victors, victims, heroes, and villains alike.
The Nigerian political landscape is averse to fighting corruption especially when it’s coming from unexpected quarters (a woman), another case study is the Late Professor Dora Akunyili who suffered untold persecution in her service to the Nation. Both women were part of the “gifts” OBJ bequeathed to Nigeria during his eventful reign as the first civilian President in this current dispensation, after so many years of military rule.
The book opened on a high with the intimidation game, which resulted in the kidnap of the Matriarch of the Okonjo royal family of Ogwashi-Ukwu. Which shook the sleepy town in Delta State to its roots. Of course, the kidnap was executed to get back at the Minister and force her to resign by aggrieved individuals who felt threatened by her fight against corruption and her usual mantra of reform. According to the woman upon her return through a miraculous escape from the kidnappers’ den after about five days in captivity, “your daughter refused to pay oil marketers and she didn’t pay SURE-P money” were the direct causes of her abduction”. Nobody has been successfully prosecuted for the crime to date.
The intimidation continued with leaked information from someone who witnessed a secret meeting where it was agreed to “paralyze the Minister and make her leave the finance ministry, Wheel Chair bound”. Even before she accepted the offer to serve as Minister under Jonathan she was already getting subtle threats and warnings from “concerned” people ably represented by Donald Duke who acted as their channel to pass the message to her.
Upon resumption, she was given the portfolio of Coordinating Minister for Finance. She battled the cartel running the oil and gas industry, and the issue of oil subsidy was a nagging problem even till now. She suffered many attacks and media wars from perceived political opponents and stakeholders, anti-feminists, ethnic jingoists, ghost workers, public service scam Lords, and others.
This is indeed a front-line account that shows fighting corruption is indeed a dangerous game, and only the strong can survive it. This book is a guide to anyone who wants to navigate the murky waters of Nigerian politics and public service, with head held high, without bowing to the whims and caprices of those who run the system.