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The vanity and senselessness of greed

Now it is almost the rule for those who steal to be recognised and hailed as heroes of their communities where they are, more often…

Now it is almost the rule for those who steal to be recognised and hailed as heroes of their communities where they are, more often than not conferred with chieftaincy titles in celebration of their mastery of thievery. Even when they got into trouble with the law, the same victims of their graft troop into the courts elegising the thieves and inundating us with a catalogue of their achievements and mouthing a streak of reasons why the criminals must be set free. In some states, we have seen on network television how urchins and other anti social elements stormed legally constituted courts, harassed everyone in sight including law enforcement agents and spirited away people under the custody of the law in the name of politics.

A number of instances abound where fugitives from the law are assisted by the local people to escape justice even when it is clear the same people are at the receiving end of the anti-people policies of the runaway cowards.

The irony of it all, as per as I am concerned is that regardless of the amount of cash stashed away, or number of houses built, or number of cars to boot, the bottom-line is that they are always on the run from the shadows of the evil they have created themselves. Even when they are able to escape all the security layers and run into affluence overseas, they still find, at the end of it all that no matter how fast they run, the law of Karma or some kind of retribution will always be there to remind them of the inviolability and inescapability of atoning for their misdeeds. At some point in their lives, it begins to dawn on them that happiness is never obtained and enjoyed permanently by those who frittered and mismanaged resources entrusted under their care.

James Ibori for example, should be a case study of how smart a man can get, how well he thought he had covered his tracks and how good at it he was, only for him to realise only too late that the ghost of retribution is like a shadow, very constant and as alive as the living. If you take one step, the shadow rakes two in order to keep one step ahead of you… always. The same thing with your feeling of un-touchability; you feel that because you have amassed so much and had been able to invest in securing self, only for you to be brought down from that high horse by the reality of life’s changing colours and its attendant timeless unpredictability. Only yesterday, James Ibori was on top of his world of delusion that Nuhu Rinbadu, the thief catcher has been dispensed with and is in fact on the run. All it took was one man’s death for the whole tables to turn. Today, the two men have changed positions. What an irony? The truth of it is that like they say in football, it is not over until it is over.

And all the others who are in the same class as Ibori have the same characteristics. Even when they tend to be in their elements with an air of misplaced confidence, they still appear vulnerable. Rather than abating, acts of mindless greed on the part of those at the helm is not only increasing but has hit the rooftop with everyone either enmeshed in it or with every potential public office holder girding his loins and angling for a chance to have his turn. That anti-graft institutions have been put in place to check such excesses notwithstanding, they feel emboldened by the realisation that they can buy their way through and go scot free. With a very good lawyer and knowing the right buttons to press, a criminal can go through a mess and end up with a chieftaincy title or a honorary doctorate degree. No matter how water tight a case is, mere technicalities will be conjured to set a criminal free in this country.

As we approach another round of general elections, a set of governors and other political office holders are also set to go through their second and last terms. Many of them would empty their treasuries to add up to the mindboggling heists they have perpetrated in the primitive quest to safeguard the future. But as we have shown above, primitive accumulation does not guarantee everlasting happiness. On the contrary, it becomes a source of tribulation and uneasiness. I will rather become an Abdulakadir Balarabe Musa in my modest outlook, in modest health and happiness in a corner of Kaduna than become a James Ibori with all the riches in the world but with no rest of mind, always on the run and flinching at the slightest thudding of a rat. His collaborators that have not been caught or put on the spotlight may not have been rattled yet, but we know for certain that they are also living on borrowed time awaiting their date with the hangman.

Unbelievably these characters are believers in one faith or the other. They are either Muslims or Christians and the two religions are unambiguous on the ignominy that awaits pilferers of public till. What is in store for them is not lost to them. When the time comes, no one of them will have the leverage to hire a lawyer to conjure technicalities to secure reprieve. At that point in time, a bigger force, much bigger that Ribadu will force them to account for their misdeeds, and then no SAN will be of any help in whatever form.

Ahmed wrote from 114 Kashim Ibrahim road Maiduguri.


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