• Reported multiple car gifts to the president’s daughter and her husband are a veneer covering systemic corruption in the country
The Edwards, new couple made up of presidential daughter, Faith and her husband, Godswill Osim Edward, a prince from Cross Rivers State, deserve all congratulations for their wedding.
That was a private affair, as any wedding ought to be. But that the bride is the president’s daughter puts the ceremony pat in the public space. Still, the newly wedded deserves everyone’s prayers and good wishes. We at The Nation therefore join other Nigerians in wishing the new couple sheer matrimonial bliss.
Gifts are legitimate parts of any wedding. It is friends’, families’ and acquaintances’ show of love and affection — and why not? Weddings, after all, other things being equal, come once in a lifetime. So, no one should ordinarily begrudge the couple whatever presents they got. It was their happy day and they perhaps deserved all of their good fortune.
Still, because the president was involved and because you cannot divorce the person of the president from the office of the president in this case, the matter cannot be left alone. Indeed, there are reasonable grounds to suggest that the quantum of the wedding gifts can be directly linked to the fact that the president’s daughter was wedding. Now, when does a present cross the threshold of love to subtle subversion bordering on corruption?
That is why every Nigerian must be bothered by reported obscene and cynical gifts reported to have changed hands, most probably from contractors, sundry business persons and politicians seeking presidential favours. Some media reports even claim a virtual armada of cars has been the lot of the happy couple, aside from other gifts.
Though this might not have been initiated by the president, and it is certainly no fault of the couple, the end result is subversion: that sooner than later would come to haunt the exchequer. It is yet another corruption of an otherwise solemn event by a greedy and corrupt elite.
True, such venal practices precede the Jonathan Presidency; and would appear institutionalised at every level of governance. Earlier, the whole country watched aghast as former President Olusegun Obasanjo suborned the business class and the elite public sector to “donate” money to his presidential library project.
It is the practice in the United States where the idea originated from to stage such launches after a president has left office. So, why did a sitting president insist on staging it? It was another Nigerian penchant to corrupt otherwise noble concepts. The victim, as usual, are the people, whose collective matrimony are raided for these subversive donors to recoup their money.
That is why we have no hesitation to condemn the cynical gifts by do-gooders at the wedding of the daughter of the president. If corruption is the bane of our underdevelopment and the sweeping poverty plaguing Nigerians today, Nigerian leaders must be more discerning in whatever gifts they allow themselves to receive.
Such gifts and their bearers are tantamount to the proverbial Greeks bearing gifts. It might cost the receiver more than he or she ever thinks!
Nigerian leaders must be wary of gifts sure to trigger corrupt practices, which further worsen the present mass poverty and underdevelopment. Those who literally pelt the first family with cars and expensive gifts, on the excuse that their daughter was wedding, certainly know where they will recoup their money.
It is the bounden duty of patriotic leaders that such hustlers are barricaded far away from the common wealth. But how can they do this if they had earlier fallen for their cheap, subversive and cynical generosity? LITERALLY.