(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, August 2, 2021)
If you went to nursery or primary school in Nigeria, you’re unlikely to miss the deafening ‘A-for-apple’ cognitive verbal rendition schoolchildren crammed and screamed. ‘A-for-apple!’, ‘B-for-ball!’, ‘C-for-cake!’, ‘D-for-dog!’, ‘E-for-egg!’, ‘F-for-fish!’ ‘G-for-goat!’, ‘H-for-hen!’, ‘I-for-ink!’, ‘J-for-jug!’. In my kindergarten days, ‘K’ was for kettle, but now, I guess ‘K’ must be for Kyari.
Certainly, the Commander, Inspector General of Police Intelligence Team, Abba Kyari, a 46-year-old Kanuri Deputy Commissioner of Police, now knows the true meaning of the letter ‘s’ which differentiates his name, Abba, from Abbas, the surname of his internet fraudster friend, whose other names include Ramon Olorunwa, aka Hushpuppi.
In his infanthood many years ago, Kyari might have been taught that ‘s’ was for sweet, but today, in adulthood, he has come to realise that ‘s’ is not only for sweet, ‘s’ is also for scorpion.
Clearly, the ‘s’ in Abbas is the retributive scorpion that serves comeuppance when it’s cold. For Hushpuppi de Scorpion, the sting is in the tail.
Surely, names have their tales and their tails. You’ll agree with me that there’s something unique to these names with some of their end sounds: Muhamadu Buhar(i), Yem(i) Osinbajo, Abba Kyar(i), Buruj(i) Kashamu, Ramon Abbas Hushpupp(i); Sunday Adeniy(i) Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, Nnamd(i) Kanu, La(i) Mohammed, Isa Pantam(i), and Fulan(i). The first or the middle or the last names end with the letter ‘i’. Mark you, these names are, by far, the most trending in Nigeria’s internet community today.
I believe what’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. This adage holds true everywhere except in Aso Rock, where the sauce used for the late Buruji Kashamu is not the same sauce being used for Abba Kyari, the favoured northern star who has his hand to the doorknob of the Inspector General’s office despite becoming cop barely two decades ago.
Buruji resurrects against Kyari. Till he succumbed to COVID-19 complications and breathed his last in August 2020 at First Cardiology Consultants Hospital, Lagos, Kashamu lived in perpetual fear of extradition to the US, having been indicted for drug offences in the United States and jailed for five years in the UK.
For six consecutive days in May 2015, officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency laid siege to the bedroom of Kashamu’s Lekki home in a bid to arrest and extradite to the US, the newly elected senator, who holed up in his toilet without food.
While the battle to extradite Kashamu raged on at his Oladipo Omotoso Street, Lekki Phase 1 house, and in the law courts, Nigerians hailed the new Buhari government as no-nonsense and intolerant of corruption.
Six years down the line, however, the flute is broken, the drum is torn, birds no longer chirp like birds and rats no longer squeak like rats.
Now that it’s the turn of a Kanuri son to face justice in the US, the Buhari regime is circumspect and ready to give Kyari the benefit of doubt, which was denied Kashamu. I daresay, hypocrisy fits snuggly like second skin on the Buhari regime.
Last week, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, washed the regime’s hypocrisy linen in public when he unashamedly admitted Buhari had been frittering away Nigeria’s foreign exchange on medical treatment to the UK for upward of 40 years, stressing that it was reasonable Buhari continues to use the medical doctors he’s been using for more than four decades because they have his medical records! Fellow Nigerians, shame has no better description.
More than six years into his lame-duck Presidency, hypocrisy has proved to be the glaucoma blinding the vision of the Buhari regime to its electoral promise of ending medical tourism, insecurity, unemployment and poverty, among others.
Please, indulge me to stretch the elasticity of the Buhari-Osinbajo nepotistic regime. The great General Buhari may not laugh often in public, but he’s a master of dark humour. F-U-T-I-L-I-T-Y was the eight-letter word he had in mind when he described Igbo agitation for a separate country as a dot in a circle.
Without needing a stretch of the imagination, the dot-in-a-circle allusion by Buhari is simply a synecdoche for the landlocked people of south-eastern Nigeria, whom in Buhari’s estimation, can never have a Biafra enclave within the Nigeria country. The dot-in-a-circle analogy is Buhari’s metaphor for a people encircled in a cage with an inescapable fate. This is classic hate speech.
Reacting to the agitation by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra for an Igbo State, the President had said, “IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere. In any case, we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”
But, I think it’s better to be a Biafran dot-in-a-circle than be a Nigerian zero-in-the-centre-of-nothing which the Buhari regime and anti-corruption war have become.
I’m not out to mock President Buhari and his deadwood regime. No patriot should do that. The President needs our pity, he also needs all hands on deck. After corruption allegations swallowed the ex-acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, it’s heart-shattering for corruption to swallow the man with the deadly initials AK-47 – Abba Kyari – Buhari regime’s poster boy for efficiency, discipline, hard work and anti-corruption. Aside from nepotism, this is one reason why the Buhari regime will fight the US extradition order to the death. In the coming days, Kyari heads nowhere but the court while the regime shilly-shallies.
If presidential loudspeakers, Femi Adesina, Shehu Garba, or the oga patapata of them all, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, mount the podium to say, “This administration should be commended for fighting corruption to a standstill…”
Please, ask them where was Buhari’s anti-corruption war when Invictus Obi, Hushpuppi, Kyari, Kelly Chibuzo and a legion of other fraudsters were living beyond their means and dining with co-conspirators in power? Why did it have to take the US to show us the privileged thieves among us? Ex-Delta governor, James Ibori, and the late Bayelsa governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, are not too distant examples.
Also, ask them if the US indictment of Kyari wasn’t a confirmation that Buhari’s anti-corruption fight is all sound and fury, signifying nothing?
After Magu was replaced by another northerner, Abdulrasheed Bawa, as EFCC boss, Adesina perfumed the stench of corruption oozing from the anti-corruption commission, saying, “Magu is being investigated, not tried for corruption.” But no word has come from the EFCC or Adesina or the investigators about their findings on Magu more than one year after. Case dismissed, go home and sin no more.
Before the very eyes of the Buhari regime, Kyari threw decorum to the winds, openly associating with men of questionable wealth because he’s a son of the soil. No high-ranking police officer from the southern part of the country would dare do so without severe sanctions.
Corruption within the Nigerian police summarises the futility of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war. You can’t give guns and ammunition to hungry, angry, unmotivated, untrained and homeless policemen and women, and yet expect them await their reward from heaven.
The bond between Hushpuppi and Kyari goes beyond running kaftan errands alone. It includes hounding enemies behind bars and sending their pictures to Hush Scorpion. It’s a bond sealed in the celestial realm as both of them share the same zodiac sign, Libra.
Hushpuppi will be sentenced in October. He faces 20 years in jail. If Kyari lands in the US to reunite with his ‘oniduro’, he’ll get a jail term capable of making him file for US citizenship and retire into ignominy.
I bet you, if Kyari lands in the US, many oga patapata in the Nigeria Police and beyond would be indicted because the FBI will make him sing.
So, the prayer on corrupt oga police officers’ lips is ‘Kyari must not go to Amelika o’.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Tunde Odesola on Monday: Haba, Kyari!
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, August 2, 2021)