You only need to mingle one day in decision making circles here in Europe to see the level of disdain and mockery that African leaders are subjected to. Many Western governments are now aware that every African minister or Nigerian public official is a potential money launderer. And they are gradually doing away with diplomatic niceties at their airports. Dora Akunyili, Nigeria’s information (read propaganda) minister, was frisked early this month at Chicago airport in utter violation of diplomatic protocol. This is not even made better by the personal comportment of our officials when they are abroad.
In fact, their personal comportment on such occasions makes you so very ashamed to have come from the same climes as these people. The bloated and noisy ostentation of their entourage, the ignorance and grovelling nature of their exchanges with European technocrats are so convulsively ugly that you keep wondering, why Africa is so cursed. Just as an aside, I was a participant at the German Bundestag-The German parliament, in the caucus of the CDU/CSU faction of the German government, about a week ago, where German foreign aid policy on Africa was discussed. An African president came in with his retinue of hangers on. First and foremost, he was so very late for the occasion. Secondly, on this day, it seemed that he had to depopulate his country to fill in his entourage. It is no exaggeration. Almost half of the men in his country were a part of this of this entourage that was flown to Germany at public expense. And they are there to seek help from Germany. Contrast this with the Germany chancellor Angela Merkel, who was billed to speak at 2.45pm on that day. AT 2.43pm. She walked into the hall with only four body guards and no fanfare. Very prompt, punctual and simple. It was a festival of contradictions in relation to our African entourage.
Back to our point: Against such backdrops, one cannot cease to marvel and get angry at the imbecility of African leaders and particularly Nigerian governors, who allowed themselves to be tainted by that monumental goof. I wonder what Harvard and its professors know about the deepest dynamics of the local context of Nigeria, which Nigerian universities is not ontologically prior in its possession, by the epistemic privilege arising from their being products of that environment, as well as its living, breathing part.
In the face of all these, one is at a loss for answers on why haven’t Nigerians risen up to chase these usurpers of our commonweal off our land. Anyone who passes a vote of no confidence on his charge has lost every moral right to continue to enjoy the duties and privileges of that office. These governors are shameless scoundrels. Asking a Nigerian public official to resign an office that he has desecrated is like asking faecal matter to give up its vocation of smelling. They would not. How do we get them to leave the office they have so despoiled and tainted with dishonour, when we cannot even vote on Election Day?
Electoral democracy in Nigeria since independence has remained a personification of farce. Charade in Excelsis! The Nigerian people who are supposed to be the repository of ultimate power are denied their voices, and stampeded into timid acquiescence. Once their silence is squeezed out of them, the trans-tribal cabal of Machiavellian opportunists bestriding our land like robber barons, then sit down to unveil new master plans and manifestos of embezzlement. With these blueprints in operation, Nigeria continues to generate darkness instead of power and light for her people. She continues to haemorrhage her resources into rogue pockets. The Nigerian state then graduates into the colossal cannibal, whose great vampyrean appetites must be regularly assuaged by the blood of her intellectuals, the poverty of her people, and the dysfunctionality of her institutions.
This has been the case that so much so, today, at the dawns of the 21st century, Nigeria in spite of boasting a brilliant population and superabundant natural resources remains a valley of tears for ordinary Nigerians who are now over 75 percent of the population, but a feudalistic paradise of medieval dimensions for the politician and man of power or wealth. This paradise is naturally irrigated by canals of milk and rivers of honey requisitioned off the poor, and accessible only to this tiny cabal of remorseless monsters ruling Nigeria, and their acquaintances. The land has remained an essential arena were obnoxious rascality has married an audacious impunity that is brazen, dangerous and impoverishing.
This explains why the fact that some Nigerian State governors would abandon their states to perennial dysfunctionality, and came to the United States of America, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Harvard University, so that Harvard will train them in the art of governance fills me with fiery rage. And that such a bunch of political scoundrels, whose political simonies bought desecrated gubernatorial offices for them, could throw all cautions to the wind, and elect to televise their consolidated stupidity to the world, and were not met at the airport with sacks of stones, and the fiery rage of an oppressed people, is a testament to the totalizing and pervasive political emasculation of the Nigerian populace.
This emasculation created a very unsettling equation in the Nigerian social space. This equation sired by a eons of bottled anger, and primitive appreciation of justice fertilizing the failure of the State to live up to its responsibilities of monopolizing violence, and guaranteeing justice; paved the way for a conceptual scheme and ratiocinative framework in which Nigerians are more likely to lynch petty thieves and celebrate monumental bandits.
The promulgation of this toxic equation went on to erode every semblance of restraint in the commission of high crimes against the commonweal, by those who could advertise raw, undiluted violence in their hijack and latchment to power; a pedestal from which they could celebrate the rascality, with ample impunity, and expect no sanctions of the law. But on the other hand, it equally eroded every restraint in the vengeful anger of an oppressed populace, to exact maximum punishment on their fellow wretched of the earth, for petty crimes, which may have been recommended by the terminal necessity to forestall gastronomic emergency.
This is why Nigerians have now resorted to giving chieftaincy titles to people like Andy and Chris Ubah, whom Nigerians have come to know as monumental rogues, while petty thieves or pick pockets caught in the act are roasted over some slow barbecues, convoked with tyres hung burning around their necks.
My question to Nigerians remains: why do we burn petty thieves and celebrate our governors? Who is worse? A guy who pilfers a few pennies to buy bread for his starving kids, or a president who stole billions of dollars he doesn’t need, to hire a Concord to fly his daughter to a wedding? On whom should the stones of our anger descend? On an Amina Lawal whom patriarchal arrogance designated an adulteress, or on an Ahmed Sanni Yerima, who sanctioned a cow-thief losing his wrist, but ended up stealing billions of his state’s funds and sitting in our senate to laugh at our timidity? Who should we lynch? A thug, who to earn some bread for his stomach snatches a ballot box or the president and politician, who, pursuant to stealing our mandate commissioned and underwrote that heist? Who should the armed robbers visit? The poor hapless Nigerians, who are not sure where the next meal would come from, or the Representa-THIEVES, who embezzled funds mapped for job creation for these youths? Who should the Niger Delta Militants kidnap? The innocent kids of parents legitimately earning their keep in Port Harcourt; or our officials, and their collaborators, who have cooked a soup of ecological infamy, off the Niger Delta landscape and resources?
Why is it that the aphorism “Do not steal because the government hates competition” has remained the operative principle of our men of power in Nigeria? Is it because we have empowered that with our silence, or because this cabal deploys the army and police force on any peaceful protest to break the will of the Nigerian people and secure Nigeria as their ngwongwo pot; thereby further consolidating our emasculation?
If the latter options in all these questions are the case, Nigerians should do the right thing. They should start now to gather stones for the job at hand. They should get ready to tell these guys who the real masters are. George Bush got a shoe thrown at him in Iraq for what the Iraqis perceive as the devastation of their land. The Harvard insult is a clarion call for all Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora to rise up and be counted. It is a fatwa passed on all Nigerian governors and public officials. It is the duty of every patriotic Nigerian to get his shoe and “takalami” ready to be hurled at any Nigerian governor or public official that visits a western capital, or the part of the western world where he resides.
For the Nigerian governors and public officials: we are going to make the globe so very hot for any of you that comes to any western capital to launder our funds again. We will never give the goldfish a hiding place any more. You guys have squandered my generation. We are not going to let you squander that of our children. Get ready; shoes will be landing on your faces pretty soon. You can ask George Bush what the experience is like. In Bush’s case, he was granted the immunity of occupying the powerful office in the world. But in your insignificant cases, the Western press and government will smile under the table and let us do our thing of hurling shoes at your inglorious faces. Ask Mr. Obasanjo what his London experience was like. This is a warning, you guys better stay put in Nigeria and start finding solutions to the mess that you have made of our homeland.
With this article, I am inaugurating a mass movement “Operation Throw my shoe at a looter”. This is a movement of Nigerians who are angry at what the politicians have made of Nigeria. We would pledge and dedicate ourselves to meeting Nigerian public officials of whatever configuration, and known looters of our treasury, who come to Europe or America for any public or private engagement whatsoever, with our shoes.
We would be throwing the shoes at them, like was done to George Bush in Iraq. With this we would be sending the message to the whole world that the era of African leaders and politicians coming to Europe or America, or any western capital to launder our funds or fuck white prostitutes with public funds are over. We are to inaugurate an end to the era when your paracetamols are purchased in Europe, your toothpicks in China and your blood pressures checked in Paris, while ordinary Nigerians are dying of curable diseases, hunger and ignorance.
I urge every Nigerian of goodwill to join this action.