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Lamentations of an Egbere

“We grow by looting”: Replying a Nigerian in Diaspora

“We grow by looting”: Replying a Nigerian in Diaspora

1, Corruption Boulevard,
Megalomania city,
Looters Republic of Nigeria.
1st October 2020.

Dear friend,

As always, it’s a pleasure reading from you. I trust you are doing well and that my reply is reaching you in a good state of mind and body. Without further ado, I shall proceed to respond to the query you raised over Nigeria’s approach to its economic growth and stability in your most recent letter to me.

As I believe you know too well, there is not a one-fit-all approach to national economic growth and development. This is evidenced by the fact that many countries of the world have approached this extremely important issue through different and sometimes conflicting perspectives. In fact, economic thinkers, as humans tend to do, are divided on this issue and have therefore camped themselves into many schools of thought: Capitalists, Socialists, and those that are neither for one nor the other. New schools of thoughts are also emerging on a daily basis.

A reputable fellow in your country of residence informed me that it is premised on the belief that Uncle Sam (alias, USA) will grow faster economically and ward off the threat posed by Uncle Shina with a blondie in power that the electorate voted the business tycoon instead of a lady that is so-so fair and all shades of presidential. It is based on similar sentiment, I learnt, that Mama Charlie’s folks chose to exit a relationship they were in. Who needs a relationship when one’s better off single? Without further ado, I make bold to say that in Nigeria, our sure way to economic prosperity is by looting. I’m made to believe that in this regard, Nigeria is in a world of her own.

To start with, one unwritten requirement for a political post is the candidate’s dexterity in the superb act of looting. Nigerian politics is a race into the banquet hall. In there, the biggest attraction is the much storied national cake. One’s ability to loot it well and in a clever manner is considered first before such strengths as: the Nigerian god one’s credo professes belief in, the Nigerian ethnicity that your tribal marks associates you with, the political party in whose jersey you are vying for a slot into the banquet hall and the dog-father cheering you in the dog-race to the banquet hall. It doesn’t matter if your name starts with A (as in Abasha) or B (as in my nickname Bad-Boy Boohari), to succeed in Nigerian politics, you must possess dexterity in looting – a foolish man won’t be open about it though.

Back to the matter (and sorry for the small deviation), in Nigeria, we grow our economy by looting. I know on the surface it may appear preposterous, but please, allow me to explain before you reach a conclusion on the validity of my statement. Nigeria’s wealth is in a treasury that everyone can access if you know how. (If you don’t know how, you have no business being Nigerian.) If I loot a substantial part of the treasury, you loot what you can and others take what they can and even more; then we shall lack nothing. Save for those who belong to team Na Me Holy Pass.

Our new-found wealth has been able to build mansions in our villages. Though few, but with our edifices dotting the Nigerian landscape like a sparse array of stars in a dark cloud, it is and would always be a beauty to behold! From one beautiful mansion, we would have another and yet another. Before you know it, our houses would be everywhere. In the near future, we shall take our place of pride as feudal lords over those who don’t know how to loot. For blessed are those who loot, they shall inherit the land at the expense of those who are meek.

In addition to the aforesaid, the fruits of our loots would allow us to fly private across the globe and compete favourably with the birds of the air. We won’t have to sweat over medical tours beyond the shores of this country and as you know too well we won’t need our local hospitals anymore as our bodies have become too good for them. Our children will study at the best institutions abroad and by so doing save them from poor tutors who may want to impart into them dangerous ideologies like anarchy, egalitarianism, social justice, socialism, feminism and other trash peddled around by poor minds who have read a book or two.

At this point, you may have been wondering what has happened to my sense of compassion. Well, I have long given up on this country and only care about me, myself and I. Those that have killed themselves for this country, how many kobos do their children have to show for the patriotism and sacrifices of their parents? My friend, it is only a fool that will see fire burning the beards of his friend and not sprinkle his with water. I am more than determined to cater for myself and allow Nigeria take care of its well-being – after all, is Nigeria not an arbitrary creation of our British colonisers? I would be a fool to think I — or any other Nigerian in my economic class for that matter — can solve Nigeria’s problems.

I bear no grain of pity for those who are not in our position. They envy us and wish they were in our position. Given the opportunity, they will kill us and acquire what we have. What is preventing them is the law of the land that they regard as a creation of our elite class to subjugate and make them subservient to us in perpetuity. The recent wave of looting inspired by the “End SARS” protest is quite instructive in this regard. From looting what they felt we withheld from them, they went on to attack our assets and went away with what they can. The properties of others in their class were not spared either. At that point and as it has always been, their preoccupation is how to loot their way to wealth and prominence.

The good thing to have come out from our spree of looting is that things that we would have catered for have suddenly become self-reliant. Our economy, like that famous debtor of Things Fall Apart, is now perfect at borrowing money it cannot pay and does not intend to pay. Aside from the Nigerian economy, I do not know of any other that can borrow, refuse to offset its debt and still go ahead to impose economic sanctions on its lender. When it is not borrowing and feels like playing Jesus the feet-washer, it resorts to begging. Our lenders abroad have mastered the lyrics of our famous begging rhyme: Babiala/ Akoba adaba, Olo’un m’ajen ri. Our hospitals cater for themselves. They only heal those they can and hasten the death of those they cannot. Our roads have acquired auto-repair ability for their own upkeep and maintenance. Where it is impracticable for them to do so; they revert to the forest that they once were at the dawn of creation.

In your letter, you notified me of the displeasure of our counterparts over there at what they perceive as our “pitiable plight”. To them I like to say; Weep not for us. Weep not for our future. Do not lose sleep over our predicaments. We ain’t complaining! Rather let them weep for themselves: they who no longer frequent church and mosques; they who marry people of the same sex and allow people to change their gender; they who allow women to rule over them when God has made them head over women; they who dress naked.

I most sincerely thank you for always writing and sharing your thoughts on issues, especially as they affect Nigeria. It is evident that you may have been out of Nigeria but Nigeria has not gone out of you. Please extend my regards to your large family of Nigerians in Diaspora.

Thank you.

Yours truly,
(For the Looters in Power)
Atikulooted Boohari

Feature image credit: EFCC

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is a Jalingo-based rookie lawyer. His preoccupation is meeting the needs of his clients. When that gets boring, he unwinds by writing. He is not a writer but on the few occasions that he is, he attempts giving sinews to the bones of his thoughts.

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