From MURPHY GANAGANA and JOHN ADAMS For Maryam Umar, a grandmother resident at a Fulani settlement close to Yaba, a remote community in Gwada district, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, her heart bleeds daily. In the past 26 months, sorrow and anguish has been her companion. Barely two years ago, she lost her…
Koko: This Maina is a spirit or something worse.
Kaka: He’s not a spirit joo. Just one smart Alec running rings round poor Mr President.
Koko: But he has disappeared again into thin air. Poof, just like that. How is he able to appear and disappear like that if he’s a human being?
Kaka: He’s just one of those Nigerians who know how to profit from everything good and bad. He even knows how to make his enemies work for him.
Koko: I still think there’s something strange about him.
Kaka: Maybe he has juju.
Koko: Very likely. I think he jazzed EFCC. Or how else do you explain the commission’s inability to see all those houses and shopping mall they suddenly seized last week throughout last year? How did Maina get in through our border when he’s a wanted man being looked for by Interpol and all the security agencies in the country?
Kaka: You figure he arrived on a broomstick or through the wall of his bedroom?
Koko: Not only that, he did something to all the heads of our security agencies. That was why they couldn’t catch him the first time under PDP and this second time too under APC. I believe Maina just stamps his foot on the ground and just disappears. I think he’s using ‘egbe’.
Kaka: And I think you have been watching too much of Africa Magic. This whole nonsense is a concoction of corruption, an affront and insult on our national intelligence. The man stole our money. He took pension funds, meaning that he took away walking sticks from old and frail men and women and he must not go unpunished.
Koko: He allegedly stole. He has not been convicted by a court of law in Nigeria. You cannot legally call him a thief.
Kaka: Maybe I can spiritually call him a thief then since you think all this nauseating drama is spiritual.
Kaka: Oh pleaseee, he hightailed it out of town as soon as the sh-t hit the fan.
Koko: That meant he was guilty?
Kaka: It meant he had something to hide. Why didn’t he just stay and defend himself?
Koko: I hear there are powerful people involved in this matter and Maina is threatening to open his mouth and the Pandora box.
Kaka: He should keep his mouth in a permanent position of shut up. He didn’t speak up in 2015. He ran and hid abroad with his Pandora box. Is it now that he thinks his story will mean anything, after he crawled in and tried to become a Director in a major ministry?
Koko: He didn’t just try. He actually became a Director before he vamoosed again.
Kaka: You see the national insult I’m talking about. And please why is Maina fixated on the civil service? Couldn’t he have just gone and done something else?
Koko: Where else can you make the kind of money available in the civil service for working nine-to-five? Besides Maina is not an ordinary man. He probably wanted to prove his powers, over EFCC especially?
Kaka: We have to do something about this…
Koko: You can’t do anything bro. This is beyond small boys and media activism. This is about the big boys, the big spirits. They do what they need to do while we are sleeping or not looking. Even when we are looking, we don’t understand what we are looking at. I told you this is a spiritual thing. The decision has been taken in the coven.
Kaka: This is all exasperating. And you said Maina is in cahoots with other people?
Koko: That’s right. He’s working with other big spirits.
Kaka: Then they can’t continue to live here. Since they are spirits, they must relocate to the spirit world…
Koko: Hmmmn? Let’s go home before Maina returns again.
So the governors can sleep at night
The wage bill drama is assuming a national dimension and if it wasn’t so excruciatingly painful, it would have been totally hilarious. Imagine Senators of the Federal Republic designating Kogi workers Internally Displaced People (IDPs). They donated 1,600 bags of rice to drive home their point too. You and I may have had a laugh over it but it is not a joke, really. Unpaid workers in Kogi and beyond don’t find this season funny either. However the part I’m more concerned about today is the Paris Club angle and the determination of the state governors to collect the balance of the bailout that came from that elite club. They did not just sit in their individual expansive offices to issue press statements or write memos to the Villa that can be leaked. No, they went to the Villa and told Mr President that they want the remaining tranche of the Paris Club bailout. Apparently, they are still in the jailhouse of their angry workers. Someone has got to bail them out, right? So, why is President Buhari and Mrs Adeosun doing this bad thing to our governors, to us? It is our money, all of it. Not 50% of it. And I don’t buy that explanation of the Debt Management Office and the Ministry of Finance reconciling the accounts of the first tranche. Since 2016? What now? Is this reconciliation taking place in the moon? Even if it is PDP and President Buhari that they are reconciling, it should not take this long. Please, those doing this reconciliation should hurry it up.
Thank God for our resourceful, indefatigable, creative, hardworking and prudent governors, that is how Mrs Adeosun would have ‘allowed’ us to forget our money in Abuja. Madam, that federal juju is not working. And seriously, the Minister should quit telling our governors to improve on their IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) instead of depending on monthly federal allocation. What is the meaning of that? As a Yoruba girl, sorry Yoruba mama, Mrs Adeosun must have heard the adage that says that it is foolish to insist on carrying a heavy load when there is someone who can help you. Why should the states have to worry about all that IGR heavy lifting when there is money to be shared? I do not understand that kind of logic. Besides, it is in the interest of national peace that the balance of the Paris Club fund is released to the states. You don’t agree? Let me explain. The President is worried about the sleeping patterns (or is it sleeping positions and arrangements?) of the governors who owe salaries. The governors can’t sleep because each time they close their eyes, they see hungry workers chasing them and old pensioners chanting incantations. The workers can’t sleep because their stomachs are rumbling. The pensioners can’t sleep because their bones are creaking. You see, everybody is worried. Everybody is awake. If the money is paid, everybody will be happy and be able to sleep. I know the President is worried about what some governors did with the first tranche and the Senate is itching to launch a big probe. I understand all that but I think 2018 is a better year and time for probes, dramatic raids and great headlines. You didn’t get my drift? Here’s my suggestion. Let the second and final tranche of the bailout be released immediately, preferably next month. That way, those who ‘died’ the first tranche will most likely tamper with the second. Their list of sins will become longer. Just imagine what such raids will mean in 2018, a few months before gubernatorial election and re-election. The governors who won’t bring home what they get in Abuja will have armies of angry workers, pensioners and an enraged Buhari all hot on their tails. I can see the great headlines already. Angry workers at election time are also good agents of change, right?
In other words, paying this 50% bailout balance is a win-win strategy. The governors who do not divert the bacon will put it to good use and those who don’t will be eaten for dinner in 2018 and 2019. The President will finally be rid of the heavy-duty burden of worrying about how 36 governors sleep every night.
Re-Do you know your children?
You remain one of the reasons I have continued to be glued to the Sunday Sun. Your articles are always classic and incisive. They represent the truth and nothing but the truth. That of Sunday, 22nd October, 2017 is no exception. You indeed hit the nail on the head. Most of us parents have virtually abandoned our responsibility for mundane things. Mostly money and wealth only to regret later in life. The next thing is to look for an old uncle or aunty in the village to blame when faced with reality. Of course it is axiomatic that what you sow is what you reap
You have indeed captured it all. My prayer is that we will begin to turn a new leaf in bringing up our children the right way. It is the only way we would not have cause to lament and cry over them at old age. May God continue to inspire you to greater height. Amen
Iroka Sampson M
Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN)