by Odekunle Ayokunle
We used to have some neighbours – Mr and Mrs Majiyagbe – around house when I was younger and we lived at Gbekuba.
Mr Majiyagbe was a night soil worker – those men who used to go around in the olden days packing peoples’ ‘shit’ late at night. The job was a really dirty but lucrative one. Mr Majiyagbe had cool cash which he expended on his wife and kids. People however used to laugh at Mr Majiyagbe behind his back, calling him dirty and smelly. His wife was his loudest defender as she fought whoever dared call her husband names. She was a beneficiary of his wealth.
That was when the going was good.
The story changed years later. Mr Majiyagbe no longer found his wife, Sikiratu Majiyagbe, attractive and he sought young blood to satisfy his insatiable sexual desires. He thus chased his wife out of his house and his new wife, Susan started living with him. Sikiratu vowed not to take the treatment lightly as she became Mr Majiyagbe’s greatest critic.
She later started sitting at the market square to gossip about how ‘dirty’ her former husband’s job was. As a kid, I was miffed. Why, I wonder would this same woman who was always defending this same man as regards his job become his greatest critic? In my child-like mind, I wondered if that’s how people change when things no longer favour them. Years later, I got my answers!
Going through Twitter one day and seeing one @elrufai ranting and raining abuses at the person of the President, I was so sure it couldn’t be Nasir El-Rufai, the 53 year old popular Nigerian. I mean when did he become a born again democrat?
I was cocksure that the account @elrufai belonged to a 10 year old kid who has a lot of MB on his Nokia phone and seemed at a loss as to how to exhaust the free MB. I was shocked beyond words when I actually discovered that the person behind that handle was actually Nasir El-Rufai.
First things first, I have nothing against Mr El-Rufai even if I believe he is inconsistent and treats issues as a kid would. I have nothing against critics as I believe criticism musn’t be misconceived or ill-conceived. I believe it should be fair. You shouldn’t criticize because you don’t like a person or because you have your own personal ambitions and the best way to attain your own ambitions is to criticize without seating whoever currently holds sway.
Mr Nasir El-Rufai needs no much introduction. He was at the scandal plagued Bureau of Public Enterprises, and was Minister of the F.C.T under Olusegun Obasanjo. As F.C.T Minister, he was enmeshed in many corruption cases which he hasn’t been cleared of. He was accused of seizing lands from peasants and handing them to his family members. He was accused of paying a youth corper who he was allegedly dating in dollars running into Millions of Naira as salary from government coffers. He demolished houses even when there were court orders halting the demolition.
A very good example was a judge who died suddenly after his house built with his life savings was demolished by El-Rufai even when there was an interim order by a competent court halting the demolition. Under his very watch serving on Obasanjo’s Economic Team, billions of dollars were lost to a bogus power project that gulped 16 billion dollars. Corruption was very rampant but Mr El-Rufai had developed selective amnesia and he could not talk against the ills prevalent in the society then.
There were reports that he tried to be Vice President and failed. He thus ran away from Nigeria when Yar’dua was ready to hound him and make him answer for his alleged sins. When Yar’dua died and Jonathan became acting President, El-Rufai dropped his aristocratic garb and became a sudden critic. Under the new power alignment under Jonathan, El-Rufai felt out of place and I was dumbfounded when he teamed up with General Muhammadu Buhari, the same he termed as unfit to rule the country during Obasanjo’s tenure.
In October 2010, El-Rufai said “…Mallam El-Rufai wishes to remind General Buhari that he has remained perpetually unelectable because his record as military head of state, and afterwards, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. His insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known. In 1984, Buhari allowed 53 suitcases belonging to his ADC’s father to enter Nigeria unchecked at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new. Against all canons of legal decency, he used retroactive laws to execute three young men for drug-peddling after they were convicted by a military tribunal and not regular courts of law. Buhari was so high handed that he gave himself and his officials immunity even from truthful reporting. That obnoxious Decree 4, against which truth was no defence, was used to jail journalists and attempt to cow the media as a whole. That tyrannical legislation shows the essence of his intolerance. These are facts of recent history….”
It only takes an highly unprincipled man to change his views about people anyhow.
For Dino Melaye and the other latter day saints who because they lost out of the power game in the PDP became ‘Born Again ‘ democrats all of a sudden and who have suddenly become Twitter warriors, their antecedents haven’t been forgotten.
Did Melaye leave the PDP on his own free will? He left because he was outsmarted in the power game and to be relevant, he was forced to take up ‘arms’ against the present day government. Have we forgotten how he fought like crazy on behalf of disgraced Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh who resigned because she misappropriated Government funds? NO!
I believe it is a slap to our faces if men with questionable pasts, men with no principles use us as pawns in their games.
Ask El-Rufai why he has decided to become a most unreasonable critic of the present day government and if he is honest enough, he would tell you it is all a ploy to remain relevant and not to fade into obsurity.
While I would not advice El-Rufai, Melaye, Fani-Kayode and other ‘born-again’ critics to quit, I would only advice them to be fairer to the government of the day. They should realize that we realize that they were once in power and played a BIG part in the rot we are facing today. Using twitter as an avenue to mislead misguided youths when they should be in court clearing themselves of corruption allegations and allegations of misrule and abuse of the rule of Law is a great dis-service.
The problems plaguing Nigeria are notorious. I think it is hypocritical if these men are just realizing all of a sudden that Nigerians are poor, a lot of money is allotted to the Presidency, there is no light and so on. Why are they choosing to speak out when they are no longer in power?
Let me give a short example. You have terrorized citizens of their possessions for long and then after making money from armed robbery, you decide to give your life to Christ and speak against armed robbers. After having made a lot of money from armed robbery and you are comfortable. Does it work that way?
He who comes to equity must come with clean and unblemished hands. Coming to equity when your hands are soiled is only going to worsen things and heat up the polity. And like Mrs Sikirat Majiyagbe, these men and their ilk have shown that it is easier to criticize when the heat is off you than criticize when the heat is on you. It is easier to criticize while punching on your phone in your palaces built with questionable income and inciting youths against every move of the present government.
Equity doesn’t aid the dirty!