When Nigerians With ‘Corruption Tag’ Launched Melaye’s Anti-Corruption Book By Fredrick Nwabufo

“The corruption and oppression mix brings into focus two classes that are in diametrical opposition, and are at daggers drawn in Nigeria. The classes are the corrupt oppressors and the corrupt oppressed.”

I made this statement in an article I conjured four years ago. Inasmuch as I agree with its elements, I would like to emend the line that the classes “are in diametrical opposition, and are at daggers drawn”. Why? There is only one class. I will explain my reason in the stub of this piece.

I had a volte-face of thought after I attended the book launch of Senator Dino Melaye in Abuja on Monday. It was an airy concourse of Nigeria’s elite. It was nattering, stultifying and mocking.

For a book launch, of which the organiser, Melaye, vaunts to be an anti-corruption “Deadpool”, to have an assemblage of patricians who are facing corruption probes and allegations beggars belief. What is most cutting, are the accoutrements of privilege and anti-corruption avant-garde badges that are given to these people whose character has been called into question.

It is also disturbing when the obverse people, I mean, the plebeians, whose patrimony has been “vultured”, make these people their Zeus.

Why all this rant? Let me go back to my story.

I nestled in a hotchpotch crowd of people at the auditorium of Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Centre – of course away from the saturation of “important” men – taking a mental note of the dignitaries, most especially the key acts of the event.

It was Melaye’s launch of ‘Antidotes for Corruption’, a book he did not write personally. According to the publisher of the book, the senator taped his words which were then transcribed and edited by dutiful hands.

Three persons who are currently in a fisticuff with the law or with the agents of the law – Senate President Bukola Saraki; Anyim Pius Anyim, former senate president and secretary to the government of the federation, and Patience Jonathan, former first lady – took the prestigious elevated seats, which Nigerians obsequiously call the “high table”, at the event.

Let me break it down at this curve. Saraki is facing multiple counts of false asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT); Anyim is being probed by the house of representatives for alleged fraud in the centenary village project, and Patience’ bank account, which contains $5m dollars, is frozen because the money is suspected to be a proceed of crime.

Now, these were the personalities that were given a special place at a supposedly anti-corruption event. In fact, when Patience sashayed into the packed hall, there was a thunderous ovation. And in between the event, bellows of ovations would go up for Mama Peace. Nigerians!

Please I am not saying that these fellows are guilty of corruption. But I believe, it will not be a bad idea to isolate them from events which have an anti-corruption linear – at least for now.

In the whirling of paroxysms, a comedian, I think one MC Wahala, took sycophancy to the pantheon when he dedicated his inane joke to Patience. And of course everybody guffawed.

To accent the derisory powwow the occasion was, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was scheduled to be at the event, was absent and he did not send a representative. Prof Femi Odekunle, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), was also absent – even though the master of ceremonies kept stomping the microphone that the academic was on his way – he did not show up. Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of the Commonwealth, was absent as well. These are men with a “pagoda” of gravitas and a short-temper for corruption.

This brings me to my earlier point. To me, there is no real class war as opined by Karl Marx in Nigeria – maybe not yet. As it is, there is only one surviving class – the elite. The masses have been raped, lobotomised, displaced and vanquished from any social ordering. And the elite are ossifying this surgical elimination.

How young Nigerians on social media defend and celebrate corrupt people with zest, deft and alacrity even when they have nothing to gain buttresses this point.

In conclusion, for whom did Melaye write the book? He often claims he speaks for the “mekunus, the talakawas, and the palm-wine tapper in Umuleri”, but the “launch price” of his tome is N50,000 while the “bookstore price” is N25,000.

Melaye obviously does not want his constituency of the poor to read his book, so much for being the voice of the lees of society.

MEANWHILE…

Buhari and death rumours

Why do some Nigerians traffic in deleterious rumours? It is really painful to see young, inchoate people on social media wishing the president dead. It is a joke taken too far. Anyway, it goes to show what we have become – a depressed, psychotic and rabid lot. Enough of this, please.

Why is the EFCC no longer making “wonderful” cash discoveries?

I am just curious. Why has the EFCC stopped making mindboggling discoveries of abominable cash? From February to April, the agency regaled Nigerians with sumptuous details of cash discoveries. But since the last cash discovery – $49m, £74, 000 and N23m in a luxury apartment at Ikoyi, Lagos – which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) claimed ownership of, the EFCC has suddenly lost its psychic mojo. Well, I am just curious.

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