“Those who refuse to learn from history are bound to repeat its mistakes”
A well informed and enlightened opposition is indispensable in a democracy. Nigeria had something close to the ideal during the Second Republic which was aborted by coup d’etat led by Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 1983. The PRP led by Mallam Aminu Kano was the most REVOLUTIONARY and RADICAL of all the Political Parties. Chief Awolowo’s UPN gave civilized opposition at the center i.e. Federal Govt. Those were the golden years of politics in Nigeria. Unlike today’s “brown-envelope-motivated journalism” the Press played its part patriotically. The Newspapers were amazingly professional. I’m afraid, those days are gone forever.
As I look back with nostalgia, I share with readers a publication by radical wing of the PRP exposing the excesses of the Politicians of the then ruling party titled: “THEIR WORLD OF RICHES AND SPRAYS”. Sadly, it is the same participants in the corridors of power today.
Buhari’s intervention ended up making things worse because his successors shamelessly looted Nigeria blind. I hope Nigeria does not end up in an endless cycle of misrule by the same cabal either in uniform or out of it. Unless President Umar Yar’Adua does something radical, drastic, and revolutionary in the Murtala Muhammed mode, there is trouble ahead although Nigeria’s salvation does not lie within this rag-tag opposition we presently have. Treat yourself!
“THEIR WORLD OF RICHES AND SPRAYS”
“TRADITIONAL ceremonies, more than anything else, give a clearer understanding of the role subjects, praise-singers, footmen and other flunkeys who live their lives serving emirs and other chieftaincy institutions as symbolic vanguards, jesters and other obligations.
Believe it or not, such ceremonial rhapsody of emirs and chiefs are what praise-singers live by and successful ones among them have been made millionaires through “sprays” and now live so much better off than even some of the ministers of cabinet rank.
Remember the power-drunk king of contemporary United Arab Emirate, who gave his praise-singer a fleet of cars, camels, horses, diamond and gold…to reciprocate the singer’s fantastic melody at the marriage ceremony of the king’s daughter?
Unfortunately, much to these comic, although tragic acts of power-drunkenness seem to be what many Nigerians blindly cherish, by identifying this country’s emirs and chiefs with the custody of our culture.
The latest “fair” of yet another barbaric display of feudal arrogance, came up at Yola, the “feudal seat” of Gongola State and the same scandalous venue, where a fully-grown adult was tokenly donated to a Sokoto based singer (see our edition of May 24, 1982) at an exclusive fiesta.
This time, a three-day uninterrupted fiesta was staged recently to “bless” an investitute of two traditional titles on the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alhaji Ali Baba and the Customs Chief for Apapa Wharf, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar- a top civil servant whose nationality still remains questionable, more of a Camerounian than Nigerian, I hear. Deliberately, the august occasion was arranged to coincide with a marriage between “princess” Rukaiyatu, a daughter to the Lamido of Adamawa and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Apapa Wharf Custom Unit.
A total of 27 chartered private aircraft, on the first day and 22 more, the next-day, helped in conveying the richer guests to the Gongola capital for the ceremony.
Every aspiring millionaire of the Northern and was notably there with the Minister of Commerce, Bello Maitama wagging his mouth in an unusual pepsodent-like smile. His new private aircraft, I hear was also recently “washed.”
Regrettably, since Yola could not provide the “standard” hotel accomdation required by the Maitamas, Maidaribes and the hundreds of NPN made “oil Sheikhs” who swarmed Yola like bees to a single flower plant, its ill-equipped airport, after each night’s merriment, became busy, as such guests would take off for lake Chad Hotel in Maiduguri, only to return the following noon to continue their shameless spray of Naira on praise singers.
A special plane also “imported” more than 60 girls from Lagos to serve food and drinks.
At a party thrown at Minister Ali Baba’s sea side resort, praise singers were also among those imported from the republics of Niger and Cameroun. In attendance was Ahmadu Ahidjo’s special singers, “Taubo” and a host of others like Dan Dawo. These not only sang the praise of the ministers but also their wives and children who in turn displayed the recently acquired wealth of their husbands and fathers. “Hey”- you hear the orator drawing the attention of the crowd and a thousand Naira from Aminu Wali’s wife was thrown to him and yet another two thousand Naira to the same singer from Bello Maitama’s wife.
But this was only a floor-clearing by the wives before the turn of men at another euphoric ceremony in front of the Lamido’s Palace called “the western gate.”
An aspiring lord from Borno State started it all by opening the “fairs” with a token of 12 horses to a popular Sokoto singer, Alhaji Musa Dankwairo- Remember! Borno is the country’s stable for horses.
Of course, ignited by feudal opium, the Ciroma of Adamawa, Alhaji Barkindo Mustafa announced another dozen but this time of the white cows to the singer. Another charged feudal lord from way down Niger state added his own dozen camels to the cows and horses already donated.
The next day turned out to be the climax. The Katsina-born praise singer, Alhaji Mamman Shata- the Sarkin Waka of NPN featured.
Hantsi, though a bit late, caught with the arrival of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur at the show.
“Bamanga,’ Shata predicted was a God-destined governor for 1983 and that same Gid would reserve him for 1987 when he will ascend to Nigeria’s presidency.
Whether the statement was wishful thinking or trading technique, it fetched Alhaji Shata, 10,000 Naira from Bamanga. Then a successful contractor since the military regime and now an NPN financier in Borno State arrived.
Much as Hantsi’s ever seeing eyes did not bother to take note, it seems Shata’s “radar”, was still effectively detecting prospective clients.
Alhaji Maidaribe was introduced by Shatat as the father of all Nigerian merchants, and whether such rating was right or wrong, it ha the desired effect and his victim vomited 10,000 Naira.
But it was not until 9 o’clock that evening, that the Sarkin Sudan, Alhaji Shehu Malami demonstrated his powers in a more unique style.
The chairman of the Union Bank of Nigeria, Shehu Malami did not attend the ceremony with raw cash. But after being sufficiently praised, the chirpy and mullah-looking Alhaji drew out his official business card and on the back of it signed a cheque of 20,000 Naira.
In short the Union Bank opened at 10 p.m. that night, to bring the money to him before it found its way into Shata’s already over-flowing pockets.
In all, I gather that about 18 cars were given out by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to various praise-singers.
Incredibly Dan-Kwairo left for home with 3 Shagari style Mercedes cars, 12 horses, 12 cows, 12 camels plus “Naira Magazine” to top up.
Shata also bagged seven 504 cars and not less than 50,000 Naira at the occasion.
I hear the President himself sent his “envelope”.
Who says the world in which these men live isn’t one of riches and sprays?
What Hantsi sees is what it says.
(Produced by the Committee for Eradication of Social Ills)”