Monday, 10 December 2012

Why I won’t come near Nigeria

I HAVE just commenced my thank-you tour to the great nations of the world. As the newly elected first executive president of the world’s newest democratic republic, I am naturally expected to observe this important diplomatic ritual.
I must step on the soils of nations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas .
But there is one giant country I would be most pleased to just fly over. It is not that Nigeria is not among the great nations of the world. On the contrary, the country is not only great but it is teeming, gracefully, with good people.
My problem has to do with fear. No, I am not afraid of Boko Haram. Faceless, mindless demons of mass-killing terrorists operate all over the world. Even massively-protected American citizens run for cover at the mere shout of ‘9 /11’ by a five-year old kid playing in company with his peers.
My fear has nothing to do with crime and drug networks. Parallel governments that go by such frightening appellations as Gulf cartel, Los Zetas cartel ,Cali cartel, Los Rastrojos cartel and Medellin cartel operate far away from the country of my interest.
Take a trip to the Indian Ocean high seas, especially off the coast of Somalia if you think Nigerian pirates and kidnappers are world champions. Look beyond the shores of Nigeria if you are concerned about five-star performances from  the most digitally sophisticated armed robbers on stage. My concern revolves specifically around fear of Nigerian cows, fear of the red carpet and fear of the unknown.
Have no illusion about it: There are cows in my own country as well. In fact, the cows in my country far outnumber the people. My problem  is Nigerian cows are not ordinary; they are sacred. Sacred cows, my home Ministry of Agriculture had warned, do not produce milk for people’s consumption; they milk the people dry.
Now dignitaries who are likely to welcome me at the Nigerian airport include governors (past and present), ministers, legislators, traditional rulers, politicians, military officers and even the cabal. Among them, there are too many sacred cows for comfort. And I am afraid, very afraid. Even Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, is afraid of sacred cows.
Then, imagine the dicey situation that my presidential jet managed to out manouvre the menace of the grazing cows terrorising Nigerian airports. The authorities would lay a red carpet for me to glamourise my reception.
There is hardly anything I dread more than the Nigerian carpet. Just anything in Nigeria can be swept under the carpet. Indeed, too many unresolved volatile issues in the country are know to have taken comfortable shelter under this internationally notorious national monument.
The reports of probes into earth-shaking scams like the $12 billion Gulf War oil windfall and Independent Power Project have all been swept under the carpet.
Mr.   DELE AKINOLA, a public affairs commentator, from Lagos.

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