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NIGERIA’S POLITICAL CLASS & THE WITCH-HUNT CLICHÉ

This is No Bullshitting!

WE THE PEOPLE of Nigeria have been manipulated over the years by crafty politicians to buy into clichés and loopholes that aim to thwart the laws of the land, or skew the laws in favor of law offenders. We are manipulated by some self-serving politicians and leaders with sectional sentiments that are often based on ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation. Further, advertently and inadvertently, we often miss-define and miss-apply some global words and terminologies into peculiar Nigerian meanings that do not make global sense. It is high time somebody started enlightening the gullible sections of our society, especially our youths, on some of these aberrations in Nigerian politics and leadership.WITCH-HUNT! This is one of the most miss-defined, most miss-applied terms in Nigeria’s political arena. Yes, indeed! Nigerians don’t know when to stop with the witch-hunt cliché! We hide under it to whip up public sentiments as response to allegations of crime, rather than defend the allegations. Well, I put it straight to you that a crime suspect is NOT LIKELY to spend so much funds and energy campaigning for ‘witch-hunt’ sentiments from the public; if he/she had any honorable defense to offer in court. We do have in Nigeria many past cases of big and loud “witch-hunt” claimants who were eventually convicted in court with evidence of stealing. Importantly, I also put it to you that nobody can witch-hunt an innocent person, period!
          I will expatriate, citing Oxford English Dictionary, which defines witch-hunt as: “An attempt to find and punish people who hold opinions that are thought to be unacceptable or dangerous to the society.” Other dictionary definitions include: “Hunt for witches” (this is obvious), and “A public smear- campaign against an individual.” Smear campaign means: effort “To damage someone’s reputation by slandering, misrepresenting, or otherwise making false accusations about the individual.” The underlined phrase makes my argument! Accusation of “witch-hunt” is only valid if the so-called witch- hunter is making false allegations. And, the only legitimate way to ascertain false allegation is through court trial, and not with cries of “witch-hunt” as defense. All over the world, when a person evades or tries to evade trial, average, rational humans presume, sometimes even conclude unequivocally that the evader is guilty. I mean, why else would any rational person try to evade trial; if not for the knowledge that he or she would be found guilty when the trial happens?
          When a person is accused of looting, the only sensible question is—is he guilty or not? If we want to stop bullshitting, nobody should even mention the word witch-hunt at all!!! If the accused is guilty; what the heck does it matter who exposed him or why he did it? Who cares if the petition is politically motivated? I sure don’t give a hoot! We should all rejoice that a thief has been caught, period! If I said it once, I have said it a zillion times that you can never witch-hunt an innocent person! I challenge anybody on this fact!!! The witch-hunt gimmick is just that—a gimmick to evade the law. If you prove your innocence, then and only then do you have the right to stand tall and cry “witch-hunt,” which means that you have been slandered or accused falsely. Indeed, you may now actually sue your witch-hunter for libel damages. But, if the accused is guilty of the allegation, then a person that exposed him or her has not in any sane definition committed any witch-hunting. The reason for exposing him or her is completely irrelevant. The so-called witch-hunter is simply a good citizen that wants looters to pay for their sins and crimes, period!

As a matter of fact, there should be a massive witch-hunt going on now in Nigeria in support of President Buhari’s courageous war against corruption (whether he is doing it satisfactorily or not, is a matter for another day). All Nigerians should join hands and hunt down all the witches. We should all be the hunters, and guilty looters are the witches. Yes, indeed, according to the English dictionary, looters of the nation’s treasury do “hold an opinion that is unacceptable and dangerous to the society.” The dangerous opinion held by looters is that our national cake belongs to them alone!!!
          Sadly, each time we start to prosecute somebody, some people say—why him, why not others first? So who are the others that we must start with; beings from other planets? Nigerians; we have to start with somebody ooo, haba! Of course, I do strongly support the call for the spread of the corruption war, and following the rule of law in the prosecution of the war. In particular, there are too many ex-governors and ex-ministers who Nigerians believe to be looters. But it is nonsensical to argue that we must set one rogue free just because we have not prosecuted all the others. And we can never prosecute all suspects on the same day. What we must do is to keep pressing, constructively, for more prosecutions, but not to press to free the ones that we already started to prosecute. It is nonsensical, and the world is sneering and laughing at us as the race that is too smart for its own good! The late Reggae legend, Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley would describe our political antics as “playing it smart without being clever.”
          I am not so worried about misguided comments of a so-called “common man” in the street; he needs to be enlightened, which is what I am doing here. I am only worried about the words of acclaimed “opinion leaders” of the society, because our youths are listening to them. The youths trust their views/opinions, and, with some of their utterances, they are misguiding our youths on ethics and values. Some of the “opinion leaders” surprise me with position-questions that even children can give instant correct answers to—like, “why is the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) now addressing Saraki’s corrupt practices that happened in 2003?” The answer is obvious even to a child! Policy and body language of Buhari against corruption—that’s why! Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan did not empower or embolden the CCB to go after the “untouchables.” In the days of Jonathan, a court would have granted Saraki the injunction he so fervently sought to stop his trial. We do have a number of such audacious law-evading injunctions still pending in our courts today, because the ‘body-language’ of Jonathan encouraged the practice. Now, Buhari Fever has cautioned our judges that it is no longer business as usual.
          I wish to offer a little professional, humble suggestion to my colleagues in the media—specifically the news reporters—to please strive to represent the questions and feelings of Nigerians when they encounter our leaders. When Senator Saraki and his spokes people told reporters that he decided to appear at the CCT trial because he is a “law abiding citizen,” I expected somebody to take him up on that obvious contradiction. The man repeatedly disrespected the summons of the CCT; meanwhile spending a lot of energy and huge funds on a team of some of the powerful lawyers in the country, imported more from outside the country, all to quash the trial. And, when all the authorities that he approached told him that he must face trial, he then turned around to tell us that he decided to appear at the tribunal because he is a “law-abiding citizen.” Naturally, many Nigerians muse: “What do some of our leaders take the rest of us for—idiots?” The man only became “law-abiding citizen” when he realized that he was about to be arrested, period! This is the resounding opinion of Nigerians that I saw in the social media. So, I task our reporters to please engage our leaders when they play such antics on the intelligence of the citizenry as though we are all idiots. This has been my submission on true definition of witch-hunt, and I reaffirm my position that Nigerian politicians have manipulated the public to adopt a warped definition, which aims to aid law breakers to evade the law. Do remember—accusation of “witch-hunt” cannot be valid without thee establishment of innocence. If we cry “witch-hunt” before trial; what then do we say if the accused is found guilty? Indeed, many have been found guilty after all the hoopla about with-hunt. What annoys me most is that Nigerians don’t even address the show of shame of the witch-hunt claimants after the guilt pronouncements—what a shame!  You think about that, while I think of another one of Nigeria’s political aberrations to talk about on my next treatise. Well, I don’t even have to do any thinking to find one; there are so, so many! Let’s condemn and shun them, shall we!

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