I thought I had seen the best movie Nigeria had to offer when our Government kept thrilling us with several melodramatic episodes of Dasukigate. The suspense that came with it was breathtaking and the plot made it difficult for us to tell who was Protagonist or Antagonist- "Actor" and "Boss" as we know it in Nigerian parlance. Little did I know that a new Action Comedy awaited the dawn of 2016. I still can't wrap my head around how a country's budget can go Missing in Action.
Speaking about Dasukigate, where was I when Oga Jonathan and Sambo Dasuki turned the CBN into an ATM? All I needed to have done was send a proposal to that administration about setting up an online Support Group to galvanize and mobilize Nigerian youths to support the president's reelection bid. Maybe I would have gotten away with #200Million. Forget about Buhari's threat. I am not a member of the PDP and, therefore, a very small fish in a very big pond. Or haven't you noticed that he is only going after the big fish who accidentally or "coincidentally" are members of the opposition?
How many of the so-called Pastors who collected millions of Naira for "Prayers", according to reports, have been arraigned by the EFCC? Even Buhari admits that dozens benefited from the over $2Billion Arms Money, but that is if you disregard the 'loyal boys' and aides of so-called chairmen who featured as both major actors and 'wakapass' in the movie. That reminds me, did the president include himself in the category of beneficiaries of Jonathan's benevolence? Because, as we heard from the horse's mouth, he only got two jeeps from the office of the NSA. Should we consider him an actor or boss in the movie?
Back to the budget issue, the Senate was the Trumpet-Blower' that time around, because as you know, the whistle is too small an organ in such big cases. In the full glare of the world, they hanky-pankily released an expose to the Press that the 2016 Budget is missing. The outcry made me wonder quite shamefully how shamelessly various arms of our government parade their inadequacies publicly.
It took us about two days to realise that the budget wasn't actually missing. The story goes that President Buhari masterminded a covert operation, the kind you only see with Pierce Brosnan in a James Bond movie, through his Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang to sneak the budget out of the NASS Complex to enable him make some alterations.
It was said (not by me) that the president realised that he had shot himself in the leg. While he bluntly refused to approve billions of Naira for purchase of cars for members of the National Assembly, a section of the budget "originally" proposed billions of Naira for purchase of BMW Bullet-proof cars for the villa. So he quickly withdrew the budget, took out those subheads, and added them to other subheads so that the total figure didn't change.
So what we had was a rise in the Aso Villa Overhead from #500million to about #1.7billion overnight. We would later discover several other inadequacies in several other proposed allocations during the budget defence that would make you wonder if the budget was prepared by a cobbler. Wasn't there a budget planning team within the government? If there was, why wasn't anyone called for questioning? Such would also make you wonder if those inadequacies were made before or after the President's James Bond stole and returned the budget.
It's shameful because, again, this drama didn't need to happen. But this is Nigeria- Center stage of the world's theatre. Buhari didn't need to have the budget sneaked out of the NASS complex. All he had to do was officially request to make corrections and it would've been released. Shortly after, I learnt a new corruption vocabulary called "budget padding". The leadership of the House of Reps couldn't even disappoint us this time around. Our expectations were not cut short.
Trust me, I still do not get the full gist. Bottom line is someone inflates and diverts overheads in constituency allocations- forget about every other grammar. This is my version of the story; an angered thief, who was cut off from an operation, decides to snitch on other members of his gang. He goes to the police who cannot even arrest his fellow gangsters because of some underground arrangement with the authorities. Now, the angered thief looks foolish. He's not just a rat in the eyes of his fellow thieves, but he has also lost on both ends.
And just when we were recovering from that that episode of sorrowful laughter, PMB and Alhaja decides the year can't end without a finale. So they brought issues of "the other room" to public domain. Like every mysterious character, I can't tell what Alhaja's intentions are. But, like Jet Li's Punch, PMB's response was full of precision. He simply went for the jugular. I hope he is not banned from the "other room" after this fiasco though.
Anyways, until the next season surfaces, laugh off the drama. Life is not as hard as Nigeria makes it look.
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Writer. Expressionist. Storyteller. Optimist.
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