By Adewale Sanyaolu Despite being a country with the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, Nigeria, according to Foraminifera, a marketing and research firm, spends about N2 billion yearly on importation of asphalt, a derivative of bitumen. The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is twice the amount of existing reserves of crude…
As my little son, who turned eight on Monday, sat on the bed watching me ransack drawer after drawer, looking for the little cash, I was convinced I had left in my wallet the previous night, he had this mischievous smile permanently plastered on his face. I’d wrongly thought he was engrossed in the Angry Bird game he was playing on my cell phone.
It was not until he could not hold the laughter any longer, and burst out laughing that I now looked more critically in his direction.
“Are you looking for your money?” he asked, the conspiratorial glint still in his eyes.
“I’m sure my Mummy took it,” he volunteered, before I could answer his question. Just then, his elder sister, who, all along, had been enwrapped in the cartoon flick she was watching on TV, also lent her voice, in a matter-of-factly voice: “Yes naa! Is it not mummy that is always taking daddy’s money?” According to them, mummy always visits my wallet before setting out on her daily school runs.
Whistle blowers! Right there in my home? These children sure have great potentials! So, instead of chiding them for snitching on their mummy, who, by the way, takes the money to occasionally meet the children’s buy-this, buy-that indulgences, I just smiled to myself – thinking of the potential 5% that comes with such ‘talents’ these days. My kids are sure starting out early! Am I not lucky?
Unfortunately, in this incidence of blowing the whistle on their mom, I still haven’t recovered the money. And it’s not likely I will ever do.
But the kids are demanding their compensation, which is my promise to take all of them out to lunch (I guess that is their own idea of 5%, for bringing me into the secret of mummy’s daily ritual). Now, I have to pay, even without recovering the “loot” from their mom. Bad business!
Understandably, I’d always been suspicious of the APC government and its promise to create jobs for the army of unemployed Nigerians. My reason? Oftentimes, politicians’ idea of job creation turns out to be either to bloat the civil service or appoint political aides without portfolios. I remember that, in one fell swoop recently, one governor appointed about a thousand aides – in a state that has witnessed an almost steady decline in government finances since its oil wells were taken away.
The other jobs our politicians end up creating are those jobs, which they never recommend to their children and close relations. I don’t want to mention names, lest one honest labourer somewhere conclude that I’m disparaging his dignity. But we all know where the politicians send the CVs of their wives, children, concubines and valued relations. It’s usually not to go queue for poverty alleviation handouts or to go take up little plots of land in some government farm settlement – unless, of course, there is a sinister motive to begin the process of ultimate land grab.
However, there’s one new industry, which the PMB government has created that I’m seriously interested in. It is the Whistle-blowing sub-sector of the ‘Looting’ industry.
Yes, in order to recover stolen public funds, PMB’s anti-corruption crusade has spawned a new business, called whistle blowing: Snitch on any looter and get 5% of whatever is recovered from him or her. It is that simple! The only thing is that you have to have proof that the loot exists, plus information on how and where it can be recovered.
Now, with the media industry gasping for breath, and with the National Bureau of Statistics, confirming that Nigeria’s GDP has continued to go south, I’m thinking of changing my line of business. Luckily, all the capital outlay needed for my new line of business is just the cost of procuring a whistle. After that, I will officially make minding of other people’s business my own business – which is not too far from what I presently do, as a journalist.
Only last weekend, I was reading a Facebook post where a senator allegedly rewarded a long-standing aide of his, for his loyalty, with a 1991 model of a Honda car, and my ‘evil’ mind started wondering what the ‘loyal’ aide could have made if he had been ‘smart’ enough to buy a whistle. That 1991 Honda could have become a 2016 Lamborghini. Or even Ferrari. Or maybe, he could have become the proud owner of a customised champagne-making factory. But, I guess, I’m just letting my imagination run wild.
But, jokes apart, I’ll need some assurances from the PMB government before I go into this new line of business: Hope someone is thinking of guaranteeing the safety of the whistle blowers? Or even protecting their identity? The story out there now, for instance, is that Andrew Yakubu’s sister snitched on the former NNPC GMD, which led to that massive harvest of raw Dollars and Pounds Sterling cash.
How did that sensitive information, about the whistle blower’s identity, get out? Even though she is said to have turned down her ‘whistle blower’s fee’, I’m still wondering how she would face her family and the larger kinsmen, especially as some of them are already reading ethnic meanings to the find. Yes, they’re asking if the drama was not because Yakubu is a Christian, and from Southern Kaduna. It’s stupid, but that’s the reality of our fiercely divided country.
Finally, I hope, whistle blowers don’t ultimately get kidnapped – for a ransom, or get blown away in ‘mysterious’ circumstances. Hope people would remain safe after blowing the whistle and collecting their commissions? Hope the looters, their friends, proxies, and outright ‘do-gooders’ would not send assassins after them?
Hope whistle blowers would not now be forced to now relocate abroad with their own share of the loot, bringing us back to the problem of capital flight?
…PMB’s health and the ‘New Englishes’
I suppose that, with the reports (don’t call it ‘claims’, or ‘allegations’) that ‘vacationing’ President Muhammadu Buhari has been calling his media aides on phone, we can effectively rest the debate about his condition – especially the wicked speculation that he might have made the ‘crossover’. Wicked people!
One of them even spread the rumour about treatment for a prostate-related ailment and subsequent loss of voice. The mischievous talebearer even alluded to a man well over 80 years of age, as opposed to our official 74 years. Where did he even get the extra 10 years from? Get behind me, Satan …with your wicked tales!
The only problem I have in this undying imbroglio, however, is that we now have to find a new definition for the phrase ‘hale and hearty’.
Ideally, I would have relied on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Bukola Saraki, who attended very good schools – Corona, Kings College, Cheltenham, University of London, London School of Economics, etc, but it would appear those of them who schooled in England were taught ‘New Englishes’.
How do I mean? Those of us, who went to backwater schools would swear that our village teachers would not describe a man grounded by his doctors and subjected to a battery of medical test as ‘hale and hearty’, especially, when such a man is being forced to rest. But what do we know? Nothing! When we don’t even have electricity in our village, how would we know that the rules of grammar have since changed?
Thankfully, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who does not pretend to be as bookish as the other people, also visited PMB in London. And when he came back, he did not join the ‘hale and hearty singsong. Tinubu simply said the man is “alive and healthy”.
I guess it was on the strength of this new more credible submission that Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, few days ago, now said that “Mr. President is neither critically ill nor in the hospital and there is nothing life-threatening about the checks he is going through”.
We won’t ask them to reveal more. We’ll wait on the gods. The gods have a way of making people confess, at the appropriate time. Even witches reel out their atrocities at the point of death. I’ll patiently wait.
However, I get confused when I hear that Gowon, Nyako, Masari are praying in Adamawa, Katsina, Taraba and just everywhere else, for the quick recovery of a man who is hale and hearty. Mtcheeew! Shior!!