By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
A scam that lasts for all of 61 years is no ordinary scam. Call it a mega scam, and Nigeria will take a tropical bow.
Everything about Naija, to use the hip and contemporary sobriquet, is shrouded in the kind of abracadabra that underscores the Advance Fee Fraud phenomenon known sharply as 419.
In the 1914 Amalgamation, Britain sneakily “released northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the treasury” to forge an alliance with the “southern lady of means.”
Ever since that initial scam, life has been rough in the “anything goes” enclave that styles itself as the Giant of Africa.
Let’s raise a toast to the freakish scam the British inaugurated by merging three unequal regions into the wobbly patchwork of an eternally enfeebled infant sucking forever from the feeding bottle.
The dubious intentions of Britain on Nigeria started quite early as the very first census figures were doctored by the colonial powers to favour the North – the facts are in the uncovered archival materials in the London library.
Nobody can thus tell for a fact the accurate population of the country because it is ordained only in Nigeria that the desert regions are more populated than the seaside zones.
The 1959 elections were rigged through gerrymandering in the interests of the parochial Northern People’s Congress (NPC) as opposed to the more broad-based National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) by the selfsame Britain.
Early joiners of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF), the body that later metamorphosed into the Nigerian Army, were encouraged by the British officers to learn Hausa as the language of power as far back as the 1940s and 50s!
Citizen Adesugba who was one of the recruits of the military back then revealed this to me while I was writing his biography in his country home at Ogbagi in Ondo State.
The first coup in Nigeria was staged by the British when in 1964 President Nnamdi Azikiwe stoutly refused to announce the massively rigged election results only for the British to prevail on him – some would swear at gunpoint – to announce the fictional results just the same!
When Nigeria was embroiled in crisis in the 1960s after the evil elections especially in the Western region Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa deigned to organise a scam conference to settle the quarrel in faraway Rhodesia.
While engrossed in the sham conference the army struck, killing him for his efforts and sweeping away his government.
Actually, Northern Nigerian soldiers had planned to stage a bloody coup tagged “Operation No Mercy” on January 17, 1966 only to be upstaged by the January 15, 1966 revolution of Majors Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Chukwuma Nzeogwu and others.
The British crept in quickly by branding the putsch as “Igbo coup” and helping the Northerners who were asking for “araba” (secession) to stage a bloody revenge coup and unleash a dastardly pogrom.
The “maiguard” whom the country’s leader, General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi, took to Ibadan to guard him ended up turning his gun on his master because Ironsi belonged to the tribe that killed “our people”!
Today the Butcher of Ibadan is crying blue murder that “our people” he killed for have turned around to be massacring his “real” people!
Another block of crude oil for the disinherited slave of “our people”!
The “No Victor, No Vanquished” singsong of General Yakubu Gowon after the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 to1970 ended up as a pathetic scam just as the Reconstruction-Rehabilitation-Reintegration waffle.
Gowon’s promise of returning power to the civilians turned into yet another scam until he was overthrown by the “Auchi-by-Kano” General Murtala Mohammed in 1975.
Murtala Mohammed was himself shot to death in Col Buka Musa Dimka’s “dawn to dusk” coup scam of 1976.
General Olusegun Obasanjo took over from Murtala and handed over power to the civilians in 1979 with the Richard Akinjide-manufactured Twelve Two-Third legal arithmetic caper.
President Shehu Shagari’s civilian government came to a tacky end in 1983 when the military struck on the last day of the year after a 419 “moonslide” re-election gambit.
Power inheritor, General Muhammadu Buhari, was toppled off his hobbyhorse of prebendalism by the past master of 419 scams, General Ibrahim Babangida, who himself ended up in utter disgrace after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Ernest Shonekan happened on Nigeria as an interim scam government before General Sani Abacha struck and later died in action romping Indian apples.
Democracy was given a 419 slap when a military man in uniform, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, arranged to give democratic power to another army man, General Obasanjo, who had pulled off his uniform.
Obasanjo then tried a shameless Third Term scam and failed quite woefully before succeeding in the installation of Umoru “Are You Dead?” Yar’Adua as president in an election that the declared winner openly discredited as a scam.
Poor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua floated between life and death until the so-called “Doctrine of Necessity” paved the way for the shoeless one, Goodluck Jonathan.
The British scam got into high gear in 2015 when the British High Commissioner led the American Secretary of State to ensure that Nigerians removed hapless Jonathan.
The icing on the Nigerian scam is that the anointed messiah now spends more time in British hospitals.