Calls for sale of Nigeria’s Assets remind me of “Mommy, daddy, àb’ólè l’ẹ d’ìbò fún?” – Tola Adenle

 Mommy, daddy, àb’ólè l’ẹ d’ìbò fún? [Mommy, daddy, tabi ole ni ẹ di ibo fun?] 

“Oh my God, dear daddy and mommy, you’ve voted in thieves!” /“Daddy and Mommy, is it possible that you voted in thieves?


The sorry and scary situation which could have Nigeria and the masses divested of Nigeria’s performing assets if strident calls for sell-them-off from Nigerians’ Ọgas at the Top persist brings to mind this essay written in 2006 during Obasanjo’s presidency, a time that, rather than go away, has continued to fester. It was classified under GOVERNANCE STYLE THAT SCREAMS CRIME SYNDICATE – was first written for The Comet on Sunday in January 2006 . TOLA, September 22, 2016.



Non-Yoruba readers should pardon what may appear to be lack of sensitivity.  A title that would do justice to this essay just happens to be a protest chorus I heard not too long ago.  I will attempt to translate the title into English; the essay, too, should make the title clearer.

A couple of years ago as I typed in my work area at home, I heard a strange protest chorus which immediately drew me to a window that often affords me a view of the goings-on at Elizabeth Road near the Ibadan [Nigeria, Nigeria Television Authority] NTA.  It was a protest following a recent “removal of subsidy” on petroleum, and able-bodied young men took to the streets to register their protest.  As they jogged, many half dressed and most carried nothing in their hands but a lot of pain in their hearts, a chorus was repeated over and over again – like rap – to a near musical beat of 4-4 (Common Time)

Daddy, Mommy/ ‘as’ole l’e d’ibo fun!

Yoruba readers can understand that the adapted title justifies a question mark with my substituting the letter ‘b’ for the Yoruba ‘ṣ’ (sh), changing those young men’s plaintive cries from “Oh my God, dear daddy and mommy, you’ve voted in thieves!” to  “daddy and mommy, is it possible that you voted in thieves?

To the National Assembly, we head for a look-see at the voracious appetite of this group of Nigeria’s rulers:  a vote of N1.5 billion – that is US dollars 11.4 million – for meat pi(l)es, soft drinks and the like in the ’06 budget.  The COMET of December 28 [2005] put it well:  

“Food vendors, seem set for a bountiful harvest next year: lawmakers plan to spend N1.482 billion on refreshment and meals.”

While it would be at least some relief if the money filters down to flour manufacturers, meat pie and assorted snack makers, etcetera, skeptics like me do not foresee a bonanza for graduates of catering institutes.  No, I am not disputing the fact that we will continue to see increase in disfigurement of legislators’ forms: disappearing necks; non-kwashiokor distended stomachs; rapid breathing brought about by non-exercise in spite of over-rich diet, etcetera.  Foreign economies, rather than ours, may be the beneficiaries.


After voting a billion and a half for snacks, twelve billion for transportation; two billion for materials & supplies; almost N800 million on postage and courier, Reps will spend app. N370m on medical and N208m on fuel and lubricants.  The Senate has earmarked about N1.5 billion for consultancy and professional services and over a billion each is earmarked for “unforeseen” expenses for both bodies.  What could still be “unforeseen”? (Ta)b’ole l’a d’ibo fun (Did WE vote in thieves)?

I was asked recently about this column’s constant reference to ‘Nigeria, Inc.’ Below are excerpts from “Nigeria, Inc.”, April 2003:

“ … Nigeria, Inc. which LOOKS to the world like any other giant corporation, … is not structured like normal organizations.  At the top of this contraption, instead of a chairman of the board, sits a disparage group: most elected /lawmakers’; most retired armed forces personnel of General rank, some traditional and religious leaders of the reactionary stripes AND the multinational oil producers. 

 There are no executive or non-executive directors.  These, and the next group of “stakeholders” or “investors” as they describe themselves, are all directors.  It is made up of not less than 99 percent of other politicians, most retired armed services officers of any rank, most civil servants above level ten, customs officers of ALL ranks, and many others too numerous to list.  Please note that ‘politicians’ are not only the elected men and women but the party organizers, the so-called money bags who get deliveries of more bags from ‘Ghana must go round’ weekly, monthly or quarterly as returns on their “investments.” … Then, there are those who muscle their ways into the group by sheer braggadocio: men and women “leaders” switching parties with “followers” they have not. 

 Below these directors in a uniquely-Nigerian “service to the people” …  set-up are those on the outside, looking in, the junior civil servants, the lower-ranked armed services personnel and party thugs. …  ALL policemen … shamelessly extort money or kill those unwilling to pay. 

 Well, let’s take a quick look inside … ‘Nigeria, Inc.’ whose focus, like all properly-run corporations, is RETURNS to shareholders. … I’ve also heard of local government chairmen, party ‘leaders’ and councilors sitting down after getting allocations from the Federation Account – not to see which of the Local Government Area needs should be met – but  to share in the proportions laid down from party headquarters.  Mind you, this is AFTER the governor would have taken his SHARE.  Yeah, it IS unconstitutional but does that matter?

 Anyway, that seems to be sane compared to the out and out in-your-face preparation to sharing in Oyo … In a three-page SOS … to the PDP chairman in the Sunday Tribune of March 9, one of the investors, pardon me, directors, called on Chief Ogbeh not to “forget that I still have the party structure under my ambit and my credentials are still intimidating …”  While I, like most of us housewives and market women may not know the meaning of  “still have the party structure under my ambit …” those better educated in our group of “not in Nigeria, Inc.”  will remember that the Latin word, ambire, meaning ‘to go round’ is used in the right context (as in ‘Ghana-must-go-round’ – a type of itinerant bag once used by Ghanaians when the Nigerian govt used them as scapegoats and expelled them ), and know the implications of the following from Alhaji Yekini Adeojo’s three-page eat-your-hearts-out you who are not in Nigeria, Inc.:

 To read the whole of this illuminating essay that has apparently gone nowhere, check olethieves

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2016. 3:07 p.m. [GMT]





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