Many would belong to PDP in the morning and APC at night depending on the outcome of February 2019.
With singing, clapping and dancing, the congregation were ecstatic. The choir was at her best. My eyes were roving. The women were in their Sunday best, depending on their marital status. Some were married. Others were single and the others were complicated. There was another set whose answers depended on who was asking. This is a sober picture of Nigeria.
While I waited like plenty others, I recalled a story. Years ago, my friend KOC, while on an international flight, witnessed thievery or stealing. (Here in Nigeria, corruption is the word). Sitting adjacent to him across the aisle was this woman who was having four centre seats all to herself because the plane was not full. Ordinarily, my friend could not have noticed the woman but for one man who periodically visited her, then would leave after a while. At first, my friend said, he thought they were something like husband and wife, but his curiosity was drawn when he discovered that the man was not always at ease when he sat with the woman.
As soon as the man sat in the company of the woman, he would dart his eyes left and right, front and back, making sure no one was watching him. After a while of repeatedly doing this, the man always planted a kiss or rather stole a kiss on the woman. The dude who probably was in his fifties was sitting somewhere else but periodically came to the woman to steal a kiss and some cuddling, otherwise known as romance. He was stealing romance!
His escapades reminds me of those of us who picked a few naira from our father’s ‘coatsubla’ (a mix of coat and blazer yet being none) hanging in his wardrobe or ‘picking’ change from our mom’s piggy bank, where she put sales money from her local bean ball (akara). The experts among us could steal meat from the soup pot and leave no tell tale signs. We took our time, checked all the environment to make sure all was right before we snatch. However, one thing we do not know is that, some eye must see us when he do the wrong thing, just as this dude did not know that KOC, my friend, was looking at him with the upper eye.
The woman was not his wife, for no man steals what belongs to him and no man comes into the plane and start wobbling like jelly towards plucking a kiss from his wife, the same woman he lives with. We also have a saying that, “clear conscience fears no accusation,” thus a man will not be surveying his surroundings to make sure no one is watching before he plants a kiss or before he snuggle to his wife.
After witnessing the man’s coming and going several times, KOC forgot about the issue till they landed at the airport. As people stood to clear immigration, he noticed the same woman standing alone, all by herself with the man nowhere to be found, and what he not only suspected and believed was then confirmed that he was not the woman’s husband but just a “thief” out to steal “waters” probably belonging to another man.
While this incidence happened on the airplane I remembered what the Bible said about stolen waters: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” Proverbs 9:17.
I know there are “thieves” like the one on the airplane who go about stealing “waters” that are not theirs. In a society that worships money mongers, where certificates are bought, elections rigged, opposition clad with greed, ruling party at odds with itself, the temptation to steal in year 2019 would be high. With the investment by our politicians, many have decided to give in, to take what does not belong to them, whether the people are watching or not. They will fill their garage with more cars, and get more properties.
It is an election year. There will be scams and fraud in mind-boggling figures. People will get involved in misappropriation on road contracts that won’t be executed. There will be more ghost workers. If Atiku Abubakar wins, you will be shocked at what was stolen by the dudes on board now. A new set will soil their hands. If Mr. Buhari wins, the perfidy would get a seal of approval. Many would steal plenty kisses via phantom projects. Bounties would be so large that accounts would be opened in New Zealand and Madagascar. Many constituency project monies would develop wings. Many would belong to PDP in the morning and APC at night depending on the outcome of February 2019.
Some are not coming back to office; so it will be a little democracy, plenty ‘settle yourself’. Some are coming afresh to take care of themselves. The people are gullible; it is easy to catch them on religious or ethnic leanings. Very little significant change would occur.
Whether we find ourselves in the public service or private sector, the motto would be “aloota” continua. The budget is in trillions; we must get our share.
I am not going to sit and watch and swallow that patriotic garb. 2019 is our year. For those who live long enough in Nigeria’s 2019, we will see wonders in from local to federal level. This is a caveat; don’t say you were not warned.
For many Nigerians, it will be another year to join the ‘big league’ at the expense of the ordinary street folks. If Nigeria will take a significant step forward in governance, development in most sectors, it would be a function of how we deal with the thieves amongst us.
Do we really want to curtail the stealing, looting, corruption or whether we resolve to steal sweet waters? Do we want to steal our destiny back? Will we watch as they steal monies for our medicine in local hospitals, monies budgeted for quality education? Will fellow Nigerian brethren and sisters allow themselves to be divided while they take away our commonwealth? Only time will tell.
Dr Dickson is a researcher/policy analyst; email: [email protected]