Fight the Politicians Not Emdee Tiamiyu

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
buhari osinbajo

In the past week, discourse in the public space lingered around three issues. The first is the coming inauguration of Bola Tinubu as president of Nigeria. The second thing that trended was the opening of the Dangote $19billion refinery. I had already zeroed in on the Dangote Refinery, and to state clearly in my adumbrations that that Refinery is one hell of a mistake for Nigeria. But suddenly the public space caught fire over an interview granted by one Emdee Tiamiyu to the BBC. Out of curiosity, I sought to know what the hullabaloo and bugaboo was about. I found that during the interview, the chap allegedly opened a can of worms. He had said that most Nigerians seeking to go to the UK as students are not as a matter of fact interested in the education per se but want to japa indirectly, and use their status as students to get their family members into the UK.

Because I did not see anything apparently unusual in what that blogger had said, at first I refused to give it any moment. Every year, Nigerians travel to the UK, apparently to further their studies, especially as their own educational systems in the past eight years have been killed by a man who himself has no formal education beyond his military training. Politicians who should develop the system have their children and family members studying in the United Kingdom – at the opportunity cost to Nigerian universities. They not only have their children there, but insult the sensibilities of the rest of Nigerians by flaunting pictures of the graduation of their children in universities in the UK, on social media. They buy houses in the UK, and at the slightest tinge or tingle in their ears or bottom, they hop board their private jets – bought with public monies and fly over very bad and terrible roads and land in the UK to access quality medical attention.

I have often wondered at why the outgoing administration was as obtuse as it was, did nothing to stem the capital and human flight to the UK.  This country, the UK that the Buhari administration people often ran to at the slightest opportunity is actually a very poor country. All that they have is a strong currency which they have developed from the accountable and transparent utilization of their very scarce resources. They have an economy – their people –   that Nigeria has not invested in or built. Unlike Nigeria, the UK does not have oil and gas deposits, does not have an over-abundance of human and natural resources, and does not have our size and our population.  Yet, year in year out our politicians and elite fritter monies which could build thousands and thousands of hospitals, schools and world class universities all over Nigeria with which to take care of our people and develop them. A report on ThisDay, titled, Taming Illicit Financial Flows in Africa said that from Africa alone, about $90billion leaves every year. Twenty percent of that figure leaves Nigeria to Europe, and according to that report, such theft is ‘enabled through trade mis-invoicing, tax evasion among others’, perpetrated by politically and economically exposed persons. Because of the collapse of virtually every institution in Nigeria, most Nigerians have either decided to fight or fly – while some have decided to fight by japa – to run away to these same countries that our politicians are running to – and take their families with them, others opt to end the misery, hunger and suffering in the Lagoons.

Last year, the French Ambassador to Nigeria Emmanuelle Blatmann at a seminar asked to be educated about the japa syndrome. Moderator of that programme went to great lengths to explain japa to the Madam Ambassador and to the crop of the diplomatic community at that event. It is against this background that I find the backlash against the young man who gave that interview very shocking, and a very unfortunate turn of events, a sorry testimonial on the low mentality of everyone wherever they may be who have taken turns to throw shades on Mr Emdee.

That Nigerians experienced deep cuts from poverty, insecurity, hunger and deprivation inflicted by General Muhammadu Buhari as president is not in doubt; that those cuts made Nigeria to bleed excessively, and end up in an intensive care unit, and eventually collapsed under Muhammadu Buhari is also not in doubt.  That Nigerians were devising all manner of survival strategies as a result of the unnecessary suffering inflicted on them is also not in doubt – evidence is at the Nigeria Immigrations Service in Sauka Abuja – where there are hordes and hordes of Nigerians who throng the centre daily seeking regularization of their travel documents.

What therefore is so very bewildering, troubling and eminently so hypocritical about those hurling those insults at Emdee Tiamiyu – for saying it as it is – that Nigerians are running away in the guise of education in the UK – and making plans into the bargain to take their family members along, is that Emdee Tiamiyu revealed what was supposed to be a secret – seriously?

We will be putting it on good record our disgust at those hypocrites with a cowardly mien gushing with tantrums and taking a swipe at Emdee Tiamiyu instead of at those responsible for epileptic power supply, terrible roads, hospitals that are mortuaries, universities that they cannot send their children to. I urge you, vent your annoyance elsewhere and please leave Emdee Tiamiyu alone – go fight those greedy and selfish politicians responsible for making us run away to a poor country like the UK.

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