LETTER FROM THE SON OF MAN vol. 6 by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi

Dear Hannibal,

It is sad that you should be exposed to ludicrous acts and outbursts of people, who having forgotten that “nemo dat quod non habet” (no one gives what he doesn’t have), launch their assaults upon unsuspecting citizens, themselves ignorant of the havoc they wreak on their constituencies and the nation by implementing, as leaders, policies and intervening, at times of usually unexpected crises, out of an overwhelming ignorance that they have gotten used to wearing like a crown. Meningitis and God? That is more reasonable than when leaders elected to pragmatically solve national problems turn around to tell their electorates that recession is the wages of sin. Or, wait for it, that the lack of funds in government coffers is an experience of God’s wrath on the people. One thing is certain and that is they have not forgotten that the disappeared funds are in their personal possession. But at least, they have succeeded in creating a god of their chosen or convenient acts for their god that they believe will serve as sellable excuse for perpetuating their atrocities. Can one still say, “God is watching?”

As I read through one of the paragraphs in your last letter, a recommendation was cropping up on my mind only to find at the close of that paragraph that you have succinctly made it, “It is high time we started recalling representatives who rode on the mandate of the people to the assembly and turn around to represent their pockets.” There is no better time than now to start recalling these men and women who, it has become an open secret, are in the National Assembly to represent their interests, that of their families and their parties, if they are in the least, magnanimous. And they do all of these largely against the interest of those that voted them and that they are supposed to be representing. How else can one describe the impunity with which those “legislaTHORS” (they even pose as gods whose actions cannot be questioned by anyone) conduct their affairs, which are usually shrouded in some secrecy. The call for #OPENNASS must be the responsibility of all being the least that can be offered the electorates, who are being represented in those chambers. Those chambers necessarily belong to the people of Nigeria and this is literal owing to the fact that no one in the chambers is representing himself or herself but the people who voted them. It is like the case of Jesus Christ, who informed that he never came to earth to represent himself but God whose message he had brought. Hence, it was expected that the same honour be accorded to him as would be accorded to God. But in Nigeria, it beseems that once the legislaTHORS have been voted into power and they step into the hallowed chambers, they lock the doors behind them and throw the keys away. Nigerians must ask that those doors be opened and if they cannot step their feet on the grounds of the National Assembly premises, at least let their eyes rove around as much as they would without encumbrance. It is about making this thing that is ours an #OPENNASS.

How else can one describe the impunity with which those “legislaTHORS” (they even pose as gods whose actions cannot be questioned by anyone) conduct their affairs, which are usually shrouded in some secrecy. The call for #OPENNASS must be the responsibility of all being the least that can be offered the electorates, who are being represented in those chambers. Those chambers necessarily belong to the people of Nigeria and this is literal owing to the fact that no one in the chambers is representing himself or herself but the people who voted them. It is like the case of Jesus Christ, who informed that he never came to earth to represent himself but God whose message he had brought. Hence, it was expected that the same honour be accorded to him as would be accorded to God. But in Nigeria, it beseems that once the legislaTHORS have been voted into power and they step into the hallowed chambers, they lock the doors behind them and throw the keys away. Nigerians must ask that those doors be opened and if they cannot step their feet on the grounds of the National Assembly premises, at least let their eyes rove around as much as they would without encumbrance. It is about making this thing that is ours an #OPENNASS.

The incumbent Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai has once again challenged the National Assembly to make public her budget, drawing away from the opacity that surrounds the disbursement of funds in the National Assembly, the supposed congress of the voices of Nigerians. This followed the opening to the public of doors into the finances of Kaduna State, including the Salary of the Governor and the State’s security votes. As exemplary as this is, the finances of Kaduna State having been made available online since 2016, it is the least expected of the National Assembly, which rather than being an #OPENNASS,  is in fact a #SECRETNASS, almost with dark rituals behind closed doors. Unfortunately, some of the legislators with a difference who might tilt towards fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour may be learning how to dance differently to the same tune of the Machiavellians behind the curtains so as not to also become victims of a toxic gavel. Abdulmumin Jibrin was suspended, and then Ali Ndume; for speaking out and demanding, in their own way for #OPENNASS.

While the love of entertainment by Nigerians may be second to none, with jokes being created of and about everything from political crises to recession, terrorism to domestic violence, xenophobic attacks to unbridled irresponsibility by elected officials, it will only be expected that, going forward in the spirit of ameliorative advancement, we turn the jokes around; that the dedication and gusto with which Big Brother Naija was savoured and made a success be meted to observing keenly the antics playing out in what is supposed to be #OPENNASS, the congress of national voices and interests, and recall Senators or Representatives perceived underperforming or selfishly over-performing, even if the vote to recall will require sending an SMS that will cost some money. That is Democracy! And such a process must start somewhere, someday.

It is a good thing that this dialogue is scribbled and not voiced because mouthing that name – Ishaya Bamaiyi will surely leave an unforgiving bitter taste on the palate. Nigerians, by virtue of who they are, accommodate to a fault; no wonder the likes of Bamaiyi could imagine he could walk his way into the warm hearts of many simply by writing a few words of history as he wishes to perceive them and not really as they were. Please, permit me to quote you, “One cannot dispute his entitlement to venting off the seeming shackles that rankle his retirement but when such entitlement becomes a right not to make amends but an attempt to beatify his so many evil schemes, then such attempts become vile attacks on our collective conscience.” Such miscreants abound, and still do, who believe they can get away with impunity, however sordid. Of course, why not? Even the Evil Genius attempted to become President of Nigeria a couple of times by actually contesting in elections. If the “goggle-eyed despot” as you referred to him were to be alive even now, he is certain to have tried contesting in elections and that is assuming he has not become a democratically elected President. I may be wrong in my speculation but it just goes to explain how Nigerians are perceived by mischief makers, who rather than see humans with blood and nerves, they see a red carpet of mud heads arranged on the paths that lead to glory, personal glory.

It is tragic to learn about the increasing incidence of suicide and other deaths in the country. The recent case of Queens College is perturbing and until one knows the exact reason for its cause, one can justifiably ascribe it to being based on logistics. Till I hear from you, remain conscientious as the future of the country belong to you and yours.

Yours always,

Son of Man

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