Advise from a well-known Nigerian Chief

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Those who know me know I have never really achieved anything in life, at least not in the true sense of the word. I don’t even have much of a formal education — save for the secondary school education I received in the 1960s. But somehow I have been able to climb Nigeria’s economic, social and political ladder. I am what the intelligentsia would call a hanger-on, or what the supercilious would call errand boy or boy-boy. But you see I am not an ordinary errand boy. I know enough people and enough people know me, so much so I have been in corridors of power the last four decades.

Because of my proximity to power, I know a lot of secrets. You could say I know where several skeletons are kept. I know about well placed adulterers. I know about high rolling fornicators. I know which Oga was doing it to his friend’s wife or wife’s sister; I know about houseboy doing it to their Oga’s wives; I know about chauffeurs who were banging their boss’s mistresses; I know about in-house and palace coups, political intrigues and machinations; and I know about stealing-and-hiding money. I know about a whole lot of things. I know about the good and the bad, the despicable and the truly damning things. In the corridors of power, I am somebody! Away from the glare of the public and the media, I move mountains and cause the rain to stop. People tremble before me.

I am not boasting. I have no reason to boast. But let me tell you something: men like me are rare in the annals of Nigeria’s political space. Men like me are rare. The fact is that God and his angels don’t make men like me anymore. I made a whole of things possible and or unattainable for several Nigerian public figures. If you want to become a Minister or Governor, you come see me and men like me. If you want certain contracts, it is me and men like me you first talk to. And if the president is becoming and unbecoming, me and men like me have a way of counterbalancing his perceived power. In so many ways I think of myself as a God; after all, without me several things would have gone wrong in Nigeria, several lives would have been ruined.

Something else: when I hear people talk about the Nigerian Constitution, I laugh. It is a joke. What constitution and when was the last time the executive body followed the spirit and the letter of the so-called constitution? Moreover, I also laugh when educated fools talk about democracy. What democracy are they talking about? Does anyone really think that the on-going charade is a democracy? Conducting elections is not enough, just as showing up at a university campus with a stack of books is not education. Why do you think the people are confused and easily bought off with bags of salt and rice? It is me and men like me — belonging to the same club — that manipulates the system and the people.

Now, does anyone really think that the National Assembly is a law-making and a truly independent body? What check-and-balance role does it play? Simply put: the National Assembly is for show, it is an organ ruled and controlled by the fellas at Aso Rock. How corrupt is the system? Oh, it is very, very corrupt. Listen, the presidency may be a mountain of maggots; but the National Assembly is a thousand pieces of debauchery.

Nigerians, as educated and feisty and all-knowing as they are, are mostly gullible. The vast majority seem to enjoy the exploitation, the oppression and mismanagement that are meted to them. The average Nigerian is not up to telling the truth and would rather applaud and praise trivial achievements. And most are satisfied with the tokens and crumbs politicians dole out at periodic intervals instead of questioning them on how they amassed such wealth. We bestow chieftaincy titles on looters and political prostitutes even when we know they are of shady character.

I was in the United States a couple of months ago. Nine of my eleven children live there. The neighbor of my eldest son has two dogs and two cats. These pets have their own doctor, pet sitters; nutritious and specially formulated food; they have their own bath and costumes and travels abroad with their owner; and are also immunized and insured. And indeed these dogs and cats are considered part of the family. My son’s neighbor spends $5,000-$15,000 yearly on these pets — way more than the Nigerian government spends on the average citizen, yearly. In some cities, pets have their own hotel. How could dogs and cats (overseas) have better care than humans (in Nigeria)? Is any one complaining?

Did anyone complain when Yar’Adua and Atiku had to go aboard for medical treatment? Has anyone asked President Obasanjo, why, after eight years in office the country does not have a single first-class medical facility? Can you imagine what would happen if there was ever a crisis in the National Assembly and the members needed medical care? What if there is mass causality at any of the stadiums or political rallies. Would the victims be flown aboard for medical treatment, or be left to wallow and die in their poor condition? Eight year and billions and billions and billions of dollars spent, Nigeria does not have uninterrupted power supply, good road and bridges, and a semblance of security.

Let men tell you what I have been telling anyone who would listen: if you are in a position to steal public money, please, by all means, do so! If you don’t, you are a bloody fool. And even if you are not in a position to steal, bribe your way until you get there. The elite have been stealing money and appropriating other resources to themselves for ages. Stealing did not start today. It’s been going on in some families for generations. You know who the biggest fools are? Moralizing and sermonizing fools like you. While you are there wasting your time writing bullshit and nonsensical essays, others are there getting rich. When are you going to wise up? You were born poor, you want to live and die poor?

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ashley October 24, 2007 - 1:43 pm

ohhhh myy goosshhh!!!!! u r sooo honest!!! the whole world is suffering from the same disease,,, u snatched my attention when u talked about stealing… wake up and smell the coffee dummys*…. ur writting is amazing keep it up i look foward to reading your thoughts!

femi April 3, 2007 - 7:36 am

i love the way you write keep it up but the problem is that those fools will never print this in the dailies so that average nigerians can read. how can we act if we are not talk to. or how many can afford internet in nigeria. ?

anyway i dont blame the press they are bought too. keep the good work up we will mail it to as many as we can

Michael April 2, 2007 - 4:52 pm

Why are we crying now? Fela tried all his life to rally us (young african pioneers) against the establishment and we labeled him a dope-head!!!

Personally I am sick and tired of the "I no won die" attitude towards the thieves that rule us. We need to revolt or continue to put up with the sh*t they rub in our faces day in day out!

I beg pass the spliff ojare!

niyi April 1, 2007 - 10:08 pm

I rally take my time to read through your article and the truth is that the article can fit to the world standard, just keep it up and greetings to all.


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