Rapacious Beasts in State Houses
By Omolaja Ogedengbe
This is very curious but also very true. The Holy Writings depict human rulers as wild animals – beasts – and nothing could be truer than this graphic representation. The 7th chapter of the book of Daniel verses 3 through 7 and Revelation 17:3-17 provide vivid portrayal of the beasts as human leaders. In Jesus’ time, the source of political power was traced to the wicked one – Satan – Luke 4:6. Why then would beasts emerging from the sea of mankind not be ferocious and beaten by the rapacity bug?
When Justice Ovie Whiskey, Second Republic Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) Chairman was alleged to have received N2 million bribe from the then ruling party, he laughed it off saying he would faint if he saw such huge amount. The judge was probably speaking the truth as he might never have come close to such in and after his illustrious judicial career. But within the four years and three months the Shehu Aliyu Shagari administration lasted in Nigeria, Chief Meredith Adisa Akinloye, ruling national party chairman, celebrated his hitting the billion naira mark in London with specially branded bottled champagne. Akinloye hit the mark by precisely loitering in the corridors of power and when the rampaging putchists, led by Muhammadu Buhari, successfully coveted power, January 1983, Adisa fled to Britain to enjoy his loot. Those cited sums were hefty money at a time the local currency was at par with the United States of America’s dollar.
Money and power flow in torrents in government nowadays and the constitutionally infused power at whatever level is near absolute and has been corrupting absolutely in climes where probity and selfless service have grown wings and flown faraway like doves. The people in governments in this part of the world are the real madmen who have been provided with hoes and are rabidly scooping the nation’s resources in all the three tiers to their personal sides.
The recent revelation that some state governors, past and present, have scooped more than a mouthful pension package for themselves ought not to come as a shock. Neither should anyone familiar with kleptomaniac proclivity of Nigeria’s wild beastly rulers be aghast about those VIPs (vagabonds in power) voracity. The governors’ ability to formalise their ‘oju kokoro’ (covetousness) though lackeys in state assemblies is indicative of the fact that Nigerians have enthroned jackals all through.
A state governor in South West lost re-election bid in 2011 and realising that the new rampaging beast would hack him down financially, defied a truculent judicial system and shovelled mouth-watering severance packages for himself and his henchmen. Another in the same zone earlier on assumption of office, sacked the tax consultants engaged by his predecessor, incorporated a company with which he replaced the old firm. He conquered all contenders to the state house at the end of his terms and installed his errand boy who would not ruffle a feather. He thus exercised insidious bizarre financial hegemony on the state. Another in the South East was not that successful as the erstwhile lackey revolted. Governors keenly desire to be succeeded by puppets. The rogues’ incredible ability to cover-up makes them invincible to security agencies’ prying eyes but they cannot hide from God and are just clever by half before discerning private eyes.
The impunity veiled in overt constitutional immunity clause, lure and allures of power, the perks and perquisites of near maximum rulers are so inviting, captivating and overwhelming that the occupant would not be willing to let go. He thus itches to sustain his office lifestyle even outside power. If a governor has to steal in the prevailing circumstances, it has to be in billions of naira and the money is there ‘yanfu-yanfu’ that even full-throttled kleptomania could go unnoticed. The environment is most auspicious for treasury looting. If any governor, past or present, could be bold enough to say he (all have been male so far) did not do the madman with a hoe job, let malevolent curse rain upon him and let him be hacked or stoned to death without pity; while those who could as much as confess the stealing binge be pardoned though they must continually drop their heads in eternal shame.
If saints go into state houses, they will come out as demons. The only panacea is – don’t go in there. In fact, the true reward for good people who refuse to play politics in all climes is to remain unscathed, unblemished and be blessed by the Father of Celestial Light.
Sani Abacha seized power for a little over five years and his wealth stanchly defied the billions of loot recovery. Olusegun Obasanjo, a globe-trotter has become stupendously rich from near 12 years in the nation’s state house. Bola Ahmed Tinubu presided over Lagos for eight years and today, his wealth is inexhaustible. Who is fooling whom?
The sorry state of mankind down history is that man has ruled man to man’s injury. When the ancient Israelites requested to be governed by a monarch like their neighbouring states, they were divinely warned that they would face dire consequences for the choice, which did happen.
The sad thing about our governors and the obnoxious pension laws and that this breed is crass insensitive to others plights and always exhibit a comprehensive lack of conscience. One governor’s predecessor founded newspaper 11 years before him but the new helmsman drove away some 100 workers of the medium, peremptorily closing the company down. The state government is still sitting over the former employees entitlements 11 years after the closure. The sitting governor, though ostensibly not averse to paying off the hapless workers who have, to date, lost 13 members to death, but is apprehensive of the mien of his emeritus and mentor. Yet, the former governor is a proud owner of well staffed and stately funded three-tier media – newspaper, radio and television. Can we say such demented individual has a modicum of fear of God? What therefore is kindness, humanness, empathy in superintending over the state affairs?
Any claims to progressivism on the part of present and past rulers, state or Federal is ruse and a ploy to pull wool over unwary faces. All of them are after extending the frontiers of rapacity. The plain truth is that all human rulers are under the influence, is it a spell, of the wildest beast in human history – the Original Serpent, Satan the Devil and this will continue till the most important aspect of the Lord’s Prayer is answered – ‘Let Your Kingdom Come.’