By Hassan Machido Kano
I must confess that the rage and steadfastness with which we pursued the reforms of the present National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) is rather dastardly. The network we built is enough to unseat the most entrenched government appointee. We invested everything possible – we made bureaucratic contacts and secured visas to jet out of the country to meet the president, we paid huge sums to obtain subversive documents. We distributed funds. We endured the onerous protocol appointments snag and made draining midnight calls. We secured tougher reach-outs and organised derogatory seminars. We engaged existing incorporated trustees and placed orders to secure new ones. We flooded traditional and social media with anti-NAHCON decibels. We plotted executive, legislative and judicial plots, some of which are yet to be unleashed. We engaged Muslim and Christian lawmakers to either neutralise their stance or woo them to the side of our calumny campaign in an upcoming legislative intervention Nigerians should be expecting. We lured thousands into vouching.
This piece is going to be a confessional narration of a future I regrettably participated in bringing about. A firsthand revelation of certain details of a plot of sabotage of a system of reform being championed by a great man whose distant image was mischievously painted to reflect that of corrupt monster, but which upon a closer glimpse, reflects humility, industry and revolution. So far the most open-hearted public servant I met. This, I must say at the risk of being tagged a puppet and in spite of my incurable nausea for praise-singing.
On June 7 this year, two of a six-man syndicate presently responsible for imbuing the social and public spaces of the country with anti-NAHCON slogan summoned me and requested me to invest my skills and fraternity with some popular cybernauts and civil society advocates to promote their cause. As is natural with every evil cause, at the beginning they clothed their evil motives with beautiful pro-masses attire in order to blur the lines and make the stance appear honourable. And they succeeded because no Good Samaritan would listen to their plausible sermon and refuse aiding their idea or care about verifying their apparently perfect argument. It will naturally appeal to and compel every decent individual to swing to action. What could be more honourable than a struggle seeking for relief and justice to Nigeria pilgrims? What could be noble as piloting the job of mounting all kinds of pressure to force a surreptitiously inflated Hajj fare to succumb to fairer terms?
But like Denning MR puts it, “you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay,” an imposter cannot pretend forever. Soon after my acceptance to serve, the real colour and motivation of the mission began to surface. It became almost evident that the struggle had nothing to do with the plight of pilgrims. Nonetheless, I persisted in the struggle because my conscience was still convinced that the side I was fighting appeared to me to be a greater evil.
Restlessly, I began to ask questions. I began to wonder why suddenly, people who worship money and assets are now devout and priestly preaching God. Why they had to invest so much time and resources to get the task done. So I began to research, and like the proverbial cliché goes “inquirers never get lost.” Upon deeper inquiry, I learnt that the syndicate I was spending about five hours of my time daily to promote was neck-deep into some shady maneuvers that are detrimental to the nation’s image and economy. They are exploiting the advantage of some old loopholes in the system of Hajj operation, which the present NAHCON administration is busy blocking. Then I connected the dots. I figured out that I was alone in the fight I should be deputising. I was the only one with no pecuniary vested interest in the struggle to trigger legislative amendment of the NAHCON Act in order to divest the commission of some of its key functions, which these corrupt saboteurs fear have stood in their way to their evil pastures. I was the only one with non-personal grudge against the revolutionary pilot of the National Hajj Commision of Nigeria, Abdullahi Muktar (MON), a lawyer, whose loud-and-clear administrative reforms and policies since 2015 have proven to be simply unfavourable for the atmosphere of corruption. So I concluded, “I am in a typical case of corruption-fighting-back.’’
Since my first engagement with them on the 7th, we held 15 different meetings at many locations; sometimes in hotel rooms, and other times, guest houses or residents of one of the key profellers of the syndicate in question. I was very closely engaged because I minuted every single meeting held. I was also given the task of perfecting two out of the six-point agenda of the syndicate. I was responsible for contact handling with the social media and non-governmental pressure organisation – I handled the tiring job of inciting lot of youth against leaders and activist against NAHCON. I aided immensely in making NAHCON one of the most popular government agency in Nigeria today. The remaining four agendas being executive, legislative, judicial and clerical approaches, I carried out the secretarial job of record keeping. I kept the lists of senior and influential citizens of the above mentioned categories and the goals we aimed to achieve through them. We designed short and long term plans we intended to unveil.
We had names for each of the six plots, and until July 4, 2017, the alpha and beta lines of action were to simultaneously activate within the week or next, a judicial and executive time-bombs, a legal suit to stall certain vital activities of the commission and an executive process to at least, if not immediately sack, discourage a second term of the chairman. I shall tender to the press solid evidence in due course in this regard. I shall also care to share with any interested media house recorded phone conversations with very influential Nigerians aiding and making up the saboteur syndicate against NAHCON and its chairman. I will share their specifics and append detailed evidence.
The third plot was a covert arrangement with one of legislative houses to re-summon, this time to a plenary session, the NAHCON boss in the guise of intervention of a heated national polity and an unending public agitation, which the syndicate will soon provoke. These are a pinch of the bulky plots. These are the predictions.
In the end, I blame Abdullahi Muktar for keeping calm when his name is being smeared. I blame him for doing nothing but believing the cliché – truth always sets free. I blame him for allowing a calumny campaigner to roar louder. He should have known that the thousands of fraudsters he sent out of business by his revolutionary policies abolishing class discrimination on PTA would fight back. The reformative regulations banning substandard travel agencies and aircraft that are feeble and air unworthy would never be allowed to wade through the system unhindered. He shouldn’t have been this benign throughout the fight.
Hassan Machido Kano