By Oyinkan Medubi
This child would not have had the temerity to affront the ears and eyes of Nigerians with this N900m obscenity if his parent had taken him aside and taught him properly: shshsh, let us keep our stolen monies secret in these days of EFCC!
Last week, the story broke that the twenty-five year-old son of a former minister had bought himself a princely N900m racing car! So, obviously, Pa Olusegun Obasanjo’s list of emperors consisting only of ex- and present governors needs a review; we must add ex- and present ministers, ex- and present senators, ex-presidents, ex- and present godfathers, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, etc.
I was quite startled sometime ago when I watched a TV news report about a governor in the south east of the country. The news is now forgotten, but I can never forget the self-presentation style of the governor. He arrived in a huge jeep alongside of which some of his aides were running until it came to a stop. Then he alighted from the said jeep, like a goggled god come to walk on mortal ground among mortal men, swinging a cane. I swear it looked to me like he was prepared to use that cane on any of his aides should they forget to clean the sole of his shoes as he took each step.
I say, when I saw this scenario, I had to pinch myself to see if I was awake or asleep or in a democracy. I was awake alright; I was in a democracy alright; and the said governor, I found out, had been ‘elected’. Obviously, sometime after the election, there was a transmutation in the man from an elected state official to Dr. Frankenstein.
Unfortunately, this metamorphosis seems to have occurred in all of our state officials. There is a virus that promptly bites them all, soon after being elected, and changes these men from simpering, begging and innocuous looking candidates to rich monsters of a sudden. Once elected, they begin to measure all men by the length of their own access to state treasury. Other men who do not have an access near or equal to their own such as you the tailor or carpenter or me the pen swordsman (or woman), are no longer worthy to touch their shoes. Only other rich men can touch their shoes.
Seriously though, the ex-president once again got it right with that accusation about governors, ministers, senators, ex-presidents, councilmen etc., but actually, the situation is much worse. If they lived like emperors and did not corrupt the young, fragile and impressionable ones around them, life would be tolerable for us. We would ask these emperor-governors to keep snacking on their champagnes and sniffing their ‘smacks’ for breakfast while we, in our innocence, continue slurping our corn pap and sniffing their morals. It’s our God-given right.
However, when these goggled gods begin to teach their young ones that it is all right to be a spendthrift, then we must complain. Take the story mentioned above involving a minister’s son who is said to have bought a Nine Hundred Million Naira Car! According to reports, the said son is just TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD! This means most importantly that his life is actually just beginning and he has decided to take it in this particular direction. This comes a bit shy of throwing stones at the sun. It’s madness.
This young man proves what we have consistently maintained on this column: that there is nothing wrong with our young ones that twisting the parents’ heads around a bit will not fix. In short, the parents are the things wrong with the children in over ninety per cent of cases. This child would not have had the temerity to affront the ears and eyes of Nigerians with this N900m obscenity if his parent had taken him aside and taught him properly: shshsh, let us keep our stolen monies secret in these days of EFCC!
Better still, I would have wished that the parents had taken him aside and taught him that with great privileges come great responsibilities. Too many emperor-governors/presidents, ministers and senators in Nigeria are teaching their young what ex-Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, is said to have taught Nigerians: that money is not our problem but how to spend it. Not long ago, we heard a young one had posted pictures of the interiors of his father’s house abroad on the internet. It was supposed to incite our envy and it did.
Now, we have young ones frolicking around the world like lion cubs without manes spending in ignorance what does not belong to their fathers. In the process, of course, many of them have been killed, gaoled, or drugged out of their heads. Blame the parents.
Parents have the responsibility of throwing their young ones into the arena of work. I’ve told you this story before but I’ll tell it again. A man watched as a baby bird fell out of a tree in his yard. Looking up, he saw the nest and returned the wee thing there. Within minutes, the baby was back on the ground. Once again, he picked it up and returned it. Again, he saw that the baby was on the ground. He then looked and saw Mama Bird hovering nearby. Then, he understood that the bird was being taught to fly. He then told his young one: Go get a job! A job before a reward is nature’s way.
Our emperor-governors/presidents/minsters/senators, however, put money in their young ones’ hands before jobs. Presumably, the young man in our story has never been introduced to the world of work, yet he has been introduced into the world of such big spending many countries are hissing in envy. Now, how do you expect him to respect work? No one who has worked a day in his life will put down that sum on an article that can crash, be stolen or can kill.
It is strange though that our ex-president is just mentioning that Nigerian governors are living very extravagant lives. It went on just as much in his time. There were rumours that some states’ structures built with state funds were converted to the governors’ personal ownership. There were rumours of governors who built state of the art hospitals outside the country with their states’ funds. There was another who was robbed of suitcases containing millions of Naira… Indeed, he would have better security reports of all that went on in his time than me…
These stories we have been dealing with just show what we do with stolen money; and that our goggled gods are a little short on the maturity needed to wear the mantle of office. Without this necessary item, people will easily fall into pomposity, dark goggles, arrogance, indiscretions, mismanagement of office and children, etc. And they would not know the difference.
The Nigerian story is really pathetic. Since independence, nearly everyone (not all certainly) sent to rescue the country has turned around to desecrate her. It’s a little like someone kitted out to spring someone out of prison, but who gets there and builds a stronger and tighter iron grill to barricade the fellow in. This is exactly what Nigeria’s goggled gods are doing: barricading the country behind poverty lines by giving their children the country’s money to purchase trivial, intangible and inconsequential N900m cars. May God help us!