Did you hear of a certain governor that was given a proper beating by his best friend right inside his office due to the activities of his third leg? The story was that this particular man was the bestie of “His Excellency,” with whom they did a lot of escapades with other young girls in the state and elsewhere. But somehow the man was said to have missed that what the two of them were doing to other young girls, was going on right under his nose. His supposed friend was actually bedding his own daughter, whom the amniotic fluid had yet to dry on her head.
When he finally discovered, the man was said to have bid his time and chanced on the governor at a time he was supposed to be alone in his office. Walking past the governor’s unsuspecting aides, who did not bother him because they knew about his relationship with their oga, he quietly closed and locked the door and descended on the randy governor. Of course, because of the governor’s pint size, he was no match to his assailant’s heavy frame. It was when the din from the commotion inside became loud enough that the security eventually pulled down the door to rescue their master from his friend. By that time, the big oga was half-dead. But, somehow, because of the scandal, the incident was killed in a hush-hush, lest the world heard. Unfortunately not much harm came to the assailant because he was also a big gun.
Another story. This one I witnessed with my eyes. I was part of a group of reporters invited by a governor to his campaign flagoff. In the evening, we’re to have dinner with that governor. While we’re seated in his sitting room at night having a chat, we suddenly noticed a stream of hot-legged ladies in their various levels of undress or underdress, filing into the same living room. Our man nearly jumped out of his skin from embarrassment. The trepidation in his voice as he directed the courier or is it vendor of the unholy visitors to the proper room bviously betrayed how scandalised he felt. For this was a man, who at that point was pontificating about morality. How the gods chose that moment to expose and disgrace him, remains a mystery.
Again, and I think I’ve once told this story many times. It’s about a governor that was a personal friend. He was my friend before he became a governor, so, there were no airs between us. In public, I would address him in first or second person singular – Your Excellency or – His Excellency, depending which fitted the occasion. But outside there, it was his name, even his guy name. We were that close.
But how did we become sworn enemies even before his first tenure ended. I told him the truth. I respected his office, but I didn’t kowtow or genuflect before him nor fear him unlike many others including people far older who told him that he was next to god, even as they meant the opposite and said so immediately out of earshot.
Earlier in his years, he would always send for me to review some of his activities, especially those ones that were fundamental to real governance in his state. In fact, he made it clear to his aides to my hearing of course that I should have free access to him anytime I desired and needed no prior appointment to do so.
It was at such an occasion that he made a very strange declaration to me. No doubt, this my friend was so popular in the state at the beginning that virtually everyone sang his praises, because his policies and programmes were topnotch from the beginning, as he hit the ground running.
He told me, you see all these things I’m doing, it’s just for this period. In the next two years, I’ll use everything I have to prepare for my re-election and if it means importing soldiers from North Korea, I’ll do it. Shock was a minor word. I was practically stunned. I never expected such from such an educated man, who was doing so great at that moment.
But I didn’t waste time neither did I mince words. But you don’t need any soldier from anywhere. You’re doing well already, I told him. Hold election today, it will be a walk in the park for you, I emphasised. His reply, was, my friend, you don’t know politics. Of course, just as he told me in that early encounter, my friend did exactly as he said.
It started gradually – from one uncanny act to the other, from one anti-people policy to the other, the degeneration began. By the time it came to his re-election period, he truly needed those North Korean soldiers to push himself back to office. From open thuggery to bare-faced impunity – breaking bones and backs of anyone that as much as made of whimper of challenge including those of the state legislature and even elders of the state amongst them, governors before him, to the extent that the state witnessed a harvest of strange murders that were all suspected to be political with many fingers pointing at him.
Not surprising that my friend started fencing me, because, outside noticing my aversion for his activities, I actually reported them in the cause of my duty as a journalist enjoined me. The only luck I had in the end was that I was not harmed, even though I was caught one way or the other in the crossfire of live bullets from the verbal and political weapons flying around.
It was later that I got to know that my good friend was himself a victim of circumstances. When he told me that I didn’t understand politics, he was only speaking in parables. What I didn’t know, because he did not tell me, was that there were higher forces. He was already under some form of threat from Abuja, because the money he was using to create all the feats in his state initially, in the calculation of his traducers, neither belonged to him nor the state. It belonged to those powers. It was money to be shared. Who needed his good work, when there were huge valleys of greed to fill? So, while he was getting popular in his state making headlines as performing governor, he was practically annoying some big guns elsewhere.
This reality was not only brought home to him, but the consequences as well. He must have been told that the only way he would return to power was to hand over the purse of the state to Abuja, – party bigwigs and of course, Villa Men. Else! It was a matter of making his choice – a matter of either or.
What this particular experiences teach me is never take anything on the facelift in politics, be it in Nigeria or elsewhere. But since we live in Nigeria, it is pertinent to note that whenever someone, especially a politician, Nigerian politician is making a statement, or strenuously fighting for something, be sure there is a bigger reason pushing the person.
Yes! Each time a typical Nigerian politician speaks, look closely. He’s speaking from the standpoint of greed or from the complete loss of his humanity and decency. Ask yourself the type of human being that would be sleeping with the daughter of his closest friends with whom he shares everything, even of deepest secrets. It must be somebody that has lost his soul completely. It is the same when greed is the motivation. Ask yourself why a man, would continue stealing after having stolen so much.
Indeed, in the home of some of these people, everything they own from the pin to the exotic furniture to their luxury cars, are the proceeds of mindless pillaging of the peoples commonwealth. Yet, they remain relentless. Else, tell me how a man who has stolen N1billion, which is N100million into 10 places from the public till will continue stealing. But that’s what you find. The same man steals 10, 100 and more and continues. He has estates in Abuja, he has estates in Port Harcourt, he has estates in Lagos, he has estates in Warri, yet he’s still stealing! That’s how greed drives people to madness.
So, don’t be surprised at the fixation of some political hounds in the country on Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and now presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP). I’m not, because I know where they are coming from. After all, which other clime outside Africa, particularly Nigeria, would permit the level of official, monumental and free for all thievery going on in the country at the moment? You may have heard how oil thieves from the moon, arrive Nigeria, load barges with crude, put them in their breastpockets and disappear.
In one recent case, one of such vessels was reportedly apprehended in Equatorial Guinea. Now, did you hear the official explanation? Wait! The vessel was chased out of Nigerian waters by security operatives and was about to be caught when it landed into the said country. You’ll know how fast a ship laden with 300,000 would be moving that even a speedboat would not catch up with it. But then, this is Nigeria.
So, when you hear Adams Oshiomhole, descend on Obi in the manner he just did, last week, you ought to know from whence he’s travelling from. This was a mere tailor at a garment factory. Today, without any inventing a machine that would package Ewa Agoin and bread into an international snack or any other unique invention to his name outside transmuttng from union leader to the government house as a governor, he has become one of the reference points when life and living in opulence is in issue.
You may have heard how he now lives in a mansion that could only be compared to that of the late Michael Jackson’s palatial Neverland Ranch in California in his Iyamho, Auchi, Edo State village, complete with top-roof swimming pool, private lakes and forest for hunting. That is a fraction in what is now associated to him. So, when last Sunday, you heard the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), telling participants the party’s Youth Summit in Abuja that Obi was bad news, you’ll not be surprised. Who wouldn’t do everything to protect the road to such stupendous luxury. Never mind gory story behind it.
Hear him: “For those of you who are social media warriors, go to google and look at the first six months of Governor Willie Obiano’s administration in Anambra state. What you are going to find on YouTube is Governor Obiano using bulldozers to demolish the homes of kidnappers and those involved in Bakassi boys and Bakassi girls. Who was the governor when Bakassi developed in Anambra State? Who solved the problem? If a man could not fix the security challenges in Anambra State, which requires courage, how can he convince you that he will fix security all over Nigeria? Don’t take it from me, go to YouTube. I don’t want to look for trouble, I am a small man, anybody can deal with me.
“If he had solved the security problem, would Obiano be demolishing people’s houses, the houses of kidnappers? When he says, ‘I will fix Nigeria ask him, have you fixed your state? He calls himself a trader, what trade does he do? Importing or exporting? What does he import? Find out. You’ll know those brutalising the economy.”
Now, did Obi bring Bakassi Boys to Anambra? No! The dreaded group was the solution Obi’s last but one predecessor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, tried to employ to eradicate the crippling menace of criminality in the state. Even Chris Ngige, who took over from him did not meet the head hunters, who left Anambra reeling from the dizzying effects of their escapades of open execution of their victims.
Until he left office, Obi battled the owners of Upper Class Hotel in Onitsha, where three human heads were allegedly discovered, which was one amongst the series of such drastic measures meant to chase away kidnappers in the state, in fulfillment of the law he got the House of Assembly to pass, one of which was to demolish the buildings belonging to perpetrators of such high crimes.
All these facts were there for Oshiomhole at the tap of a button. But no! This is a threat that must be put down by all means. Why not, what manner of public official would reject the type of official perks in the manner of the former Governor of Anambra State had done. This was a man as chairman of a bank refused to move into Victoria Island or Ikoyi where his contemporaries resided, but chose to remain in his modest Festac apartment.
How could you, as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reject a whopping N500million, official cars and house, attached to your office and decide to operate on your own. Surely, this is unheard of. This is bad news for Nigeria, because others might learn from him and it would become a trend.
Don’t forget that at the time both of them were governors, Obi was recorded as the lone voice that encouraged the Federal Government to save money made from the high cost of crude during the time of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, while the group led by Oshiomhole insisted that it was already raining and that nothing should be saved.
Yet, the same Obi was to exemplify what he preached by saving over N75billion surplus for Anambra, while Oshiomhole, left debts of over N800billion debt for Edo State out of which N70billion was owed contractors. While Oshiomhole owed over six years arrears of pension and gratuities, Obi cleared N35billion in pension arrears, left zero debt. While Oshiomhole paid himself N200 million severance package with a house worth over N300 million, Obi, neither took anything nor got anything in and out of office.
So, when next time you hear from Oshiomhole, never be surprised what his fears are. Well over 70, he probably thinks he could live forever, forgetting that there was once a Mr. Fix it, who ones acted as if he had the power of life and death. By the way, have you forgotten that it was the selfsame Oshiomhole that once told the world that a Minister in Jonathan’s cabinet, took away $6billion in one day. Imagine a mind that could conjure such monumental fabrication. Think of what such a mind could do and how low it could go!
Justice For Sale? – By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa
Increasingly but alarmingly, it is gaining ground that Nigerians now believe that justice is for sale. This position seems to be gaining ground increasingly. Is it possible to buy justice? Is it true that some politicians have all manners of mobile injunctions already typed and prepared, stocked in their portfolios and they just bring them out to suit any occasion? Can it be true that there are some judges who have been earmarked for such jobs as issuing out any order, injunction or judgment? Can it ever be said that parties before a court of law can know their fate even before the case starts?
I am worried and worried. Not long ago, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, warned about the dangerous dimensions of the influence of politics on justice administration generally. ‘So, one disadvantage in Nigeria today, which we have to look into, is how to curb the excesses of these politicians. They have ruined the judiciary. I feel sorry for them’, says Chief Clarke. I have also heard speculatively, that hardly is there any judgment from any election tribunal that is not a product of ‘transactions’.
My personal view is that most judges are incorrigible, above board and they decide cases according to law and their conscience, but the things that I hear are very troubling. They are spoken in hushed tones amongst the senior lawyers, they are posted with style on restricted WhatsApp platforms and they are ripe with the clients themselves. The question then is this: what is Transactional Justice? It is one in which the decision of the court on a case pending before it is procured or influenced by extraneous considerations other than the merit of the case. Such influence can be financial, tribal, religious or even social. At times it can be relational, such as when family members of a judge are recruited to put pressure on him to bend the scale of justice. The sphere is almost endless.
In Transactional Justice, there are lawyers involved as couriers of monetary offers to judicial officers and it is prevalent mostly in election petition cases. The politicians have become so desperate that they will do just anything to cling on to power, by all means necessary. The ugly side of this is that once it is possible to influence a judge in a particular judicial transaction, then the door is open permanently for other subsequent influences, as for instance once you are able to sway a judge to tilt the even scale of justice in an election petition, then that judge becomes a permanent customer even in other regular cases, whenever the need arises. This is how it goes. The litigant hires the very best lawyers in the field of his case, pays them well to handle all legal issues in the open court and then turn around to hire other lawyers or individuals in the background, purely for networking. These latter set of people have no business in the preparation of the case on the merit, they are not involved in the settlement of pleadings or briefs of arguments and they care less about the knowledge and erudition of counsel on record, but to work to secure victory for the paying litigant at all cost. They know the text of the judgment well ahead of time.
There are other aspects of Transactional Justice, I’m told. Some lawyers have perfected the style of always getting their cases assigned to a particular judge and God save you if you have to appear against them in any case, because you are doomed to always lose any point of law, no matter how brilliant you are and even if that point of law has been settled up to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how this works but it is said to be very common, especially amongst a few senior lawyers. It will surely take the connivance of court officials and the judge himself for this to happen, because once a judge has noticed the trend that a particular counsel is always appearing before him, almost on a daily basis, then that should raise the flag, if there is no collusion.
Then there are the professional litigants, who have no personal court cases of their own but have been recruited to help monitor the progress of some cases and to help secure victory ultimately. You see them in the courtroom, sitting prominently, for the judge’s attention and recognition. The court registrars know them, to always reserve vintage positions for them in the courtroom. In some very bizarre cases, they exude such irritating arrogance as to even sit by the entrance of the judge’s chambers, on each day that the cases come up, so that even the opponent would feel the pressure of the unofficial lobby. These ones are in the categories of family members, classmates, religious associates, social partners, either in the club or in the cult. The other side of this is that it gets so bad that even the registrars of the judges at times do complain openly.
How does it sound that judgment is no longer based on law or precedents? That law has become totally unpredictable, even for the same set of facts? We are unable to properly advise clients who approach us for legal counsel, as we now have different decisions, even of the Supreme Court, in the same set of facts and circumstances. Whereas this can be due to human error precipitated by the workload of judicial officers based on the volume of cases that they handle daily, it is also said that it can be the result of Transactional Justice. Good enough I have not had cause to be involved in any form of Transactional Justice, even for my own personal cases, all of which I believe I have won or lost purely due the facts of the cases and the application of law thereto. But I have no doubt that there is a high possibility that Transactional Justice is real.
Part of the Judicial Oath goes thus: ‘… I will discharge my duties and perform my functions honestly, to the best of my ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions.’ Transactional Justice is allowing personal, family, social or financial benefit to influence judicial decisions. But we all call it the ‘High Court of Justice’, as it is described in the Constitution. According to the learned authors of the very persuasive Black’s Dictionary of Law, the notion of justice is ‘the fair and proper administration of laws’, meaning that it must be balanced, be equitable, be fair and just and it must substantially conform with known principles and standards of law. In human affairs, the judge is next to God, which is why they have earned the title ‘My Lord’. In the same way that the words of God become established to man without question, so also are we all enjoined to obey all decisions of courts in order to guarantee peace and orderliness in the society. But then, how do you go about obeying Transactional Judgments, procured through fraud and other extraneous influences?
This has raised a great challenge for the judiciary and the Nigerian Bar Association, to tackle as a matter of national emergency, or else we should all just close down our chambers and leave legal practice for Transactional Lawyers. Why on earth should I bother myself to prepare for a court case that I know I will win or lose, as the case may be, and one in which the outcome is already predetermined? Now the trouble in all of these is that the rich and affluent, the ones so very well connected and powerful, will always get the upper hand in situations of Transactional Justice, which will be a game for the highest bidder. The poor man and his lawyer, the weak litigant and the lowly members of society stand to lose in all cases where Transactional Justice is at play, as they simply cannot match the stakes.
The negative consequence of Transactional Justice is that impunity, lawlessness and wickedness will continue to plague society, if the wicked and lawless oppressor cannot even be called to order by the court. When they breach your rights, they then turn around and taunt you to go to court, if you feel sufficiently aggrieved. ‘We will meet in court’, is what you get when you dare challenge impunity. It has gotten to the point that there are now individuals and even corporate entities that their names evoke fear, such that once you mention their names, people just throw up their hands in the air in total submission, meaning that you waste your time challenging any of their actions in court. But this should not be at all. We must not drive people to the point of frustration that will lead them to take law into their hands. If the courts cease to be the last hope of the common man, then the consequences can be very dire indeed. The rule of might, the power of money and the influence of man, should not determine the ends of justice.
I believe in my heart as most lawyers do that judges are human and they can err at times, but all cases of Transactional Justice should be met with open resistance and humiliation by all lovers of justice, less we all become helpless victims of injustice, because when judgment is procured by any means whatsoever and howsoever, it ceases to wear the noble garment of justice.
Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), wrote from Lagos
Home and abroad, Tinubu’s Nigeria is taking its rightful place
By Mohammed Idris
Having hit the ground running at home, with a series of very bold and unprecedented reform decisions, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has gone ahead to seize the opportunity offered by the month of September 2023, to make a grand entry onto the global stage.
In what has been his busiest month on the global stage since he assumed office, President Tinubu traveled to India for the G20 Summit on the special invitation of Prime Minister Modi, made a stopover on his way back home for a crucial meeting with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on lingering issues of concern between UAE and Nigeria, and then traveled to New York to make his debut at the most important annual gathering of Heads of State, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
At the UN—in a delivery reminiscent of the powerful and iconic ‘Africa Has Come Of Age’ speech by the late Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, almost five decades ago—President Tinubu caught the attention of a listening world with his emphasis on an equal and mutually beneficial relationship between Africa and the world, instead of one defined by condescension, pity and greed.
The President spoke boldly for the entire African continent, tracing the history of the post-World War 2 global system, starting with a Marshall Plan that helped redeem Europe. Asking for a 21st century equivalent for that Plan, President Tinubu added, “We realize that underlying conditions and causes of the economic challenges facing today’s Africa are significantly different from those of post war Europe. We are not asking for identical programs and actions. What we seek is an equally firm commitment to partnership. We seek enhanced international cooperation with African nations to achieve the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.”
At every engagement, he has taken the time to remind the world of just how significant his first four months in office have been, in terms of laying the foundation for unlocking levels of economic growth and prosperity that we have always been capable of, but have sadly remained a pipe dream.
He ended a costly and wasteful fuel subsidy regime that has, over the decades, deprived the country of tens of billions of dollars in potential infrastructure and human capital investments. He also commenced an overhaul of the Central Bank of Nigeria, shaking up the leadership of the bank and supporting it to abolish an inefficient system of multiple exchange rates, which, like the petrol subsidy, has seen a lot of abuse, and stifled domestic and international confidence in the economy.
President Tinubu has also assembled a cabinet with an impressive representation of young people and women, while also creating new Ministries and ministerial portfolios to reflect the pressing realities of the 21st century, as well as the priorities of our administration.
For example, we now have a Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, recognizing the unlimited potential of that sector to produce national prosperity. We also now have a dedicated Ministry for the Creative Economy. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has been expanded to include Food Security, underpinning the President’s declaration of a national emergency on Food Security early on in his administration.
On the regional level, President Tinubu has, in his role as recently-elected Chairman of ECOWAS, shown great commitment to stemming the condemnable wave of military takeovers that have rocked the sub-region, and I expect his diplomatic efforts to yield enduring fruit in the months ahead.
The President is being supported in his many onerous assignments by a very energetic and committed Cabinet. In the last few days, I joined some of my colleagues for events at the UN General Assembly, and can testify to the remarkable levels of determination within the cabinet, to solve Nigeria’s problems with the support and cooperation of the global community.
I can boldly assert that we stand on the threshold of a Nigeria that is a true global giant, a country that is able to fully exploit its immense potential energy of demographics, culture, and entrepreneurial dynamism. I have no doubt that my colleagues and I, under the leadership of the President, will step boldly forward, not backwards, from this historic threshold.
We have a very busy last quarter of the year ahead of us. The administration will finalize and unveil its inaugural budget, which will set the tone for investors and other potential partners, about our priorities. Nigeria will take part in the annual global gathering for Climate Change, COP28, in Dubai. We will push forward with work on the various reforms that the President has kickstarted, from tax policy reform to a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) transition for petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, to the full implementation of a comprehensive relief package to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy.
As the President has repeatedly said, most recently last week in New York, “I am mindful of the transient hardship that reform can cause. However, it is necessary to go through this phase in order to establish a foundation for durable growth and investment to build the economy our people deserve.”
He understands how important it is to engage with the world to achieve this. During this month of diplomatic shuttling, he has met with Presidents and Head of States from the United States, India, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, Angola, Jordan, among others.
From the global business executives he has held meetings with this month—Exxon Mobil, Bharti Enterprises, Oracle, Hinduja Group, Indorama, Skipper Seil, and others—he has received pledges amounting to several billions of dollars in new investments. This cannot be overemphasized: at the end of the day, one of our administration’s overriding goals is to attract new investment that will create jobs and wealth for the people of Nigeria.
We will continue to finetune and amplify our narrative in this regard—a message that the President reiterated at every opportunity in New Delhi and New York—that Nigeria is open and ready for business, with partners who are equally open and ready for business with us, and who are not looking to exploit us or treat us like junior partners. And we will follow up the talk with action.
My Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation will be very critical to the success of our national messaging, and we will give it everything required for our narratives to succeed. We have a vision that includes redesigning how the Federal Government of Nigeria engages with the Nigerian people at home and abroad, and with the world.
As part of this, we will scale up our engagements with stakeholders, modernise our tools and platforms of information and communication, and work to craft credible and believable narratives that Nigerians will be proud of and delighted to share with the world.
In a few days, our dear country will celebrate its 63rd Independence Anniversary. It will offer an opportunity to further reflect on our nationhood journey, and the expectations of our citizens, and for us as leaders to rededicate ourselves to delivering on the bold and dynamic leadership that will enable Nigeria to fully assume its rightful place on the global stage. I have absolute confidence that success in this regard will be a defining legacy of this momentous era of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, wrote in from Abuja
Soyinka, Obi, Tinubu: When repayment of mafia debt is inescapable
By Sunny Igboanugo
Amerigo Bonasera was a longtime friend to Vito Corleone, otherwise known as Don Corleone the alter ego of The Godfather – that Mario Puzo epic novel depicting the mafia influence of the American society. However, unlike many who had pitted their tents with the godfather, in the Italian neighbourhood, he would rather avoid him and his syndicate, because he felt the consequential backlash could rub off on his well-laid business and reputation as a law-abiding, straight American citizen. On many occasions, the godfather courted his loyalty, but he rebuffed it, feeling safe inside the protective cocoon of the American system.
But that same system failed him when his prized daughter was attacked and assaulted by his boyfriend and his friend. Maria Bonasera was not only his only daughter, but the only child and despite his fears, was the goddaughter of Carmela Corleone, the wife of Don Corleone. Kelvin Moonan, her new American boyfriend had tried to rape her after she rebuffed his sexual advances, but after succeeding in fending him off, the young man, aided by his friend, Jerry Wegner, beat her so badly and damaged her beautiful face.
Completely gutted, Bonasera, a successful owner of Funeral Parlour, did the right thing, or what he thought the right thing in America. He went to court to seek justice for his daughter. But instead of putting the rapists away, at the most for their clearly heinous crime, after finding them guilty, the judge did the unthinkable – he handed them – suspended sentence. So, the two young men walked out free from the same court leering and practically mocking him – no thanks to the powerful influence of their parents, who pulled the strings from behind.
Suspended sentence?! Bonasere had exclaimed before the godfather in whose presence he ran to seek the real justice. After chiding him for rebuffing his earlier offer of protection in preference for trust in the American system, Don Corleone accepted his request to give him justice. However, he would not accede to Bonasera’s extreme demands. He had wanted the godfather to kill the two young men. But he declined. Bonesera’s daughter was still alive. Let her attackers suffer the same way she suffered, was his own option.
Pressed further to the option of murder, offering to pay for it, he again reprimanded his kinsman for trying to lure him to commit murder, particularly on the wedding day of his daughter. “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, this scum who ruined your daughter would have been suffering this very day. And if by some chance, an honest man like yourself made enemies, they would be my enemies. And then, they would fear you,” he had emphasised?
Having agreed to help him in his own way in return for his “friendship” he had given the job to his executor to conclude. At the end of the day, the two young men were so beaten with so much damage to their faces that their parents could not recognise them. So, that was how Bonasera, who had earlier pledged his everlasting loyalty by kissing the shoes of the godfather, got justice. Nothing could have given him more excitement and satisfaction than the disfigured faces of the two boys, splashed in the newspapers the next day.
But did Bonasera not pay eventually? Of course he did. But he did in a different way, different from monetary payment. Don Corleone, had visited him at the funeral parlour, three years after. His irascible son, Sonny had been heavily disfigured by the bullets of the competitors and enemies of his mafia organisation. He wanted his Italian brother and friend to fix him to look normal and fit for presentation for an open-casket funeral. Bonasera, who was the best in the land, ought not to have touched such a job, coming from Vito Corleone, a criminal to be avoided. But he was in debt, so high a debt. Backing out was out of the question. Either by way of gratitude and conscience or by knowing the grave consequences of saying no to the godfather, he was in debt.
How apt this story to the new reality in Nigeria of today. For years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had played the same role of Vito Corleone, though at a different level – politics. Countless Nigerians who were hurt one way or the other, found succour in him and through him.
When Muhammadu Buhari, before the end of his disastrous outing as President between 2015 and 2023, tried, or so it seemed, to shirk this obligation of playing ball after Tinubu single-handed made him President, either due to patriotism, knowing that Tinubu would probably be a worse calamity or out of mischief to hand over to another Northerner, knowing his proclivity for nepotism, he was stopped in his track. Tinubu simply reminded him where he was coming from.
He was not only quickly reminded of his debt – remember Tinubu’s Abeokuta declaration and his infamous Emilokan speech – but the enforcers moved in. They were the ones who completed the first stage of the project at the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja, beginning with the Northern governors, who took the initiative to rally around him. Now, you might be wondering why the North with their touted unquenchable taste for power could become so amenable. Well, mafia debts are paid to the full.
Asari Dokubo, currently has a standing army ready to go to war against naysayers on his behalf. His reason: Tinubu was his patron when as the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), he was arrested and detained by the Federal Government. Tinubu fully provided for his family including a home in Victoria Garden City (VGC), one of the most glamorous areas of Lagos. Debt!
If, perhaps, you are wondering what debt Yakoub Mahmood, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who virtually threw caution out of the window by practically killing the 2023 presidential election owed, listen to Chibuike Amaechi. The former Governor of Rivers State and former Minister of Transportation, provided the answer when he told the world how his appointment came via the Tinubu camp.
So, why then would anyone be surprised about our own dear Prof. Wole Soyinka? He provided the answer to his current wacky undertaking long today before now. To every ear, he had told the story of how Tinubu and his family provided for him when he was down and out on return from exile imposed on him by former Nigerian despot, the late General Sani Abacha who went after the necks of leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), of which he was one during his iron-fist reign.
He himself narrated how Remi Tinubu, the supportive wife of the former Governor of Lagos State, now President, provided him with pots and pans and other household utensils to start life anew. He also told the world how Tinubu it was that got him a letter of recommendation with which he then approached the government of Taiwan for the rice contract that supplied his daily bread. Nobody knows whether that source and the stream of income thereof has closed yet. Kongi did not tell us.
So, what would you not do for someone who fed you when you were hungry and probably saved you from the frustration of starvation and even death? Today, South Africa, despite all the threats from Europe and the US, has remained the major ally of Russia in Africa for the simple reason that the country was its bastion of struggle and hope to extricate itself from the vice grip of white man’s rule during the struggle for apartheid.
September 28, 2023 5:14 pm
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