by Alexander O. Onukwue
As at Friday morning, a Google Search on Hushpuppi turns up, amongst a few scanty results, a link to the EFCC Twitter handle.
It is probable that the search engine’s crawlers have registered the conversations on social media about reporting Hushpuppi to the anti-graft agency. The call was suggested by KCee, the Limpopo singer, who posted a clap back on Instagram, calling Hushpuppi out for his “disrespect” of Nigerian artistes who work day and night to have a career. KCee’s comments followed those made by fellow artistes Ice Prince and Phyno, who also asked the flaunt-merchant to identify his source of wealth rather than attempt to denigrate them.
Well, let’s be clear: EFCC is not going after Hushpuppi anytime soon.
A Twitter poll by a user’s private account showed an 85% response calling for him to be questioned by the Ibrahim Magu-led agency. Some media platforms have picked that up, making the generalisation that “85% of Nigerians” wants the EFCC to go after him. At best, that bothers on weak reporting, and while the idea that he is (or has been) a “Yahoo boy” is plausible, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot be that his money is also 100% genuine.
On a broader sense, Nigeria will continue to have its Hushpuppis – the rich young men and women whose daily bread is that we watch how they eat their daily bread – and nothing can be done to shut them down. Their internet service cannot be taken away, ensuring they always have the means to put themselves out there for admirers to see. Though their aims are usually to garner more following and admiration, persons who feel irked by their show of wealth only serve to fuel them further in showing off more of what they have. The joy of the pepper is in the hissing and sniffing.
But more importantly, the economic and political condition of the country will ensure that Hushpuppi and his likes will remain relevant. It is no secret that many persons slide into his DM (Direct Message) to solicit one form of aid or another. In turn, they help him broadcast and champion his ostentatious endeavours, defend his honour when he is being criticised, or keep silent. This bears semblance to the usual occurrence in politics, where the electorate readily surrender their rights to challenge authority for the temporary filling of the stomach.
No agency can go after a Hushpuppi when there are public office holders who flaunt as much as he does. He clearly has designs to be a public figure and is not receiving any federal funding to support that ambition. But there are publicly funded officials in Nigeria whose wealthy acquisitions have always been in the public glare, without any real efforts made to determine that they were all legitimately acquired.
If nobody is raising structures to keep those ones in check, calling on EFCC to follow Hushpuppi is an unnecessary distraction. It would not be surprising, though, if the EFCC Twitter handle follows him. Just for the banter.