Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Country and the Abuse of American Dollar


Fellow Nigerians, this is a very difficult moment in our country. It is also a confusing period for many of us. The only way to make sense out of the nonsense is to join the madness. We need to put ourselves in the position of those who see nothing wrong with our present predicament. If you’re on social media, you would be amazed at the contributions of some of our citizens who believe we actually live in Eldorado. Perhaps.
I’m beginning to think they are right and we are wrong. May be, we’ve been practically blinded by our inability to see and appreciate what the Federal Government has been able to achieve monumentally. I have no doubt that they are trying their best. My worry is if they can ever rise above this level even if they spend eternity. I decided to join their train this week and wish to invite you all to join me as I experiment a new style of reasoning. What you are about to read therefore is the voice from the other side of the divide. I’m determined to discover what drives those guys, why they don’t feel what we feel and we can’t feel how they feel. Is it that life is so good for them and so bad for the rest of us? For once, let’s try their shoes on and imagine their thought process. Why is it so difficult to accept their way of life and vice versa? Can there ever be a meeting point for us? The number of PDP operatives stuns me. What principle and ideology drives their faith? I see some very bright people and just wonder endlessly.
As I started writing this piece today, one song we used to sing in my childhood days came to my mind: “come and see, American wonder; come and see, American wonder.” Ours is a wondrously terrific country.
We’ve always been fascinated with the American way of life in particular and Western lifestyle in general. Many Nigerians would do anything possible to grab the almighty American visa and jump on the next available flight. Such is the attraction for, and the hypnotic effect of, going to America. This obsession has been a subject for movies and novels. The search for the American dollar has been a critical one for many who abandoned good jobs at home and headed to God’s own country in pursuit of the proverbial Golden Fleece or greener pastures.

Unknown to many of the sojourners, they no longer need to travel far before getting the American dollar. What they are looking for in Sokoto (North West Nigeria) is right there in their sokoto (trousers’ pocket). If in doubt, they should try Abuja and befriend the politicians who hold the keys to the vaults these days. Nothing is more lucrative than access to power. This is why the game has become a matter of life and death.
Once upon a time, politicians carried their booty inside Ghana-must-go-bags but that was then. The times have changed. No one wants to be captured on telephone cameras ferrying bags up and down. Trust us always to come up with ingenious solutions to every challenge. We are just a special breed and we’ve finally managed to bring America down to Nigeria. Or at least it’s much vaunted currency! Those who were smart enough to stay back, while many of their contemporaries absconded to yonder, are now reaping the gains of their uncommon wisdom via dollar rain at home.
I don’t know what went wrong or why eyebrows were raised last week when the paltry sum of $9.3m was discovered by some busybody agents in South Africa after a private jet (alias PJ) from Nigeria landed innocuously. I’m surprised that anyone would dare search such a super executive jet anywhere in Africa where the rich can get away with murder. The story that went viral was that a plane belonging to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, a man of God, close friend and confidant of our President, university owner, and so on, was pounced upon and searched comprehensively. What impudence! 
How could the South Africans have thought they can obnoxiously bully those who had the power to hire or lease or borrow such a plane on a James Bond mission? What were they looking for that they opened the bags or suitcases of these Very Important Personalities (VIPs)? Those nosey-parkers desecrated what would have come in quietly and much more could have followed soon in this season of TAN when many youths are seizing the opportunity of the jamborees to make something out of nothing.
The South Africans ought to have taken some serious lessons from the Swiss who were experts at seeing no evil and saying no evil. Just bring your money to Zurich and it shall be kept in some coded accounts. Well, until 9/11 came and America beamed its searchlight and steely eyes on terrorist accounts everywhere in the world.
The obstinate South Africans certainly didn’t understand the game and chose to spill the beans. Had they undergone tutelage under the Nigerian system with its godfathers and mafia dons, they would have known that it is always better to skim off the top! If they did, $9.3 million Dollars would definitely have made a nice little nest of eggs for some people.  The unfortunate South Africans thought they were doing their duty and assisting a friendly nation by revealing the antics of a few of its strong boys. Little did they realise that no one can dare monkey with our folks.
Pronto, our big guys in Abuja spoke out confidently that the money belongs to the Federal Government, a subtle way of telling Papa Jacob Zuma, please tell your guys not to try us for size as we are ready to flex our muscles and show you the special stuff we are made of. It was that simple.
They quickly came up with a simple and straight-forward justification for why they should carry $9.3m on a plane. The money was meant to buy arms. What’s strange in that? Are they not aware that some guys who call themselves Boko Haram have been terrorising our nation and killing our people senselessly? Have they not been reading international newspapers which I’m sure circulates in South Africa to see how our soldiers have been sacked unceremoniously from several parts of North East Nigeria with Boko Haram flags dancing kpalongo in the sun after they have departed? We needed to buy arms urgently and in our hurry we couldn’t wait for bank transfers which might take an eternity crawling from Abuja to New York before heading to Jo’burg.
Someone should tell that lawyer, Festus Keyamo, to mind his own business. I read his tirades and felt he should have understood the necessity to acquire ammunition by fire by force. Doesn’t he know that Abuja is swarming with defence contractors who are falling over themselves to try and help our almost hopeless situation? Boko Haram was not the creation of the present President. People who wished to make the country ungovernable and their evil allies conspired to wreak this havoc. I won’t be surprised if their spies alerted South Africa about this little money that was impounded. Who doesn’t know that arms are very expensive and difficult to source? That is the reason we hired an Israeli expert and paid him raw cash to make sure he delivers soonest.
It is sad that Nigerians are too difficult to please, if ever please-able at all. The same Nigerians who whine everyday about inferior fire-power of our soldiers are the same people grumbling that a meagre amount of money was found on a plane belonging to a man of God. Those trying to suggest satanic motives to this deal should please stop it. How can anyone say arms are being stockpiled in readiness for the battle for the Presidential seat in 2015? That is grossly unfair. Our President is a man of humility and humanity who has no reason to be desperate for re-election. He has had the big fortune of being permanently in government since about 1998 without having to fight for anything. He is a true reflection of someone who has been wildly chased about by luck and good fortune. Why would he want to buy guns to kill his own people when these same people have in their collective wisdom and superlative generosity elevated him to the highest position in the land without as much as a whimper?
We should thank all those working hard to bring the Boko Haram menace to an end. And these include Israeli arm dealers and high flying evangelists! We should no longer care about how much it costs to execute this intractable war that has left some parts of nation desolate. It is the luck of those who know where and how to secure contracts to procure the arms and airfreight them back home at whatever cost. We should not bother to envy them. Everything in Nigeria is turn by turn. Many have alleged that the country is broke but I can’t see the sign anywhere. A country that is broke would never be able to spend cash the way we’ve been doing lately. In the country, Nigerians now have over 200 private jets in the skies. If that is no veritable sign of prosperity I wonder what is.
Those who hate our President should leave him alone because the people and God put him in power. The APC and their rabble-rousers should go and put their houses in order before disrespecting a perfect gentleman who has brought unmatchable transformation to our shores. Our airports have been transformed beyond imagination. Our roads have become totally transfigured from North to South and West to East. Our bullet trains have started speeding from Lagos to Kano, Kaduna to Enugu and Minna to Abakaliki. Our hospitals are better equipped and doctors generously paid. Medical treatment is not only free it is also readily accessible.  Education has become of utmost priority and our students and lecturers are now very penitent and sucking up to the one who performed the miracle.
Unemployment has gone down drastically and former job-seekers are enjoying their new employed status with handsome salaries. Marriages are on the rise and couples are happy that no misery of unemployment awaits them again. Almost everyone can take a loan to buy cars or secure mortgages to build their own homes. We are now over-sufficient in food production. Dangote rice would soon flood the market at very affordable prices just like he has brought down the price of cement nationwide. Cassava bread has since replaced that stupid wheat imported at exorbitant prices. Yam tubers are available and cheaply too. Most homes and offices are enjoying uninterrupted power supply according to information reaching me from elated customers. Kerosene is in abundant supply for the less privileged to buy easily at affordable prices.
The only difficult area is that of insecurity and we are already winning the war. Even America has been fighting insurgents for long without total victory. 3,000 people died in New York on a single day, I don’t know why Nigerians are complaining about less than 300 abducted girls. Even if we assume they will never return to their parents again, that is only ten percent of those lost at the New York Twin Towers. No one asked President Bush to resign at the time, why are these rascals asking ours not to contest? Is it an offence to be a President at a wrong time in a wrong country? Is it because he comes from a minority tribe? It certainly has nothing to do with his competence or capabilities.  We know his predecessors were no better! Nigerians were even content for one of them to govern them even though he was in a state of coma!!! How can our Man’s critics complain about anyone else!
Whether the enemies like it or not, our President will serve till 2019 and even beyond, if we have our way and our grateful electorate willingly oblige. Anyone who is aggrieved about that reality can jump in the ocean. The oil belongs to us and this is the first time our son would get the power to manage the chicken that lays the golden eggs. They should let us enjoy what other tribes almost monopolised forever. If they can’t wait for our man to complete his second term at least then we are ready to go our separate ways. Scotland failed in its bid to wrest the North Sea oil from overbearing England, we shall not fail in our quest to control our God-given oil wealth and shame our Northern and South Western brothers who have subjugated us for too long! It will be fire for fire.
Wow, that last nightmare scenario woke me up!
I didn’t realise I’ve been dreaming all this while.
I’m now fully awake…
An article BY DELE MOMODU, originally published by Thisday
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