In Nigeria, we all live in interesting times. The political class is having a hell of a jolly time. The judiciary is courting public scrutiny because judges are now living in interesting times. Public servants are also having a swell of a time. The senators are leading the dance in this interesting milieu. The Representatives are not immune to the bug of interesting times. In a nation that brags about as the giant of mother Africa, it should be expected that Nigeria must be a land of interesting people. A land of interesting habits; interesting manners, interesting attitudes and interesting characters.
Take our love for life and fun. We are loud. Our men are loud. Our women are loud. Our youths are loud. The rich are loud. The well connected are loud. Our politicians are loud in their habits. They are loud in their manner. They are loud in their tastes. They are loud in their sartorial elegance – whether in suit or agbada. President Goodluck Jonathan controls 11 aircraft. They call it presidential fleet. Jonathan goes about with a fleet of darkened SUVs and battalion of minders. His public-funded kitchen budget still stands at N1 billion. That kitchen must be loud with expensive utensils that befits the ruler of the giant of Africa. His wife, rosy-cheeked and robust-looking, Patient (oblela) Jonathan, goes about in a convoy of expensive Mercedes and army of minders. She kills a cow every week to feed the army of staff at Aso Rock. Talk about eating loud and large!
Nigeria is now a country without Pentecostal modesty. Our pastors are modern day arrogant Pharaohs. In carriage, in cassock, in speech they all look like medieval emperors. Churches are no longer a place of celestial calm and repose but consulting malls for business deals. It is no longer a place where we show penitence for forgiveness. It is rather a place of macho affluence. Which is to say that our churches are now loud. Pastors now come to the pulpit in expensive Gucci suits. They catwalk the podium in flowing expensive lace material. The glory of Christ has been replaced by the glory of materialism. They now indulge openly in the things that will make Satan proud. They know the signposts or the roads that lead to every herbalist homes.
Strange but not surprising is the fact that all leaders of Nigeria’s biggest churches have private jets. Except the head of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles. The rest are jet set mighty men of God who require loud Gulf streams to spy on God from 33,000 feet. A very loud way to post our prayer to God for answer. On land, pastors are not different from celebrities. They cruise around in darkened SUVs and the latest Hummers. Many are prayer merchants. They sell prayer sachets even to the president in Aso Rock. And in return, Jonathan, in many of his loud habits, had been known to give out loud cheques to our pastors. In Nigeria, there is ongoing loud flirtation between pastors and politicians. Now look at it this way: If pastors and politicians could brazenly insult their followers by brazenly voting for lavish living, who then will rein in the greedy impulse of other strata of society for corruption?
It is said that a woman to a pastor is a spiritual torture. At least for those who have no control on their libidos. Please be advised also that the sight of money to Nigerians amount to material torture. We are loud lovers of money. We lust after it. This may be the legacy of the old spender like MKO Abiola who lived loud with his money and died loud. Typical embodiment of rich Nigerian!
The story of one big time crook called John Yakubu Yusufu and his other loud crooks did not surprise me at all. He is the feral meanness of the triumph of corruption in Nigeria. He is a true apostle of loud greed and a good discerner of our interesting times. History of big, loud stealing is not new. What we have is new actors from unlikely places. Late General Sani Abacha stole loudly. Ibrahim Babangida stole loudly. Atiku Abubakar stole loudly. Olusegun Obasanjo stole loudly. James Ibori stole loudly. David Mark stole and is still stealing loudly. Dimeji Bankole stole loudly. Adebayo Alao-Akala, one time bleacher and ex-governor of my state, Oyo, stole loudly. Actors in the Halliburton scandal stole loudly. Ndidi Elumelu stole loudly. Bank chiefs stole loudly. All former police heads stole loudly. They could not even spare money for our police college. Worse, these looters are still living loud and large. They are birding about like free agents! Ah, Nigeria!
Why would anyone agonise over a man who defrauded pensioners of mere N32 billion? To be shocked or surprised is to diminish the stature of Nigeria as giant of corruption in Africa. Some may say the world. Furthermore, anyone who is angry over the maltreatment of police pensioners is yet to understand the depth of our soulless embrace of love of money. Look at the President. Despite his utopian pledges to transform Nigeria and exorcise the ghost of corruption, the guy is nothing but a latter day Nero who fiddles away while Nigeria burns. There is a touch of pantomime to his drive for transformation.
John Yakubu Yusufu is hugely heartless. He has been living a large, loud and comfortable existence by existing on poor pensioners money. And for this apostate infidel of a thief to walk away after killing thousands of pensioners is the ultimate postmodern assault on our legal system. However, we have to thank Justice Mohamed Talba for bringing forward the inevitability of Nigeria’s spring or grassroots revolution. His surname should be substituted for Taliban. Judge Talba is conservative, archaic and phoney. Judges are no longer the image of thick-rimmed, bookish and sombre characters we used to know. By training, tradition and temper, they are meant to be recluse and avoiders of world of corrupt contamination. His judgement on the N32 billion pension scam is nothing but a calamitous retreat from the habit of judicial fairness, the atrophy of upholding the sacred tenet of justice and the occupation of the realm of justice largely by cowardice, corruption and cant. His inaction to take proper action on the scam is affirming the accusation that in Nigeria justice is now privatised to the highest bidder.
Abroad, the actions of both John Yakubu Yusuf and Justice Mohamed Talba will again begin to prompt the racist conviction that Africans are naturally prone to evil, lying, stealing, wickedness, corruption, venality and mismanagement. Consider the evidence. In Nigeria, judges and politicians compete vaingloriously for the extreme manifestations of our excesses. They live on income they had never had to work for. They live in billion naira houses in Abuja. In a nation where majority of helpless Nigerians live on $1 a day. They borrow each other private jets doing money sorties to Dubai. They borrow each other’s wives. Believe it. These people are the worst philanderers on planet earth. Go and read the unpublished bed manner of their lifestyles.
Governors’ mansions meant for statecraft have been recrafted as places of high jinks and sadomasochism where girls in high heels and big boobs parade themselves like sacrificial goats before men whose provenance to govern has been highjacked painfully by perversion. Virgin and desolate islands are being converted and configured into apartheid playgrounds. First, it was Victoria Garden City in Lagos, then Maitama in Abuja and back again to Snake Island in Lagos. Yes, Snake island has been turned into a temple where rich Nigerian billionaires, many of them judges and politicians, bling about in opulent but ignoble vanity. Mike Adenuga, the Globacom chief, and his friends have metropolitanised and globalised this once sleepy Atlantic-encircled haven. There must be an enclave where they could live undisturbed by the wailings of latter day saints like Tunde Bakare and Dino Melaye.
This monumental waste in a nation of feral sufferers we call the Nigerian masses, majority of whom live on average of N150 per day. Is there anything more starkly ignoble of our egotism, backwardness, crudity, injustice, shame, failure, waste, ignorance and cultural affirmation of vanity? Believe it or not, Justice Mohamed Talba, John Yakubu Yusufu and the entire judicial and political class in this instance steer Nigeria back to the caves. Can we send these people to China?