No Honor Amongst Thieves
It has come to light that two former presidents of Nigeria are having a feisty and open verbal clash. They are presidents IBB and OBJ. This public spat on the pages of national dailies would have been comical and highly entertaining were it not for the lamentable reality that one is forced to contemplate.
Former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida came into power on the back of a coup against the Buhari government in 1985. He then ruled Nigeria with despotic tightfistedness for 8 years. Indeed, he would very much have wanted to continue his maladministration were it not for a widespread and seemingly national outcry against his continued reign. He finally surrendered power after having looted the country to her knees. In 1999, President Matthew Okikiola Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo took office; like IBB he ruled for 8 years as well. And much like IBB, his government was characterized by misappropriation, mishandling and wholesale plundering of the national coffers. Guess who bore the brunt of their administrative incompetence and malfeasance? Yes, you are right—the impoverished, desperate and struggling masses.
How lamentable it must be for these unvarnished brigands to strut around insulting the sensibilities of the long-suffering Nigerian by unashamedly claiming to have respectively governed Nigeria well! It is one thing for a pair of feuding septuagenarian erstwhile generalissimos of the Nigerian armed forces to rubbish their respective governments for their glaring incompetence. In that, I wish them well and I encourage them to highlight all their sordid past records for all to see and remember. If anything, it shows that these godfathers of Nigerian politics are altogether not oblivious of the pervasive rot and decay that has characterized their respective administrations—no matter how much they pretend to be disconnected from the cries and plight of the suffering masses. They know too well how they have pilfered to the tune of billions of dollars, and how that has manifested in the shambolic infrastructure, a culture of looting, and the incompetent institutions they bequeathed to successive administrations.
Nevertheless, it is an entirely different matter to brazenly claim their respective governments to have been beacons of progress, stability and excellence. It requires an amazing dedication to duplicity for them to present their myopic and niggardly records as though they were architects of massive economic boons. The unfortunate thing is that there are many downtrodden Nigerians who would undoubtedly find themselves unwittingly drawn into one of the two camps: cheering loudly for their perceived hero and lobbing vicious accusations at their perceived villain. The truth however is that these two feuding former Aso rock occupants are really two sides of the same ugly coin. While some are cheering on the national show of shame, there are already concerned former stakeholders and generals convening meetings to get these ugly fiends to sheath their swords so as not to unwittingly upset their stringent hold on power. As far as I am concerned, they could call themselves FOOLS till they literally turn blue in the face; they could expostulate against the perceived mischaracterizations of their respective tenures in office till the cows come home, alert Nigerians will always refused to be suckered in. How true it is that there is indeed no honor amongst thieves.