By Chidi Obineche
it was the Canadian politician Michael Ignatief who once said that “All wars aim for impunity”. The leader of the Canadian official opposition between 2008 and 2011 made the remark in an epoch when there was a conflict between nationalism and patriotism and many hid under the pursuit of the ideal to commit heinous crimes against the state. And so it was that a certain Abdulrasheed Maina, controversial civil servant, who stole into the peoples psyche and national consciousness some seven odd years ago over alleged pension fraud has today stealthily emerged from relative hibernation to become the new red-hot hero, an object of displeasure, and of the severity of the battle against vice.
A misguided maneuver in cahoots with some irredentist cocky officials has left him a flaming cyclop who like the Greek god, Ulysses is now left naked and vulnerable. The whole episode smacks of a slap in the face of Nigerians. He evidently is cultured to the national rhythm and believes like many that even taking a shower may be a high- risk behavior. Maina merely exploited a yawning gap.
The make-up of a person is influenced by the nature of spaces and the prevailing pastime of the people. According to Erich Hartmann , “in fancy precision, aerobatic work is really not of much use. Instead, it is the rough maneuver which succeeds.” Maina and his cohorts have taught us that sometimes political maneuver can overcome common sense, can twist the sacred barn and make filth scream.
It can make life wear ruffles and create a runway too. It was a little bit of beautiful struggle that petered out in outrage. Trouble is, to be free from the past and live in the present, and perhaps create a new beginning, there must be bumps and rebounds. But for a stubborn sleight of hand, he was almost on safe land. Almost. As is the case with every deft chess player, Satan is always trying to maneuver you into a position where you can save your castle, only by losing your bishop.
In Maina’s bumpy ride back to work, he forgot or failed to avoid the quicksand, he employed the art of cunning boldly, decisively and completely. He failed to understand its limitations, when to bend it and when to give in to the inescapable circus – show.
While Nigeria boasts of gods clothed in hypocrisy, ghosts that hover, ravage and pillage, there are few angels. That was his Achilles –heels in the fashion of the mythical Sisyphus in The Odyssey who failed in his bid to roll a huge stone up hill. Now, he knows that a nickel isn’t worth a dime anymore. He has been through an undulating, dirty road and he is again running through it …. Naked. He is the hero of the market place, the enigma that drills in extraordinary manner.
He is the naked hero in a naked jungle. He is the striker that brings his team to the next home run. He is brave, free and wild like the sea. Sometimes, you find your heroes in the unlikeliest places and unkindest circumstances. He is one among millions of naked strangers and may have learnt the hard way from Charlie Chaplin that “One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero”.
As the American President, Donald Trump would say, Maina “is not a war hero because he is captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” He almost pulled through because the fire inside him raged more than the fire around him. If only his inner being could talk, it would claim it seared him with this knack.
He was a Deputy Director in the office of the Head of Service before he became the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) in June, 2010. He was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC of using the platform to perpetrate fraudulent and corrupt practices and he fled to Singapore and later Saudi Arabia. As a fugitive, not much was heard about him until his surreptitious re-engagement and promotion. He is reportedly in Niger after his sack a few days ago. He is married with children.