- Post 07 June 2008
- Last Updated on 08 June 2008
- By Pius Adesanmi
Kalakuta International News Agency (KINA) has reported violent clashes between rioters and security forces in major cities and towns in Nigeria. Protests have also flared up in villages across the country. The spontaneous nature of these countrywide riots is reminiscent of the SAP riots that engulfed the country over a decade ago. Unlike the SAP riots, however, Nigerians are not protesting the economic and infrastructural stasis that has ensured that the average Nigerian now enjoys a quality of life slightly lower than the lives of domestic pet dogs and cats in Euro-America; they are not protesting the institutionalization of darkness by the Federal government agency, Problem Has Changed Name (PHCN); they are not protesting the conditions that have led to the emergence of a hefty chunk of Nigerian economic refugees in places like Darfur, Cotonou, N’Djamena, Conakry, Timbuktu, Ouagadougou, Gaborone, Freetown, Monrovia, Mogadishu, Kabul, Baghdad, Rangoon, and Katmandu. No, they are not protesting these vistas of normalcy in Nigeria.
Unconfirmed reports attribute the riots to the sudden scarcity of postal envelopes and stamps in the country. When a people have acquired a benumbing reputation for an endless capacity to rationalize, explain away, and adapt to every misery under the sun; when they are known to shrug away every quotidian tragedy authored by the buffoons who govern them; when they are known to possess an endless supply of fatalistic phrases: “God dey”, “ko bad”, “we dey manage”, “e go better”, “how for do?”, “man no die man no rotten”, it is usually the least expected and the most unusual stimulus that makes them snap. Of all the things that could cause a revolution, it had to be scarcity of bread in France! The French peasants couldn’t find or afford their beloved baguette and they snapped in 1789! In Nigeria, people who have shrugged away horrible conditions of daily life since the tragedy authored by Lord Lugard in 1914 have now snapped because of the scarcity of stamps and envelopes! Something eventually makes even the most resilient people snap! The postal sector has ground to a halt in Nigeria as stamps and envelopes have mysteriously disappeared. NIPOST officials have gone underground, leaving room for wild speculations. Molue bus parliamentarians insist that only Chief James Ibori, the former governor of Delta state, has the capacity to make things disappear without a trace. If envelopes and stamps have vanished from Nigeria, President Yar’Adua must have secretly appointed Ibori, his bosom friend, as the Director General of NIPOST.
This Molue parliament explanation was widely believed by Nigerians until some unpatriotic and disgruntled officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice leaked information to journalists that Chief Michael Aondoakaa, the nation’s Attorney General and Minister of (for?) Justice is the culprit responsible for the strange disappearance of envelopes and stamps. The disgruntled employees claimed that their boss has used up the entire domestic supply of stamps and envelopes. These employees reported that one of the first things he did on assumption of office was to add an extra designation to his office: Attorney General, Minister of Justice, and Stenographer-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They claimed that Mr. Aondoakaa sometimes comes to the office dressed like the old colonial letter writers of yore.
Unfortunately for Nigeria, Mr. Aondoakaa is reported to take his duties as national letter writer much more seriously than his constitutional duties. Reports indicate that he has written letters to his counterparts in places like Britain, South Africa, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Luxemburg, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and so on and so forth. These are all popular destinations of Nigerian treasury looters, mostly former governors, ministers, and top government officials. Ever since post-September 11 realities forced these corrupt and greedy receivers of stolen Nigerian money to crack down on suspicious movement of funds in their banks, they have turned the heat on their former friends, Nigerian treasury looters. This has led to a rash of arrests of Nigerian officials in these countries. One jumped bail using African juju to outsmart the London Metropolitan Police and casually resumed office as a state governor in Nigeria, even with an international warrant of arrest out for him; another escaped the dragnet of the London Metropolitan Police dressed like a woman. A former Nigerian Vice President, furious that the FBI is sniffing too close for comfort, decided to sell his mansion in Potomac, Maryland and move to Dubai. There has also been a deluge of indictments of Nigerian government officials by these foreign countries on charges of money laundering, looting, forgery, 419, and behaviour unbecoming of public officers.
It is to stem the tide of these ugly developments that Mr. Aondoakaa embarked on the patriotic mission of transforming himself into Nigeria’s Postmaster General. He considered this task all the more urgent given the fact that some of the treasury looters indicted by foreign governments in recent times are President Yar’Adua’s friends and sponsors and are considered sacred cows by the Federal government. Some of them have complimentary bedrooms in Aso Rock. Mr. Aondoakaa has thus spent most of his time in office writing letters of exculpation to any foreign government that has ever indicted a corrupt Nigerian government official. Sometimes, he writes attestations of integrity and good behaviour for these friends of President Yar’Adua. At other times, he writes letters expressing the Federal government’s opposition to the indictment these criminals by overzealous foreign governments. Given Nigeria’s prodigious production of treasury looters, Mr. Aondoakaa has had to write tons of letters to foreign governments and this explains the rapidity with which he used up Nigeria’s entire domestic stock of envelopes and stamps. It is said that the Federal government has awarded an emergency contract to the South African company that printed our ballot papers to print stamps and envelopes for immediate importation.
Sources claim that Mr. Aondoakaa has been very proactive in his letter writing duties. They claim that he has borrowed a leaf from President George Bush by adopting the American leader’s pre-emptive strike philosophy. To this end, he has already written anticipatory letters of exculpation to all foreign governments on behalf of the current crop of serving governors and ministers in case it is revealed at the end of their tenure that they shipped stolen raw cash to those countries. Part of Mr. Aondoakaa’s pre-emptive strategy has also been to write anticipatory letters of exculpation to anticipated new destinations of Nigerian loot – as things get hotter in the West, Nigerian treasury looters are having to find new safe havens for their loot. Consequently, Mr. Aondoakaa has written anticipatory letters to such places as Lesotho, Eritrea, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tibet, Macau, Papua New Guinea, and Greenland. He warned these countries that should Nigerian government officials decide to stash stolen funds in their banks in the future, the Federal government would not tolerate any talk of indictment and prosecution of its eminent citizens. Reports also indicate that Mr. Aondoakaa has held fruitful discussions with Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs minister, with a view to extending the benefits of citizen diplomacy to treasury looters indicted by foreign governments.
Meanwhile, President Yar’Adua has condemned the violent riots and vowed to deal ruthlessly with the rioters. Speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, President Yar’Adua expressed confidence in his Attorney General and commended him for ensuring that the letters of exculpation for anointed criminals in whom he is well pleased are written within the ambit of the rule of law.