by Tunde Asaju
I seriously know of no other country that inspires as much as Naija. There is just no dull moment. Every single minute, a scandalous thing is happening. Let’s run through a few of them.
Every single minute, there is a robbery going on, and I am not talking about armed robbery – those ones are so common, they are now tolerated guests. They are so audacious they sometimes write or call families to announce their visit and demand that their share of the national cake be prepared for them.
Then they remind the people that the police would either be smoking renegade governors out of their posh lodges or providing cover for official looters. But then, the DPOs are wise enough to keep their uniforms and the usual N50 checkpoint dues. They tell anyone who reports a robbery that their vehicle has broken down; run out of fuel or that the armourer has left town on official duty. When Boko Haram visits, they don’t need the key to the armoury, they simply bomb their way in, help themselves to the arms and perhaps film the DPO taking flight. Now tell me which Hollywood scriptwriter ever conceived such fabulous scripts?
Then there are those who, having looked at the curriculum vitae of some of Naija’s richest, come to the painful conclusion that wealth has nothing to do with the number of ASUU strikes you witnessed before you finally got your degree. Rather, it has everything to do with how you position your GPS. Rightly targeted, you can make it, but never give up till you’ve tried. Because in our world, making it is everything. Having found out that night vigils and shouting on the divine may not yield desired results, some people consult their boka who very often is himself the eternal tenant of poverty. Though they live in a hovel, they often convince ‘enlightened’ people that riches are printed with the indelible ink of human blood. If they could harvest a few heads and genitals, they were sure to upturn Dangote as the richest black man of all times.
So armed with a machete or sharp sword, they stalk unsuspecting people until they’ve killed them. Once they’ve harvested the organs of their choice, they dump the carcass anywhere, but mostly in the middle of a major road. They can make the money first and discover the road to Damascus or repentance later. Somehow, the police has never caught or prosecuted one – it’s a sick world.
The pen robber is a smart alec who strategically position themselves with the god of the ruining party until they are positioned. Once positioned, they can win elections in which they are not candidates or simply covet the votes of neighbourhood stones and goats. Before you could petition Attahiru Jega, these people have moved a title or two higher to the level of honorable or distinguished. If their challenger happens to be a man or woman of means who still believes in court justice, nothing spoil, in the interim they continue to earn their fat salary and allowances. Even when the courts rule them out of order, they can count on the loyalty of legislative leaders to stay on, until they have fully earned their allowances.
But if all that fails, as they say, they simply re-strategise and reappear before the Irrational Assembly for the ceremonial ‘take a bow’. By the time they raise their heads, they have new titles – honourable ministers, ambassadors or board heads – simply put, official distributors of contracts and patronage. Soon, they settle down to recoup their losses by outright stealing or contract inflation or both. In an era when corruption is the palm oil with which the morsel of governance is eaten, they can be assured of protection from the establishment.
There is a common thread in all these – it is sickness, original sickness. In Prof Professor Adeoye Lambo’s time these people qualify for permanent residence in Aro Ward 6. Today, the real Ward 6 inmates are not quarantined. They are chauffeured in cars with armed escorts and siren that can tear through any traffic gridlock better than knife cutting through cassava bread. When these ones have eight o’clock appointments, they don’t wake up until 7:30, then gently take a shower, wait for their valet to choose their dress du jour, have a sumptuous breakfast, then hop in the car, sirens in tow. God help the 5 o’clock man whose car is caught in the ensuing confusion – he could end up in hospital or in a police station, facing obstruction charges – or both. This too is original sickness.
Those who are married to them exhibit the same traits. If they are your sisters, you can no longer call them by their local name, they take on a big title – even if that title is, Her Excellency, the Governor’s Slave.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Tunde Asaju/Sunday Trust