by Cheta Nwanze
Good morning all, and happy holidays to you. I would be lying if I apologised for my absence as I’ve been enjoying village life. However, commitments are commitments, and this one has to be honoured. In a few short hours, 2012 will be done and dusted, and it will be on to 2013. So without wasting much time, I invite you to kick back, relax, let that chicken be, pick up that cigar and inhale a bit, in no particular order, here are the Chxta awards for 2012.
The Umaru Yar’Adua Award for Missing Officers
This one was kind of tough to come by for the panel of judges, giving that Dame Patience ran him close. However, the sitting governor of Enugu state, Sullivan Chime is the winner of this category. The 53 year old has not been seen in public for four months now leading to vicious rumours from political enemies that he had kicked a bucket. Such wicked rumours have now thankfully been laid to rest and his deputy who-was-never-governor would step aside in a few weeks.
The Lawrence Anini Award for Missing Balary
Nigeria, is a country where bar, or cash, or owo, or kudi, or ego, or (insert name here) walks away regularly. This inaugural award to be honest was INCREDIBLY difficult to decide. The nominees included a range of people from diverse walks of life including Farouk Lawan, James Ibori and the civil servants associated with the pension scam. However, and after careful consideration, the panel of judges resident in my head have decided that this year’s award belongs to Ehi Okomoyon and the staff of the Nigerian Mint over the
N2.1 billions that took an ill-fated stroll from the premises of the mint and has not been seen since. You have to admit that Fakrook’s bar doesn’t top that one.
The Mujahadeen Award for Instability
Bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, robberies, we had it all in 2012. Of all the nominees for this award, it is rather tempting to give it to Boko Haram, but even the worst critic of the federal government will admit that after an initial high at the beginning of the year, even they have kinda tailed off. Whether this is as a result of improvement in the government’s surge is open to debate. However, the activity which finished the year strongly, remains kidnappers. Despite the government’s refusal to pay them any ransoms, their business seems to be getting more lucrative as more unemployed youths are taking advantage of the opportunities this job stream appears to offer.
The Amelia Earhart Award for Avoiding Road Travel
Some of the more cynical of us will want to give this to the recently departed governor of Kaduna State, and former National Security Adviser. But I refuse. I’d rather not piss on the memory of the dead. A more fitting candidate for this award will be someone who is still with us. Step forward, Danbaba Suntai of Taraba state who in his zeal to avoid the bad roads in his state took to the skies, then brought his plane crashing to the ground. We wish him quick recovery, so he can be present at the awards ceremony.
P.S I saw Ebonyi state governor, Martins Elechi’s convoy two nights ago. He was returning to Abakaliki from Enugu on that pothole infested road. 13 vehicles in the convoy, cruising at a speed of no less than 60km/h on a terrain that would make the Dakar Rally envious. Paddy Power has stopped taking bets on where the next road accident involving a Nigerian governor is likely to be…
The Johnny Lynch Award for Crowd Sourced Death
The overwhelming temptation is to give this one to the people of Aluu for their treatment of those four unfortunate boys, but as Oria Iyayi rightly pointed out, their case was hardly isolated, more the norm. As a result, they come a close second. This year’s award goes to the killers of Gyang Dantong, former Senator from Plateau state who was killed at a mass funeral for victims of senseless violence that has engulfed his constituency since a time shortly after he became a Senator.
The Motorola Award for Miscued Speech
To be honest, there can only be one winner here in terms of speakers. No one in Nigeria comes close to our President when it comes to making statements that would be hastily withdrawn afterwards. No one comes close to him either in making statements that would need unconvincing explanations afterwards. So the challenge has been in picking which of his many miscues this year is the award winner. I mean, we had the HUGE miscue of announcing the increase in fuel prices and as a result choking most Nigerians as they were in the middle of their New Year chickens. Then there was the time he stood in front of national television and shared money in the name of flood relief committees. Then who can forget his “not giving a damn” about the state of his asset declaration form. However, after a lot of soul searching, the winner is, “and I hereby direct the name of the University of Lagos to become Moshood Abiola University”. Enjoy the reaction of Kashimawo University students after that announcement.
The 53-Suitcases Award for Excess Luggage
Nigerian public officials and their proxies take a lot of undeclared currency abroad with them in order to buy houses in London, New York and Dubai. This is no secret, neither is it a surprise. What was a surprise however is the fact that the relation of one such person was caught. Step forward, Aminu Lamido. Son of Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido, who only a few weeks ago was caught with the undeclared equivalent of N7.5millions on his person as he attempted to board a flight to Cairo. Still no word on what young Aminu does for a living…
The Arthur Nzeribe Award for Playing Both Sides
This year further strengthened the knowledge that our government does not know how much money the nation makes from oil. Thus it was that a committee (one of the myriad set up this year) was constituted to look into it. The committee, headed by former EFCC babariga, Nuhu Ribadu, set about its duties with a lot of zeal, all except two members, who thought it rather prudent to take appointments in the very organisation that their committee was tasked with investigating. Step forward Steve Oronsaye and Ben Otti for your joint award.
The Philip Osondu Award for Failure To Live Up To Potential
This one can only go to the Nigerian Olympic Team for going to London, seeing in London, being seen in London, and failing woefully to conquer. Any more on this and it will be an overkill.
There are a lot more awards that can be given out, but sadly we have to return to that manya nkwu, as well as to continue enjoying the River Niger’s fresh breeze. For what it’s worth, do have a fun filled cross-over this night, and may the best of your 2012 be the worst of your 2013.
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