When Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, released what was the ‘merit’ list of Nigerian (alleged) looters, many Nigerians were shocked because, apparently, the scanty names on that list couldn’t have been the architects of our backwardness for decades.
The PDP chieftains whose names didn’t appear in that list genuinely expressed surprise at such careless show of disrespect for their legendary contributions to Nigeria’s woes.
I am pretty sure their APC ‘come-raid’ in the struggle for the ruining of Nigeria who miraculously didn’t make the much coveted ‘merit’ list too would be genuinely shocked, as per espirit de corps. But because they, like whited sepulcher, are now anti-graft ‘saints’ they would not show it in the media.
Expectedly, the PDP challenged Mr. Mohammed to update the list, with a focus on the near-total exclusion of the APC and its members. The minister, pronto, released another batch containing names of (alleged) looters that were again predominantly PDP members. What followed have been accusations and counter-accusations, with both parties locked in the battle to outshine one another in their records of who ruined Nigeria better.
Reno Omokri, an ex-aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan, in his reaction released his own list of (alleged) looters, a list that expectedly contained names of APC members, some of them serving aides of President Muhammadu Buhari. And so, it’s been a back-and-forth exchange of rhythm between both parties: there was APC’s reggae and then PDP’s blues and then the beat goes on and on, ad naseum.
On social media, a few recession-ravaged Nigerians have taken sides, justifying why a broom-wielding looter might be morally conscious than the profligate one with an overpriced umbrella. Or why the one with a tattered umbrella might be a frugal looter compared to the other one with a designer broom. Stockholm syndrome.
The biggest takeaway, for me, is that if there was any doubt about the oft-trumpeted notion that ONLY the common Nigerian can rescue Nigeria from her tormentors, this APC-PDP reggae-blues must have put paid to it. (Did anyone notice that unlike what a section of the media have responsibly done by inserting the word “alleged” into the list, the real drafters of these list had no thought for the word, perhaps lending credence to the ‘authenticity’ of their claims?).
In 2017, Waziri Adio, the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said Nigeria earned a whopping $592 billion from the oil and gas sector from 1999 to 2014. The NEITI boss however lamented that despite the huge resources, Nigerians still live in abject poverty and want.
Between 2014 and 2018, there has been a drop in oil revenue. But it is a no-brainer that NEITI figures would need to be updated to capture proceeds of the three or so years difference if we are to conduct an appraisal in 2018. Yet our roads are still death traps; our hospitals are metaphors for mortuaries; our schools are largely fit for pigs. Life is still short, nasty and brutish.
Apparently, the major massive construction works we have facilitated with the oil revenue are located in the oesophagi of the gluttonous elites we continue to put in power irrespective of party affiliation––as the accusations and counter-accusations have shown in recent weeks.
The painful part is that despite that this self-indictment is coming in an election year, they will all get away with it. Apparently, with these in-your-face confessions, one thing is clear: they know they are looters, we know they are looters, they know that we know that they are looters; but they know there won’t be consequences.
In the coming days, the parties would continue with their reggae-blues accusations and counter-accusations. Nigerians, ever the music-loving lots, would simply look on and (selectively) justify their idiocies. Some of us would dance to their rhythm, even. We are ‘patriotic’ like that.
Seriously Speaking: That Offa Invasion
While an undergraduate in UNILORIN, Offa was one of the few Kwara communities I loved to visit. Serene. Calm. Innocent. Except on few occasions when the perennial Offa-Erin Ile crisis breaks out, the town is for me quite peaceful, at least compared to Ilorin and its hustle and bustle.
On Thursday, some agents of darkness visited the town and unleashed mayhem on innocent residents and security operatives. At the last count, 17 people have been confirmed dead. There are unconfirmed reports that the figure is higher.
Offa has been the focus of too many robbery attacks in recent years and nothing exemplifies our poor, reactionary approach to issues like the fact that the town was attacked yet again and the masterminds had a successful one-hour operation!
We hope the authorities will promptly bring those robbers to book, as the governor said in a statement Saturday morning. Too many innocent Nigerians are being killed needlessly due to our systemic dysfunction. I sympathise with residents of the town, especially those who lost relatives in the deadly attack. Tragic.