Grimot Nane Zine

Aso Rock Suspensions and the Game of WHOT

When the suspensions of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir David Lawal, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke, by the Presidency were announced yesterday, many enthusiastically hoped it was the beginning of the serious disciplinary approach to dealing with malfeasance and nonfeasance in the Nigerian government. Others may say, too little too late, but it can doubtlessly be built upon. The Big Thieves in government and outside it, will not be sleeping now, but orchestrating watertight schemes that will prevent their heads from rolling. Power is sweet especially when stolen funds pay for it. There lies the dilemma the enables corruption to fight back decisively; the money that hooks in the throat. It is always a mistake to appoint many highly corrupt individuals to government.

If these suspensions by the presidency are just public relations backed up by the ‘fall of a favourite’ tactics, intended as a diversion from the embarrassing “cash seizure scandals” it will remind many people of the table Game of WHOT which often concludes with the words “suspension, suspension, pick three, pick two, last card, check.” Put differently, people will know it is just another breakfast game.

One need not dwell on the reasons for the suspensions of Lawal and Oke, not because they are not important but due to the nature of the government in office. A current government that is aggressively blamocratic and blames everyone but itself would with time eventually turn in on its own, if history teaches us anything. Lawal and Oke are the first big casualties and we can expect heavy blamocratic tactics used on them by their employers if their suspensions are upgraded to dismissals. If they are reinstated to office, the government would find someone else outside power structure to blame. A game theorists’ festival.

Right now, the suspensions are comparably in the stage of the Game of WHOT were the player holding the demand card says, “I need stars [or circles or squares]” which is either a game-ender or a bluff. Is the presidency now serious or not about governance discipline? Those who “invested” heavily in the current government did so primarily for securing returns on investment, office, relevance and impunity. The government has a lot to need if it wants to win its battle against corruption. The painful question is, will those in power and outside it, give the government what it needs from them to win?

Nigerians too need something from the government. Not more games, not WHOT. Nigerians need good governance and justice from the government. Most Nigerians will support any action of the government that will GENUINELY end hyper-corruption in the country.

Grimot Nane

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