Who is Tafa Balogun?

by Banjo Odutola

The Harvest of denials precipitated by the abduction of the Governor of Anambra State makes true that “any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction (Albert Einstein (1879-1955)).

The evolving caricature of the Inspector General as published lately is a peculiar form of daring journalism as a check on our democracy. Yet, what is unclear and it is hoped not the case, is the concomitant recklessness, by which Tafa Balogun has for reasons best known to him refused to go down the same route as Mr. Atkins – a one time British Cabinet Minister and ex-convict. Permit, if you may, to return to the lesson in his bravado of the ‘sword of Justice’.

This attempt is to correlate the exhortation of Einstein, which relates to making “things bigger, more complex and more violent” to the subtext of the disclosure and a daring angling by one of our newspapers in laying bare Mr. Balogun to the vultures. Most of the allegations in the report may be untrue; some of the amounts of money are clearly seemingly inaccurate. However, if read carefully, the ‘smoking gun’ in the newspaper article is to lure Mr. Balogun to hang himself by his own Hangman and it is jolly well hoped he would take the challenge.

In my time and at our primary schools, the separation of young prodigies, whose minds absorb knowledge like the earth absorbs the morning dew, is often based on their alertness and capacity to understand the world around them. Child Psychologists have evolved all sorts of tests to the same end; a prodigy excels in all types of these tests, whatever their colouration. If the test were to ask a young Nigerian prodigy, the questions for which an attempt inhere shall duplicate the child’s mind – would the result of the glaring shame be any different? Yet in the near future, we would be asking ourselves, what has become of our nation?

Try this question and answer session for size: Who is Governor Chris Ngige? The answer of a young mind may well be that the governor is the man who claimed that he went to a shrine with his Bible to swear before an unknown god; a man who pretended to serve a master of a younger age and his money(it is an anathema in Igbo land for an older person to worship a younger one); a man who in a few weeks mortgaged the future of his State and people to Chris Uba. Mr. Ngige is a man who on becoming governor betrayed the trust of his sponsors as he will in the near future betray the trust of his people. Simply, he is a man not to be trusted. He retains his office as the governor of Anambra State as he should in the circumstance. However, as a man whose public service is intertwined with the retirement of the retired Assistant-General Raphael Ige; a retired policeman, who in a civilised nation will by now be in custody awaiting a charge of treasonable felony. The man and governor by name Chris Ngige is not worthy of an ounce of public sympathy. If he did not realise that ‘he who dines with the devil needs a long spoon’ – he cannot now turn to the same public whom he neglected when he was accepting the invitation to dine with the devil.

A further question may ask, who is Olusegun Obasanjo? It would be right for the prodigy to state that he is the president, whom our perverted system looks up to for charges against the perpetrators of the failed coup in Anambra State. It is rather interesting that commentators have failed to recollect how Mr. Obasanjo made light of the errors in inappropriately looking to the presidency to solve all problems. As coarse as his analogy is qua Obasanjo, when he said “Obasanjo is blamed for everything in Nigeria; if a woman is not pregnant, Obasanjo is blamed; if a woman is impregnated Obasanjo is blamed.” Ibrahim Babangida used analogy and his attempt was flat because the economic woes of this nation is in the foundation of his ‘re-engineering’ of our social and moral ethos. The result of which has badly redefined us as a nation and a people. Due process of the Law cannot be subverted. Obasanjo for now is out of the picture. His Justice Minister is firmly in the bird’s eye.

The mention of Obasanjo in the Ngige matter ought to be changed by refocusing on the Justice Ministry and an expectation to encourage it, as prosecutors of the Ngigegate. To do less, is to obfuscate the matter. And, the perpetrators desire that we are all wrong-footed in procedure will succeed. In fact, we should hope the president would await how the charges of his Justice Minister are played out.

The last of the psychometrics for discerning prodigies may ask – Who is Tafa Balogun? If the prodigy stated that Mr. Balogun is the alleged “Mr. Governor – my Oga is hungry”; or he is a purchaser of choice parcels of land who needs to tender receipts of recent acquisitions; or he is the Inspector-General of Police (IG), who supervised the most corrupt elections in the country; or the policeman whose swagger makes him an untouchable for the presidency. The prodigy may have justifiably not only described Mr. Balogun. The rot in our nation as a repeat of the same type allegations for which the same Mr. Obasanjo and his deceased fellow soldier General Murtala Mohammed overthrew the government of General Yakubu Gowon will be best described by the same answer provide to describe Mr. Balogun.

For those old enough to remember the allegations of Godwin Daboh against Joseph Tarka, who was then Commissioner for Telecommunications and the inactivity of Yakubu Gowon, the Mohammed-Obasanjo coupists seized power at the heights of the corruption allegations against the Minister, who was eased out of his appointment. So, why are the allegations against the IG not of the same cloth? In Tarka’s case, it all started with allegations. Can the nation adduce that such morals that necessitated Mr. Obasanjo to risk his life in planning a coup have since evaporated with the intoxication of power?

The three factors that Einstein regard as the bigger, more complex and more violent propagation are interestingly instructive in the alleged role of Mr. Tafa Balogun. Lest, how can the abduction of Gov. Ngige make the situation in the country any ‘bigger’? The indicator so far places the perpetrators and the IG of the Nigeria Police way ahead of the game. But, why would that not be the case? Look, it is simple and this is why the Ngige abduction shall repeat itself elsewhere, possibly following the same script.

Hold your breath and ask in what civilised nation in the world would Mr. Balogun remain in his job as the IG, who allegedly is a part of the putsch? Should he not have been suspended pending investigation? At least, as a volte-face, Mr. Obasanjo ought to suspend him from office for the allegations of his complicity. Whilst the IG remains in office, justice will never be served. It appears that he is handed a carte blanche to cover his tracks. It is a waste of time setting up any inquiry into what happened. A criminal investigation, which cannot be interfered with by the IG is required to assure the nation of the probity that this president preaches like a gospel from his Aso Rock Chapel.

Anyway, as our president continues to look up to the heavens for a solution as in Sao Tome, which is not larger than a conurbation in Lagos metropolis, he should also know that it is a man bereft of wisdom that looks into the brightness and nakedness of the Sun. No reasonable man looks directly into the Sun without damaging his eyes or rendering his sight unfocused. Does this explain the inaction of the Justice Minister? Has the Minister advised his boss of the willingness to prosecute and does he need to advise his boss, if the system works? Does the Minister find the presidential gaze is to the sky instead of his advice and the Constitution?

Mark this, if justice in the abduction matter remains sluggish as the snail, then the Minister would have failed the first important and perhaps most crucial test of his appointment. He would not be living up to expectation and it can be expected that Mr. Obasanjo will be availed such inefficiency to exonerate himself. Someone ought to advise Mr. Uba and his cohorts that prosecution of a crime is not time barred in law. They may run and find that they cannot hide because the hand of Justice is indeed very long.

The issue of more complexity as described by Einstein is a cloak to cover a multitude of ineptitude or sheer disregard of due process in our country. How else would a governor confess what he had to do at the cover of the night to short-change his people and still remain in the service of the same people? What honour remains for Ngige? How else would this governor who with his own mouth confessed breaking promises expected of him to keep? This is a governor that would need more than luck to pay salaries promptly and still develop his State. It is not on Chris Ngige that the searchlight is beamed. It is Mr. Balogun, whom the governors have on certain issues exonerated but have provided a route for him to use the dagger of Justice, which Jonathan Atkins, a one time Minister of the British Government used to lacerate his honour and person.

In closing, should Mr. Balogun consider the courts to deal with the allegations? He had better remember the legal axiom that those who come to Equity must come with clean hands. By extension, his refusal to run to Equity may be inferred that he has dirty hands. Mr. Obasanjo, it is now time for this IG to be allowed to go home to Ila Orangun to a nice retirement to spend the alleged booty, which may have provided better roads, schools, security and hospitals for him, his children and future offsprings, who one day may wonder like the rest of us, why the Nigeria police remains an embarrassment to them and the nation at large. May they find the answers in the nemesis that never protects ill-gotten advantages (if there are any).

Mr. Balogun is not accused herein, the logic of his inertia to issue a writ against the newspaper that made the allegation makes one wonder, why Mr. Obasanjo remains Kampe, while the smoke of an imminent fire is on his roof.

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