As periodically happen in Nigeria, there was a deafening staccato of scandals in harvest of corruption reportedly perpetuated by serving public servants and other government political appointees in the last few months.
As usual, these grave issues of stealing, which, in other countries with less shameless politicians, is capable of pulling down the government, have been swept under the carpet, and Nigerians, numbed and dumbed by poverty and in their struggle for subsistent living, have taken the issue as if nothing happened because they must first think about the important and primary issue of feeding themselves.
Though there is no manner of corrupt activity and stealing yet to be seen from government officials in Nigeria, especially in the last five years, some of the concerned citizens of Nigeria, like myself, who have access to both the print and electronic media, shall still not give up talking to give direction to a government that, possibly true to accusations from sundry quarters, confirms its visible docility in addressing an issue, corruption, which was one of the major reasons for which it was voted for and/or maneuvered its way to office with lies, deceit and effrontery.
This column therefore, cannot fail to comment on what I want to analyze as a seasonal epic melodrama to which Nigerians, without soliciting for it or even paying the usual gate fee, have been made to watch.
Through Nigerians neither solicited for, nor paid the gate fee to watch the drama, they pay heavily, albeit indirectly, for the drama because their common patrimony gets frittered away by these actors with the stage act in the same manner the Hollandia butter melts untraceably inside the warm mouth of a hungry folk.
By the way, the drama series is titled by me as ‘NIGERIA: MONUMENT OF WASTE’. The setting is NIGERIA, and the actors and actresses are some Nigerian politicians and public servants, while Nigerians in their offices and homes as the background, constitute the audience.
Among many trending scandals, we shall consider two most notorious cases. Though the two notorious scandals, nay seasonal epic drama played out simultaneously and were most unfairly and dubiously wound up by forces which Nigerians must contend with in order to free themselves from the shackles of oppression, we shall start our review from the particular scandal which Nigerians heard of last before what seemed to be an embargo on those inquiries descended from above.
True to predictions, and like in most Nigerian movies where you can predict what happens next on the stage, Nigerians already knew that nothing will come out of the inquiries, the deafening staccato of noise, which the government and her agents had made regarding the scandals.
MONUMENT OF WASTE
ACT ONE, SCENE ONE: CONTRACTORS ON RAMPAGE
The dramatis personae in the Act One, Scene One of CONTRACTORS ON RAMPAGE are Mrs. Joi Nunei, the former Managing director of NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission), Professor Pondei, the Acting Chairman, IMC (Interim Management Committee) of the NDDC, Senator Godswill Akpabiyo, the Honorable Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta, the senate members of the committee investigating activities in the NDDC, etc.
The NDDC is the cash-cow of the ministry supervised by Senator Akpabiyo. The sprawling contract activities that take place at the cash-cow section of the Ministry of Niger Delta has made that place a conduit pipe for politicians and political appointees to siphon the NDDC’s annual budget into own bank accounts.
The barking-dogs, the other parastatals and auxiliary functions attached to the ministry of Niger Delta which include peaceful engagement of the Niger Delta rural communities as envisaged by former President Umaru Yar’ Adua have been sacrificed on the superficial alter of the mad rush for phoney and bogus contacts.
In order to muzzle the barrel of the gun from whose cavity the tirade flowed and possibly prevent it from discharging the bullets, there were initial attempts, in the words of the Rivers State Executives Governor, Nyesom Wike, to officially ‘kidnap’ the immediate past Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mrs. Joi Nunei. The active player fingered in this kidnap story is the Minister of the Niger Delta playing in concert with the Rivers State Police Command, and most probably the Inspector General of Police on whose orders the State Commissioner of Police, must act.
The real stage act commenced after the futility of preventing Mrs. Nunei from talking was upheld by the People’s Parliament at the public domain. Then the comedy kickstarted.
The stage announcer who seemed also to be the studio director in the epic drama, the Minister for Niger Delta, attracted the wrath of the National Assembly members when, under the heat and pressure of the hot seat with barrage of verbal attacks, questions, counter questions, and cross-questions, almost spilt the beans.
He shocked his erstwhile colleagues when he told them to their faces that they pontificated and stood as judges in a matter in which some of them were active participants. Angered by his pronouncements, the members of the investigating committee demanded that he mention names to buttress his claim. He was given both an ultimatum and a deadline to mention names of the beneficiaries to the phony and bogus contracts by the Senate President or risk arrest.
In what obviously was intended to be an ‘Aside’ meant and restricted only to the hearing of the stage actors themselves, Nigerians heard and watched poorly-scripted and shamelessly-acted part of the drama.
Suddenly, a crescendo of murmurs rising from the stage actors crystallized into audible, decipherable sounds and Nigerians watching via the electronic tubes from their offices and homes heard renting the airwaves… “off the mic… off the mic… it’s okay… it’s okay…” until the voices which the National Assembly members intended to be concealed within the chambers of the committee meeting place, seized the airwaves, and re-echoed ceaselessly.
So it happened that by the capricious nature of luck, and to the pleasure of Nigerians who were eager to follow up the epic drama of the NDDC official pillage to a conclusive end, the ‘mic’(microphone) literarily refuged to ‘off’. Nigerians still saw and heard the proceedings, sorry, the scenes of the drama as they unfolded.
Another poorly-acted part in the script of the notorious melodrama was showcased by the Acting Chairman of the IMC, Professor Pondei, when he ‘fainted’.
Early in the interrogations of the Minister by the House members, he had preferred to defer answers to some questions put to him, to be furnished, possibly in a written form. But Nigerians knew that would give a big room for manipulation, and some members of the house who understood the pulse of Nigerians demanded immediate answers.
This same view of deferring answers was echoed by the Acting MIC Chairman, Professor Pondei, who happened to be the fourth Acting MIC Chairman of the NDDC, within a year in what seem to be ‘come chop as I chop’cycle to liquidate the budget of the NDDC. Be that as it may, he eventually, as in a planned theatrical ‘Suspense’ and a ‘Late Point of Attack’ setting, ‘fainted’, and that, so far, has put a stop to the proceedings.
Nigerians were surprised to hear the names of some visible members of the House as partakers in the scramble for the NDDC contracts of where serving government officials and political appointees, masquerading as contractors, went on rampage.
That was the end of the matter and with it trillions of Naira – I have long lost count of the exact figure – gone, this time, not down the drain, but into the bank accounts of people who we know, can identify, and can even catch to retrieve our money from. What a country?
Obviously dealing in close propinquity with each other in the manner of ‘you-rub-my-back-I-rub-your-back’, the members of the House, who usually find it easy to pass unpopular Bills from the Presidency, as the C.A.M.A (Companies and Allied Matters Act) and the Presidency who usually send-in such unpopular Bills to the House, failed to intervene in obtaining Justice for Nigerians. Because both the hands of the Executive and the Legislature are deeply sunk in corruption, they reneged in the pursuit of justice for Nigerians in what I regard as a conspiracy on a matter of grave economic, political, and social implications. With the suspicious silence of the Executive and the Legislature, the NDDC massive stealing seem to have been swept under the carpet. But let me tell you my own opinion on that.
I feel great pity for the ‘powerful’ politicians and public servants who steal from the public coffers because they do not understand the karmic implication of their actions to themselves and the people who they leave the ill-gotten wealth for. This s pace definitely will not be the right place to go into this type of discourse but let me say just a little.
Sometimes, inheritance can become a burden to the inheritor, especially if the process of acquisition of the things that constituted the inheritance had been bedeviled or smeared with disrespect for cosmic laws especially those laws pertaining to equity, justice, freedom, and sanctity of life. The normal advice for such inheritors with such burdens is to drop the inheritance and proceed to effect generalized retribution through charity and philanthropy.
This is the only guarantee for both the benefactor and the beneficiary not to present their ancestry as probable families for nature to render extinct, when the law of karma sets in to seek far an equitable balance. Many families have gone and have been forgotten in this manner.
What would have been the high point, the ecstatic peak of this drama, would have been the eventual arrest and trials of the culprits, but that was not to be because the case suffered the weight of official sledge hammer which knocked it out of the public view. No Nigerian, including me, can now comment on what is going on behind the scene, till they let us know.
Till they let us know what is happening behind the scene, I shall quickly move on to comment on the shame of Nigeria in this Epilogue section.
Let me start by giving my analysis of the fainting saga. The man did not faint. He did not ‘pass-out’ in the correct application of the word.
Though not a medical doctor, I have a little knowledge medical sciences and other knowledge perspectives, which avails me much in that area. My experience and age can also be an advantage in understanding what happened on that day. Either the man mimicked, or he was mentally and emotionally tasked – for the sake of humanity, let us allow him the second option – he suffered from both mental and emotional exasperation. He did not faint. I say this because fainting signifies a brief absence of objective consciousness. In fainting, objective consciousness has just been temporarily forced out of the body by excessive physical and/or emotional pressure on the body. Esoteric scientists and transcendental artists also understand that a brief absence of objective consciousness as to its conscious transfer to another place, (which is the more appropriate language for the layman’s parlance of fainting) can be induced through certain spiritual exercises.
During fainting, the heart and other internal organs functions properly within the objective consciousness (this may not exactly be so if the non-conscious transfer of consciousness was caused by the weakness or failure of any of the internal organs) and because the objective consciousness is absent to co-ordinate the empirical, voluntary actions normally exerted by the brain to influence the physical sensory organs, no conclusive objective movements of the limbs, may be observed. These conclusive movement of the limbs include lifting hands and walking.
In most cases, the displaced consciousness will still be within the vicinity of the physical body and eagerly return back to the body that it is used to by simple shock techniques as may be administered to a cardiovascular patient as first aid. This is why timely first aid is very important in such occasions because the natural laws of elasticity and sympathetic response which are the primary characteristic of the spirit nature will draw the consciousness away from the body and fuse it back to the universal spirit nature. This is when physical death on earth is said to occur.
Back to our stage actors, the man did not faint. I saw in the video clip that the man raised up his hand and even showed a little sign of resistance (resistance is a conclusive action of both will and desire and not an open-ended, but a time-bound and space-controlled activity which brings to bear the spirit, physical, emotional, the intellectual, and even the aesthetic nature of the person who exercises it) while an official struggled to blow air with a mouth properly and ironically covered with a face mask, tried a restoration technique.
Secondly, the man was also on his legs, and actually moved those legs as he was assisted outside the room. He did not faint. He was simply both mentally and emotionally tasked, and may also have been physically tired as a result of the psychological assault by the barrage of questions fired on him by his interrogators.
I am sure doctors confirmed my view in the hospital he was taken to.
The grave element of irony and sadism in the stealing spree by Nigerian politicians and government officials is that much of the stolen wealth is domiciled outside Nigeria to run the economies of other countries, while Nigerian government sponsors jamborees and fictitious programs pretending to attract foreign investments to an already squeezed and collapsing, economy.
Some people in Nigeria are actually dangerous tumors that will never allow her survival, and the longer time Nigerians waste waiting on God to descend from above and heal a wound without the natural process of first applying the healing balm, the more the cancerous tumor will continue to spread, eventually engulf the whole country and ultimately destroy her as a cancerous tumor will spread and destroy the affected host body.
It will not be a bad idea to take out an insufficient number of people threatening to snuff out the life out of the country from the streets in the same way that it is not a bad idea to excise a dangerous tumor threatening to engulf and destroy the body.
Without pronouncing death sentences on the convicted, long jail terms will certainly be a powerful deterrent to stealing public fund and eliminating graft and other types of enrichment through self-appropriation of filthy lucre.
The Nigeria system shows find a way to gather these thieves, retrieve our money from them and use the money to pay all the foreign debts hanging on the necks of future generation Nigerians and in so doing free the future generation Nigerians, our children and their children from vagaries economic strategically deployed by the institutionalized business hawks and international creditor clubs to stall development efforts of African and less privileged countries with the intention to keep them perpetually and politically subservient to Britain, America and other Western European countries.
Something akin to long jail sentences reminiscent of Buhari/Idiagbon military regime era will be a good consideration for Nigeria at this point in time.
TO BE CONCLUDED…
BY ABUCHI OBIORA
Global Upfront Newspaper (GUN)
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