I am angry! Very angry. I’m angry with Minister of Information Lai Mohammed. How can my name not be on the list of looters? Or doesn’t the minister know that all critics of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency in the media have since been branded non-card-carrying members of the PDP and are, therefore, deserving of making the list?
Haba! Or is this a continuation of the marginalisation of the South East? Of course, I’m not interrogating the lists. I don’t even want to know if the monies Olisa Metuh, Uche Secondus, Nenadi Usman, etc, were said to have collected from Col. Sambo Dasuki were part of the total figure put against the name of the former NSA. Or whether those former PDP members who decamped to the APC returned their own loot back to Dasuki. I’m also not asking Magu and EFCC to corroborate Alhaji’s figures, neither am I asking Kemi Adeosun or Godwin Emefiele to confirm receipt of the recovered loot. I’m just worried that everything is just passing me by. When they appointed the living, they didn’t mention my name. Then they appointed the dead and still left me out. They compiled a list of unemployed and indigent Nigerians, for periodic cash handouts, I still didn’t make the list. Rich people were invited to Dangote’s daughter’s wedding the other day, nobody sent me any invitation card. Now, they’ve released both the first list and the supplementary list of looters, and I still can’t find my name. Haba! What is my offence? Or is my name on the VC’s list? Or Cabal’s list? Or kitchen cabinet list? I’m still hopeful and waiting.
So, what do I have to do to attract the attention (and patronage) of this Buhari administration? Does it mean that, apart from armed robbery attacks and kidnapping, one is not entitled to any other dividend of this APC government? Why hasn’t anyone come to dig open my soak-away? Don’t they know that I have a farm in my village, where I could have buried dollars and pounds? Why is it only armed robbers and kidnappers that come for wee-hour sting operations in my house?
But what Alhaji Lai Mohammed did to me is not even as annoying as what my assistant did to me last Monday morning. The overzealous guy noticed my car had a flat tyre and, without my consent, took it upon himself to replace it with the new tyre I had pamperingly left in the car trunk all this while. Of course, many of you innocent readers would think there is nothing wrong with that, especially when this new tyre was bought specifically for that purpose. But there is everything wrong with it. In this season, when a President can fly down from Abuja (literally moving the entire Presidency with him) to commission a bus terminal (haters and wailers insist it’s actually a “bus stop”), and a court recently rolled out the drums to commission a new power inverter, I think it’s sacrilegious that a tyre that cost a whopping N75,000 should just be mounted on the car without befitting fanfare. Not only were mainstream media not invited to witness the commissioning of this “ultramodern,” “state-of-the-art” tyre, there were also no ‘selfies’ to post on Instagram and other social media handles. Right now, I have no before-and-after photos of the tyre, with the waterproof factory wrappings.
In ‘saner’ times, I could have sewn Aso Ebi for my wife and children to properly mark the ‘groundbreaking’ event. Now, how would my neighbours know that, in this Tokunbo economy, some of us are still able to buy brand new tyres? Now, doesn’t this socially and politically naive assistant deserve the sack?
Of course he does! With 2019 general election around the corner, we must seize every photo opportunity. It doesn’t really matter if we spend N10 million to commission a N1.2 million borehole or culvert, it all adds up.
That is why I feel sorry for the seeming naivety of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos. Your Excellency, how can you use only one day to commission 21 roads? Twenty-one roads is more than what some of your colleague governors would build in all of eight years. So, the commissioning would have been broken down to, for instance, two projects per week, and stretched to the eve of next year’s election.
And, talking of 2019 elections, I suspect American billionaire Bill Gates is a PDP member. He, therefore, owes us the kind of apology that his fellow partymen tendered last week, instead of telling us bitter truths nobody wants to hear.
And he was even so naive that he didn’t know that such truths are usually embedded in sugar coatings to ensure they do not cause constipation of the ear.
But, jokes apart, if Bill Gates was not on the payroll of PDP, how could a man we invited to just come and pat the back of our phonetics-speaking finance whizkid and, after, go have a taste of the typical Nigerian wedding party (where the marrying couples are usually a footnote in their own wedding) now go out of his way to start criticising our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)?
How can he say that such a carefully crafted policy document, which employs all the right words and technical phrases, drawn from the register of IMF and the World Bank, does not really address the problems of Nigeria? Which country’s problems does the ERGP then address? Or, is Bill Gate implying that our planners, many of whom are products of Harvard, Oxbridge and all the Ivy League institutions, just went back to their old lesson notes, dug up an old case study, changed the names of countries, characters and circumstances and presented same, with fanfare, to Buhari, knowing that the poor man seems more interested in reading only his Quran this days and may not have stumbled on the original work before now?
But I’ll get back to the Bill Gates ‘insult’ later. However, I think Bill Gates and Gen. TY Danjuma belong to the same party, party of haters and wailers.
For record purposes, let me make it clear that Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, former coupist, war-monger, Army Chief, Minister of Defence and now Jukun nationalist, is not the first to call on Nigerians to rise and defend themselves against rampaging herdsmen. Several other people, including governors and respected traditional rulers have made similar calls before now.
Danjuma is also not the first to allege ethnic cleansing, governors, CAN, SOKAPU, Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB have said it, the latter as far back as 2014.
TY is also not the first to allude that the military have neither protected, defended nor served us to the best of their ability on this matter. For even Governor Geidam of Yobe State alluded to this much when he questioned the rationale behind the withdrawal of troops from Dapchi a few hours before the insurgents struck.
However, I suspect that the only reason the establishment does not appear to be too happy with Danjuma’s outburst is that his is like an own goal. Friendly fire, which is more deadly than enemy fire. For Danjuma is essentially a part and parcel of the band of power marauders who have held the country by its jugular ever since that July 29, 1966, putsch, which marked the beginning of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing in Nigeria.
Now, apart from the oil wells and jaw-dropping wealth the system allowed him to retire into, the General has also been largely left alone to determine who gets what in his native Taraba State, that appeared to have been deliberately created for him out of the old Gongola State. And I dare say, since 1999, Danjuma has produced all the governors of that state.
He is also believed to have received generous patronage from the Centre, since he was one of the men behind the mask who foisted the Obasanjo presidency on Nigeria in 1999. So, clearly, Danjuma has no reason to rock the boat.
But then, there comes a time in the life of a man, a freeborn, when he gets tired of being the Chief Slave, Master Servant or the king’s favourite eunuch. When he gets fed up with being a most loved, most favoured second class citizen. Then he begins to assert himself, more like a dying man trying to make peace with his maker.
Now, I wouldn’t know if Danjuma is speaking up a little too late, but one narrative keeps running through my mind:
They came for the Igbo, you joined them. They came for the Niger Deltans, you clapped for them. They overran Southern Kaduna, you rationalised it. They came for the Beroms, you kept quiet. They came for the Tiv, you looked the other way. Now, it’s the turn of the Jukun. After that, the Nupe will fall.
And, gradually, it would come to the Yoruba, Hausa, the Kanuri and, finally, even the Fulani would turn on themselves – that is if these other tribes do not become united against their poor Fulani countrymen (who have been wrongly characterized as gun-trotting expansionists and jihadists) – and then the mutual annihilation would become nationwide.
Yes, I dare say that in my nearly 50 odd years, Nigeria has never been as divided as it is today. Not even in the heat of the civil war and the preceding pogrom was Nigeria as divided as it is today. And it’s all thanks to a tiny cabal that wrongly thinks it has a divine mandate to restore the country’s power equation back to ‘factory setting’ – the setting bequeathed to us by our exiting colonial masters. Tragically, it is doing incalculable harm to the very ethnic stock it erroneously thinks it is restoring its lost glory. A glory that was never lost, anyway.
And in just two and a half years of shortsightedness, this cabal has succeeded in not only demystifying GMB (one of the few role models still standing), but attracting so much public opprobrium to an otherwise lovable Fulani nation.
Thankfully, even as we search for a new beginning, many of us are still looking in the direction of the Fulani. For if we want to arrest the descent and arrest the present rot, we need another Fulani to look his fellow Fulani in the eye and tell truth to power, without being accused of being a Fulani hater.
For me, that is one quick way of repairing the damage, and proving to the world once again that the Fulani have long outgrown the primordial floundering we are witnessing today.
And that takes us back to what Bill Gates said: human development is the key. Even if we run the national grid lines from Sokoto to Ogoja, without the perquisite human development, our people would end up drying their clothes on the power lines. After all, is it not only an educated person that would know that burning tyres on asphalted roads destroys the asphalt, and ultimately, the road? How do you convince the unschooled street urchin that it’s in his enlightened self-interest to let the aluminum railings on the bridge be, as opposed to sawing them off to go sell as scrap to local aluminum smelters? How do you convince the illiterate Tiv voter that he can never hope to have a Nigerian President of Tiv extraction if he continues to deny the Idoma and the Igede the governorship of Benue? How do you tell the Taraba Christian that his Muslim kinsman is equally entitled to the governorship of the state? Or that the Okigwe and Owerri zones of my own Imo State should not be eternally shut out of the governorship because my Orlu people have a numerical advantage. Only an educated and enlightened populace can interrogate all the deceit that self-serving political conmen regularly dish out.
Unfortunately, with our army of out-of-school children, and even larger army of miseducated adults, we can only be sure of one thing: a vexed Generation Next; more kidnappers, armed robbers, political thugs and ballot box snatchers. Waiting at the end of our current political philandering and policy rudderlessness is a generation of Nigerians who would assassinate for sport and ensure that neither we nor our children would ever have the peace of mind to enjoy one cent of the millions of dollars we are looting today.
*Follow me on twitter @steve_nwosu