Silence please! Looting in progress, By Tunde Asaju

What’s all these kerfuffle about who, which region or religion heads the 10th Irrational Assembly? Just because new or refurbished groups are gearing up for their turn at dynamic inactivity grants them no right to disturb the tempo of national transition. Lawrence Anini aka Ovbigbo the law, Sina Rambo, the Italian Ndrangheta and ISIS change leadership batons without disturbing the natural flow of things. Why are these people’s cases different?


For all we care, these guys could take a grenade into their power-sharing meetings, and in a fit of rage remove the pin and watch what happens. It is evident Nigerians won’t miss them at all knowing that they represent their pockets.

After going low for the selection process, brigandage and insurgency are on the rise. New sets of negotiators are needed except we want the express from Abuja to Kaduna, Minna to Lokoja to be filled with dead bodies and kidnap victims. We all know the drill by now.


Nigerians remember how their beloved President Muhammadu Buhari began his presidency with a trip to his London doctors to treat his earache. We are privileged to watch him end it with a toothache healing. President-select Bola Ahmed Tinubu will beat Buhari’s record of 100 foreign travels the way things are going. A convoluted press statement from his media handlers says he’s out convincing the European that made Google Earth that Nigeria is open for business. Of course, arms manufacturers and gunrunners know that Nigeria is open for business.


Were it not that the eye of President Buhari is too holy to behold evil, some of the last-minute looting and loan approvals we are reading would be alarming. What is close to the truth is that both Buhari and Tinubu might learn a lesson or two about inaugurations and handing over from the freshly minted King Charles of the UK. Buhari watched it live from a corner of the gallery rather than join the 25 million television viewers.

The executive jet had barely landed in Heathrow when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) released details of a paltry sum of N340 billion allegedly misappropriated by officials of the power holding company under a former minister. This mind-boggling revelation falls under a former surrogate of Tinubu in Alausa recorded for building a website with money that Elon Musk could have spent building Twitter from the scratch. Nobody should ever feign shock or dismay if the 3050 megawatts Mambilla Electricity Project, valued at $5.8 billion ends in a similar group sinkhole. Obasanjo spent millions building darkness around the country and Buhari has sustained the legacy.


Buhari’s global junkets have led to the sacrilegious rumour that the $460 million Abuja CCTV project has been abandoned. It would seem that whenever the president leaves town he goes with his celebrated anticorruption presidential turare, or perfume.


How could an anti-corruption regime justify the N21 billion Lagos Stadium restoration bill when Lagos and Ibadan stadia owe N950 million in electricity bills? And all these happening after Anthony Joshua entered a losing streak having prostrated before Africa’s famed anti-corruption czar with his laurels.


Outgoing governments prepare handing over notes, but the APC is transiting internally to a chosen successor endorsed by its supporters, hence it is formulating policies for the successor. Lately, the salaries of civil servants were increased when external debts increased from $7.3 billion to $41.69 billion.


By the time Buhari’s plane lands at the famous Daura helipad, Nigeria would have landed a man on the moon in search of the benefits of the N2.5 billion it spent launching satellites into space. The benefits of that launch manifested during the COVID-19 pandemic when Nigeria distributed $3.4 billion by Bluetooth to wireless citizens. This unparalleled feat could not have been possible without those satellites tracking things.


The silly Chinese missed a chance to have Nigeria denominate its foreign reserves in Yen when it failed to grant an additional $22 billion loan request after learning that our debt profile had hit $50 billion. Nigeria spent N24 billion providing free Internet at airports and schools. Please don’t ask for the passwords as the answer might confuse you more.


A level of supersonic activity not known since 2015 is manifesting everywhere.


This president is not just spending and borrowing to help Tinubu start on a good footing, he is developing futuristic blueprints. One is to create 165 million jobs in 2050 in addition to the 133 million it created in 2022. Please don’t ask for facts as the response might disappoint you.


Buhari planned to take a World Bank loan to cushion the effect of the withdrawal of a phantom subsidy until enemies stopped him right in his tracks. He has therefore chosen to disburse the $800 million conditionalities that go with it. Babangida played this joker on us before when he rejected the IMF loan but accepted its crippling conditionalities.


In the midst of all these, the auditor-general is claiming that up to N1 trillion is missing from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government. Unfortunately, the president would be too busy conducting handing-over details when he returns to a returning president-select to be able to spray his turare on some of these things.


In spite of all that Buhari has done to launch himself into the Guinness Book of Achievements, global agencies are pretending not to see the transformation. One of them claims that if any jobs have been created at all, it would have been jobs for bandits, kidnappers and ritual killers. Another group, a foreign entity claims that Buhari would be handing over a national debt of N77 trillion, 25 million in poverty and 10 million out-of-school children including mass killings, kidnappings and other vices. Buhari swears that he has delivered on all his promises and only those far from the protective custody of Aso Rock could fault that claim.


Here is the precise warning to those working hard to scuttle a peaceful and memorable transition that would make England jealous of its kingly coronation – Silence please, looting in progress.


*This column was first published in the Daily Trust 


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