Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chief Bode George: Nigeria’s Ebiti Plenipotentiary, By Pius Adesanmi

Published:

Pius Adesanmi

Dear Chief Bode George

Greetings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ. I hope this letter meets you in good condition of health, if so, glory be to the one God we serve on His throne. I am writing you on an issue of urgent personal importance. I’ve written you or about you in the past and we shall get to that presently. Before I apprise you of the personal grievances I hold against you, let me seize this opportunity to congratulate you on your successful return to the commanding heights of Nigeria’s moral, political, and economic orders. We know that your enemies begrudged you your own share of the national cake and contrived to send you to prison for stealing just about N80 billion at the ports – well, minus what you raked in when you mistook the treasury of Ondo state for your agbada’s pocket when you were Governor there in the 1980s.

To God be the glory for giving us a President who subscribes to the resurgent and recycled chieftainhood and elderhood of convicted criminals. Thanks to President Jonathan’s favorable predisposition to convicted criminals, Chief Dipreye Alamieyeseigha, your humble self, and other convicted looters of the commonwealth, have been rehabilitated and restored to your pride of place in the Nigerian polity. President Jonathan and his aides, especially Doyin Okupe, the contract racketeer who got his own share of the national cake from the treasuries of Imo and Benue states, have established new national ethical barometers for Nigerian youth by claiming that it is a great idea for the President and the Presidency to hobnob with convicted criminals.

The ethical values of the Jonathan presidency have aided your rehabilitation. You are back as a Godfather of the President’s political party in Lagos state; you are back in the close circles of the President, even defending him against the intransigence of General Obasanjo (yikes! He says only “olotes” (conspirators) call him General); you are back on the national scene, issuing statements and delivering public lectures; the media has embraced you and now foist your every statement on the public. In fact, the local media can’t get enough of you. You indulge them with endless interviews where they call you an elder statesman and a former national leader of the PDP. Only Sahara Reporters and Premium Times continue to refer to you as a convicted felon. May God judge the envious characters, Omoyele Sowore, Dapo Olorunyomi and Musikilu Mojeed, who run the two media organizations.

Your restoration as a role model for our youth very nearly paid off recently when a faction of the National Association of Nigerian Students wangled you into the honours list of the All Africa Students Union. Sadly, the Accra-based secretariat of AASU does not appear to share President Jonathan’s opinion about holding up convicted criminals as role models for Africa’s youth. They distanced themselves from the Nigerians. Those upstart Ghanaians! President Jonathan will have to review Nigeria’s bilateral relations with Ghana if they insist on crowning national role models differently.

Chief, I have digressed enough. I must now get to the real reason why I am writing you. Unless you make amends, Chief, I am planning to sue you for stealing my intellectual property. You will recall that I delivered an SNG lecture convened recently in Lagos by Pastor Tunde Bakare during which I accused the Nigerian political class of plagiarizing the ideas of the tortoise in the way they loot Nigeria. I never knew at the time that the tortoise is not your only victim. You and your ilk also loot ideas from ordinary, patriotic citizens like me. Despite the help you got from President Jonathan who trampled on the moral and ethical values we used to know in order to acknowledge you and your ilk as valid role models, one must admit that you deserve a lot of credit for the steps you have taken to come back to national reckoning. It has been a long, hard slug for you to bounce back since you returned from prison. You have left nothing to chance.

You left prison in a convoy, surrounded by aso ebi-wearing men and women with their geles competing with the tower of babel; you had a triumphant march through Lagos; at home, you began to hold court and the high and mighty in the land trooped to your parlour to pay obeisance. Then you held a mouth-watering thanksgiving service. Baba Obassanjo even attended, prompting me to write a column, “Bode Tibi Nko”, which went viral at the time. After these initial steps, you have gone ahead to take other steps and that is why you are where you are today: a fully rehabilitated convicted criminal who is back in public reckoning and now consorts with the President as a Lagos Godfather of the PDP.

Every step you have taken towards your rehabilitation has been very carefully planned, very carefully calibrated. Every step is a product of rigorous thinking and calculations. Even the most foolish Nigerian will understand that you are working from a blueprint, from a carefully written script. And that is my problem with you sir. I believe that you have stolen all my ideas in your march towards rehabilitation. You are stealing from me, Chief. You see, once news of your criminal conviction went public and people began to rejoice that you were going to prison, I read Nigeria the only way I know how to read her and concluded that you would bounce back. I wrote a letter of application to secure employment with you. I was going to abandon my tenured faculty position in North America to come and work as your Senior Special Assistant on Bounce-Back and Re-Integration. In my well-publicized letter of application for that job, I laid out a roadmap to bouncing back – a list of strategies I would pursue and implement for you if you hired me.

All I wanted was my own share of the N80 billion which the judge left largely intact when he delivered the slap-on-the-wrist judgment that sent you to prison. Baba Obasanjo also asked for his own share of the loot in “Bode, Tibi Nko”. Whereas Baba wanted a share of your loot for nothing, I at least proposed to work for my own share by helping you bounce back. Chief, you did not reply that letter. You did not hire me. However, my flabber has been more than gasted to realize that you have been working from my script without acknowledging me. All the steps you have been taking towards your rehabilitation are in my letter of my application. One by one, you have been stealing and implementing my ideas sir. You are Yoruba man. You understand the proverb about the trap called “ebiti”. The hunter sets the ebiti trap for squirrels and other rodents by using a delicious and fleshy palm nut as bait. The gentleman’s agreement between hunter and ebiti is that if the latter fails to deliver by catching a rodent, it should at least do the honorable thing by returning the palm nut used as bait to its owner- the hunter. Where ebiti fails to catch a rodent, it is not fair for ebiti to also steal the palm nut. That’s a double loss for the hunter. No rodent and no palm nut.

Chief, you must forgive me if I feel a little bit like the hunter here. You must forgive me if I suspect that you are a recalcitrant, thieving ebiti. I did not get the job as your special assistant for bounce-back matters yet you have not returned my palm nut (the ideas in my application letter) to me. Since you caught no rodent, is it not proper for you to return the palm nut to its rightful owner? Shouldn’t you return my ideas to me? Must you loot my letter of application so openly? Lest you pretend to have forgotten my letter of application, I crave your indulgence to reproduce it integrally here. It was published by Sahara Reporters on November 3, 2009 and carried widely by other blogs. Chief, read the letter and see how closely you have been implementing the suggested steps without acknowledging yours truly.

QUOTE

Application Letter to Chief Bode George

Posted: November 3, 2009 – 00:00

Columnist:

Pius Adesanmi

Your Excellency Chief Sir:

Fraternal greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this letter meets you well. There are so many things to say but I am just going to cut to the chase. Chief Sir, I do not want to be like those foolish Nigerians who fanned across beer parlours and paraga joints to celebrate your incarceration by one renegade Yoruba judge who behaved like a fowl with an appetite for the intestines of a hen.  While the foolish Nigerians celebrating your temporary visit to kirikiri – I don’t believe you will spend two years – forget that they are concentrating on your today, I have wisely decided to invest in your tomorrow.

Chief Sir, I am saying in essence that I have decided to give my today for your tomorrow. As I am not a hypocrite like most Nigerians Chief, I will kuku just tell you why I am interested in your tomorrow. It is not an empty tomorrow. It is one of the luckiest tomorrows I have ever encountered in my life. How many Nigerian tomorrows can boast of eighty billion naira? That is the tomorrow you will return to from kirikiri. Eighty billion naira in mint – aganran – condition. You see, in all things, we must give thanks and praises to God for all his promises abideth forever. Although the enemy tried, God defended his own and in the end, you were not asked to return even one kobo of that eighty billion to the commonwealth of the Nigerian people.

Although I am not saying this to mock him, I cannot but cite the sorrowful case of Chief Lucky Igbinedion who had to refund a crushing amount of almost five million naira out of the thirty million dollars he transferred to his accounts overseas for safe keeping for the people of Edo state. There is also Chief Tafa Balogun who had to return almost two million naira and about five of the more than twenty houses and mansions that he ate. God did not make your own case to be like the cases of these two people. Chief Sir, you did not come to this world with two heads. You have only one head like Lucky Igbinedion and Tafa Balogun. We are not mocking them by comparing your situation with theirs. We are just praising God for his mercies on you. A o fi yo won. Afi n gbe oruko Olorun ga ni.

With eighty billion reasons in my mind sir, and given my firm belief that you are one of the leaders anointed by God to continue to lead this country after your minor tribulation, I am humbly applying, through this medium, to work for you when you get out of jail. Chief, I am applying to become your Senior Special Assistant on Bounce-Back and Re-Integration. Although you are yet to advertise any such position, it is easy to see that you will need somebody to function in that capacity when you get out.

My aptitude for this position is based on my thorough knowledge of the psychology of Nigerians. If you hire me, Chief, our greatest asset will be their memory. It is legendarily short and that is fantastic for the job at hand. All we need do is make it even shorter in order for you to bounce back with the bang that you truly deserve. To this end, I have worked out a number of measures hereunder summarized for you. If hired, I will obviously flesh them out in greater detail and pursue each goal vigorously to fruition.

The first thing we will need to arrange upon your release is a grand interdenominational thanksgiving service that will be attended by the proverbial Nigerian ‘dignitaries from all walks of life’. You will have to ride to church on a white horse surrounded by drummers, singers, and a mammoth crowd of aso-ebi supporters. We will need to hold the church service in a football stadium – I suggest Ibadan. We could then rent and bus in supporters from all the states in the southwest and beyond to fill the stadium. I am currently preparing a draft of the testimony you will give during the service. You will basically say that you bear no grudge against anyone and you have forgiven Nigerians. You have accepted your ordeal as one of those personal sacrifices a true leader must make to move Nigeria forward. You will enjoin your enemies and persecutors to join hands with you to make Nigeria great. After the interdenominational service in Ibadan, you will pay a brief courtesy call to Daddy General Overseer on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway for photo-ops and additional spiritual fortification against dominions, powers, and principalities. We will then proceed to Lagos for an all-night owambe party with King Sunny Ade performing. Fashola or no Fashola, we can still close a few roads in Lagos for the party. Not even Fashola will stand in the way of eighty billion naira in Nigeria. Ngbati o ya were! We will need about a billion naira for this phase.

With the Christian phase of the bounce-back strategies complete, we will proceed to the traditional phase. I propose here that we try to expand your already expansive portfolio of Chieftaincy titles. It will be necessary for you to spend a few months crisscrossing Nigeria to gather Chieftaincy titles all over the country. When you have done this, you will return to Yoruba land where we shall have to pay a courtesy visit to every important traditional ruler, reminding them that it is now time to fill Chief M.K.O Abiola’s shoes by electing a new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land. Personally, I do not know who fits the bill better than a retired military man with eighty billion naira – excluding assets and what you made as Governor of Ondo state. Chief, we could pull off this Aare Ona Kakanfo thing if we play our cards right. I suggest committing ten billion naira to this project.

Chief, you will also have to start a newspaper for obvious reasons. Fortunately, we could tap into the newspaper-ownership experience of Governor Gbenga Daniel, Chief James Ibori, and even your adversary, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Pending the takeoff of your newspaper, we will need to buy some plots of land in Abuja and distribute them to the editors of strategically important newspapers. It is also compulsory to invite Dele Momodu to lunch not because we need him to splash your photos in Ovation but because he will devote a three-part panegyric essay to you that will run for three weeks in his column in ThisDay newspaper.

Allied to newspaper ownership, we would need to hire a gaggle of internet rats and plant them in strategic Nigerian chat rooms, discussion boards, listservs, and allied cyber spaces where Nigerians have been sending their restless mouths on all kinds of dirty errands against you. Ah, those people have spoilt your name online sir. Depending on your relationship with Chief Ibori, we could get him to loan us the two extremely experienced internet rats on his payroll, Tony Eluemunor and Areh Sunday. These two fellas could potentially train whoever we hire. Besides, it shouldn’t cost too much to get them on loan since they are already getting their share of the national cake from James Ibori. Your money and Ibori’s money are from the same source – the Nigerian people. No one should be paid twice from the same source if they don’t want to be guilty of double collection.

Chief, you will also need to become a serious godfather to facilitate your bounce back on the one hand and ensure that the eighty billion is constantly replenished on the other hand. Eighty billion naira may sound like a lot of money but Nigeria is a very expensive place. A man of your caliber – and whose reputation is now in tatters – needs to control the treasury of at least one state to remain buoyant. Fortunately, the onshore model of Olusola Saraki (Kwara), Lamidi Adedibu (Oyo), and Bola Tinubu (Lagos) is now outdated. You no longer have to remain in your state to be a godfather and governor-installer in Nigeria. Chief Tony Anenih and Professor Charles Soludo have recently invented the concept of offshore godfathering that enabled Chief Anenih to leave Edo and ply his trade in Anambra.

As I do not see any southwest state where you could immediately overthrow the existing onshore godfather in the circumstances, my idea is to test the waters everywhere from the middlebelt to the far north, from the south-south to the southeast to determine where you could become an offshore godfather. If we don’t find a state where you could become the sole offshore godfather, we could try partnering. Chief Chris Uba is so desperate to keep Soludo and Anenih out of his fief that he won’t mind teaming up with you as offshore godfather. Since all you need is a share of the treasury and will not quarrel with him over appointments – you cannot come from Yoruba land and appoint commissioners in Anambra – he may be favorably disposed to the idea. We can agree to him having 50 % of the state’s monthly Federal allocation, you get 20% and Anambra people will get the remaining 30% to sort out themselves. In fact, I suspect that Anambra will work for us since every politician with a dick in Nigeria now think they can piss generously on that state.

On a more personal level Chief…I don’t even know how to say this… it is delicate. Well, you see, you have a young beautiful bride who got libidinous tongues wagging all over the internet when they saw her photo at your trial. That is a lesson in life Chief. You are still alive and around and Nigerian men were already openly fantasizing about your wife. Anyway, Chief, the young Roline will have to accept an even younger rival. Nothing says bounce back in Nigeria like becoming President Yar’Adua’s son in-law. You may want to consider marrying one more time. The bad news: there is only one Presidential daughter left to dole out and we hear she already has a fiancée. I guess the only thing stopping the marriage is that they are yet to find a state for him, governorship of a state being a non-negotiable conditionality for marrying the President’s daughters. This is why we are still lucky. We may be able to persuade the President and Madam Turai to modify that conditionality and expand it to include former governors.

This is a summarized and considerably condensed version of my road map to your bounce back. The full version is in my laptop sir. If you hire me, I am willing to fly to Nigeria to discuss this with you in Kirikiri. That would be a good time to discuss my salary, inconvenience allowance since I will be relocating home from abroad, and other emoluments.

UNQUOTE

Chief, it should be clear to you that you have implemented more than half of the ideas in my script without proper acknowledgement. There are practical problems standing between you and the ideas you have not yet stolen from me. For instance, Asiwaju Tinubu is not only standing between you and the treasury of Lagos state, he is also not allergic to becoming Aare Ona Kakanfo. He has been accumulating strategic titles in that direction and may accelerate that strategy after the harsh lesson in democracy he received from the people of Ondo state recently. Anyway, I have two options in my desire to reclaim the palm nut that your ebiti has stolen from me. I could sue you and hope to get justice against a man like you in the Nigerian judicial system or I could embark on the most effective form of protest Nigerians know by shrugging my shoulders, saying God dey, and moving on.

If you don’t hear from my lawyers in the next two weeks, it means I have settled for God dey.

Yours sincerely,

Pius Adesanmi

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