January 1, 2012, Fuel subsidy was removed by one sway annoucement by the President, and the story started. I recall that people had travelled to the village for Christmas, including yours truly, and when the news broke, transport prices soared by over 500%, people were stranded in their villages for want of extra cash after the holiday to pay fare back to their stations. Of course, Nigerians responded with some of the finest demonstrations we had ever experienced and with the least fatality. I remember, free music at freedom park in Lagos - Femi Kuti, Kwam 1, also free food, free poses by celebrities, I remember 2 music videos that came out to commemorate the event, then plenty speeches. What was the result? The House of Representatives set up a fuel subsidy probe panel to review fuel subsidy, the Federal Executive also set up a panel to examine the oil importers and how they have been paid the oil subsidy money, and with the nation on their case, little did we know the stage was being set for drama no. 2:
The Otedollar and Farouk Lawan Saga. In the heat of the subsidy probe panel, sparks began to fly. The two men were busy sharing bribe money about $600,000 and putting the cash in their caps, and then the drama ensued - "I gave you money!", "No you did not give any money!", then it changed to, "I have a video, and the video recorded how I gave you the money at my house", and the response "I took it because I had reported it to the security agents" then the joke went on, and in the truly Nigeria style, they set up enquiries, then it went to court and it has been there ever since - Otedollar, still in the government's convoy of Nigeria business men and policy tink-tank, Farouk, now a sober and quite member of the House of Rep, still collecting his pay, court case on indefinite suspension, and all subsidy people, still collecting their money.
With that story still flaming, the Hembe Vs Arummah Oteh saga started - "She must give account of activities in the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), She has been living in the Hotel for over a year and spent over N1m (or one ridiculously large amount) for lunch" and the cross accusations began to fly. Story had it that Hembe had collected estacode to travel abroad on behalf of SEC, travel he did not travel and money he did not return, then another vague story that he had asked to be given "money" (as the custom is) to grease the enquiry, and Arummah had refused. Of course, after much talk, the enquiry stopped. Going forward, the House refused to approve SEC budget because of the confession or confusion depending on who is talking, Hembe and his crew faced a panel then they were sent to court. Of course, Hembe is now a quiet member of the House, Arummah still the head of SEC, and the case in court, maybe it will come up again in 10 years time.
Haa, I missed out an imbetween story, May 29th, 2012, there was the great re-Christening. UNILAG became MAUL in that infamous speech. Story had it that all UNILAG folks, especially the "sister" both past and present, could not believe their ears and the possibilty of their beloved university, their pride undergoing complete brand excavation. What! Change UNILAG to MAUL, unbelievable. Result, no point scored, infact points lost, pronouncement taken to court, and suspended, UNILAG name remains the same, but the drama was really exciting for as long as it lasted.
2013 had its unique twists. Firstly it was BH being promised Amnesty after they have bombed the life out of the North. As they were being promised Amnesty, America was busy chasing two borthers down the street for bombing and killing just 3 people. Anyway, to applaud the government, they finally did the right thing, put fire in the bum of BH, sent the army after them, and that at least laid the amnesty idea to rest.
Time will not permit to talk about the free for all fight at the Rivers House of Assembly, where one "Honourable" was filmed smashing the House Mace on his colleague's head severally. The cute thing about the story was that the guy that almost broke his colleagues head into pieces was snapped lying down on a hospital bed with drip in his hand, and was claiming he was the one violated. Anyway, pictures tell a thousand words.
But the hottest gist is that the all famous Al-Mustapha of the Abacha folktales was discharged and acquitted of the death of Kudirat Abiola. What! Who did not know about Al-Mustapha and the "gestapo styled army" they ran under Abacha in those days of yore. I sort of recall the mood of the country after their arrest and the subsequent remand in custody,and fast forward 14 years, he had not only being discharged and acquitted, he was given a state welcome in his home state and it was even said that all his entitlements in the army would be paid to him. Of course trust NIgerians, everyone is already saying he will be joining politics and will most probably be in the "House" come 2015. But you know something interesting, the Abiola family have made no comments on the issue.
These are my concerns, how would a nation be run like this and ever achieve greatness. When will we finally begin to look like those developed countries that we all love to visit, to spend our hard earned money in. Can we ever imagine what would have become of the countries if they too had been trailing our path and expecting God to be the final arbiter? One of my colleagues said "God will judge all these people", but I said, God will judge all mankind good and bad, but on earth, God will not wear the Chief Justice's robe and punish evil doers for us. We need to change direction as a country if we have plans to experience the good life like we see it on television. But I must close with what the Holy Book says "Because the punishment for sin is not quickly executed, the heart of men is set to do evil".