Abeni Aso-Oke

Elite brigandage and Tinubu’s class suicide, by Hassan Gimba

Elite brigandage and Tinubu’s class suicide, by Hassan Gimba
Abeni Aso-Oke
Let us face it and tell ourselves the truth, bitter as it is: all patriotic Nigerians conversant with happenings among our elite class will be disappointed with the sordid behaviour of most of them.
And their behaviour is further putting a strain on the fabric that holds the country together.
In the first place, they never consider justice or fair play. Many of them have a grandiloquent idea of being chosen, especially by God, and blessed above everyone else. Their regard and consideration are, therefore, only to their ilk. This is why they never think it is the right thing to do to respect even the laws and the constitution from which they derive their privileges.
Some of them see it as doing the masses a favour when they use government funds to deliver some services. A few years ago, we had one governor who christened himself Chief Servant, and whatever the state government did, he had no qualms claiming it was “donated by Chief Servant”! Cheeky! And to think that he went to school and rose to the apex of the civil service before switching to political office. He once publicly said that those who cannot lie have no business being politicians. Fancy that!
Some of the political leaders paint public structures in their image, affixing their unofficial names to them. This personalisation of governance and appropriation of the commonwealth is so brazen because they have already taken the people they govern for granted. And this is so because the people themselves do not seem to know their rights or, if they did, cannot demand them.
And the people have so ceded their constitutionally given power over the so-called powerful men that they have become toothless. They will spend four years complaining, wailing, crying, and gnashing of teeth over their poor choice, but lo and behold, a packet of noodles is enough to make them “rechoose” their tormentors over better candidates who could not ‘shake body’.
Sometimes, the elite are no better than the bandits terrorising the people. The differences are only that they may speak better English than the bandits because they had the opportunity to go to school. They have also found themselves in a position of leadership because our political leadership recruitment processes often give preference to political bandits over political ‘saints.’
Or how else would one explain the erstwhile strong man of Kogi State, the ‘White Lion’ himself, doing hide-and-seek with the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)? This was a man, codenamed “Tatatata” (mimicking the sound of gunfire) in the 2019 election, under whose watch thugs terrorised Kogites, even burning alive an opposition party’s women leader.
Now, like Turji or Dogo Gide, he is hiding from the law. Turji and Dogo Gide did not have the privilege of running to the courts, but hey, a bandit is a bandit.
One Igbo proverb says that when the mother goat is eating grass, the kid will be watching its mouth. Now even the children of the elite are treading their path. Just recently, the son of El-Rufa’i was cautioned by the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Yusuf Liman, for sending him threatening messages via WhatsApp just because his father, who loaded debt on the state, is being probed.
But if the sins of el-Rufa’i’s son can be overlooked, what of that of a sitting governor who is the chief security officer of his state? To be part of a conspiracy to whisk away a fugitive from justice is not a small infraction of the Constitution. In a saner nation, that act alone would cause him to lose his office. But then, we live in Nigeria, where anything can happen.
Then we also see a state house of assembly, some newspaper houses, lawyers, organisations, and associations all rooting for someone who should know better but chose to be no better than those hiding from the law in the bushes. And you cry for Nigeria and wonder if there is any hope for her.
However, if what has been going on under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is any indicator, then Yahaya Bello can only run for now but can not hide; the eagle claws of the law will clamp him.
We have seen what befell the erstwhile Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele, minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Betta Edu (for how long will they remain suspended?), and many others, the latest of which is former minister Hadi Sirika of the Nigerian Air Debacle.
President Tinubu has shown that he is not a tiger who is being wagged by its tail. In the last administration, the lawbreakers-in-office largely went scot-free, with the principal adopting a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil posture, ensconced in his Aso Villa cocoon. But not this president, who is committing class suicide by dealing with brigands in his social class.
The Hausa man said, “Ba a yabon dan kuturu sai ya kai arba’in.” It is early days yet, and there is no hurray until we see the end, whether this is just a red herring or something serious.
Hassan Gimba is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Neptune Prime.

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