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Oxford, Cambridge and Nigeria’s democracy (2)


Nigeria’s democracyALL the commentators spoke about corruption and how endemic it is; but they some how fail to include the judiciary in the corruption arena. If corruption is that endemic, then the judiciary is tainted with that contagion. It is like Jesus Christ said in the Bible, if you lust after a woman, then you have committed adultery.

The popularity of election cases among judges cannot be for the love of the Constitution and a desire to make sure that only those properly elected serve as legislators or governors, etc. If they have, in the biblical sense, lusted after these cases, then they have sinned.

If you see corruption, e.g. Police receiving money while on patrol – and you do not report it, and you are a judge – then you are a collaborator and have, like the Pharisee seeing evil and averting his eyes, sinned. Our lawyers know a great deal about corruption in the judiciary.

It is time someone exploited that knowledge even in the face of damaging some parts of the client attorney confidentiality. Inevitably, the paradigm posed by the late President of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, came up – development, development, development and democracy (including freedom of speech) – came a distant fourth.

Bismarck Rewanes’s impatience with the Kleptocracy called Nigeria received some sympathy, but not enough explanation – he said that what Nigeria earned in revenue between 1977 and 2002 was less than what it earned in 2005, 2006, and 2007 (he was not that specific) but the figures bear out his point.

Even though there was some corruption between 1977 and 2002, more was achieved with less revenue that the period 2005-2014 which saw massive revenue matched with less achievement and massive corruption. There was no satisfactory explanation.

But Dr. Teriba explained that unless we turn the revenue into production – infrastructure, railways, manufacture – processing our raw agricultural materials – there will be no end to the loss of the middle (is it a loss or has the middle been over fattened?). He pointed out that manufacturing in Nigeria, concentrated as it is on beverages, (even manufacturing of food and beverages was still import dependent) produces less than five per cent of GDP.

There was a hapless lady who feared that in our slumber, we may introduce same-sex marriages! I am sure I did not understand how a slumbering innocent people can suddenly, on waking up, have legal same-sex marriages – but I share her concern for such a calamity! While on Ladies, we learnt that there was no provision for First Ladies in the Constitution and that their activities should be reined in.

The chairman thought that the excesses of First Ladies should be curtailed and that sometimes they use their offices for good – like Maryam Babangida – in mobilizing women, especially in the North where women needed mobilization. Maybe those of us who are married know how difficult it is to rein in a woman.

I do not believe that nonsense about African women being obedient. They are not necessarily so. Maybe when we are poor; but once power and money get involved, there is no telling what a woman (or a man) can do.

Perhaps, there should be help for the hapless husband – just ban all activities by law of all wives of governors or presidents and deny them access to public money. It may seem to some that one is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Not necessarily so. It will curtail the excesses so evident today. For example, a large fully-funded expensive office of African First Ladies etc. The most vociferous of these women cannot be stopped by their husbands without outside help, including Christians, Muslims, Animists and Mammy Water worshippers.

Why do we have First Lady – Why not, First Husband, First Mother, First Brother, First Cousin, First Son, First Daughter, First Grand Mother and First Grand Father, Etc.? If the president or the governor is married to six wives, do we have six First Ladies or do we have First 1st Lady, 2nd First Lady, 3rd First Lady, etc or is it First Lady, 2nd Lady, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Lady? How did Governor Nyako manage since he had four wives? Do we return to Governor Diete-spiff’s era when we had two First Ladies (the second First Lady had been chief bride’s maid to the First Lady.

And he went out with both simultaneously) Reductio ad absurdum. Should we not pay pension to these Ladies like we pay their husbands? I would not be surprised if contractors, political job seekers pay to see the First Ladies, who then lobby for those they want to help? How much does this cost? What does a minster or commissioner do if summoned to the presence of a First Lady? Can he defy her and still keep his job? The President of the Club reminded us of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race just after Easter.

What an arcane subject! There is an Okrika – Abonnema boat race on that day. Any takers? Finally, as the Chairman said, let’s end by the wit of Winston Churchill, who would cheerfully drink poison rather than marry Lady Astor. Accused of being drunk by Mrs. Braddock; he accepted the abuse.

But reminded her that tomorrow, he would be sober while She, Mrs. Braddock, would still be fat and ugly!!! We used to say that African women were beautiful, especially when they were fat. I have not heard that said recently, maybe I do not go to the right parties. (You get it – play on words – right/left; party/parties.) •Concluded. •Ambassador Cole (OFR) is a Consultant to The Guardian Editorial Board.

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1 Comment

    I think that you are just musing.