Opinion Asari’s beloved pick-pockets

Asari’s beloved pick-pockets

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Asari’s beloved pick-pockets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Pre-Goodluck Jonathan, Niger Delta depredation was a serious issue, amplified by justified militancy, with over-flowing national guilt.

During the Jonathan Presidency, with the natives themselves scaling new heights in stratospheric greed — their “Niger Delta president” be damned! — it became a joke.

Post-Jonathan, it is descending into a farce.  The tragedy, however, remains: the poor, long-suffering Niger Delta mass, raped with murderous unison, by both natives and aliens.

That sad impression comes from the thick scandal of alleged sleaze, oozing out of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), like some thick, black, noxious smoke; and the sick apologia for native robbers, who Mujahid Dokubo-Asari beatified as mere “pick-pockets”!

Did someone, somewhere, echo that Wole Soyinka play, Beatification of the Area Boy?

Now, who will save the Niger Delta from own home-grown, unapologetic plunderers?

Make no mistake: everything about that putrefying stench, from NDDC, is a racket.

The alleged sleaze itself, probable mismanagement of a whopping N81 billion, by an interim management committee (IMC), has got to be a classic in soulless racketeering, that turns a core development agency into a chronic, grinding under-development coven.

Irony of ironies: the dismissive Asari wants to dub it all a witch hunt, even if that coven teems with native economic witches!

Now, if a management could blow such eye-popping dough in the interim, what much havoc would it do, were it to enjoy a longer tenure?  The grand irony was that it was emplaced to checkmate previous long-term rodents!  Talk of a cure worse than the ailment!

But in all of the outrage, what do two generations of the Niger Delta elite, symbolized by Pa Edwin Clark and Dokubo-Asari, have to offer?

From Clark, celebrated Jonathan-era presidential godfather, is deathly quiet — a never golden racket of silence, perhaps?

And El Hajdi Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, dashing general of the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Force?  An apologia, wrapped in arrogant sophistry, that makes you puke with irritation and cry with shame!

In one breath, he beatifies Niger Delta native robbers as mere “pick pockets”.  In another, he demonizes non-native hustlers as the real robber barons that folks should worry about.

But nowhere, in this beatification-demonization divide, do you feel this mouthy troubadour cry for his ravished native land!

With Clark tongued-tied (though quick to point fingers and jump, with both feet, into controversies elsewhere); and Asari snaring self in self-deceit and communal delusion, who will make the case for the Niger Delta poor, given such criminal elite insouciance?

Still on racketeering and the NDDC stench: Godswill Akpabio, the former uncommon governor, turned uncommon senator and latterly uncommon minister, is now enmeshed in uncommon scandal, buzzing accusations and counter-accusations, with spicy salacious tales to boot!

The salacious tit-for-tat, between Akpabio and Joy Nunieh, estranged former NDDC interim managing director, projects Akpabio as a deformed reformer, that somewhat entered equity with rather filthy hands, to borrow that popular legal-speak.  Incidentally, both Akpabio and Nunieh are trained lawyers.

But the same exchange also casts Nunieh as a suspect dissenter.  Had she not been bounced off NDDC, as interim boss, would she have come out blazing as she did?

Again, the tragic tale of a reform-minded duo getting mutually deformed — at least in the mind of the outraged public!

Still, while Nunieh leaves a whiff of sexist titillations, her successor, Kemebradikumo Pondei, by his shocking COVID-19 palliative self-settlement tales, echoes that selfish tortoise, in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.  Just to corner all of the gravy at a party in the skies, it re-christened itself “All of You”!

Little wonder: when Prof. Pondei fainted under a barrage of searing House questions, almost everyone concluded it was a contemptible Oscar show.  But his faint could well have been real, given Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila’s admission that the chamber was a bit stuffy.

Whatever the truth, Pondei epitomizes that eternal helplessness, nay hopelessness, of the Niger Delta poor.  Whereas the Achebe fictional tortoise got flung down to earth by its irate benefactors, Pondei and co appear untouchable, to their ravished people.

This is rather scary because Prof. Pondei’s shocking revelations portrayed an NDDC culture of systemic rape.  Yet, his interim management, backed by the embattled Akpabio, flashes a forensic audit of the commission’s past, with cynical drama.

Sounds like a pack of salivating cats shielding doomed rats, doesn’t it?  Hardly a trust-building affair!

All the flurry of accusations and counter-accusations, involving the National Assembly itself, leaves untenable Akpabio’s position, as Niger Delta Minister.  It’s, therefore, left to President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful.

But even Akpabio could be a victim of a racket of emotions, not necessarily in empathy with the Niger Delta poor, but by fellow elites settling personal, regional or partisan scores  — the uncommon senator, turned uncommon minister, reeks with uncommon enemies, across the partisan aisle!

His old PDP scorn him as a treacherous deserter, so think little of roasting him.  So, in classic partisan demagoguery, hated Akpabio could be PDP’s perfect “proof” that APC is no cleaner, despite its trumpeted anti-sleaze war!  Cynicism begets cynicism!

His new APC — at least some elements therein — dub him a dangerous opportunist, come to chisel their party of change, in ruinous PDP’s image of greed.  So, head or tail, Akpabio stays roasted.

Within the Niger Delta, Akpabio appears to, not a few, as manipulating the president’s anti-corruption fervour to seize the NDDC, and allegedly feather his own nest, under the cynical ploy of fighting “corruption”.

How else, they argue, do you explain Akpabio persuading the president to freeze the NDDC board, already confirmed by the Senate, for an interim management that has done nothing but sour everywhere with its stinking can of worms?

Still, all of these are raucous elite noise, though arising from an age-old rape of the voiceless.  It’s vital, therefore, that this elite bedlam does not block out the real issue.

The real issue?  Justice for the Niger Delta poor and voiceless, which umpteenth brazen sleaze has always buried alive, as living dead.

That is why Asari’s hollow pick-pocket theory and Clark’s loud quiet are a monumental betrayal of their own people.  Every true son — and daughter — of that troubled region ought to be outraged by the latest NDDC scandal.

Which is why President Buhari must get to the root of these swirling allegations and conk the guilty.

Before then, however, he should realize, without prejudice to the much vaunted forensic audit, that Minister Akpabio, and all cited in the NDDC scandal, are damaged goods.

(The Nation)

Asari’s beloved pick-pockets
Asari’s beloved pick-pockets
Parrot Nigeria
An online news aggregator

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