t is not anything new to most Nigerians that there are hundreds of thousands of republics right inside the republic we all know as Nigeria. The other truth is that we all know that Nigeria has failed and Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdusalam Abubakar, Ernest Shonekan, Olusegun Obasanjo (for a second and longer time), Umaru Yar'Ardua and Goodluck Jonathan are the undertakers of the disaster and failure that Nigeria suffered. In ensuring the failure and retardation of the Nigerian republic, these men worked very hard - largely through their recklessness, indiscipline, greed and desire to hang on to power - to create mini republics right inside that failed entity. Alas, majority of the mini republics have gone on to thrive so well and advanced the agenda of the owners so smoothly that they lack nothing, but rather prosper from the failure of the larger Nigerian entity. The priority of everyone is to ensure that his own republic is solid and functioning.
The mini republics have every social amenity that do not exist, or existed in fits and pieces in the Nigerian republic. The only amenity that is not readily available inside these mini republics is medical care. But not to worry, the air ambulance service is there to rush the mini republic chieftains or any member of their families to Europe or America within minutes. The best three examples are the mini republics these men built for themselves are Obasanjo's Otta Farm, Ibrahim Babangida's Minna Hill Top Mansion, which is replete with every imaginable amenity you need to live a decent, smooth life, and Sani Abacha's Estate in Kano, the same place where Maryam Abacha currently hold court. Babangida's Hill Top Mansion is so big that a friend has never stopped wondering how Babangida has been maintaining the place on the pension of a retired general. The republics of the other former and current office holders are also very enviable and of rich taste.
The mini republics are by far the in-thing in Abuja. Every big man, every politician, every civil servant - the top and the not-so-top civil servant, every member of the armed forces looting council during Babangida and Abacha's time, every senator and member of the nation's legislooting house, every minister, every presidential adviser, every sidekick, errand boy, fronts, clones and many more, is determined to build, own, and operate a republic. Success is measured strictly by how republican you become and how quick you achieve it. This is why there are thousands of these republics in Abuja than anywhere else. The flip side of this republican mentality is that the very same people who have "successfully" built mini republics in Abuja also desire a second, third, or even fourth republic in their primary bases. For those of them who moved to Abuja from Lagos to take political posts and have secured their Abuja republic the next step is to find enough money (steal it, loot it, grab it, whatever) to acquire a second republic in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, or Ikeja, because as things stand and with their new image and sudden success they could no longer be seen to be living in Ketu or Abule Egba. These are often the men who end up compounding the problems of the nation; they failed to provide the required social amenities but found a way round it to ensure that they do not suffer from the failure they created.
When it was very clear to Augustus Aikhomu during his time as Babangida's second in command he secured huge underground gas tanks from Agip Nigeria for his Irrua country home to ensure that they will never lack cooking gas. As gas became difficult to get, unavailable in the petrol stations and irregular in supply to the point that most Nigerians were forced to turn fire wood or kerosene the Aikhomus never had to worry about that, and so many others of their ilk. Every republic is left to protect itself and to gather everything available and possible to fend for itself and to make itself happy and fulfilled. But what kind of big man are you if you have a big house in Abuja and Lagos and you do not have one in your home town? How shameful is it that you are rich and you have nowhere to stay if you go for Ileya or Christmas in Ijebu-Ode? Where will you host your guest on Ojude-Oba Day? The plan for the building of a third personal republic is sealed right there! The third republic is built with the best Italian marble and tiles, American fittings and lighting fixtures and British bath tubs, sinks, showers and kitchen items, all imported from overseas. By the time the republic in Ijebu-Ode is completed the owner would have looted most (if not all) of the funds meant for road projects, health programs, national identity card funds, public service pension funds, police pension funds, or any other funds within his reach.
Ensuring that the personal republics of the big men continue to sustain its own water plant, electricity plant, road, excrement/waste treatment, fuel/gas depot and security post is far more important and vital than providing social amenities to the people. Each republic also has its own fleet of vehicles to meet the needs of the big man and his family if and whenever they are in town, considering the fact that transportation is horrible everywhere you go in Nigeria. This partly explain why you find several cars and SUVs parked in the drive way of many houses for months and years and no one is using or touching the ones way down the lot. It is one major reason why corruption is a national tradition. It is the reason why there are thousands and thousands of houses in the towns with on one to live in them and no one to rent them. It is also the reason why government contracts are over-priced, highly inflated and hardly ever completed.
The best example of this is the recent controversy over the two armoured BMW vehicles imported by the reckless funds-abuser at the federal ministry of aviation Ms. Stella Oduah. The vehicles are worth no more than $40, 000 each but the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) claimed it paid $1.6 million for the cars. The question then is: why is NCAA's funds being used to buy vehicles for a minister who has her own office and budget? Stella Oduah is double dipping and abusing her office, but nothing will happen to her because she is one of the inner members of the Jonathan contraption. The matter of the purchase is actually made worse by the fact that this lady already has a fleet of cars and SUVs under her control. It could be that she needs to have two vehicles stationed in each of her homes in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, and who knows where else. If Stella Oduah has four republics she travel to regularly that means she will need at least two cars and/or SUVs in each republic. The nation's airspace is unworthy and dangerous but the minister can waste funds buying what she already has plenty of - cars and luxury, the over-indulgence of office and abuse of state funds. Many gullible citizens out there do not know or understand how these things about republics go. But how can we? Most citizens are not looking to own mansions or republics. The basic necessities of life and a place to lay his head are all the average citizen want, which is why he does not understand why the office holders in Abuja are stealing in billions and taking for themselves oil fields that are meant to provide for the whole nation and the people.
Do we even know how many times - and this on paper - that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway has been built and rebuilt without a single thing done to it? I drove on that road about two years ago and wonder why it has not been shut down considering the fact that it is a death trap. Mr. Tony Anenih, Mr. Isaiah Balat, Mr. Adeseye Ogunlewe (who was dismissed), Mr. Yahaya Abdulkarim, and Mr. Mike Onolememen have all awarded contracts relating to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, but despite the efforts of five or more ministers the situation of the expressway has continued to deteriorate while the republics of the people who awarded the contracts and the people who were awarded the contracts have continued to thrive and grow. As the national republic undergo a steady decline, is battered, looted and ran aground the republics of those who are tasked with managing her affairs continue to increase, expand and function very well.
The rude reference to Nigeria by Mr. Ted Cruz
The recent remarks by Mr. Ted Cruz of the US Senate about Nigeria and regarding email scammers is not only rude and offensive, it is also an unacceptable and narrow minded generalization and categorization. Are all the fraudulent emails going around on the Internet from one source - from Nigeria and Nigeria only? It is very rude and crude of the American senator to throw away every sense of decorum and civility while speaking about an American legislation that has nothing to do with Nigeria. One would have expected Mr. Cruz to be more discreet and sensible with his choice of words and references. By his reckless and needless reference to Nigeria Mr. Cruz has shown how narrow-minded he is in a world where cyber crimes are not limited to nor are they dominated by citizens of just one nation. Strangely, this is Ted Cruz who has failed to appreciate the need and desire of millions of Americans to have access to basic medical care in a nation where Cruz and his colleagues on Capitol Hill are enjoying the very best health care (with access to Walter Reed) provided by the government and paid for largely by the American people, a clear and glaring case of selfishness aided and abated by arrogance. Is there any alternative to Obamacare that Cruz and his deluded co-travelers will propose to the over 40 million Americans who have no access to health care in the richest nation in the world? Cruz's injection of Nigeria into his comments and his shutdown of the US government in an attempt to crush Obamacare says a lot about what his type will bring to the people and governance. I hope Americans will wake up from slumber and be well informed.