Nigeria: Here come the bagmen Through Obi Nwakanma

Nigeria: Here come the bagmen Through Obi Nwakanma

Nyesom Wike should not be minister of the Federal Capital Territory. He should be in jail. Why? Because he was the architect of the electoral fraud, and the forced manipulation of results in Rivers State to favor APC’s Bola Tinubu in the presidential election of 2023 which is still under dispute. His pay-off seems to be this slot on the Federal Executive Council in the Tinubu presidency.

But of course, Wike is not likely to be jailed. This is simply because Nigeria is not a democracy. Nigeria is an anocracy. The anocratic state is permissive and indifferent to the conduct of law. It is the kind of society where criminals are feted, and the capture of the state is the endgame. It pretends to be a democracy, but it is governed by the autocratic whims of those  under who the state squirms.

Nyesom Wike’s electoral crimes should have earned him the investigations of the National Assembly, who should have mandated the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice to bring him to book rather than confirm him as a minister of government where he is now, quite likely, with all the baggage he brings, a national security risk. I do not speak out of context. Let us take a cue for instance from the United States, where we have modeled our own system of government.

Last Thursday, former President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, submitted himself, following his indictment, to the Fulton County Jail in Georgia for booking, and to face charges of trying to upturn the presidential election results in the state. His arraignment is billed for September. These are very serious charges. That a president of the United States is charged with attempting an electoral fraud ought to signal to Nigerians, the significance of the rule of law.

In a society governed by law, public leaders are held accountable. No man is deemed above the law. The fact that a former president is charged with electoral fraud also underscores the sacred nature of elections. Those who toy with the elections of Nigeria, toy with the fundamental basis of its being. It is one of the highest acts of subversion against a state, and that is why, for the first time in its history, an American president has been booked, measured, and his mugshot taken, in a notorious country jail, like a common criminal.

The example of Nigeria,where ordinary men are treated like gods, and allowed to go Scot free with impunity is the reason Nigeria has moved from a great nation full of promise, to a poor, listless, stricken land where the worst people are now the lords of the land. And yes, when you leave the land in the hands of criminals, it becomes a land of criminals. No one escapes the impact. That is the difference between the United States and Nigeria: one fights to defend democracy and the rule of law, the other practices anocracy – a pretend form of democracy, where the rule of law does not count.

If it did count, and were Nigeria to be serious about the defence of its sovereign integrity, bagmen like Nyesom Wike should not be presented to the National Assembly as Ministers of government. Not Nyesom Wike. Not David Umahi. Not Bagudu. Not Matawale. Not a whole phalanx of the current jokers who make up what now seems to be a joke of an Executive Council. This is the worst Federal Executive Council ever put together by a Federal administration in the history of Nigeria. These characters in fundamental ways, mirror or reflect the character of the man who is currently sitting on the Presidential chair, by hook or crook.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu himself is a strange man. It is not news to Nigerians that the man is a mystery, whose identities lie inside a mystery. That is, the president is a mystery inside a mystery.  That is the classic characteristic of a shafter, and those who play the dozen. A very humorous friend of mine said, “Tinubu is Esu Elegba.”  Well then, if it is so, Nigeria is now in the hands of Esu, and he has gathered his bagmen around him. What can one say about Tinubu’s appointment of Abubakar Atiku Bagudu as a minister of government in Nigeria? A fugitive from the law? (there is an on-going forfeiture suit against him in the US). A named suspect involved in money laundering and racketeering, with a case still hanging around him in the United States, Bagudu exemplifies everything that is wrong with Nigeria. Yet Tinubu found him just right, and appointed him Minister for Budget and National Planning. Very close to the treasury.

Bagudu was among those known to be closely associated with Sani Abacha. I have no problems with that. One decides with whom to dine. But what is crucial is what happened in that relationship.

According to papers by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Bagudu helped Sani Abacha steal Nigeria’s money, and was actively involved in money laundering operations for which he was extradited to Jersey from Houston. Its all dreary business. A.A. Bagudu is just a tip of the iceberg. We have the case of a man nominated to be minister who claimed to have beenborn in 1980, began school in 1984,completed school at the age of Nine, in 1989. But he could not explain the discrepancies in his data before the senate.

The more he struggled to justify it, the more he sank into disbelief. Mr. Akpabio, the president of senate, unwilling to do his job of scrutiny, rather asked him to take a bow, to stem the embarrassment, in spite of the loud of objections of his senatorial colleagues. That candidate, Joseph Utsev, today, is Minister for Water Resources and Sanitation. Two issues need to be raised here: one concerning the fitness of this fellow to be a minister of the government of Nigeria, bearing in mind the incongruities of his narrative about himself, and the protests that marked his nomination.

But here again, Utsev reflects Tinubu, whose academic pedigree remains in question. There is also the case of Ms. Hanatu Musawa,  appointed to the Ministry of Culture and the Creative Economy, who it just came to be revealed is still  serving member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC). I do not frankly give a fiddler’s fart whether Musawa is still a Youth Corper or not. I think the president can assert discretionary authority to waive that – especially, if the person in question has gone through the basic camp and orientation program. Service is service.

Nonetheless, I am more interested in the idea of a culture ministry in the hands of a greenhorn minister who is unlikely to have read any decent Nigerian poetry, or who understand its canon, or who knows the difference between publishing with all its peer selectiveness and gatekeeping, and printing, which many times throws up all kinds of self-published trash which we still call “books.” One hopes that Ms. Musawa knows a bit about the subtleties of a piece say by Marcia Kure, and El Anatsui’s mastery of form as a sculptor, or the fundamental necessity for a film policy that should build on what we now call “Nollywood.”

I suspect Bola Tinubu himself does not understand these issues, and thinks that culture is all about a pretty face who is yet to comprehend the connection between education, culture and the mind of a nation. I think that Bola Tinubu’s cabinet is a rogue’s gallery of those who should be seriously scrutinized by the senate of the Federation, and who should, like Atiku Bagudu answering question and playing for their roles in looting Nigeria. But no. Akpabio and others in the Senate merely asked them to take a bow, and continue from where they stopped in ruining Nigeria. This cabinet reflects Tinubu in many fundamental ways. It is bloated. It is filled with questionable characters. It is the cabinet of “Enye Ndi Ebe a, Enye Ndi ebe a” – sharing the carcass of the great elephant called Nigeria, rather than to wake it from its death sleep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *