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The senators know that there are thieves in the senate. . . .

The senators need only to look in the mirror to see

the thieves  that Nigerians have known all along.



Thieves in the Nigerian Senate

By Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh


When a corpse comes hurrying to burial with an erect penis, then something is absolutely wrong. Not only that this has all the ingredients of an abominable embarrassment, the corpse is not heading home pretty soon. If he receives an interment, the odours of gossip would ensure his eternal insomnia in the memories of the living. At the dawn of time, long before the birth of taboo, the coffin was already on record as advising the corpse to relax, and make itself comfortable because their journey and alliance is going to be a very long one. Both of them are marching to eternity together. And that is some pretty, long, unending time. Hurrying to get there is not only a waste of time; it is immortal inconvenience. But be that as it may, a corpse sporting a penile erection is not yet ready, or qualified for this journey. No matter, how insistent his libidos are, or how much he desires the companies of defunct pussies; he must lose his erection to qualify for burial. To bury a living man is an abomination. No society would gladly abide such atrocity. This is a most ancient calabash of wisdom.

Let’s not punish your anticipations further!

A corpse came to burial with such an unwholesome burden, about a week and some days ago. On Wednesday the 23rd of January, 2008, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, an “honourable” senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, rose in that hallowed chamber of laws, and announced in clear, categorical and incontrovertible terms, that the Nigerian senate is a den of robbers. This senate for him is a haven of fraudsters, swindlers, and men of notorious odour. To remove his assertions from the realm of conjectures, he threatened to release the names of those, who in his opinion are moral lepers that are not fit to be in the senate, based on their track records, as certifiable, fraudulent characters. But he was stopped in his tracks by the senate President, who mischievously deflected the shot by referring it to a committee, where he hopes, removed from public view; the assertion will be hushed down, watered down and die a slow death.

The Senate held its breath. The nation’s heartbeat pulsated. The revelation, though an open secret to many Nigerians came from an unexpected quarter. It came from a source deep inside the bowels of Nigeria’s rendezvous with corruption. It came from a member of the corrupt establishment, who suddenly discovered religion and like Joe Vallaci, decided to rat on his peers. Nuhu Aliyu was a policeman. The Police establishment in Nigeria is notorious for its dalliance with crime and corruption. The average Nigerian reserves no trust on the Police. The establishment in spite of its wooden apologetics harbours more criminals and psychological degenerates in its ranks, than in the normal population. This man rose through the ranks of this decadent institution that summarizes everything horrid about the Nigerian nation. He retired as a DIG, in a state unknown to the public and went into politics. Nigerian Politics has equally been a refuge of irredeemable scoundrels.

Armed with a background as a manager in an ethically-bankrupt institution, Aliyu was (s)elected Senator of the Federal Republic in the 2007 electoral fraudulence engineered by the PDP, and presided over by Maurice Iwuh. The important thing was that he came to the senate to represent a constituency. Whether his avarice or timidity is a part of this constituency can only be speculated on. But his volte-face shows him as a man without spine or integrity. This has equally consolidated the unholy reputation of Nigeria Police and Nigerian politicians, who are considered to be the first estate of the corrupt realm. Nuhu Aliyu spanned these two most notorious of these structures, as an ex-policeman and a politician. He remained an insignificant public figure until he blurted out those accusations.

The reactions generated by this indignant choreography on the Floor of the senate, were not as audacious as the righteous anger of innocence. The hushed and brow-beaten reactions from the “honourable” senators were the subdued benediction, which an admixture of guilty conscience and conscienceless impunity pays to sudden exposure. Many thought that the man who asserted had the backbone to go the long haul in proving his assertions. But our man Aliyu; in a meteoric volte-face, as sudden and fleeting as his prior assertions; lost his nerve and allowed his resolve to fizzle out in the corrupt horizon of the horse and donkey-trading that has been the albatross of Nigerian politics since 1957.

We would not expend time plumbing to find out why Aliyu recanted. One phrase summarizes him: He stands for nothing! And as Martin Luther King, Jr. would have it, “a man who stands for nothing can fall for anything”. If he was threatened into keeping his mouth shut, then he loves his hide more than the truth. And such a man has no character, and lacks every moral right to be in our senate. Or better still, he was a coward, whose poltroonery is a pathological one, as to castrate his resolve. If he was talked into abandoning his threats of naming those, who in his opinion are the pathological moral derelicts populating our senate, then he is a moral prostitute who allows himself be seduced with the fatal juices of eloquence, into betraying his beliefs. If he was blackmailed into backing down, then he must have a closet full of skeletons. If he needed to consult his lawyers before backing down, why did he not consult them before making those statements?

If this is case, then he is a man who puts his mouth in gear before his brain is engaged. Are these the kind of men we have abandoned the destiny of our country to their caprice? Little wonder why Nigeria is making no headway in policy directions that would have rescued our daily decaying society. If this guy was bribed into shutting his mouth, then he is extremely purchasable. He is a commodity, who could be bought to sell his heritage for sordid money. Whatever Aliyu’s inspirations for electing to keep quiet and apologise to those he accused, after his threats, is only known to him and his conscience, if he has any. We can never divine that.

Over and above his fatal character flaws, Senator Nuhu Aliyu’s allegations are weighty ones. In civilized climes, such explosive outbursts are potent enough to force a whole government to resign. Such allegations have been historical watersheds for many a political dispensation in many lands, as well as waterloos for many a politician in many climes. That he recanted many days later, should subject him to the opprobrium of every right thinking Nigerian. And he should receive a negative political dividend from that. In a place where scandals really scandalize the populace, Nuhu Aliyu has not rendered himself politically impotent, he has committed political suicide. He has no credibility any more. He has proven himself untrustworthy. And how can an informed electorate vest its confidence and mandate, on a man who vacillates, stutters, and changes his stands more than a chameleon changes its colours?

Senator Aliyu by his statements and consequent actions told Nigerians in clear terms, that their destiny has been in the hands of rogues and thieves, who masquerade as senators. He told us that our posterity has been hijacked and mortgaged to a select band of brigands and fraudsters, who have no agenda other than the embezzlement of the Nigerian nation. How a nation can function with such a bunch of butchers is anybody’s guess.

Though what he told us is not news, the new dimension to it is that what was common knowledge was being affirmed by a member of this faceless cabal running Nigeria aground.

And how can one find words to articulate his boiling anger and excruciating disappointment? Where can one find the concepts to personify the extremities of his discontent; at the betrayal of his heritage, by a bunch of recycled thieves, whose manifesto has only one agenda, namely: the avaricious enrichment of themselves and their elitist club of political leeches and hangers-on in high places? These crooks bestride our body-politic by enthroning a regime of indentured thievery across Nigeria.

And that is really annoying!

I am galled at the timidity of the Nigerian electorate. I am scandalized by the purchasability and the postural unconcern of the Nigerian population that allowed itself to be brutalized into emasculation, by the political class. The scandalous poverty enslaving over 70 percent of the Nigerian population is a capital indictment on the Nigerian political class. The treasonable crimes of most of our politicians on the Nigerian nation are capital offences, which call for the highest form of punishment. Had I not been principally, an opponent of capital punishment, I would have been leading a campaign calling for the heads of these unrepentant rogues. Chinweizu once wrote that “when we start beheading crooks in power, then crooked opportunists would be disinclined to seek power.

But that is meat for another meal. The fundamental fact is that any fragile sensibility would be affronted by the decadence of Nigerian power epicentres. Even if a thief sits atop the presidency, a functional senate that is alive to its oversight functions would check his thievery unto dysfunctionality; making it impossible to exercise his instinctual proclivities to embezzlement. The obverse obtains equally in such a situation. But in Nigeria, everything is unfortunately superlative in the breach.

The senate is the highest law-making body in Nigeria. This is a house entrusted with grave responsibility. It carries the hopes and aspirations of the people. It is a trustee of the sovereign. And the sovereign here is the people. A trustee cannot afford to be untrustworthy. Unworthiness for an office compromises the ability to exercise that office without let. When the content of one’s character is compromised by his fraudulence, he becomes tainted goods. His ability to exercise a high office is seriously impaired. His competence is compromised. Ontologically, the house of laws is a house of honour. Honour is the conferment of reason, on the good, the beautiful, and the true. Reason honours virtue. Honour in lieu of this metaphysic can never be conferred on a dishonourable vessel, as he is not worthy of it.

To this end, those who enter the house of laws, as custodians of the people’s mandate to make laws for the peace and good governance of the state, must be worthy bearers of the trust vested on them. They must be worthy to carry the burden of the people’s trust. They must earn totally, the trust of WE THE PEOPLE. There is no room for malicious shortcomings. Their office empowers them to take decisions that can affect the lives, destinies and futures of millions of people. Here, extreme diligence and moral stability is the most basic requirement. But most unfortunately, the Nigerian senate conglomerates a bevy of rogues, in whom Nigeria is only a concept appropriated to advance individual interests, or canonize personal greed. The common good is alien to this conceptual scheme. It is a jungle situation, where man is simply wolf to his kind. That explains why life in Nigeria is strictly Hobbessian: solitary, nasty, brutish, and short.

That there are thieves and shady characters in our senate today marks Obasanjo and the PDP out as corpses with erection. The corpses are literarily dead-weights. But they cannot seem to lose their prurient relevance, as their atrocious impress is found everywhere on our firmament today. Over and above the fact that the Nigerian political clime has rendered it difficult for honest men to emerge on the corridors of power, to exercise responsible leadership, Obasanjo and PDP’s monumental indiscretions worsened an already terrible situation.

Today politics in Nigeria remains a corrugated maze of indentured roguery, with the shots being called by godfathers, instead of the electorate. Here allegiance is not owed the people, who are the supposed sovereign. Rather, total subservience and unalloyed obeisance is owed the narrow insularities of crooked Mafia-like godfathers, who ruthlessly operate a cult-like principality of crime. The relationship between these brainless servants of opportunism and the faceless cabal that brought them to power is nothing but medieval feudalism in twentieth century robes.

And these opportunists and their principals have engrafted themselves in our highest decision making bodies. This explains the poverty of ideas dominating those bodies. A senate that assembles shady, questionable, and compromised characters like Iyabo-Obasanjo Bello, Jubril Aminu, Chimaroke Nnamani, George Akume, and many others can only be an amphitheatre of political mercenaries, contractors, and “agberos”, masquerading as legislators. They are scoundrels legislating rascality and awarding juicy contracts to their corrupt concerns.

The senators know that there are thieves in the senate. They have not cared to find out because they know who the thieves are. The names of these thieves are well known to all Nigerians. Do we need to talk about the chief presiding officer, whose Belizean nationality and foreign accounts makes mincemeat of any moral pretensions to any responsible office, or his deputy whose name found its way advertently into EFCC’s list of corrupt politicians? The senators need only to look in the mirror to see the thieves that Nigerians have known all along.

What should be done to arrest the brazen impunity advertised by Nigerian office holders at all levels? Well, Nigerians are now suffering from olfactory or perceptual fatigue to corruption. Olfactory fatigue renders the nose impotent to a strong odour after being exposed to that odour for sometime. It can no more react with the kind of revulsion it would have mustered, the first moment it encountered it. To that end, Nigerians most times take the news of corruption in high places, as normal and continue with the miserable lives they prefer to live on their knees, instead of standing up to the thieves. This is why religious hawking of quack hopes in a future paradise, and instantaneous miracles in the present hell, are the hottest commodity sold in Nigeria.

Every one is now a pastor and a Rev. Dr. in the most proximate potency, just to squeeze out some paltry privilege and pecuniary gains from the emasculated and credulous Nigerian population sample within his reach. And the religion practiced here has all the trappings and features of “an opium of the masses”. Our prayers for Nigeria in distress seem to meet the deafening silence of heaven. The reasons are simple. Sophocles the Greek poet summarized it many centuries back: Heaven will never help those who will never act. The Christian Bible made it clear, when St. James in his letter to the Christians reiterated that “faith without good works is DEAD. God never voted on Election Day. Calling on God to sack those who stole our mandate, instead of initiating the changes necessary to prevent our mandates being stolen, ourselves is like a man, sleeping throughout the day, and hoping to be paid a salary at the end of the month for sleeping.

Nigeria’s predicament is a terminal one, and requires urgent and decisive therapy. If regicide could be committed to save Nigeria, let it be. The king could be sacrificed if he refuses to sacrifice himself for his people. Nigerians should start thinking in that regard. The time has come for it. The scandalous poverty manacling Nigeria, consequent on political gangsterism, the insults that Nigerians are subjected to everywhere in the world as a result of the fact that the custodians of our welfare have sold us out, the posterity of young Nigerians, which has dropped off the horizon, all support a thought in this regard. We cannot continue along these lines and expect a different outcome for the Nigeria of the future. Away with these inglorious bastards that have refused to let our nation evolve to greatness. Nigerians should rise up and sweep their house clean, before we could start blaming the external collaborators to our plight. Shakespeare was right: every bondsman in his hands lies the keys to cancel his captivity.

With Nuhu Aliyu’s volte face, Nigeria’s clamour to be rescued from the grip of elitist leeches has suffered yet another set back. With every such betrayal, Nigeria’s future is buried by instalment. Nigeria is now a corpse that should relax and enjoy its eternal alliance with the coffin of corruption. Our salvation is not yet in sight.

As for Nuhu Aliyu, he deserves neither our compassion nor respect. And we reserve non for him. His volte face remains ultimately a betrayal of his integrity. His credibility is forever toast. We can never believe him again. Nigerians should bury such shady characters with the irrelevance they abundantly deserve. As for the thieves in our senate: every day is for the thief, one day is for the owner. That day is coming! And on that day, Nigeria will immolate her thieves to water the trees of her liberation. We shall live to see that day!

Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh was born in Nigeria and currently lives in Germany. He had his Bachelors in Philosophy from the Pontificial Urban University Rome. Mr. Ogbunwezeh is currently working on a Ph.D. in Social Ethics and Economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His book The Tragedy of a Tribe: The Grand Conspiracy Against Ndigbo and the Igbo Quest for Integration in Nigeria was published in 2004. "Shots at Immortality: Immortalizing Igbo Excellence" and "The Scandal of Poverty in Africa: Reinventing a Role for Social Ethics in Confronting the Socio-economic and Political Challenges of Africa of the Third Millennium" will be published in 2005. Additionally, Mr. Ogbunwezeh published dozens of articles in newspapers, magazines, internet sites, and trade journals.

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posted 4 February 2008




Home  Transitional Writings on Africa

Related files: The Inauguration of Illegitimacy  Scaffolds of Primitive Corruption   Roguery Incorporated    Thieves in the Nigerian Senate  Nigeria A Failed State   Explaining the African Predicament

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