Letter to the son of man: Nigerian politicians and their comedy shows

 by Adeojo Kolawole Adeyemi Hannibal


Dear Son of Man,

The will to do what is right in the face of medley temptations, mostly from peers, can actually determine the residual goodwill left in a man and also determines to a greater extent, his resoluteness and adherence to his social values. For a politician, it is a political will to do what is right and so, at the right time. It makes such a politician stand out from the lot. They do not come across as just your average politician, who from the word go had started eyeing a yet to come tenure even when the subsisting tenure is yet to elapse. Such a political leader, in contrast to the motley of the quasi-politicians that abound in our political space, is rare to come by. We truly lack role model politicians that we deserve in a country where mediocrity is celebrated at the expense of true ingenuity and sheer excellence. Present crops of leaders are bands of egotistical marauders who delude themselves with the sham that the world revolves around them. They are woeful in orientation and superficial in patriotism and as such we could expect nothing less from them.


Every new development that makes the news nowadays is reduced to comic relief by political gladiators who are hell bent on scoring cheap political grades in anticipation of  an incoming dispensation. Yes, it may be a way of maintaining relevance through irrelevancies but there must be a limit to such exuberances. The attendant accusations and counter accusations that greeted the discovery of an incredible sum of $43million dollars and other sums in Pounds and Naira recently in an unclaimed flat in Osborne Estate, Ikoyi, was at best a display of tomfoolery by a nation who jokes about nothing and virtually about everything. There have been many back and forth on the discoveries of numerous cash stashed in as many resplendent places to hideous places, ranging from blocks of exquisite flats to ramshackle buildings and outright burying of cash in sewage cubicles. While many of the claims remain outlandish and without proofs, the “Flat 7B” discovery generated further ridiculous claims. In the first salvo released by the anti-grafts agency, the EFCC reported in the media that they discovered a stash of raw cash in an unoccupied flat sitting in Osborne Estate after a whistleblower blew the lid on the cover. It was not long that the hype generated by the news through the media threw up accusations. First, the cash was linked to a former PDP chairman, Adamu Muazu, who allegedly owns the controversial building, that in itself not being enough to pin the stash down to him and before he could debunk the claim, rival political parties saw it as an opportunity to sling mud, and so came Femi Fani-Kayode who took to Twitter to lay bare the allegation on the footstep of the serving Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.


Before it could simmer down Gov Ayodele Fayose, in a bid not to be outdone in the frenzy, took to Facebook through one of his aides to point accusing fingers on the same minister. Interestingly enough, the sitting governor of River State, Gov. Wike also came to the party with his own sarcastic allegation claiming that the discovered funds belong to his state and it was a proceed of  a gas turbine sold during the tenure of the minister, apparently when he was the governor of the state. As the twists in tales of the talebearers were ongoing, a former NNPC Managing Director, Mrs. Ogbue, was also fingered as the owner of the alleged loots. Then comes the biggest of all, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), an agency, hitherto unheard of, came out of its hermit shell, through its D.G, Mr. Ayo Oke, to declare that the said funds belong to his agency and that it was approved by the erstwhile president for a covert mission in 2015. There was an obvious lack of communication between the two agencies or worst, lack of cooperation. It has been said several times that the EFCC needs to reduce the carnival-like atmosphere associated with most of its missions. This showmanship was the reason why some mischievous people insinuated that the agency could be staging such stashing to convince the unsuspecting public of its relevance and efficiency in the present dispensation.


While it is right for EFCC to reduce the pageantry attending its loot recovery mission, to suggest they are stage-managing these chains of discoveries is hard on an agency who had remained resolute since the inception of the present administration in their fight against corrupt elements ingrained in our polity and who had continue to fleece this nation of its glorious present and future. To think that leaders whose public opinions are meant to uphold values could jump to preempt such an agency, saddled with the responsibilities of fighting grafts, is to say the least of the perception they have about government business. Politicking about issues that carry great gravity is highly insensitive to the plight of the masses that are already at the receiving ends of the sheer wantonness of their leaders. Now, with the new revelations coming from the DG of NIA during the session with the presidential committee set up to probe him and the secretary to the federal government, Babachir Lawal, of impropriety, I think those who were so quick to pre-empt the EFCC should cover their faces in shame. Now that they learnt the stashed sum was part of the mega sums released under fraudulent pretense to propagate the 2015 general elections as ordered by the erstwhile President, with what authority would they come to the public court as the voice of true and impartial opposition? Maybe we could make use of the hint by our iconic Nobel laureate about criminalising any distraction in the war against corruption.


The whistle blowing policy of the government is already looking good on the face value of it, not necessarily because of the numerous discoveries of public funds stashed away in abandon buildings, but because of the sudden dawn on the citizenry that they can let in on any anomaly provided they are armed with the right information. There is a great need to strengthen the protection law for whistleblowers, most especially coming on the backdrop of the announcement by the Minister of Finance to also reward whistleblowers who let in on illegal arms cache. Much more than the assurance of handsome rewards for whistle blowing, the whistle blowers need state protection vis-à-vis non-disclosure of identities and obliteration of telecommunication trails of the whistle blowers. This cannot be overemphasised given that corruption will definitely fight back and is also expected to fight dirty. The plight of these whistle blowers who are just average patriotic citizens who believe that the so many injustices being promoted by the nation’s ruling class should not be allowed to continue, should be highlighted and high premiums placed on their safety.


The present executive leaders under the superintendence of  President Buhari set a good precedence by suspending officers within its ranks who were found wanting in propriety, especially in handling public trust. Notable is the firing of the DG of NIA, Ayo Oke, the suspension of the SGF, Babachir Lawal and the setting up of a panel of inquiry led by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo. The revelations coming from the panel confirmes two of our worst perceptions; one, being a monumental looting that occurred during the past administration and two, being an infiltration of the Buhari government by the old stock of the looting lot. Through his body language and actions, Buhari has given a symbolic rendition of his resolution to spare no one, even within his rank, in his fight against corruption. Maybe the old Spartan soldier is finally living up to his billing as Mr Integrity. In fairness to him, his body language, contrary to what his opponents would want us to believe, hasnot betrayed his unyielding commitment to uproot the scourge of a nation warped in moribund convention. However, what is palpable is the fight back from the custodians of the scourge. This, in reality, is what he never envisaged or rather underestimated; the ruthlessness with which corruption could fight back. With his actions, he has dropped the gauntlet for the national assembly. It should sear their conscience and prod their minds about their stance on the fight against corruption and about setting this country on the right path of development. To achieve this, it must first cleanse its Aegean stable and purge itself of the ideology of narcissism  and selfism. It must also realise that its gang-like approach of sweeping under the carpet, cases of corruption that hold special interest to the public must cease forthwith and a new direction charted, which must include the willingness to probe itself, allow the probe of its members found wanting and sanctioning its erring members. No longer should the national assembly be seen as a chamber of refuge for corrupt bugs hell bent on pulling the hood on the nation. It should also foretell that the patience of the people is fast ebbing out .


You may also permit me to do a Ganduje, “I don’t sleep at public functions, I only pretend”, to stress the disposition of men elected to offices who show apathy for their job functions only to turn around to explain themselves with all trivia. It also shows the brazenness of our leaders, who are never wrong and are always right in all situations including the one not directly within their purviews. They assume super human aura and hence why they seem so detached from the realities of the everyday struggles of the ordinary man. They cheat all they have dealings with and also attempt to cheat nature by giving farcical explanations to escape its firm grip.


I must permit you the luxury of space and time now as I join the hunt for a supposed police officer Biu, who posted a video threatening to take down 200 citizens if Buhari should die of his ailment. It’s a threat not to be taken lightly before a demented fellow under the cover of uniform and armed with weapons jeopardises the lives of innocent people, most especially when the alleged officer supposedly knows the nature of the president’s ailment and has been ranting about foul play. Though the Nigerian Police Force had vowed to fish out the alleged officer if truly he is one, but like all hysteria generated by the Nigerian Police Force, it may be the last we would hear about the saga.


I am  sending this letter through more than thirty football fans who died from electrocution in Calabar while they were watching an Europa League match involving Manchester United at a viewing centre. My unbridled sympathy lies with their families.


Till I write you once again

Yours in Pen


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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