Naija Notes: We Need More Sinners Please

by Toni Kan Onwordi

I know that to generalize is to be an idiot, but I am beginning to feel that those who see beauty and brains as an oxymoron may have a valid point after all. I came to that conclusion after listening to the uninformed Natasha Allas, ex-Miss World USA.

In a CNN interview with Jonathan Mann, Ms Allas blamed the organizers of the Miss World pageant for taking the pageant to Nigeria, which she described as unstable. When Jonathan Mann reminded her that beauty pageants had been staged in Sarajevo with bombs flying past overhead and in Bogota while drug lords battled government troops outside, the dumb woman said Nigeria was a different case.

How different she could not say.

This is just to show how people who know little or nothing about a place can influence other people’s perception of a country like Nigeria.

South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world and is only next to Columbia in the incidence of car jacking. Yet the Miss World pageant held there in 2001.

Well, I don’t blame the likes of Natasha Allas. I blame Nigeria and Nigerians. I blame our fixation on ethnicity and tribalism. Every day on CNN, you see Egypt, you see Malaysia, you see Morocco, you see Dubai showcasing their tourist spots.

And each time I finish watching I smile and sigh knowing that Nigeria will never go on CNN like that. Why? The reason is simple. It will take us ten years to decide which tourist locations to show: if you show Kano, the igbo and yoruba men will get angry; if you show Enugu the hausa and yoruba men will get angry and if you show Badagry, the hausa and igbo man will get angry.

Nigeria is not a country. It is a mistake.


Nzeribe is no saint, but in a country like Nigeria we don’t need saints. No sir. We need sinners. Without sinners we will never achieve a true diagnosis of our problems.

Weeks back Senator Nzeribe had fallen out with Senate President Pius Anyim over the former’s allegation that senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria collected N3m each to stop the impeachment of the president. Nzeribe had also alleged that Anyim Pius Anyim collected the lion share of N60m.

Anyim screamed blue murder and called on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to probe Nzeribe. He also asked that Nzeribe whom he accused of stealing N22m be compelled to declare his assets.

Well trust the wily old fox. Nzeribe has declared his assets held under a family trust as worth N55bn and then asked Anyim to do same.

What did the over-fed Senate president do? Anyim fled abroad and when he returned, the combative posture was gone. But I’m not letting go. Anyim must declare his assets and tell us how he got enough money to buy a plot of land and build a mansion at Asokoro in less than 3 years.

But then our leaders are not famous for giving answers to such questions. So why bother?


Mohammadu Buhari must suffer from a terrible case of cataracts and amnesia.

The man wants to be president of Nigeria and there is nothing really wrong with such an aspiration. To achieve that aim, the skinny general is reaching out and making friends. The man has been offering the olive branch to former enemies, especially second republic politicians majority of whom he had tried for corruption and sentenced to jail terms that ranged from fifty to 300 years. The man gave us the term concurrently, remember?

Any way, Balarabe Musa refused to accept Buhari’s call for peace. He called Buhari a fascist and said Buhari has an unforgiving spirit. Trust Balarabe Musa to hit the damned nail smack on the head.

While naysayers were calling Balarabe a sour puss, Buhari proved him right. Buhari said he will never forgive IBB because, wait for it, IBB kept him in detention for 4 years.

I wonder what the likes of Pa Ajasin, Ambrose Ali, Aper Aku and others like them who are dead now, mostly because of the terrible times they spent in jail under buhari’s government, would say to this if they could.


And now this is for Mohammadu Bahari, Ibrahim Babangida, Balarabe Musa, Abdusallami Abubakar, Col Abubakar Umar and Vice President Atiku Abubakar: a loud jeer to you all for sitting by and watching the North burn.

Just goes to show that In Nigeria, when push comes to shove, ethnicity and religion always trumps common sense and statesmanship.

If you had spoken when the riots began, the death toll would have been minimal. But then, you chose silence.


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Akintan Ademola February 12, 2005 - 5:13 pm

What a great article.

jacqueline amos February 12, 2000 - 5:03 am

Man should never live through another mans eyes. He will only become the victim of self. Sinners shall never be the winners. After death he will be the back door man, for righteous of Gods house.

Your article was excellent.


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