Intervention does not investigate corruption but it is excited in the politics of discursive power in the domain of corruption. This is more so in the context of the on-going clash of the power of corruption with power over corruption.
Corruption is galloping, becoming more pervasive and prevalent as well as sophisticated all over the world by the day. That’s the power of corruption. But there is power over corruption which is the capacity of global civil society, (GCS) in particular to bring corruption and corruption suspects within the radius of its campaigning politics. It is still an unfolding power resource in global politics but with series of success stories to its credit already in whichever sphere of malfeasance they chose.
We see that when we turn around and look at the campaign against reckless construction of dams against which now stands the World Commission on Dams or in the bringing into being the still controversial International Criminal Court, (ICC). That is besides the World Fair Trade Organization, (WFTO) or the treaty banning production and marketing of antipersonnel landmines. This is to name a few, excluding for now the work that has started against stockpiling of nuclear weaponry.
It is a new form of power based not on pre-ordained social agency of class, for instance, but diffuse elements from key sites of oppression such as workers, women, minorities, ethnic or indigenous peoples and sundry interests brought together by the vicissitudes of neoliberal globalisation. It has its own ideological and organisational problems but once activated, its articulatory fangs have proved irresistible assault on the world of unmerited privilege.
It is yet to acquire much momentum in Africa, given the fitful outcome of the revolt in North Africa since 2011 but it has a transnational character from which Africa cannot escape. Again, we see that in the on-going reporting of the Pandora Papers. Before it, there were the Offshore Leaks of 2013; the Panama Papers which were leaked in 2016 and then the Paradise Papers in 2017. Who can predict what comes next and when? In all cases, the world is being made witnesses of the hidden vaults of the global moneybags. That is those of them who made money by manipulating capitalism and its rules of the game.
Although only one major media platform – Premium Times – has been localizing the Pandora Papers in any consistent manner in Nigeria, it doesn’t mean those caught in the act are going to go unscathed. No. In so far as all such stories constitute a discourse of corruption, they are open to further contestation, re-interpretation and re-inscription. At the end of the day, the re-inscription and all that would produce an outcome independent of the original reports and of the standpoint of those contesting them. To that extent, all those whose involvement has been exposed are wasting their time denying or alleging base sentiments. They are wasting their time and energy doing that. That is the truth their media advisers should have told them because the meaning or implications of the reporting of their involvement have yet to even form. And they may not form before 2023 in the case of Nigeria.
What might those named in the scandal expect if, for instance, there were a possible reconstitution of anti-corruption forces in the country occur between now and 2023, particularly if endowed with trained cadres in articulatory capacity and funded? It will be an avalanche beyond their control, particularly those with elective ambition. That is the mystery of the regenerative power of discourse which a large chunk of the power elite does not appear to have understood in their engagement with capitalism and its turbulence.
At the moment, they can deny and feel no sense of complicity in such breaches partly because of a largely anemic domestic civil society. For instance, only the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC) has, so far, called for a probe of the affair. Commendable as that might be, how a President Buhari who has been confessing the near impossibility of fighting corruption can get far with investigating and hopefully punishing those found to be involved remains to be seen. But the point is that the domestic civil society has not erupted and is not about to erupt.
However, that is not to say there is an escape route for involvement in corruption or corruption related activities because, in the era in which representational practice of power embody deterrent and compellence force on a transnational scale, it is fruitless to try.
Nothing in the foregone is to suggest that those not yet caught in the act are angels. It is to alert that a new or rejuvenated form of power is in town and it is not as escapable as, say, the EFCC. While EFCC is escapable because it is institutional, this new form of power is discursive. And because it is discursive, it works in a manner that hangs a difficult to discharge burden on the potential victim.