The difference between stealing and corruption – and more in today’s news round-up with Cheta Nwanze

by Cheta Nwanze


When a Nigerian tells you I dey come, he is not walking towards you. He actually means to tell you that you in an Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of accent, I’ll be back. It’s much the same mentality, with our Prez, his spouse, and now seemingly, the etibho at the head of the ICPC. 

At different stages of a man’s life, he has mentors. People, usually older, whom he looks up to for counsel and support. I’m no different, except probably in the fact that, come to think of it, I can count only three. One of them, is a chap called Jeremy Weate, one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. I first saw Jeremy at the Federal Ministry of Finance in Abuja in 2004. He was a consultant for the ministry at the time, and I like to think that he was instrumental in putting the ideas together that helped secure this err, geographical expression, some debt relief back in those days. The next time I saw him was at London Bridge in 2006. That day, we had a veeeeeeeery long talk, and from then, he in effect, he became a counsellor of sorts. One of the things we talked about that day was Nigerians, and their handling of the English language. Jeremy espoused an idea which I had first talked about years before in UNIBEN. That Pidgin English, would probably do better than Elizabeth Windsor’s variety, as Nigeria’s official language. I was to go on to write about that UNIBEN incident, exactly a week before moving back to Nigeria.

This little preamble, is because this idea has once again, reared itself in my subconscious. Consider the following: in Nigeria’s three “major” languages, the words, I am coming, translate to, m na biamo mbo, and inna zuwa, which each literally mean I am going. Nigeria’s Pidgin English, does a better job of translating the mentality of the Nigerian. When a Nigerian tells you I dey come, he is not walking towards you. He actually means to tell you that you in an Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of accent, I’ll be back. It’s much the same mentality, with our Prez, his spouse, and now seemingly, the etibho at the head of the ICPC. However, I am also now beginning to wonder about their own credentials in Pidgin…

“Stealing is not corruption,” wooaahed Ekpo Nta, echoing his sovereign from a few weeks back in that world famous Prez jaw-jaw with the media. Well, Mr. Nta’s words had me reaching for a dictionary to check on the meanings of corruption and stealing. The underlying meaning in both words is dishonest acquisition, which leads me to wonder, as a Bendel boy, corruption na tiff, tiff na tiff. Abi e get anoda tin wey dem dey use am do?

Bits and Bobs
While we are busy arguing about the merits of the spoken word, #BokoHaram have been busy. Maiduguri on Saturday, Kano yesterday, the journey continues. In Maiduguri meanwhile, hundreds of devil’s workshops, took to the streets to protest the latest case of stupidity, by the men-in-black, yesterday. Meanwhile this exceptional story chronicles what in my view, is the reason why this crap in the north-east will not end any time soon. Spot on Mr. Atuanya. My apologies for spoiling this morning’s tonic with only bad news, but err, we’ve been creating devil’s workshops since God talked to Moses. Latest batch have been getting seasoned for 10 months now. Finally, a light hearted one to entertain you. With nothing by the way of evidence, some nna brosesare raising the alarm that since their daughter was shuffled off the post, there is a concerted effort to close down Enugu Airport. Do you blame them? They learn from the PDP and APC…

Right of Reply

Aziza Uko wrote,

Reuben Abati released a press statement yesterday evening that President Jonathan was going to Paris today.. But, we all prefer to believe a fake report from Reuters that he is going to Chibok. Oh, well…

Chxta responds,

Err, the story about the Prez shuffling to Chibok actually originated from Arise TV. Then it was picked up by AFP, then Reuters, then CNN, then the BBC, then Premium Times, then the rest of the local media. Asides the rest of the local media, each of these organisations (I don’t know anyone in Arise so I can’t speak for them), made efforts to verify, and were told by their contacts in The Rock that it was true, so they ran with it. As a matter of fact, an advance team was indeed sent to Maiduguri.

For the sake of fairness however, it must be pointed out that the DG, NOA, Mike Omeri, issued a statement that evening that he did not know anything about a Chibok trip. Omeri’s statement appeared on the Voice of America at 1719 ET, (almost midnight here) and on no local medium, even those controlled by the government.

Up until now, asides a few cursory tweets, there has been no concerted effort to correct the impression which the entire planet has that the Prez chickened out of a stroll to Chibok despite his own, heavy, personal security.

This brings me to a pet peeve of mine, the Prez’s media team…

While I have no wish to annoy myself more than necessary this morning, duty behoves me to point out two things: first, and like it or not, information leaks out of The Rock like a sieve. Sahara Reporters has published documents that had me shaking my head because it was clear that someone in The Rock with high level access gave them those documents. Second, fighting perceived enemies of the Prez (even those like me who actually want the Prez to succeed, but feel duty bound to give constructive criticism) on social media, and fabricating stories using Soviet style methods of propaganda in 2014 is, well, let’s stop it there.


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