by Akin Akintayo
A birthday celebration
I woke up this morning minded that I will escape the need to tweet anything crazily absurd about Nigeria and just have a swimmingly smooth day. No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than I clicked on a link that brought up a picture and that was the end of my wish.
The associates of Chief James Onanefe Ibori, the ex-governor of Delta State and current jailbird in Her Majesty’s Prison accommodation in the United Kingdom will be gathered at his Oghara Country Home in Delta State to celebrate a “Birthday of Reconciliation” highlighting his 54th birthday anniversary with a praise and worship service presided over by three “eminent” men of the cloth.
We need friends
Now, regardless of the tribulations by omission or commission a man faces in life, it is of the greatest hope that he is not deserted by friends and that might be the case with James Ibori, he still has friends and that is probably a good thing.
What is dangerous is having friends who are dishonest, disingenuous or who choose to remain obdurately oblivious of the truth about one’s character, behaviour and reprehensible acts.
In a full page advert taken out to announce this celebration which should have been private and completely out of earshot for its odium they have suggested James Ibori is “The Living Legend of Resource Control Struggle.”
These people must be having a big laugh at our expense because if this is to suggest James Ibori was at the forefront of the Niger Delta struggle, then I must have been living in a parallel universe not to have noticed it.
However, what we know by reason of the case of fraud and money laundering brought against him in the UK is that a man on a £4,000 per annum confidently bought a house in the UK worth £2.2m.
Beyond that, the litany of looting is such that the judge in the case said it was impossible to ascertain how much James Ibori frittered away in avarice par excellence that makes the mind boggle.
Let it be known that James Ibori had acquired his riches “at the expense of the some of the poorest people in the world“.
These people stink
In any case, disgraced, convicted and jailed in a foreign land along with his wife, his mistress and lawyer, there are people albeit of dubious respectability who are gathered to laud this man as some champion of a cause that seriously escapes me.
The associates of this bounder, scoundrel, fraud and thief have successfully corralled into their disreputable assembly the South-South vice president, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop God-Do-Well Avwomakpa, as guest preacher, while Rev. Gbejero and Rev. Oyibo would also minister.
It begs the question where the moral compass of Nigeria is if men of the cloth are cavorting with those who in other polite societies would be completely shunned until slowly rehabilitated when memory fails us, it is beyond shameful the hold that money and Mammon have over many church leaders that they will forget principle, character, and tenet to sup with those without any virtue worthy of the barest emulation.
Where is our polite society?
The repugnant occasion will be chaired by an elder statesman and Professor Emeritus, B.I.C Ijeomah, a one-time eminent social science professor who by his involvement in this charade is neither distinguished nor reputable – but we probably have no discernment of character in Nigeria once the money is on the table to judge who we should associate with and who we should shun.
In another country, no one will publicly associate with James Ibori apart from his lawyers one of whom is serving time for serving him, he will be stripped of all honours and dignities and left so full of shame that he will seek a low profile exile in some faraway land.
Give no honour to them
Nigeria is not about to see that kind of society, though James Ibori will be kept at Her Majesty’s pleasure for 13 years or probably less than that, he will most definitely return to Nigeria triumphantly, celebrated to the rafters to find great honour amongst thieves like himself who have milked and bilked Nigeria dry with impunity and without consequence.
We can however avoid this shameful parade of the notoriously ignominious by excoriating in the sternest terms all who gather to celebrate corruption and worse as they continue to give our dear country a very bad name and image.
Stop this nonsense
Invite yourself to that rotten assembly at Oghara on the 4th of August 2012 and make all the attendees as uncomfortable as you can get them, we need to repudiate these congregations of the reprehensible and give no place to the indefensible – we will do our bit on Social Media.
Nothing on God’s good earth should give license to this decadent fanfare.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.