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Omotoso: This Country Is Awaiting Trial Trouble


THERE are two sets of people awaiting trial in this country. The first set are people who argue that they are right to do crime. Their arguments are, oh so spacious and of course self-serving. They begin by saying that everybody in this country is employed by Crime. They mention public office holders who paid themselves even beyond the grave enormous salaries, emoluments and obscene pensions. They go on to civil servants who are CI I only to their Oga Patapata, an ugly individual called Corruption at whose desk the buck stops and he pockets it. Then they mention those in the Enforcement Division of the Crime Employment Bureau. At the lowest level, these collect from the lowest level of the struggling warring masses because life in this country is war. Their bigger ones who are chanced to have budgets eat the budget proposed, budgeted and spent all together. Then they move to the private parts of the Crime Employment Sector. As we all know, no part of Crime is more hidden than the private parts. Everyone in the country fights to cover the private parts and so we end up not knowing what is the manner and system of employment in the private parts. Go to the banks. Visit the pharmaceutical companies. Check out the transport and transporting dealers. The only times we do see what’s going on there is when someone slips up. And who recovers them when a wind of change lifts their elaborate dressings? Lawyers of course are the ones who recover them but these same lawyers who are part of the second set of people awaiting trial also, as a matter of routine and duty discover them as well. So, lawyers cover, recover and discover what is hidden in the private parts of the economy. Did we mention the parastatals? Take a day trip there, says the first set of people awaiting trial and you will see why Obasanjo was his own minister of petroleum products for the eight years he was president of the country. So, this first set of people make their case on this basis re-iterating that we all have sinned and fallen short of the morals we claim to live by. Therefore nobody needs be arrested for any criminal activity.  

  The second set of people who are awaiting trial are the ones who have all the constitutions and the documentations and every piece of legislations and expectations of the state at their beck and call. They are the ones who quote to us all from the documents of state that section 16 (2d) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended says: “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum living wage, old age care and pensions, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.” These set of awaiting trial Nigerians also quote documents how public office holders should behave, how they should conduct themselves in public. Office holders should tell us for instance what they have when they assume the mantle of office. And when they are leaving they should tell us what they have so that we can say for certain if they have sacrificed themselves to us or if they have sacrificed us to them. They tell us these second set of people all what education should be from pre-school to tertiary level. They can show us what the economy should be doing and how the currency should behave. They know these things because they are the ones who have written down everything. 

  Awaiting trial, as we all know in this country means you keep on living your life as you were living it before. The only thing, which has changed, is that you have perhaps relocated to one of the government facilities. Here your family fall over each other to bring choice meals three times a day plus one extra for the government of the facilities and here, Alaba means prisons run by prisoners while the prison warders claim to be prisoners as well and so are also run by the real prisoners. Oh my confusion! You begin a sentence, (not punishment time dear reader!) And you have no idea where it is taking you! Sentences take hold of you and lead you in all kinds of directions!!! Anyway awaiting trial is not stand still time. Life continues, limited by accepted space only. And the central issue is that you cannot argue with any of these two sets of people. You can say we are not all criminals and they respond and say it is because we do not know the crimes of others. In this country, you cannot live outside Crime. Were you to the second set of people that never mind the written texts you live to quote nobody lives by these written texts. Jona says he will not declare his assets and he did not give a damn. Obasanjo sought a third time but blatantly tells he did not. These people answer and say that is not the issue. The issue is that it is written that Jona should have declared, that Obasanjo should not have sought and at the end of the day, after all said and done and push comes to shove who is injured by their not declaring, by their seeking?

  When will the instruments of our trial arrive? What will these instruments be? Who will try us? What can wash dirty water clean?


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