As absurdities go in Nigeria politics, last week’s sitting of the committee probing the re-absorption of Abdulrasheed Maina must rank among the worst. Though we’ve seen some absurdities, the show of shame confirmed what some of us have always affirmed: President Muhammadu Buhari does not seem to have a firm grip on many crucial issues under his watch.
Even while we cannot close our eyes to the sham we call oversight functions by our legislators and the opulence they are suffused with, it was good that they offered Nigerians front seats in a scandal that I’m sure we have not heard all. Neither have we heard the worst and based on what we’ve seen so far, the complicity goes to the highest level of this government. By the way, if you missed the horror show try watching it on YouTube, as it is not necessary to give a rehash of what we saw last week.
As an aside, it is curious that the same weekend when our representatives were asking questions concerning Maina, 20 more cars were delivered to them at a princely sum of N17 million each and a newspaper reported that the total number of cars delivered now is 260. Do the mathematics and see how much it would cost us to give cars to the 360 members of House of Representatives. Though Peugeot 508 is the favoured brand, the Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria limited (PAN) was not involved in the purchase as contractors imported these cars for our ‘distinguished honourables.”
But we digress. Watching our nation’s top law officer at the hearing confirmed what some lawyers have said repeatedly about senior advocates. Many are that bear the title, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, but are not worthy of the honour. You wonder how they passed the Bar examinations as logic and critical thinking are strange to them. That a lawyer, a senior one otherwise known as silk in Nigeria’s legal parlance, will rely on the advice of a non-lawyer before visiting a fugitive fleeing from justice in another country, shows the quality of legal advice our president receives, and by implication the cabinet. Granted there are other lawyers in the cabinet, but when the person vested with proffering legal opinions acts the way we saw our chief legal officer acted, the only relevant question is, why is he still in office?
As a human being and on account of his age, it is a tough task expecting the president to screen every document that comes to his desk. That’s why he has aides who are supposed to do the screening and ensure that he does the right things. This in any way does not excuse Buhari from the shamas the buck surely stops on his desk, but we know how our president rates on such index. I mean the index of sufficient awareness of happenings in his immediate environment. We can also see total lack of coordination among government agents and departments making one less to marvel again at how this government manages not to get things done as it ought to do. It also shows that some corrupt folks have drawn a ring around our president that corruption could be said to reside in the seat of power.
Expectedly, various theories are being spurned around on how the former head of presidential task force on pension reform managed to come back to the country and resumed work having ran away from justice. The tale that Maina is interested in becoming a governor should not surprise us, as anything is possible among our politicians. But what do we say about the yarn by the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Services, Mohammed Babangede, that Maina has three passports? Three passports? And yet the service Babangede superintended has not deemed it fit to revoke some or all of the passports? From the permanent secretary, Ministry of Interior to the Head of Service and finance minister, one is not sure who to believe in the ongoing saga. Public officers routinely forget important dates and deny signing documents without blinking, why are we like this?
One other point that emerged is that too often our leaders take us for granted in Nigeria and their impunity in riding rough shod over us has no equal most likely on planet earth. Maina and his lawyers too would do well to spare us detail of his so-called revelations, which he claimed would save Nigeria trillions of naira. The courts are there for him to prove his innocence and he should explore them to the fullest. We can see how well the Buhari government is fighting corruption with the Maina’s case and I can bet my next pay, nothing will come out of it after all elections are at hand.