Dr. Bukola Saraki…going…going…g…o….
“Listen to Nigerian leaders and you will frequently hear the phrase, “this great country of ours.” Nigeria is not a great country. It is one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun. It is one of the most expensive countries and one of those that give least value for money. It is dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest, and vulgar. In short, it is among
the most unpleasant places on earth”, those were the words of the legendary Chinua Achebe, which he authored in 1983, and reminded us by Professor Pius Adesanmi in August 2008 in a piece the latter titled, “Memo to the Nigerian Street”.
Pius Adesanmi quipped, “You and I know that what Achebe mistook for a family member of hell in 1983 was in fact paradise, given what Nigeria has become today.” By today, he meant the days of the Yaradua administration, a time everyone was ignorant of what would become of Nigeria few months after, when we would be plunged into the dungeon overlooked by a Jonathan. It was actually a time of relative bliss compared to what Nigerians had waiting for them few months down the line.
“You and I know how we got to this sorry pass. We both know that Chinua Achebe’s statement is dated and needs to be revised to reflect our considerably sorrier condition as a country” wrote Professor Adesanmi in 2008. He will not gainsay the fact that we need that revision now more than ever. If he admitted that 1983 was paradise compared to 2008; in retrospect of what Jonathan ‘used our eyes to see’ between then and May, 2015, then, “You and I know that what Adesanmi mistook for a family member of hell in 2008 was in fact paradise, given what Nigeria has become before Buhari”. I however doubt that in future, anyone would be bold enough to make reference to the immediate Pre-Buhari era as paradise, in itself or in comparison with any other era, seen or unseen.
At the time of conception and writing, Chinua Achebe’s perception of Nigeria could have been apt; but Adesanmi differed in the significance of comparison. Can we glimpse the thought process of the latter on this, even without his consent? Here we go….
“Nigeria is not a great country. It is one of the most disorderly nations in the world.” Beaming the state of disorderliness in 2008, the disorder that Achebe referred to here was probably child’s play. “It is one of the most corrupt,” or the most corrupt in modern times? The choice of “…one of the most…” here is out of vogue as it has become fashionable for corrupt persons to struggle among themselves for the prize of the most corrupt person of the year or century as the case may be. A most important index of this is the ability of Nigerians to acquire a mouth-gaping amount of assets in its real sense and to compete with the richest in the world, of course at the expense of the millions other Nigerians, who are ignorant of what assets belong to them in the coffers of Nigeria and supposedly awaiting due use. Everywhere you go, you see these thieves being honoured with chieftaincy titles by Royal entities, public positions by accomplices and award plaques by student associations and clubs in order to get a bite of the hitherto unreachable national cake. Corruption had become a free-for-all.
Achebe continues, “…insensitive,…” how badly could the country of 1983 be insensitive? Were there thousands of the citizens dying daily from the bomb blasts and gun parties of terrorist groups and the leadership of the country paying lip-service to the urgent need to eradicate terrorism? Did the Head of State have to wait for Malala Yousafzai to acknowledge the abduction of schoolgirls by terrorists? Did the government have to fold her arms at the state and federal levels, while civil servants wallow in abject poverty due to non-payment of salaries and allowances? Did the Head of State have to waste time and his energy as the number one human resource in the country on classifying stealing and corruption, while the people’s assets are pillaged?
“…inefficient places under the sun. It is one of the most expensive countries and one of those that give least value for money.” Inefficient? With the inability of the Jonathan government to supply power to Nigerians for an unbroken period of an hour? We have to look for another term other than inefficiency to describe what outputs our governments in recent times have had. Expensive? Was petrol sold at N 150 – 300 naira per litre? How much was a kongo of garri, N 120 naira? With respect to being ‘one of the most expensive countries’, you and I know better regarding the purchasing power of citizens of the 1983 compared with the pre-Buhari modern country.
“It is dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest, and vulgar. In short, it is among the most unpleasant places on earth.” This has clearly got worse, obviously making a hell of the 2008 and immediate past pre-Buhari era a much worse hell than the extra-terrestrial hell compared to the 1983 version.
Having been accorded some attention the fact that the immediate past pre-Buhari era was a lot worse of a hell than the 2008 of Professor Adesanmi’s mention, and this was itself a lot worse of a hell than the 1983 pre-Buhari era, one only wonders why. Why do we allow (rather, aid and abet) the repetition of history, bad history even when the facts of its possibility, again and again, stare us in the face like prison walls? If in 2008, the name Bukola Saraki came up regularly amidst talks of corruption, stealing and moral impropriety, why have some among us aided and abetted the inglorious repetition of a scenario where the same Bukola Saraki would, as a name, continue to be mentioned in association with corruption, stealing and moral impropriety? Following is what Professor Adesanmi had to say in 2008, “…Should he open his mouth, NASS will remind him that his stolen mandate is run by thieves: James Ibori, Bukola Saraki, and David Edevbie have all open sesamed their way into Aso Rock to enjoy the company of the forty thieves?” Has this not happened again even in the Buhari era, where Bukola Saraki, through an intriguing play of events, successfully found his “way into Aso Rock to enjoy the company of the forty thieves.”? Who are the forty thieves? I’ll have to admit I don’t know. Have we also not “Waited for the usual suspect(s) to rush opinion pieces to Nigerian newspapers and internet fora?” RE: GAMES OF DENIAL AND THE ALLEGATIONS OF FORGERY AND FRAUD AGAINST THE SENATE PRESIDENT.
Were there no persons, no ways or no systems to crave other than those that have, in their selfish ruthlessness, skinned us alive, exposing the whites of our skulls and bones to the mocking pitch of birds?
Regarding the perceived venom-less jibes of the intelligentsia by the power brokers, Professor Adesanmi had this to say in his 2008 piece, “They already thought about that. In fact while drinking pepper soup and champagne in the company of girlfriends and concubines at their regular hangouts in Abuja, they already laughed and joked about this. They exclaimed: patapata Reuben Abati will scream in one opinion piece and move on to the next national calamity…” Apparently, they laughed and joked beyond allowing Reuben Abati to scream and merely move on, especially with his appointment by Jonathan to be the spokesman to a deaf and dump government few months after.
Lastly, in that legendary piece, Pius Adesanmi concluded, “Bros, it would be a shame if they got away with it this time. You know they are counting on your legendary ‘God dey’ disposition. They are certain that the news of their latest crime will not even shock you. They say you are beyond shock. They say your capacity to adjust to suffering and oppression is infinitely elastic. They are confident that you’ll shrug your weary shoulders and invoke God’s judgment as usual. Bros, we must very respectfully leave God out of it this time. Remember the Orange Revolution in Ukraine? Hundreds of thousands of people like you sent a message to Ukrainian politicians in 2004-2005 by blockading the capital with peaceful protests. Those who did it in Kiev do not have two heads and three legs. They are like you. Just like you.”
We may not have an immediate need to protest on the streets today but whatever the cause, Nigerians have had their own day of peaceful protest and that was at the last general elections, where a new President was voted to oust the incumbent. Nigerians needed change and they got it. This, this writer is certain, will be easy to repeat in the future if need be. Let’s not forget that those who made 1983 hellish, 2008 more hellish and pre-Buhari era much more hellish, still have their children in the systems with a mandate to make the country extremely much more hellish. What do we say about the constitutionally cunning manner in which the power of the National Assembly was appropriated by persons who now have to tender their Identity Cards if they must be accorded any respect as leaders of the National Assembly?
What is worthy of note however is how much of our, according to Professor Adesanmi, legendary ‘God dey’ disposition (without discounting the significant interventions of the Unseen) are we ready to continue to flaunt in the face of perpetual oppression, flagrant looting of public treasury and unapologetic insensitivity in all its ramifications wherever found? Or are we to give passive and active support to any entity determined to tackle such hellish outcomes?
P.S.: Tu-face is 40 today. We at lAKuNlEsCrEwS wish him the best of productive years ahead. You are a legend and an inspiration to many, even our friend, Senimycin.
News just filtered in that “the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT sitting in Abuja has ordered the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase and other relevant security agencies in the country to arrest the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.” – Vanguard