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President Tinubu exposes Nigeria’s big thieves

By Tunde Odesola

Have you ever been to Italy? Whether real or virtual, a visit to Italy will hypnotise you. Italy is the canvas painted by the gods of art, architecture, culture, literature, opera, fashion, food and history, spreading through the Pope-led Vatican City, whose independent government inside another city, Rome, is called the Holy See, (The god’s canvas stretches) stretching to Venice, Florence, Milan, Bologna, Siena, Verona etc, in a cuddle of concrete and sexiness. Welcome to Italy!

I stiffen when politicians talk but listen when a Pope talks. Pope John XXIII, an Italian, upon retrospection about life, waxes philosophically: “Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.”

For me, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Pope John XXIII’s family is luckier. The economic strangulation sweeping across Nigeria has mostly zipped up men’s trousers against womanising and generally dried up pockets against gambling while bandits have chased farmers out of farmlands nationwide. Methinks Nigerians have come to ruin mainly in three ways: leadership, corruption and passivity.

Another Italian, Professor Carlo Cipolla, an economic historian, expanded the meaning and scope of idiocy in his theoretical book, “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity,” published in 1976, in which he identified five fundamental laws of stupidity. In general, Cipolla argues that stupid people suffer from arrogance, self-delusion, persistent ignorance, absent-mindedness and more.

His first law of stupidity is that everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. Cipolla’s second law of stupidity says the probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person – that is, he may be a professor, doctor, judge or inventor while the third states that a stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself derives no gain and even possibly incurs losses.

In his fourth law, Cipolla says non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals, adding that, in particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places, and under any circumstances, to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake. He concludes in his fifth law that a stupid person is the most dangerous type of person, worse than a pillager.

The way many Nigerians argue when issues boil down to morality, decency, honour and corruption will make Cipolla coil in his earthen bed dug for him since 2000 at the age of 78. The way the majority of Nigerians stupidly opaque transparent issues made me seek more understanding of stupidity and Cipolla came to my rescue.

A serial thief was jailed in the US for consecutive internet frauds and deported twice. The hustler ran back to the illustrious Iwo community of Osun, and emerged king, using religion and slavish philanthropy as opium, yet a lot of people are hailing him. Hailing a daylight ólè dancing ijó ìyà in the palace with a stolen lamb. Commenting in a WhatsApp group, some members of the stupidity gang even said the Yahoo-Yahoo crimes of the king were unknown to Nigerian laws. Another member declared the ruler whiter than snow. I’ll not talk.

Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom oversteps the borders of introduction. The sage once said, “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.”

Ogden Nash was an American poet popular for his unconventional rhyming schemes. Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, was named after his father’s brother, Francis, a Revolutionary War general. “There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all,” Nash said. Having no conscience at all is the lot of the stupidity gang twisting the truth out of Nigeria’s realities.

President Bola Tinubu is not a prisoner of conscience, he’s a pricker of conscience. Tinubu pricked the conscience of Nigeria’s civil servants a few days ago when he rightly called for the heads of public workers still receiving salaries despite relocating abroad. THE NATION newspaper quoted the President as saying, “We must ensure those responsible are held accountable and restitution is made. The culprits must refund the money they fraudulently collected, and their supervisors and department heads must also face consequences for their complicity.” I offer a clap offering to the President for his clear conscience.

Eri Okan is a 1983 song by King Sunny Ade, the ageless Juju music superstar. It’s my top pick among all KSA’s songs. Eri Okan means conscience. In the forever green song, KSA describes Eri Okan as the unseen witness who watches the doer of good and evil, pricking the doer accordingly. He prays for his conscience to vindicate him.

In his 1975 song, “Iduro S’oro,” KSA talks about the beauty of question and answer, explaining that both are mutually inclusive. Adegeye, however, cautions that anyone bent on receiving an answer to a question should also be ready to receive a hiding just as he warned the evil-doing adáni lóró of recompense.

I don’t want to receive answers to my article from the army of stupidity who always pounce to defend the ignoble in palaces, parliaments, presidency and everywhere. I don’t want war; I want peace! The stupidity gang, which comprises many civil servants, whom the government told it can’t afford N70,000 minimum wage, sees nothing wrong in the FG building a house of N21bn for Vice President Kashim Shettima, leaving the mind to wonder if Vice President Yemi Osinbajo lived on a tree.

With his alacrity in unmasking economic saboteurs, President Tinubu should kúkú double up as the Minister of Police Affairs, Inspector General of Police, EFCC Chairman and Generalissimo, Operation Amotekun.

June was the month the Alaafin Molete, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, died 16 years ago. Kwara-born Odolaiye Aremu was a popular and peaceful-looking songster but his Dadakuade music was a stormy petrel. In his renowned panegyric on Adedibu, Odolaiye captures the essence of Nigeria’s political class. Exploring poetic licence, Odolaiye describes Adedibu as an unyielding and unbending hard nail. Odolaiye says Adedibu storms the heart of Ibadan and returns home with plenty of chickens, adding that Adedibu didn’t buy the chickens in his possession, neither did he steal them nor were they given to him by the owner; the chickens were only unfortunate!

Exasperated by the callousness of the political class, foremost Nigerian columnist, Tunde Fagbenle, in an article, “A sickening country of conscienceless people,” published eight years ago, berated the lifetime salaries and emoluments ex-presidents, ex-governors and ex-deputy governors receive. Fagbenle said only a bloody revolution could reset the country’s feet on the path of redemption.

A back-pat should be given Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, who refused the lifetime payment despite being an ex-governor. The same commendation goes to former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, who in 2023, wrote to the Ogun State Government to stop the payment of his retirement benefits, saying receiving such would amount to double emoluments – going by the fact that he is now in the Senate. Daniel said since he left office as governor in 2011, he has not received any welfare package from the state. Many former governors and their deputies are currently in the National Assembly, receiving salaries for their old and new jobs, feeding from two cauldrons in the hamlet of the proverbial Àlàdé.

I didn’t forget that each of these spongy leaders had their state governments build for them in the locations of their choices within the country a palace. They also get brand new cars of their choice as and when due.

Today, there’s no more space for holes in the common man’s belt, he’s now thinner than a rake, his life is popping out of his mouth like a dog hit by a truck. He’s stressed, frightened and threatened. Yet the revolution called for by Fagbenle won’t happen because the stupidity gang will make itself available to be used by government though their members suffer, too.

The President is busy looking for money to alleviate the economy, the economy of the Villa. The President needs a new jet. New president, new jet. Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, said the Tinubu administration has its gaze on the N20trn available within ‘the pensions, life insurance and investment fund industry’ (his words) to borrow money for infrastructural development. The presidential jet is a critical infrastructure, of course.

There’s no money! There’s no money! There’s no money to pay Labour a living wage. The only money available is to subsidise Hajj for N90bn, buy a presidential yacht, take care of the elected and prepare for re-election. Where’s the prodigal son?

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @Tunde Odeola
X: @Tunde_Odesola

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