How much money does a man need?

Indeed, how much money does a man need in a

lifetime? This is a question that has often dwell on my mind. I refused to turn

to Socrates for an answer as I feel that this burning question carries a moral

weight and should not subscribe to the monopoly of wisdom of a single

individual. Obviously, the answers to this question would be as varied as there

are different needs and desires of human beings. The answers would reflect our

attitude to wealth acquisition and the degree of discipline each one of us has

over those primitive human instincts especially greed. The answers would

reflect the environment in which we grew up, our early nurturing and exposure

and our life experiences. This question agitated my mind again when I read in

the Sahara Reporters of Tuesday the 18th of March 2014 about the

ongoing court action instituted by the EFCC against the incumbent Speaker of

the Lagos State House of Assembly. Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji currently stands

accused of embezzling over 600 million Naira of Lagos State fund.

For those new to the “progressive” politics

of Lagos State, Mr Ikuforiji is a three-term Speaker of the State House of

Assembly, a powerful lieutenant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a

potential gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state. He has

continuously been the Speaker of the State House of Assembly since 29th

December, 2005 in a fashion typical of the then Action Congress of Nigeria

(ACN) which later metamorphosed into the APC. A fashion characterised by

complete subservience and reverence to the whims and caprices of the supreme

godfather, who in his infallibility, could even install a mosquito as the

Speaker of the House of Assembly. The “progressive” brand of politics in

Nigeria leaves one in so much awe as to its uniqueness in terms of frivolities,

submissiveness, god-fatherism, nepotism, massive corruption, audacity and

hypocrisy.

Kudos to the EFCC counsel, Mr Godwin Obla,

for his graphic and painstaking details of the atrocities of Mr Ikuforiji. The

details are as sordid as they are shocking. A quick glance at the details as

reported by Sahara Reporters (http://saharareporters.com/news-page/efcc-details-how-assembly-speaker-ikuforiji-lavished-lagos-funds-foreign-trips-wife-others)

showed that between in eight months (January to August 2011), Mr Ikuforiji and

his wife stole the sum of 137.2 million Naira from Lagos State – Eko o ni baje o! Details revealed by Mr

Obla demonstrated that Nigerian women actively give succour and encouragement

to the nefarious activities of their husbands. Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji was a

classical example, as despite the fact that she holds no official position in

the scheme of things in the state, yet had unfettered access to state resources

courtesy of the exalted position of her kleptomanic husband. The 6.4 million

Naira she received in August 2011 has no preposterous prefix, like some

attached to the money stolen by her husband. For example, the sum of 4.4

million Naira received by Mr Ikuforiji on the 1st of August 2011 had

the prefix – “cost of allowance”. It

is only in Nigeria that an allowance would even carry a cost! Yeye dey smell!!

The present Ikuforiji saga is a classic

tale of high profile corruption with its intrigues and uncanny deception. Money

was siphoned out under various guises and with shameless false intents. To Mr

Ikuforiji’s apologists, this would be a vexatious article as the “case is still

ongoing”. Going by our antecedent in this country and with the legendary

inaction and vulnerability of our judiciary, it is often possible, most times,

to predict the outcome of such cases, no disrespect to Justice Ibrahim Buba who

is currently handling this case. In the present scenario, I feel the weight of

moral burden to highlight this case in public court devoid of parochial

political consideration. I am not a politician and would never support any of

the clownish political parties currently deceiving the people in Nigeria.

A respected elder statesman once cried out

in anguish when he could no longer fathom the gradual death of our dear country

in the hands of corruption. He cried out that if corruption does not kill

Nigeria, Nigeria would kill corruption. Obviously, since Nigeria alone cannot

kill corruption, the only choice available is for corruption to kill Nigeria.

And we seem to be in no hurry to alter this inevitable fate. It has even gotten

so bad that Robert Mugabe used Nigeria as the butt of his joke whilst

celebrating his birthday anniversary recently in Harare. Flashback, Abel

Muzorewa at the Lancaster House meeting prior to the independence of Zimbabwe.

Abel Muzorewa also made a historic statement on Nigeria. Muzorewa wondered at

what his then country, Rhodesia, could gain from Nigeria. This is a memorable

speech worth reading if only to assimilate the depth of our rot and the

magnitude of international joke we have become as a country.

I have previously read Adeyemi Ikuforiji’s

reaction to his ongoing trial wherein he attributed his ordeal to the handwork

of his political detractors. This response has two clear-cut interpretation as

indeed, Mr Ikuforiji may be very correct. His political detractors, who after

all steal the country blind in their own ways, may have for reasons best known

to them ganged up against him. Of course, we do know that Mr Ikuforiji is not

alone in this pastime of “government stealing”. The other explanation is that

poor Mr Ikuforiji may actually not see anything wrong in what he has done.

Perhaps being an elected Speaker of Lagos State, to him, makes him sacrosanct

and above constituted laws and obvious common sense. Common sense in that an

elective position is a sacred opportunity to improve the lot of the masses.

Indeed, we should not crucify poor Mr

Ikuforiji so much. When the chips are down, there are many “Barawos” in Nigerian politics, even in the midst of our modern day

progressives and saviours. The grandfather of “progressive politics” in Lagos

State and now nationally, still encourages tongues to wag as to the origin of

his stupendous and ever growing wealth. This is despite the barely hidden

University of Chicago debacle (yes, we have not forgotten). More than half of

Lagos State and her wealth belong to this single most powerful individual. The

sitting governor of the state too has, despite his much flaunted achievement,

left little in doubt as to his indifference to and succour for corrupt

practices. Before Joe Igbokwe shouts himself hoarse, is there any rationale for

the continued occupation of the Speakership position by Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji

despite this nauseating expose of his unbridled greed?

In the decadent Nigerian society, the likes

of Mr Adeyemi Ikuforiji are the right candidates and suitable recipients of

numerous chieftaincy titles, state and national honours. In a country where

thieves are adorable and greed is idolised and honoured, the Ikuforijis are the

role models for younger generations who are patiently waiting in the wing for

their “own turn and share of the national cake”. If not for the post he presently occupies,

Adeyemi Ikuforiji would have been a member of the current Abuja jamboree termed

National Conference and perhaps a recipient of the highest national honour

Nigeria can confer – Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCRF). Thieves do

indeed have honours in deranged societies.

Every man has the right to decide his

own destiny says Robert Nesta Marley of blessed memory. Indeed, every country

elects the type of leaders it deserves, apologies to late Chief Obafemi

Awolowo. The masked musician, Lagbaja,

also has a point here. In a country of 170 million mumus, anything goes. Thieves are honoured and made kings. Rule of

law is in abeyance and social vices and greed reign supreme. This is the sad

picture of Nigeria, a country currently in the vicious grips of psychotic and

rudderless leadership. A country with a docile and condescending populace – 170 million mumus!

I am back to my original question, indeed,

how much money does a man need in a life time? A life time that moves so far in

the scheme of things. A life time that is ephemeral and very insignificant in

cosmic order. How much does a man need that he would willingly sacrifice his

soul on the altar of greed? How much does a man need that every human value and

etiquette becomes secondary to incessant material acquisition? Indeed, how much

does a man need in a life time?

As for me, my suggestion remains the same. Why

tackle only the tip of an iceberg and leave the base to rot? For as long as the

political detractors” of the likes

of Adeyemi Ikuforiji remain un-arrested and un-molested, our society has no

moral right to prosecute or embarrass Ikuforiji any longer. As long as we as a

people continue to keep quiet and allow unbridled corruption unfettered reign

in our land, so long shall we have no option than to allow Adeyemi Ikufoji

unfettered access to his loot. The point is that there are so many Ikuforijis

out there, how many have been successfully prosecuted and punished for their

misdemeanour against the Nigerian state? How many have the people risen

against? How many have been used as a deterrent against state corruption, also

popularly known as pen robbery? For as long as we Nigerians remain as mumus, for so long should we leave the

Ikuforijis alone. A sad tale in the moonlight is the summary of the Nigerian

state.

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