Nigeria Matters

The Evil That Men Do…Does Not Mean Anything in Nigeria

This article is not meant to hold brief or

a rejoinder for Prof Wole Soyinka – I am most confident he, and others, can do

this for himself more effectively than me; rather it is to seek to protect

Nigerians from the insult and onslaught of the spectre of brazen and barefaced

arrogance, insensitivity and deception that our society is having to contend

with on a daily basis.

When I first read Sadiq Abacha’s response,

or rather, reaction to what he perceived as an insult from the esteemed

Professor Wole Soyinka’s comment about his (Sadiq’s) father, the late General

Sani Abacha, my first reaction is to say “How dare you? Who are you to write

against WS?” But on second thoughts and

a few mulling, I had to admit that Sadiq wrote very well, even if the content

bordered on the ludicrous and the typically arrogant. And of course, I do not

believe that just because Wole Soyinka is a revered and world-renowned master

of letters, no ordinary person should stand up to him. No! Why not? Wole

Soyinka is a mortal like Sadiq, and he has no monopoly of wisdom, intelligence

or letters. But like a friend said to me, it is better and more civilised he

wrote than sending hired killers and kidnappers against his protagonist.

But our country is a society where nobody

speaks or accepts the Truth; least of all those who have benefited from the corrupt

and illegal system. It is a society where corruption, depravity, greed,

self-centredness and deceitful acts and actions by anybody in power are

celebrated by the very people suffering under the yoke of mismanagement of

resources and abuse of power.

Most of our rulers (and the followers),

probably due to some warped and debased genetic aberration do not seem to have

any sense, understanding and appreciation of the difference between Right and

Wrong; between Good and Evil.

Such people cannot have a conscience. And

this is why, even excusing filial loyalty, Sadiq Abacha cannot see, understand

and admit that his father, Sani Abacha, is generally, not only within the

shores of Nigeria, but also internationally, considered the most despicable and

corrupt despot in Nigeria’s history.

But in a way, don’t blame Sadiq too much,

or at all. First, he sees others of his

father’s malevolent ilk and company, however less notorious in atrocity and

depravity, walking and swaggering on the streets of the nation with unconcealed

arrogance, looted wealth and lack of remorse, being worshiped by the same

people they have wrought havoc of poverty and underdevelopment on, and whose

counsel on national issues are still being sought by those who still hold them,

albeit dubiously, in high esteem; the

system being rotten and lacking in morals and integrity. His words reflect the

insensitivity of this breed of people.

Secondly, I don’t expect him to denounce

his father who assembled treasures and probably, limitless wealth for him and

his siblings, that is why I appreciate and deign to him, “filial

loyalty”. The side of your father you see at home is usually totally

different from the side others see from outside, so goes the saying. You can

pardon the young man, after all, if he doesn’t defend his own father, who will?

But he could at least have kept quiet. And if he sees any slander in what is

being said about his father, then he could go to court and sue for defamation

of character. Unfortunately, by his letter, he has inadvertently, and with a delusion

of grandeur, awoken very bitter memories and hatred in the minds of many of his

countrymen and women, especially those who suffered or lost greatly under his

despotic father.

The sad truth is that Sani Abacha, Sadiq’s

dad was not just a heartless dictator; he was also notoriously known to be a

thief all over the world. Whereas the Jonathan government seem to ache from

regressive forgetfulness, Nigerians and indeed the entire world still remember Abacha’s

reign of terror, slaughter, treasury looting, political intolerance, suppression

of free press, and vicious elimination of opposition figures.

On the issue of Professor Wole Soyinka

criticising every government, somebody, a friend actually, came up and asked me

why, if Wole Soyinka know so much that he can criticise every time, why didn’t

the eminent Nobel Laureate contest to be the President, or at least any other

political office. I shook my head. Look

at world history, and in particular previous detestable communist countries and

despotic rulers; how many government critics have ever been subsequently either

elected or appointed into positions in government? If that has happened, how

many of such sincere critics get out of government with their integrity intact?

Does it mean that when you criticise a government, you want to take over from

them and correct the wrongs? No, Sir. You criticise because you want governments

and people to change, and not because you want to taste or be in power. And those you criticise will seldom let you

come near power anyway, even if you try it democratically. What happened to that

most famous of Nigerian government critic, Gani Fawehinmi’s National Conscience

Party? Did Nigerians even vote for him or members of his party? In the

presidential election of that year, 2003, the NCP candidate, Gani Fawehinmi,

came a very distant fifth, polling 161,333 votes or 0.41% of the popular vote.

Sometimes it’s not really the fault of the

people siding with evil; it’s more the fault of the people who choose to celebrate

it and the society that chooses to keep mute about it. Governor Amaechi of

Rivers State once said that until the people started stoning them (the

governors and other rulers, himself included), they will not stop stealing. Stealing in this context, in my own view, doesn’t

mean robbery or pilfering in the true sense of the word, it entails every

aspect of corruption, mismanagement, ineffectiveness, and bad governance. That

Sadiq Abacha is talking back or writing back in support of his father’s award

isn’t much his ignorance, but the foolishness and bad sense of timing and judgement

on the part of the government bestowing the award on his father; and who despite the gloom that permeates our

country over the mass murder of our children in Yobe; the unremitting killings in the states of

Adamawa and Borno; the massive scandals of missing billions and so on, still

deemed it fit to enact a show of shame and heedlessness in the name of the

Centenary celebrations. If this

government had not chosen to insult our feelings to ‘honour’ the late tyrant,

there would have been no need for any of these letters, or has anyone of us

heard of any Sadiq Abacha’s or any Abacha’s voice in recent years? Sometimes I wonder if Nigeria will ever see a

good day again; if we will ever live in good times again, where and when truth

and decency will prevail over evil and the debauchery we see every day and


I have been engaged on Facebook and other

social media with some of my countrymen and women who were praising the

president for suspending the governor of CBN. It was appalling to have the

exchange because it shows how much our society has become one that choose to

embrace all sorts of evil over good. Ours has become a society where corruption

is celebrated heroically and the real heroism is side-lined. This is a depraved

society where thieves come home to a rousing welcome, instead of being shamed

and chased out of town; a society where thieves donate millions in tithes to

the church and the pastor and the congregation look away from his transgression

but look up to the thief for favours and advice.

So this is what one can expect from

children of today’s corrupt public officers, civil servant and others who I

label as “Owners of Nigeria”. I remember

watching footage of Abacha’s wife’s interview in the media proclaiming her deceased

husband’s innocence. She’s a beneficiary

of the nation’s looted wealth. So now we know what to expect of the children

and/or relatives of our other rulers, military or civilian, and others of the

late great Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s “VIP – Vagabonds In Power” classification in

future i.e. to defend their father’s record in much the same way.

It is no wonder then that the children and

family of our rulers over the decades, whose sole assertion to fame (or rather,

notoriety) is that of expert and

adept treasury looting, election

rigging, coup d’états, genocide,

mismanagement, ineptness and bad

governance, can now and often come out and insult our collective intelligence

on a daily basis. But, you see; it is not fully their fault, it is partly our


Our greedy, selfish, conscienceless and

corrupt rulers know it, and they know we know it and you know they know it too.

Let the Truth be said always.

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