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Fun to be a Nigerian

By Owei Lakemfa
NOW and again, I come across old friends who ask how I cope with being committed to the Nigerian project for so long even as things degenerate from one generation to another.

I never let them into the secret, which is that rather than get angry or frustrated, I usually look at the funny side and laugh. It is only here I can catch such fun because other countries are too serious to allow the Nigeria-like tragedy to take place.
Just some days ago,  came the report that a foreign construction firm, Allgemen Bau Co got leave of a Lagos High Court to seize any stadium in the country and sell to recover the N2.8 million owed it  for the construction of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.

The debt with an interest rate of  21 per cent per annum, now stands at N17.7 million.  The judgement had been given  on March 16, 1998 by Justice Moni Fafiade.  Now the company has leave  of the court to levy execution.

Given the prime area it is sited, I am sure our elites would prefer  that the firm sells the Abuja National Stadium which can be converted into a high brow housing estate. There are many parasites masquerading as estate developers who can fetch the company a tidy sum for the stadium.

If you think it is impossible to seize the stadium, then you have not heard of the man who seized the Edo State Ministry of Education under similar circumstances. With court bailiffs and a formidable armed police detachment, the entire ministry was seized, the commissioner, staff and members of the public were prevented entry.

Only the intervention of  a senior police officer  lifted the siege, but the “new owner” has vowed to sell the ministry and recover his money, did he mention about N6 million?

If  the Inspector General of Police long ago ordered the dismantling of police checkpoints across the country, why are they still intact? In fact, the nightmarish multiple motor accident   that claimed scores of lives and vehicles in Lagos on Sunday August 15, 2010 was attributed to one of these check-points.

The out-going President of the Nigeria  Bar Association (NBA), Mr Rotimi Akeredolu has a brilliant suggestion; the checkpoints are business centres. In this age of global melt down, sick banks and de-industrialisation,  many in the police will not agree with their boss that such a lucrative  industry should be dismantled.

But Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Azubuko Joel Udah argues that checkpoints are gone. “You see, we are not blocking the roads. What you call a roadblock is a mere stop-and-search”.

From 1985 to ’93 a veteran coup plotter, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida  styled himself ‘president’. When the International Monetary Fund claimed during a nationally televised visit to him that at N9 to a dollar, our currency was overvalued, the General on the spot announced the devaluation of the Naira by 100 per cent!

Today, he says he wants to be elected president, and one of his reasons? The  low value of the Naira!

Our democracy is supposed to be party- based, but it is difficult to know which party some powerful politicians belong. For instance, while Babangida wants the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket to be awarded him on the  basis of zoning, he has his own private party.

In other words, he belongs to at least two political  parties. If you think this is quite maradonic, then how do you describe politicians whose  party  you guess at your own peril.

A few weeks ago, Abia State  governor, Theodore Orji was in the PPA, then he moved to the  All Progressives  Grand Alliance  (APGA) and today he is claimed by the PDP which has already given him a waiver to contest the 2011 elections on its platform. It will not be strange if he were to emerge as  the  INEC- registered gubernatorial  of two or more parties; Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State achieved that feat in 2007.

I respect the family and do not think that people’s families should be dragged to the public space. It is therefore unfortunate that the wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Olufunke Daniel  has been dragged into the ragged politics of the state.

But when invited by the police over allegations made by Mr Tunde Oladunjoye that she had led a crowd to invade his home, damage his property and injured his aide, she politely sent a statement.

The Governor’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr Lamidi Odulanwa  told the media that  he and Secretary to the State Government, Mr Adegbemi Onakoya had come to represent Mrs Daniel  at the police station because they believe  her husband’s immunity as governor  also covers her!

If  a governor‘s wife has immunity  because the husband has constitutional immunity, what about the children and extended family, friends and political associates? They all should by extension have immunity.

Oyo State governor, Chris Alao-Akala enjoyed the support of the state National Union of Road Transport Workers chairman,  Lateef Akinsola alias Tokyo.  Those were in the glorious days when Baba  Lamidi Adedibu was the garrison commander of the Ibadan streets.

Later they fell out and Tokyo’s deputy,  Lateef Salako alias Eleweomo was imposed as chairman.

Tokyo headed for the National Industrial Court (NIC) which reinstated him. But the refusal of the  Eleweomo group with the obvious backing of the Akala government to vacate peacefully, led to violence.

Then the Governor as the chief security officer who should have upheld the  judgement in the first place, banned the union.  As a governor with numerous lawyers, advisers and commissioners, including one for Justice whom I believe is a lawyer, it seems that  Akala who incidentally is a former Divisional Police Officer does not know that labour is on the exclusive legislative list; this means that his ban violates the constitution.

On the other hand, he may not be ignorant , but is merely  continuing the governance of brigandage  to which the state has been subjected.


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