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In Defence of Thieving Saints

Posted by By Tunde Asaju on 2006/10/02 | Views: 331 |

In Defence of Thieving Saints

Sometimes, I think Nuhu Ribadu lives in a different world. Imagine him going to the hallowed chambers of the Senate to be grilled like a flu chicken and calling the action governors of Nigeria thieves without asking them first.

Sometimes, I think Nuhu Ribadu lives in a different world. Imagine him going to the hallowed chambers of the Senate to be grilled like a flu chicken and calling the action governors of Nigeria thieves without asking them first. I have carefully scrutinised the allegations against the governors as a roving consultant and I am prepared to defend them in any charge-and-bail court pro bono. People who read newspapers know that rather than disparage our action governors, Ribadu should recommend them to the Council of State for national merit awards. The problem with Ribadu is that he does not read newspapers.

The other day, I drew the attention of Nigerians to the magic of governance at most states because I read newspapers scrupulously. I see the works of action governors on the pages of newspapers and magazines. They come in special reports and advertorials. They focus not just on states but on local governments. Every state in this country has an action governor and several action chairmen. Just open the pages of any newspaper or magazine and the pictures are there. The problem with Ribadu is that he is too poor to buy newspapers and too proud to join FRA - Free Readers Association. Don't mind him joo, one of the chairmen told me that with goggles like that, Ribadu can't get the gist. When I asked him for clarifications, he said the last man who wore such spectacles like that was Eric Honecker, the last president of East Germany. He added that Nuhu's Berlin Wall would fall in 2007 when all aspiring governors become occupants of Aso crisis.

For one, Ribadu does not understand the principle of reform. In the past, governors used to save government money under their pillows in government house; later, they swallow them and go for tummy tucks, but since the days of alarming sayings, they have grown wiser. Now, I don't see any sin in that neither does Charles Soludo. Ribadu has accused governors of diversion of funds, he does not understand. What most of the governors do is to take idle state money, put them in fixed deposit accounts while they are persuading the state assemblies on the sharing formula. Once an agreement is reached, they meet and share. If you ask PTDF or Amadu Ali, that is reform extraordinaire.

Secondly, Ribadu accuses the governors of diversion - that is neither here nor there. Every road under repair has a diversion, same goes for states under reconstruction after years of military battering. At any rate, if there is diversion, just tell the governors and they will simply return the money and keep the interest - Shikena! He also accused them of helping their local government chairmen to loot the treasury - now that cannot be true. The local governments are an extension of government house, so if the chairmen and councillors are illiterates, for the sake of accountability, the erudite governor should have the power to help them spend the money wisely, like using it to buy a few vehicles for girlfriends and rentals. If that is considered thievery, then the rock may harbour pioneers of such ideals. As for the allegation that some state governments are run by governors' families, what is wrong with that? If the only educated person in the entire state is the governor's family, was Ribadu expecting the governors to go to Ondo and Ekiti to hire unemployed professors simply because they have the highest number? Haba, Nuhu!

Now, if an investigator goes to government house to expose skeletons, I think a governor, if he is built like a bouncer, reserves the right to use reasonable force to prevent that. Anyway, I am only saying this because as the governors are busy running to seize Aso Rock from Baba, they may not remember to hire me as a defence counsel or consultant to tackle the EFCC. Until October 2, I am available free on my website Like the governors, I think Ribadu is not serious, the World Bank agrees with me. It says that Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That means somebody is not taking note of Ribadu's headaches. It also says that six million Nigerians seek new jobs yearly - that is not surprising, it is the reason government is investing in tourism - talent scouts have sights to see here. We can gain millions from job tourism - simple. It is the magic of reform.

Before I sing my nunc dimities on this page, I confess to being converted to privatisation. Although I am yet to buy shares in Transchop, I swear by the coins in my pocket that I will when eventually Aso Rock Villa is on offer. By my economic thermometer, that is ongoing, if you ask Maurice Iwu. Because the greatest indication of when an enterprise is ripe for privatisation is when it is consciously rendered inefficient - can you blame the governors, expert managers for seeking to incapacitate their states and prepare them for privatisation? I can tell you that Aso Rock Villa is next in line for privatisation. If Irene Chigbue refuses to privatise it, I shall send a private executive bill to the National Assembly and use my closeness to Masari and Nnamani to secure a microwave passage. When I buy my shares in Transchop, I will put them in open or screen trust because of a congenital belief that screen trusts are the best.

Next, I intend to buy shares in the federal government colleges which have refused to sell share certificates and I have the support of Oby Ezekwesili. What annoys me about federal government colleges is that they have refused to sell a single degree to any bidder since their establishment. What a waste! They have failed to learn from the universities who (pardon Professor Oculi) have graduated from granting STDs (sexually-transmitted degrees) to selling them. I mean, the other time, a top government official was offered an expensive degree in far away South Africa. He sent a proxy without the consideration (a few million dollars to help transport the initiators to Jo'burg) and pronto the award was cancelled!

I therefore decree that henceforth, every secondary school owned by government must generate enough funds to sustain the teachers within its fold. They can sell PhDs - Pot hole Digger, or is it because the head teachers have not earned their MA - Masters of Arrangement, at least most of them have bachelor of attempt, BA or a No Credit in Education, NCE. Methinks this is actually the best time to privatise schools whose head teachers have failed to think. In this era when Nuhu Ribadu is trying to cut down on the number of presidential aspirants, I wonder why these schools have not thought it wise to award O' Level certificates to these governors - for a handsome fee. In case they don't know, Toronto degrees are better sold to governors who are in need of credibility, they provide the needed succour from EFCC-induced insomnia. That is free consultancy.

From my investigations, exams are pieces of cake in this country. The other day, I asked a young man who had multiple A's in his WASCE how he did the magic since he did not know that a complete sentence consists of a subject, an object and a predicate. Looking me straight in the eye, he confessed that he is not a Catholic. When I asked him what the Pope had to do with it, he responded that he is not a believer in grammatical trinity! An invigilator I know refused his juicy allowance after finding out that Oyingbo Market had relocated to the centre he was supposed to be supervising. When he got there, he found the candidates buying and selling while his supervisor was sitting under a tree scrutinising the bubbles from his third bottle of beer. He told me that WAEC would never cancel the results because it is usually arranged beforehand that a certain percentage of the candidates would pass in rainbow colours, others in cloudy colours while the rest would choose the umbra. Next year, the other batch would upgrade themselves and so it goes ad-nauseam.

I didn't believe him but I didn't ask him to go and report to the authorities because Ribadu may ask me to bring the names of the buyers, the sellers and the address of the invigilator plus the serial and NAFDAC number of the green bottles in question.


With a heavy heart and gratitude to all, this is my last piece on this page. I have sweated to maintain the tempo since February with support from you all, critics and admirers alike. I am eternally grateful to all who have supported me on this voyage with personal words of encouragement, e-mails and texts. But as they say, there is a time for everything. It is time to move on again on another voyage. I am most grateful to the management of Media Trust Limited who have agreed to send me off as an ambassador on a new voyage. I hope I live up to your expectations and that you will find faith in my successor on this page. Once again, thank you all.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown