Corruption is essentially a phenomenon that is highly secretive mostly because its perpetrators seek to avoid the consequences of detection, prosecution and conviction. In Nigeria, and for a long time corruption in high places has been both visible and morally-neutral because of the generous guarantee of impunity public officials readily enjoy. However, the impunity guaranteed by government inertia appears to be insufficient for thieving public officials. Nowadays, lawmakers actually enact bills to destroy those who have the temerity to detect, expose or prosecute their very own cases of corruption and enact bills to immunise themselves against detection and prosecution. Is there not supposed to be a “War Against Corruption” (WAC) going on in Nigeria? Continue reading
Between 1999 and 2007 there was an acute frenzy of political aspirations occurring among Nigerians in the diaspora; it was quite an evident wave. The frenzy was about Nigerians seeking to return home to go successfully into politics and hold office or get lucrative contracts from the government. Pre-1999, many if not the majority of Nigerian males in the diaspora were quite content to live indefinitely overseas but after the 1999 return to democracy, it was rare to find a Nigerian male who was ‘away’ that did not want to return to Nigeria to make it big. That was the birth of the “X say make I come home” era.
For ‘X say make I come home’ the X was either, Obasanjo, Ibori, Igbinedion, Tinubu, Duke, Akande, Odili, Omene, Makoju, Clarke or any other leading politician or technocrat in power. ‘X say make I come home’ had a stilted drama to it. It was said in a smug, self-congratulatory, ostensibly humble, ‘I have arrived’ manner. ‘X say make I come home’ was perhaps the most prestigious thing a Nigerian in the diaspora could utter to his fellow compatriot expatriates at the turn of the Millennium. Nigerians were returning home in large numbers to make it big or have a comfortable life.
Many that went home to ‘the call’ experienced a mixed bag of fortunes and outcomes which could be classified into four distinct groups. The “Winners” went home and landed great jobs or won major elections or got juicy contracts without much ado or with a bit of a struggle. Some eventually became ministers, governors, state commissioners, directors in government agencies, local government chairmen, assemblymen, representatives, and senators. Others became personal assistants, special assistants and unofficial proxies to the winners, sharing in their often fabulous good fortune. Then there were the glorious contactors.
The “Runners” were the hustlers who had to work very hard to get any income or privileges to could secure. It was usually tough for runners but they eventually got lucrative contracts from their contacts in government. The fortune of the most successful runners was “win big, lose big”; their actions always had high stakes. More often than not, non-payment or severely delayed payments for contracts executed and completed was their Achilles heel. Many were crushed due to payment uncertainties.
The “Testers” were the ones that went to Nigeria with resources that would last them for up to eighteen months while they were prospecting for position and contracts in Nigeria. It appears that for this group of prospectors were quite pragmatic since many returned to their bases in diaspora when their resources ran out and the success of the ambitions remained unfulfilled. However, the testers were also a major feeder group for the winners and runners who eventually made it (big).
The “Shock Absorbers” are so-called because they appeared immune to the consequences and awareness of failure to the point of being rescued back to diaspora by third parties. A few shock absorbers did make it to the rank of winner and runner. The tales of the experiences of shock absorbers were often tragic and sometimes fatal. We leave it at that.
While the winners constituted (max.) 5% and the runners (max.) 15% of those who had said ‘X say make I come home’ the other 80% was a mix of unsuccessful Testers and Shock Absorbers. Most of the all the winners and most of the runners have remained in Nigeria while nearly all the unsuccessful testers and shock absorbers are back in the diaspora. In a nutshell, at best only 1 in every 5 made it well enough to go to Nigeria and sustain themselves enduringly there but only 1in every 20 fulfilled their dreams of “making it big in Nigeria.
These days we no longer hear guys in diaspora uttering the line ‘X say make I come home’. Most who got the call were disappointed by the patrons who “invited” them home. Some of such patrons strung their invitees along till they ran out of resources to fend for themselves then dropped them. Some invitees lacked the skills and acumen to make it in Nigeria even though they had sufficient opportunities to succeed presented to them. Others fell out with or lost the favour of their patrons. Quite a number had impatient wives back in the diaspora who were impatient with the delays in their husbands earning a repatriate-able income and pressured them to return. There were other factors too.
While the winners and some runners are smiling to bank many in the diaspora now realise that the days returning home was bound to bring a man success and financial independence just because he was from the diaspora or had very high ambitions are no longer here, they are gone… for most. You can still find people going home to make it big but in small numbers.
These days many Nigerians in the diaspora are content to earn their pension there or do so grudgingly without any recourse to go back home.
When President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 general elections, he did so largely with the support of neutral and anti-PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) commentators. Everything bad in Buhari’s life history was to be forgotten and everything good was in ascendance. From another perspective, it was very difficult for practitioners of competent thinking to justify the pervasive profligacy behemoth of PDP while in power. The ministerial appointments Babs Fashola, Timi Amaechi and other ‘gubernatocrats’ that took more than half a year to make that was the start of the negation of support for President Buhari. Many thinking men deserted except the likes of Wole Soyinka turned their backs on and pens against Buhari. But many political miracles were promised by the Buhari government. Where are they? Continue reading
While Nigeria was being firmly gripped by the ostensible “showbiz” of anti-corruption promoted by the new Nigerian government before and after the 2015 elections, many crimes were largely kept out of the mainstream media mostly because they were not expedient. Only anti-corruption mattered. A popular political youth leader, Dr Ugonna Omereonye, was brutally murdered in Imo State where his main enemy was the Governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha. This is not an attempt to implicate the governor in the murder but examine a very disturbing reality. Ugonna’s death needs proper revisiting. Continue reading
Nigeria has had many deadlines foist upon its public through its chiefs governmental agencies as a show of commitment or as a precursor to a privatisation. Deadlines have been set by successive presidents as a test point for the management and performance, mostly in the electric power and the oil and gas sectors. However, there is a now a radically new deadline set by the president; the terrorist group that has continuously humiliated the Nigerian state for years, Boko Haram, will be completely annihilated by the Nigerian armed forces in December 2015. This is an order issued to the Nigerian military chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari. Again? Continue reading
Nigeria since independence in 1960 has had six democratically elected executives, the most recent being Muhammadu Buhari. The country has also had seven military heads of state; six by way of coup d’état). No democratically elected head of state from Tafawa Balewa to Goodluck Jonathan has ever gotten into power on electoral promises of anti-corruption while all six military coups were staged on the raison d’etre of fighting corruption. Anti-corruption has thus never been exploited for election purposes in Nigeria, until 2015. Change? Continue reading
The South West has now been, rightfully or wrongfully, disaffected by President Muhammadu Buhari and his “Northern Bloc”. The unholy alliance between the North and the South West fostered for the 2015 elections in Nigeria is over. Buhari’s parking ex-Governor Bola Tinubu into the corner is tantamount to parking the entire South West into the corner. Tinubu has been outsmarted in every department by Buhari and some. Continue reading