Naija Notes: The Akwanga Debacle

by Toni Kan Onwordi

As a child growing up in old Bendel state we used to call it “bodi movement.” I can’t seem to find a close and easy approximation in the English language. All that comes to mind now is “selling a dummy” or “hoodwinking.”

“Bodi movement” is a feigned action, a move that is calculated to throw you off the scent. When I heard about the arrest of Husaini Akwanga, Okwesilieze Nwodo, S.M Afolabi and others over the botched ID card scheme, the first thing that came to mind was: OBJ don start bodi movement again.

But having given the issue a little more thought especially since Akwanga is reported to have returned a tidy $2m, I am beginning to wonder whether this is not the shape of things to come.

Nigeria has become such a country that glorifies graft and celebrates ill-gotten wealth that “public service” has become an oxymoron, a blatant paradox when viewed against the warped tapestry of our national life.

I don’t know how far this exercise will go. I don’t know whether the others will follow suit and return what they are accused of having stolen and then set free. What I do know is that this might well be the beginning of a new era, one where those in public office will realize that it is not business as usual. An era in which they will realize that the sins of yesterday will haunt you tomorrow.

OBJ may have chosen sacrificial lambs (I hope no one has missed out on the ethnic balance) but it is a good start and if the current indictment of Senators who did not declare their assets is pursued assiduously enough, one may very well begin to take OBJ’s anti corruption rhetoric serious.

I just hope it won’t be mere “bodi movement.”


While OBJ is breathing hot in one direction, he is keeping a curious distance from the anarchy raging in Anambra state where a sitting governor was not only abducted and almost forced out of office, but has been shot at in public.

With all these happening, one is hard put to understand the president’s inaction, his glaring refusal to call his goons to order. Sometimes inaction can become complicity and I think this is one such instance.

OBJ must step into the fray. He must call Chris Uba to order. The PDP must make the moneybag in Anambra see that we are in a democracy where the rule of law must be respected.

Chris Ngige, no matter his sins, is an incumbent governor, duly elected by the people. If his alleged sponsors want him out, they must follow due process and due process does not mean shooting at the governor’s entourage in public.


Speaking about moneybags, Morris Ibekwe, lately of the House of Representaives and now a full-fledged habitué of a dingy police cell is playing to the public gallery having been refused bail again.

A report in one of the papers had a picture of Ibekwe in a wheel chair and a bold headline quoting one of his children: daddy will you come home for Christmas? Or words to that effect.

I laughed when I read it and wondered why no one has gone to find out whether the “mugus”who fall victim to 419 scam meisters even have homes to go back to at Christmas.

I know I am not competent to speak on Ibekwe’s guilt or lack of it, but the newspapers should spare us such schmaltzy stuff.


Did any one see El Mustapha’s letter to Abdulsalami Abubakar, asking the former to intervene and ensure that Bamaiyi, Rabo and some others are released.

El Mustapha just doesn’t get it. He hasn’t realized that this is a new era, where the courts have a say in such matters.

The man should stop writing rambling and incoherent epistles and thank God he and his cohorts are still alive. If memory serves me well, his master Abacha did not have much faith in the judicial process and under his regime, detainees were too busy nursing their wounds to write letters.


And finally Gani Adams, head honcho of the OPC got married and pulled a huge crowd of who is who in Yoruba land from governors to legislators to captains of industry.

Nigerians must have a short memory or maybe we just don’t care. A little while ago, Gani Adams was a mere terrorist, a wanted man and I still recall the day he was arrested and paraded on tv.

I was surprised to find that the dreaded and probably Most Wanted man in Nigeria at that time was just a tall skinny every day joe.

That arrest seems to have had a curious and ironic effect. It has liberated Gani Adams. The man was on tv for his fifteen minutes of fame and since then, like a character in a reality tv show, Gani Adams is living it up.

Days after his wedding, Gani Adams was interviewed at the airport on his way to Brazil for honeymoon.

Brazil? Some times these things just don’t make sense.

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