Yours Sincerely, Wada Nas

by Banjo Odutola

Who is Wada Nas? The response to this simple question is dependent on the State Origins of the interviewee and interviewer but let me in a short paragraph answer the question. Wada Nas is a prolific writer whose articles are found mostly in Nigerian Newspapers and an Internet website that have a regional representation. He is a man who gives the impression that he is defending the interest of Northern Nigeria and in the process of his advocacy he impresses on his readers that the interest he represents is greater than the common good of the Union called Nigeria. Wada Nas in his writings presents the enemies of Northern Nigeria as the Executive arm of the Nigerian Government as if he lacks the capacity to understand that in a democratic rule, there are various tiers of government in which the Executive is as powerful as the Legislature and the Judiciary. Also, he writes letters to important people: dead or alive. He has written to Presidents Clinton, Obasanjo and he will not allow his deceased friend, General Abacha to rest in peace. Wada Nas continues to disturb the poor(?) dead man with his letters. If it were possible, General Abacha would like to change the plot number of his grave to avoid the unsolicited letters from Wada Nas. Can you guess why? Honestly, what type of man wants to wrestle in his grave with the self-afflicted problems of this country? Dying in Nigeria is a deliverance from the agony of living in a country where nothing works and when death has kindly delivered a man who invested agonies in the lives of his fellow citizens, why would he cherish missives from the care takers of the grave at which he lies?

Let me for the avoidance of doubt state on public records that I have never met Wada Nas and I do not expect we will ever meet because of the dissimilitude of the trajectories of our lives. Nonetheless, he informs me through his prolific writing which on the one hand I respect for his deft records and cataloguing of Nigerian current affairs but on the other hand, I find some of his articles inciting, enervating of the common good on which he pivots most of his other conclusions and as perennial calls to Northern Nigeria as if there is a conspiracy afoot. I fervently believe that Wada Nas has a right to his opinions and I admire him for his loyalty to General Abacha who referred to Wada Nas as Malam Wada and whom Wada Nas adulates when the Zeitgeist indicates Abacha-bashing is politically correct.

The quality of the loyalty in a man like Malam Wada is worthy of emulation if only our country was experiencing a sang-froid time and if the man for whom Malam Wada has become a soi-disant message bearer from the Land of the Dead was not an atrocious person. It is the message of the Letters to the Late General Abacha that I present not only as a satire but an aphorism. Accordingly, I am writing to General Abacha in the tone of Malam Wada: supplicatory to Abacha and perfidious for a man who has served as an official of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dear General Abacha:

I write to you because of the precedent set by your friend Malam Wada Nas who has disturbed you oftentimes in the Land of the dead by his letters in which he informs you of the state of our dear country as if such news is of any value to you when you are faced with a new set of problems. Those problems that each of us will face when we shall account to Allah for our works here on earth.

I regret the insecurity, economy morass and lack lustre performance of President Obasanjo whom Malam Wada refers to as St Matthew. Forbid me to cast aspersion on some information he volunteers when he sends his letters because they are mostly true and to deny them is as much a disservice to the nation. In truth, many people even amongst the Yorubas make the same complaints but it is disingenuousness to contrast your administration to this present one as Malam Wada is quick to do.

Oga General, do you remember your encounter with Malam Wada when he was on his way to his hometown, Funtua? Malam Wada has satirically poked fun at the people who accused you of embezzling State Funds and now the same people have the last laugh. You see, they say Malam Wada has lost the moral podium to convince or influence anyone in and outside this country of his defence that you did not steal money from our national coffers because Hajiya Maryam should have at least informed him that you and your associates stole money from the Nigerian people. Oga, some people are now prepared to confront Malam Wada to request him to explain the equity behind the incarceration of those purloining Bankers for which your administration was famous. We now know that while those thieves in our Banks were busy with cerebrating ingenuity to fleece their customers, you were doing the same at our treasury as the Chief Executive of Nigeria Plc against the same people that gave you their trust. Poor Malam Wada!

I am uncertain Malam Wada will never write to you again and that news in itself must be a relief because you can now rest in peace. Lest I forget, he may send you his last letter to inform you of the public disapprobation with which St Matthew had the nerve to disclose that money has been recovered from your widow, Hajiya Maryam, the rest of your family and associates. Oga, the money by any standard was a lot for a military man to have accumulated. So, like Malam Wada, I keep asking myself; Why did Oga General have to chop that much?

I read about the recovery of the money in a Lagos axis newspaper and like Malam Wada, I wanted to blame Journalists for all the woes your family faces. As it is now official that you plundered the country and tricked Nigerians to believe that your aim was to serve our motherland, I note that in death your capacity for trickery is not extinguished. Look at how you have made a fool of your most ardent and vociferous supporter: Malam Wada who reported your apparition to the nation as you requested in his article: Dialogue with Abacha. I do not want to imagine the deep sense of betrayal in Malam Wada and the loss of face that he lacks the ability to discern when it is wise not defend a family that demonstrably did not take him into their confidence. Oga, would you believe when the story first broke, Malam Wada informed the nation that he had it on authority that your family had signed nothing away. Oh dear! Well, the next time Malam Wada says he has anything on authority, we cannot believe him or his authority. May be the authority in itself was a 419 authority. Oga, you see, I like the writings of Malam Wada a lot and from now on, I will be taking his ‘I have it on authority’ as a 419 authority!

Since the disclosure of your theft of our money, I have read that Malam Wada at an occasion organised by Joint Association of Zamfara North Indigenes in honour of the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, His Excellency Alh. Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi (Individuals and Projects Development), spoke nobly but his speech seems indicative of a man who is lost in his own sense of being. At the function he articulated a noble cause and he implored the people not to yield to people like you who buy the conscience of others.

Oga General, St Matthew has destroyed your father’s name and you know that in our country the values associated to a family name is more precious that Silver, Gold and the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Federal Ministry of Finance that aided your depredation. How would your children ever walk with their heads high when the Nigerian Government had to concede that you had legitimately acquired $100 million dollars before you became the Head of State. Can Malam Wada tell us that President Obasanjo was deceiving the nation? Aside from how tarnished your memory and the family name has become, I want to deliberate on four areas your malversation affect and how these areas directly impact on all of us.

One Billion Dollars. Na wa o!

Firstly Oga, Malam Wada is concerned about the level of educational attainment amongst children of school age in Northern Nigeria. If you ask me, his efforts ought to be directed at mobilising children of school age to take their education seriously and he should devise a programme of educating and training the Almajirai instead of keeping a record of the designations of civil servants and military officials. When the amount of money spent on education in the Northern States is revealed, it may not be commensurate with the results on the ground. This is no reason to compare the South to the North. It is now time that wealthy people in the North appreciate the difference of our time and follow the examples of the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State. I hope some of our fellow Nigerians will come to the aid of well meaning people of Northern Nigeria to solve the endemic problem posed by the lack of education attainment of young people in this part of our country. Another way forward is to join the initiative of President Bill Clinton as regards assisting young people to return to schools. Clinton recently spoke passionately about this project at the Richard Dimbleby Annual Lecture in London.

Secondly, Oga General, what becomes of the eminent Professor Aluko who St Matthew said was insane. Poor Aluko! He will most likely say the same foolish things he said about the incapacity of his young son, the Senator: Gbenga Aluko. The eminent Professor could not believe that his son was capable of misappropriating millions of Naira. Aluko may now tell us that the $100 million left with Hajiya Maryam is a made up story. You see, Professor Aluko belongs to a generation of decent academicians who cannot conceive that a man is capable of stealing from the State. For people like Aluko, they believe the morals they abide are still the norms in the civil service in particular and the society in general. Honesty as time has stood still for his ilk and you cannot blame them. They served in decent academia and governments, so when present day civil servants and politicians steal from the State coffers they deny the story because they can forget that their old principles are no longer applied to the present day Nigeria. So would Professor Aluko apologise to the nation for referring to General Abacha as a good manager of the economy? General Abacha a good manager? Prof Aluko, please revise the definition of what a good manager is. Lest, the practice and principles of Economics in governance under General Abacha may well destroy not only your good name and you will be remembered as an economist without good principles.

Thirdly, What does the $100 million Naira conceded to Hajiya Maryam Abacha instruct the Nigerian Armed Forces? Have you seen the conditions of the Barracks lately? These places are the living quarters of the men and women who have volunteered their lives to die for this country. The next time you visit a military living quarter, you will be shocked to note that most of the accommodation is unfit for human abode. The living quarters of our military personnel are woeful and generally in need of refurbishment. So how can anyone not expect the men and officers to be resentful of your family. Some of our military men, women and officers are ruminating why the Jerry Rawlings treatment of Acheampong has not been accorded to your widow and associates. When you visit military living quarters in overseas countries, and you consider what legacy left by your administration together with the denial of proper living quarters for your colleagues, it begs the question, is Hajiya Abacha collecting pension payments and gratuities due to you from the Nigerian State. If your benefits are paid to your widow, Hajiya Maryam, then that amounts to effrontery and robbing your colleagues of the money she does not need and is dire to their existence. The payment and collection of these pecuniary benefits may result in an unfavourable reaction to Hajiya Maryam. Oga General, when next you appear to Malam Wada, please instruct him to ask Hajiya Maryam to return the benefits paid to your widow and family.

Fourthly, when a military man brings dishonour to his service he is stripped of his honour. The Nigerian Military Chiefs need to deliberate on the shame that you have brought to them because one bad apple is now affecting the other good apples. Let me challenge the Military Chiefs to open a debate amongst their men, women and officers and if the consensus is to strip you of honours, then it is a task that must be done immediately. Let the Military Chiefs take the initiatives that their own house of honour will not be tarred with your image. It may be a populist move to strip you of your service honours, I have no doubt that it will earn the military a well deserved respect that eludes them for now.

Finally, how would this recovery of money bear on the Abacha clique in the North. We must understand that the North is not representative of General Abacha and vice versa. There are excellent men and women of good virtues in the North and it is best this argument is not lost in an attempt to tarnish the North with your behaviour in service and office as the Head of State of this country. Oga General, there is only one issue that I query. What is happening to Alhadji Gwarzo? Is he going to walk away free? Some people are saying nothing will happen to Alhadji Gwarzo because history teaches us that J. Edgar Hoover got away with atrocities he committed and he was untouchable because he had too many dossiers on powerful people in the United States. If you ever run into Edgar, please tell him that Nigeria has her own Edgar Hoover and he should stop thinking that Nigeria is incapable of producing whatever America produced in the person of the one and only chief of the FBI. We have Alhadji Gwarzo, so Edgar Hoover, eat your heart out!

DISCLOSURE: The article and letter herein are intended to be satirical in context and aphoristic in the message communicated. There is no intention to slight, embarrass nor offend Wada Nas who served the administration of General Sani Abacha. Issues raised herein represent the flip side and summation of the letters from Wada Nas to the deceased former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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