MMM, Sambisa And The Boy Died
By Reuben Abati… “Happy New Year, my brother”
“What do you mean happy new year, more than two weeks into the New Year. Have I not been in touch with you since January 1?”
“But for you the New Year has just started. Your January 1 was not on January 1”
“Looks like you have started taking something. I must inform your wife.”
“I say Happy New Year to you.”
“Okay, same to you.”
“You think I don’t know what you have been going through? Your wife told me you have not been yourself since those Mavrodi Mundia Moneybox people suspended their scheme. She specifically asked me to keep an eye on you. But we thank God the MMM is back, 24 hours earlier than they promised. Now, you can get your money back.”
“My brother, it is a lo-n-g story. This MMM thing has become a case of the more you hear, the less you understand. And to think I invested my children’s education savings. Everything.”
“What is the problem again? I hear you can get your money back, and MMM says they are ready to change the world.”
“I don’t know about changing the world, but let them change my sadness to joy by just returning my money, but now they say they can only pay a small amount per day and that those who invested big money like me should wait.”
“How much did you invest?”
“If I tell you the figure, you will know that the year is not new at all.”
“So you can go and tell your wife and your wife can tell my wife and the three of you can tell everybody. I just pray MMM does not mess me up, otherwise all of you won’t have anything to gossip about when you start looking for a casket.”
“Is it that bad? Please don’t let it get to that stage. But I can assure you, if they mess you up, I will sue the hell out of them. I will get lawyers and sue them to court.”
“You will defend my rights after I am dead? Now, I see you are a very good friend indeed.”
“I am just trying to help. I almost invested in the MMM myself.”
“Let me ask you something. What is a bitcoin?”
“Not too sure.”
“MMM says they will pay with bitcoins. I invested with Naira. They say they will pay me with coins, not with dollars, but coins. Ore mi, gba mi. Se kinni yi o ti fe di one chance bayi? And yet they are saying they want to change my world. Government should intervene and monitor the whole thing.”
“I won’t consider MMM the business of government.”
“Everything that has to do with the welfare of a citizen is the business of government.”
“If you decide to go and invest your money with money-doublers, why should government be bothered?”
“Government cannot allow anybody to spread frustration in any form. MMM should give me my money, not coins.”
“By the way, we should find out what a bitcoin is? We learn everyday.”
“I didn’t invest for research purposes. I invested for profit purposes.”
“But suppose the bitcoin is even better than the Naira. Somebody told me that bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, although he didn’t quite explain.”
“Ha. I am in trouble. So, I now have to carry dictionary over this MMM matter. Even a crypto something is now better than the Naira. God, pity your servants!”
“Just calm down. We have enough people dying everyday. Don’t join the list. I am sure everything will be sorted out. While you are killing yourself over MMM, are you aware that some Nigerians are already investing in another Ponzi scheme?”
“What is that one?”
“It is called Swissgolden. They offer gold or cash profit.”
“I don’t want to hear about it. And you say government should not get involved? We are almost becoming a nation of desperate money-doublers.”
“Government should worry about more serious things, except of course someone sets out to commit a crime.”
“Nothing can be more serious.”
“Like the Southern Kaduna killings, for example”
“That is sad. Ethnic and religious violence has been a source of threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence. We need to build a nation first.”
“The Catholic Church says the casualty figure in Southern Kaduna so far is about 808. Over 1, 422 houses, 16 churches, 19 shops and one primary school have been destroyed. The challenge is how to prevent these things.”
“Too much politics in everything and that is why ordinary things become big things and so much tragedy is invited. Government must be pro-active.”
“That’s like saying nothing. I have heard that cliché too many times. The root of our national crisis is much deeper. Oftentimes the people themselves are the problem.”
“I hear in the Niger Delta, the people are also threatening to resume hostilities, shut down oil installations and destroy NDDC projects.”
“It is not the people. It is the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) with their ‘Operation Walls of Jericho’ and the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC). Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has led a delegation to go and talk to them, particularly the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF). I think the resort to dialogue is wise.”
“I’ll like to see that too in Southern Kaduna, coming from the highest levels and I like the fact that the Federal Government is talking to the Bring Back our Girls Group and that for once they are willing to listen. Before May 2015, that group never wanted to listen to government. Now they are in Sambisa Forest.”
“I call it the BBOG Journey to the Sambisa Forest of a Thousand Daemons. When you go to a forest like that, you will have stories to tell.”
“I like the strategy. Get the protesters to help government sell its own story. Quite clever.”
“What if the strategy back-fires?”
“Oh, come on. It won’t.”
“You are always cynical. Thank God you are not in Tanzania where media cynicism of any sort is now a crime.”
“Under President John Magufuli, the bulldozer? Everyone has been praising him for fighting corruption and administrative opaqueness.”
“Magufuli is now bulldozing the media and free speech. Just the other day, he threatened Tanzanian journalists. According to him: ‘We will not allow Tanzania to be a dumping yard for inciting content. This will not happen under my administration”
“They now have in Tanzania, The Media Services Act of 2016 which gives government officials the powers to shut down media houses and seize their printing machines.”
“That is even worse that that Nigerian Decree. Decree… Decree….”
“It is not from my mouth you will hear that one. Just be careful. Magufuli’s position is that journalists provoked him with their inciting content.”
“What is it with our leaders in Africa? In other words, Magufuli is saying he is a constituted authority.”
“Not a…he is the constituted authority.”
“One of these days, he too will just say, “Bring that boy here…Leave him…Who do you think you are talking to…I am the constituted authority.”
“You are quoting someone else now, not Magufuli.”
“African leaders sound alike when it comes to the use and abuse of power. You are right, I am quoting the Governor of Oyo State, Nigeria, Governor Abiola Ajimobi. Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) provoked him. They had the temerity to remind him that their school had been shut down for eight months. The Governor was so irritated, he sounded as if the students were disturbing him.
“The students were rude. Nigerian students don’t respect constituted authority. They don’t know how to address power.”
“Which authority? Is that why they should be tongue-lashed and shot at by the police?”
“I know the Governor. One of the students must have said something nasty to him. I got that much from his daughter’s alleged reaction.”
“Who is that?”
“The Governor’s daughter defending her dad.”
“What does she know about a university being shut down for eight months and students having to stay at home because government is suffering from a disease called lack of funds. This democracy sha.”
“Don’t worry yourself. It is not an African thing. In the United States, the President-elect’s daughter is going to be very powerful in his in-coming government. Her husband, Jared Kushner is already warming up to play a major role, and his only qualification for the job according to the father-in-law is that he is a good lad and a natural talent”
“That Donald Trump. He should stop disturbing everyone with his reckless comments.”
“I pray he doesn’t cause a Third World War.”
“With the way he has been provoking China.”
“Everything is under negotiation including One China”, says Trump.
“Nobody can negotiate that,” says China.
“And Trump picks up his phone and makes a long-distance call to the President of Taiwan, and China says that is a terrible insult”
“Trump definitely thinks his trip to the White House is one of his ‘You’re fired’ episodes. He is busy burning bridges.”
“Meanwhile, in Nicaragua…”
“What’s happening in Nicaragua?”
“The President has just been sworn in for a third term in office, with his wife as his Vice-President! A husband and wife Presidency”
“You think that can happen in Nigeria?”
“You are not aware that in some states in Nigeria, family members are the ones who run the government?”
“Go and find out for yourself?”
“So, how is our friend, Jim Obazee of the Financial Reporting Council (FRCN)?
“He broke the law”
“He was trying to enforce the law”
“He broke the law of the Psalms. Psalm 105: 15 – “do not touch my anointed ones/And do my prophets no harm.” He wanted to use a Governance Code to force men of God to observe term limits.”
“You are missing the point.”
“And to think he would start implementing the Code from his own church, where he is a pastor, with Daddy G.O. of the Redeemed Church. So he means charity begins at home.”
“You don’t get it. Are you recommending nepotism? The whole point of the Code is that when religious groups become business entities, they must pay taxes and respect corporate governance rules.”
“Nigeria is a secular state. Government should not dabble into religious matters.”
“But government can dabble into the matter of El-Zakzaky and his movement. I beg.”
“The Bible says…”
“Yes, I know what the Bible says. Don’t bother.”
“We should pray for the people of Gambia and the President-elect Adama Barrow who is supposed to be inaugurated as President on January 19. Yahya Jammeh is still insisting he will not step down. The people are already fleeing the country, Ministers and other government appointees have resigned, the whole world is angry, but Jammeh is sitting tight.
“You know something?”
“In the midst of all this, while Adama Barrow is in exile in Senegal waiting for January 19, his eight-year old son was bitten by a dog last Sunday. He was rushed to the hospital. The boy died.
“Oh. Oh, Africa.”
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