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The provocation of trouble and his peoples


travelsTrouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am!
Wetin you go get?
Palaver you go get!
Palaver plenty you go get!!!

In the last few months, important political personalities have made statements of the need for the Nigerian peoples to begin the anointing ritual of stoning their political servants for grand acts of thieving of public property. Such grand larceny by public political servants has led to lack of infrastructure in the country, has led to abandoned projects across the country, has led to the degradation and devaluing of education in the country, has led to the destruction of language expression in the country. For how else do we explain a state governor (Fayose of Ekiti State) saying publicly: “I had promised to dualise this road and to lit it”? How else do we explain an adult saying: “This is a taught provoking video”? There is usually a powerful link between thought and words, and between words and action. If we cannot even express our thoughts grammatically, how can we carry out the action that should be consequent on words? So, Rotimi Amaechi says public political servants continue to steal because Nigerians have not begun to stone them. Tony Momoh says if the present government in power does not deliver change, Nigerians should stone the members of the party.

A word of caution to our public political servants aware of the continued provocation of the Nigerian people: Beware what you pray for! Your prayer might be answered!!! Before you know it, Nigerians would be piling up stones at street corners and waiting for the usual parade of motorcades and welcoming them with stoning on a regular basis. If you provoke stoning, how are you going to handle the atoning?

Nigerians have been provoked enough. They have been provoked in length of time and in depth of space. Four examples are provided as follows. The first one is from Lucky OBJ, twice president of Nigeria, and many times presidents-maker of Nigeria. Asked recently to provide information about what became of moneys and properties recovered from the Abacha theft, the wizard of Owu declared anyone and every Nigerian who asks him these questions must be stupid. When your houseboy or housemaid begins to call you stupid, you do know what to do with him and with her. Stoning is not the first option, making your servant atone is better. Not stoning, atoning.

The second example comes from the recent action of Sahara Reporters making available the cell phone numbers of our public political servants in the upper house, the Senate, people who impose on themselves the title “Distinguished”. Many Nigerians decided to call them and appeal to them not to support two particularly obnoxious bills in the upper house – the CCB change and the turning of the country to one big fat unlimited grazing land for cattle herders. Different senators distinguished themselves by their different responses. One particular senator from Ekiti claimed to have bought the senate seat all the way from her local government base to the final party nomination. As a result nobody can hold her to account or make a demand on her! Walahi, what great provocation can come the way of a Nigerian citizen?

The third example comes from the idea of those who have thieved money from the public purse to voluntarily return such money or part thereof. When this idea was first suggested by our bishops and archbishops in that peace mission to President Buhari when he was newly sworn in, (seems a long time ago today!), it was obvious there would be problems. How much was stolen by this particular thief? What percentage of the sum stolen is going to be returned? Who determines that percentage to be returned? Should the thief be trusted to return a fair amount? What is a fair amount in this context?

Now that we have a concrete account of what was stolen and what was returned we can do the mathematics and decide if this is not provocation. In the case of Nenadi Usman, director of finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation was paid two sums of moneys: two point five billion naira (N2,500,000,000.00) and one hundred and forty million naira (N140,000,000.00). In co-operation with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (for which she has been praised by the commission), she returned twenty-three million naira (N23,000,000.00). What percentage of what she allegedly thieved is this? Is this not provocation enough?

The fourth, definitely not the last, example of provocation has to do with the generally expressed illogicality of the Nigerian public political servant to be tried for breaking the law. They claim human rights when they have committed human wrongs. They employ senior lawyers to keep them out of courts when these same lawyers are to serve inside the courts. They postpone and delay appearances when they were not slow in making away with the moneys they are asked to account for, going to various places in the world to save the loot. There is also their ability to lament infrastructural inadequacies in the country side by side with their inability to link these inadequacies with their thieving propensities.

A fifth example as jaara (bonus) of provocation is the non-payment of salaries in the country. This is the first and major sin of all who employ people in Nigeria and refuse to pay them. You cannot pay workers. If you do not pay workers, there is no basis for spending, of exchange of money for goods and services. There is no Economy.
So, please, Rotimi Amaechi and Tony Momoh, don’t rub salt into the wounds of Nigerians. There are enough reasons to want to stone our public political servants. You see what masters and mistresses do to their houseboys and housemaids in the newspapers every day, servants who misbehave or do not behave as servants should. Servants are flogged. Servants are chained and maimed. Hot water is poured on them. Sometimes acid is used to disfigure them for life. And sometimes they are just killed. Please, don’t let us speak of stoning. Let’s talk of atoning. Public political servants must atone for their misdemeanours, for their thieving.

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