Ebuka Obi-Uchendu: Nigeria and the tortoise (YNaija FrontPage)

It’s tough to keep up with shocking news in Nigeria. I don’t even understand how things spiral anymore. Something really sad and shocking happens one day; then while you’re still trying to get the details of it all, another bomb (no pun intended) hits you so hard, the earlier problem begins to look like a tea party. Let us look at the last week alone.

On Sunday June 10th, explosions rocked a church in Jos, Plateau State killing a couple of people. Not too long after, we heard about sporadic shootings at another church in Bauchi where some more people died.  Those sad reports were bad enough to usher us into the new week. Yet as the week went on, reports surfaced that the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission had been dramatically removed and controversially locked out of her office. Not too long after that, reports of more deaths in Jos surfaced, following a ban on commercial motorcycles, which led to riots, bloody fights and eventual deaths.

While all of that went on, a Super Eagles player was kidnapped and thankfully found alive not too long after. But the cousin of the Delta State Governor hasn’t been as lucky yet following his own kidnap and lack of release as the week came to an end. We cannot also forget the depressing news about decaying bodies of victims of the Dana Air crash at the mortuary of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital as a result of the place being overwhelmed with bodies and obviously inadequate facilities.

Somewhere in the middle of all these, the Minister of Finance burst our already deflated bubble by telling Nigerians to prepare for a recession. The whole noise about our economy growing at 7% this year and oil prices going up forever has finally been given a rest, as the truth reaches home. She also stopped subsidy payments to oil importers all pointing to the fact that the country’s finances are not in the best place right now. You look around and wonder how low we can go. Nigerians are already poor enough. Hearing news about an even weaker economy is like the news about a pregnant woman who got crushed to death during the week by a trailer and initially had her unborn child survive before dying later. You can’t take away our only small sign of hope even if we hadn’t started to live it.

But without a doubt, Otedolagate or Faroukgate or ‘How The Tortoise Got Bald In The Nigerian House Of Representatives’ definitely tops the list of all news in Nigeria for the last week, good or bad. It is still so shocking that a lot of Nigerians, who have never even met either party, are still in denial on behalf of their favorites. It’s not uncommon to walk past someone today saying; “No way. Farouk can never do a thing like this.” Do not bother asking them why they are so sure because they actually do not have any facts to show that the Honorable member is a Saint. It is just a collective sign of disbelief that the one Nigerian anti-corruption hero might just be one of ‘them’ after all.

Quotes from a ThisDay Newspaper publication on the contents of the unreleased video evidence that shows Hon. Farouk Lawan collecting $250,000 in cash on one occasion, went viral. He was said to have stuffed his pockets with the cash and got to a point where he couldn’t continue. He had run out of pocket space and needed somewhere to stuff the rest of it. So he took out his cap, put the rest of the money in there and wore it back on his head, walking away shamelessly. Now, let it be said that all of these are still allegations and remain so until proven otherwise factually. Hearsay is never tangible and so, cannot indict anyone. But it still did not stop me from finding the humor in that episode and the parallels with a tortoise story.

We heard a lot of folktales about the tortoise while growing up. It fell from a tree, which is why its shell is cracked; a sorcerer mistakenly chopped off its tail and now it remains tailless; we even heard of the tortoise beating the hare in a race. But one of the funniest has to be about the tortoise putting hot porridge in his cap and wearing it, only to get home and find out that he was bald. The similarity with the Farouk Lawan alleged incident is interesting. Makes you wonder if that was his motivation.

Those tortoise stories were meant to teach kids valuable lessons about the repercussions of lying, greed, selfishness and cheating. Now, if our leaders must be motivated by the tortoise, then let me recommend ‘The Tortoise and The Talking Drum’ to them easily. In that story, the tortoise was given a small drum that he had to beat whenever he was hungry, as food would come out of it as a result. He did that continuously till he broke the drum. Then he got very greedy and corrupt (Naija style) and went back to collect an even bigger drum by force so that he could get even more food. This time, he beat it and instead of food, several whips came out the drum and flogged him endlessly. Simply put, corruption and bad intentions never pay even if Nigeria seems to defy that logic. But hey, I thought we were now taking lessons from the tortoise so don’t blame me.

Good luck (not Goodluck) to everyone this week!


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (9)

  1. I just "knacked" my head on the bedrest while laughing…this is comedy at it's best…tortoise putting hot poridge in his cap and getting home bald! This is the best article I've read on Femi vs Farouk

  2. @Jimmy: Seriously dude, are you for real? It an op-ed not an Economic textbook.

  3. this sounds like somethings from a potential Reuben Abati. Contains nothing intellectually stimulating, void of any possible solutions to our quagmire – a mere dexterous description of our current scenario something Abati, Segun Adeniyi and a certain Ohimai used to be good at. I'm tired of these letdowns please Y'Naija if your columnists have nothing worth the while free we have twitter to amuse ourselves. sigh!

  4. Weldone Ebuka!

  5. Welldone, Ebuka! I actually look forward to reading your pieces now. God help us to save ourselves in this country called Nigeria….Amen!!

  6. They hv already started with Zaria this morning. We're in trouble in dis country

  7. I really wish that ideo would come out.
    Any way, the both of them Farouk and Otedola seem guilty of crimes and should be brought to book… No plea Bargain.

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