How I Joined The Nigerian Ruling (Eating) Class (A Rejoinder)
I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading the piece you published last week, captioned, 'How I Became A Prominent Lady,' written by one of the greatest and most patriotic daughters of our great nation, a highly placed and well-respected lady who, incidentally, is a very close associate, my very good friend and fellow distinguished member of the nation's political and ruling elite. Even though you withheld her name (that was very thoughtful of you), I know her very well, and I can confidently tell you that she is a thoroughly groomed and well polished lady, totally above board, whose every action is motivated by an unfathomable sacrificial love for her country.
I am thoroughly overwhelmed by her disarming humility which made her to stoop so low to tell Nigerians without blushing the various 'sacrifices' and 'prices' she had to pay on her way to join us in the Ruling Class from where she believes she would be able to serve her fatherland very well. And on this, I can testify that she has acquitted herself very well.
An example of her lack of vanity could be seen in the fact that despite our endless prodding and even harassment, she has bluntly refused purchase more than one house in London or another in the United States or even Dubai, even when some of us had offered to buy them for her. She is such a unique lady that naturally attracts kindness, and knows how to appreciate kind gestures too. She is well loved among us, because she mixes very well, is always very cheerful and vivacious, has an exceptionally generous heart; and that is why she is excelling with incredible speed. Eternally loyal, she could have dumped the Chief (on whose back she rode to fame and prominence) for a long time now without any fear of repercussions since she now has many other even more powerful political heavyweights around her, but her heart of gold would not let her hurt even a fly.
As we talk now, the leaders of our great party in her geo-political zone have pencilled her down as the next deputy governor of her state, a move we at the national level have readily endorsed because of her profound integrity, moral soundness and our great trust in her ability to deliver with unrivalled speed. I was present recently when she launched her NGO to promote moral uprightness, honesty and hard work in youths. She is equally a very regular face at youth forums and ethical revival conferences where she draws from her wealth of experience and exceptional personal example to admonish her hearers on the dangers of cheating, waywardness and corner-cutting. She is indeed a role model, and it is good that many people, especially the young people now look up to her for direction and mentoring.
Please, permit me to follow her excellent example and also share my own success story before another lady beats me to it again, because, we have among us many other successful ladies, whose 'prices' and 'sacrifices' on their way to the top would even greatly diminish my friend's own. While at the University, which, by the way, I had entered with results obtained through very fraudulent means, academic work held no attraction for me.
I wanted to make money fast and live big. As I saw on television and newspapers these mostly thirty-something olds and early or mid-forty emergency billionaires who I was so certain I was more intelligent and more hardworking than, brazenly seizing the limelight, flaunting their opulence and throwing their weight about in a way that seemed to ask the poor to simply get lost, murderous thoughts welled up in me against anyone trying to disturb me with foolish questions about why I skipped classes or shunned my books.
Soon, I had to leave campus in search of something meaningful to do with my life before others left me behind in the lonely pit of grinding poverty. Fortunately, one day, a friend told me at the joint where we usually congregated to smoke weeds that an aide to a top and very powerful political figure was hiring 'strongmen' in preparation for the forthcoming elections.
I immediately jumped at the offer. That singular move was to usher me into an exciting, easy life of limitless opportunities and cheap pleasures that I never imagined could just suddenly come my way. My 'oga' later came to know me more closely and to appreciate my special abilities and talents. I had a perfect understanding of my job, and never failed to deliver. I tried hard to suppress the fire of greed raging in me, and accounted for every kobo given to me. Although I was such a ruthless person, I was not foolish and so knew quite well that if I must attain my targeted height in politics, I must school myself to keep my greed in serious check.
Fortunately, I always delivered on all fronts with efficiency and precision, and equally acquitted myself well when in the business of 'arranging' very beautiful girls from the neighbouring Universities each time my 'oga' hosted dignitaries for top political meetings. Oh, there were always so much to eat, drink and enjoy, but I never forgot myself and what I was aiming at. My eyes were on the top, and any price was worth paying to get there.
My stars began to shine brilliantly when my 'oga' lifted me from the scummy pond of violent and murderous existence where I had wreaked tremendous terror as one of his most effective and ruthless thugs and promoted me to his personal aide, which enabled me to follow him to very important political meetings, where I met many other very highly placed Nigerians, many of whom also began to like me as time went on. Although, I could be such a ruthless and implacably destructive beast when any occasion required my exhibition of that aspect of me, I have this very warm, amiable and overly harmless personality that easily earns me the unreserved affection of many people.
Soon my 'oga' began to test me with money, several times, but each time, I surprised him by not falling. Unlike my colleagues who always allowed their greed to make them lose his confidence, I already knew I needed to keep mine on leash in order to win the undying trust of one those who decided the direction, future and how the resources of this incredibly rich nation were shared. Already, I had arranged a degree certificate for myself and managed to let it enter 'oga's ears that I was a graduate.
Before long, he began to trust me with bigger money, some of which I took abroad to deposit for him in designated accounts. I always resisted every temptation to run away or tamper with even the smallest part of them. My oga wanted to appoint me into the ministerial position allotted to him, but later changed his mind, and instead registered a company and appointed me its Managing Director/Chief Executive. And soon countless juicy contracts I never even knew when and how they were applied for began to pour in, and although we rarely executed any, we were usually paid in full upfront.
And because I had learnt early to keep my greed in check, I shared out the percentages as instructed, and paid them in the various bank accounts I was given, before taking the percentage allotted to me. And because we were so reliable and efficient, and did our business without any risks to our clients' good names and political lives, business boomed amazingly. I became very rich as the company prospered. Soon, I began to hobnob with the high mighty from the president to governors, lawmakers, ministers, diplomats and fellow business magnates.
Billions of naira were always easily laundered through us without any hassles or incidents that could embarrass our esteemed clients, and we were always prompt to neatly deposit such funds into any accounts supplied by our clients in any part of the world. I have eventually achieved my ambition of joining the ruling class, and boy, life up there is just pleasantly exciting and really good! Although, I am not holding any public office, I am, no doubt, part of the decision-making process since I am a generous financier and prominent member of our great party.
The secret of my success, if I must restate that, was my commendable ability to continue resisting the temptation to tamper with my 'oga's money even when a lot of it was always with me and around me. Indeed, I was quite aware that he never bothered to even find out how much each 'Ghana-Must-Go' sack contained, or how much had been removed from a particular bag and how much remained, but I kept my cool. Well, if I must tell you also, highly influential and respected political stalwarts like my oga have no time to count money. Moreover, its uninterrupted flow into their houses, offices and bank accounts was always guaranteed, so why bother?
Although, I wanted so much to be rich, I also desperately wanted to also secure the distinguished membership of the ruling elite, where I can help decide the direction and future of this country. And if I must achieve this, I knew it quite early enough that I required much patience, restraint and loyalty to one of the key custodians and sharers of the very sweet, richly garnished National Cake.
I was relieved when my 'oga' eventually shelved the idea of having me fill the ministerial slot allocated to him and instead established the flourishing company which I now manage for him. Although with such a highly influential personality of repute like my 'oga' behind me, all the Senate would have simply done if I had appeared for screening would be to simply ask me 'Take A Bow!' and move on, but I did not want the overwhelming searchlight such an event would most likely beam on my past. Moreover, I don't trust you, journalists, Ugochukwu. One of you might come up with the crazy idea that I was a University dropout and so could not have earned the degree I was parading, or that I had unresolved cases with the police. So, I was glad to be spared that kind of exposure.
Well, all I can say now is that I am doing incredibly very well. Although I have become very rich beyond my wildest imagination, with properties in countless choice spots in Nigeria and abroad and shares in blue chip companies around the world, I still have refused to do anything to make my 'oga' feel I have grown some wings and was now capable of being my own master. I have been very careful. His numerous women (mostly married), especially among the top echelon of our great party devour me daily with undisguised lustful attention, but I have refrained from letting them come between me and my very kind godfather. No, how can I be that stupid when countless women, including top actresses and models are throwing themselves at me?
Former Senator Iyabo Anisulowo was right after all!
Well, right now, I can confidently tell you that I am now and fully and perfectly established as a distinguished member of the ruling class and a stalwart of our great party. I sponsor candidates into high public offices and have continued to reap, in season and out of season, the juicy fruits of my endeavour. I have also taken practical steps to polish my personality and give myself an urbane, intellectual image. Recently, I got a backstreet (some say unaccredited) college in the United States to package an honorary doctoral degree for me at an impressive ceremony attended by highly placed Nigerians.
Do not be misled into thinking we are indifferent to corruption. In fact, my 'oga' was one of those who first mooted the idea of setting up very vibrant anti-corruption bodies in Nigeria to cleanse the country of corrupt elements. I can confidently tell you that it was his idea that they borrowed and set up what we have today as the EFCC and ICPC. And to his further credit, he has never failed to seize any forum available to him to denounce corruption and urge the anti-graft agencies to root out the monster that has ensured Nigeria is kept 100 years behind civilisation. All we want from Nigerians is patience; they should give us more time to deliver the democracy dividends. We are on course. We sincerely mean well for this country.
Ugochukwu, I am always amused each time you describe us in your column as a 'Criminal Class.' Apart from the fact this betrays your total ignorance of how government business is managed at this level in this country, I also think you are being very unfair to a body of distinguished, credible Nigerians with very impeccable records of invaluable services to their fatherland who spend sleepless nights thinking of how to move this great country forward and usher in an era of prosperity and massive development.
Well, next week, I will be presenting a paper (written for me by a retired professor who is on my payroll) at a high profile seminar in Abuja on anti-corruption and good governance, and I have already despatched an invitation to you. Be our guest and discover for yourself how determined we are to battle this monster of corruption to the ground. Surely, with Nigeria in our hands, the masses of this country would have cause to smile very soon.
Thanks for this opportunity to tell my success story despite your obvious unreserved disdain and fierce contempt for us.
We will eventually prove to you and several others that we mean well for this country.
Chief (Dr.) (Name Withheld)
29 December 2010