Let’s first consider this list: Lawrence Nomayagbo Anini, Mathew Oluwanifemi a.k.a Shina Rambo, Joel Amamieye, Williams Oyazimo, Kay Willy, Derico Nwamama, Ishola Oyenusi, Monday Osunbor, George Iyamu, Abiodun Egunjobi a.k.a Godogodo, the one-eyed robber, Obidiozor Otokoto, Santana, Babatunde ‘Onileesi’ Folorunso, Isiaka Busari a.k.a Mighty Joe, et al.
Then this: Charles Manson, Al Capone, John Gacy, Jesse James, Timothy McVeigh, Pablo Escobar, Jim Jones, John Dillinger,Ted Kaczynski, et al.
Despite varied pigmentation, the gentlemen in the two groups have a binder: criminality. But they also had a claim to honour; they didn’t dispute not doing the crime and the time wasn’t also disputed, with many paying supremely.
The cliché of honour among thieves used to hold true, until a new group emerged in the Nigerian political, economic and public service spheres, which perfected the art of waging war against truth in such a ruthless manner that getting them to do the time for their crimes is now akin to hanging truth itself.
There is a media capture of Erastus Akingbola, the former dazzling CEO of now-defunct Intercontinental Bank, sacked for alleged N179 billion depositors’ fraud in 2009 that melts the heart. Like Peter, I fastened my eyes on the wry felon suspect and briefly wished he was a victim of SLS’s conspiracy against high-flying bankers of Southern extraction. Even without his sustained plea of innocence, he looked pitiful enough. In psychology, his visage was about moving me from sympathy to empathy. But what about the vanished and ravished deposits of millions of Nigerians who practically poured their existence sustainers, into what Erastus turned a leaking basket. Yes, I will always plead God’s mercy unto all, but the law must also course through.
I once saw a photo-op of fresh-from-jail former Abia strongman, Senator Orji Kalu, at the Vatican, receiving the much-coveted Papal’s blessing from the Pope. That should suggest he is Christian enough to know Brother Barabbas, the bandit. Yes, he got a technical acquittal and was released from prison, for Jesus to go in for him, but he was honourable enough not to play the victim. Yes, the Truth was incarcerated and eventually murdered while the guilty one was set free, because those who clamoured for the unjust switch, were ready to carry the can and the curse. In fact, they placed the curse on themselves, saying, “let his (the Truth) blood be upon us and upon our children.”
It means there is a ready curse upon those helping felons, escape human justice, using technical acquittal. They need not pronounce it upon themselves and generations, it is given. The Bible says there shall be no causeless curse. It would be for them to check if they are creating causes for curses.
Since Kalu escaped like Barabbas, he has been playing Brother Stephen, the martyr. Anytime, he receives those on the shameless high-profile solidarity visits, he has fashioned a routine of giving the “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do” speech, with an imaginary halo. Hello o?
It is alright to ride momentum, especially when it is as shifty as in Kalu’s case. One moment, he was begging not to be handcuffed as he was ready to march into prison, the next moment, he is an Andromeda galaxy, flummoxing with naked narcissism to pass as a victim of some obdurate plotting. Well, if EFCC is to be believed and there are reasons not to believe its grandstanding, considering how mere interlocutory injunctions have been allowed to stay in Peter Odili and Rotimi Amaechi’s alleged corruption cases for 13 years and five years respectively, then the momentum could shift for Kalu again and this time, instead of photo-ops and I-have-dream extempore speech, he may be needing a very emotive allocutus to minimise his time, for the crime.
Kalu is actually not pleading his innocence in his post-prison ramblings. Like his mentor, Babangida once said he isn’t doing a memoir, because Nigerians won’t read his account, the Minna General’s protégé, knows Nigerians don’t usually buy the kind of yarn coming from him as a defence for the allegations against him. Like him, his mentor, the General, was doing revised psychology making that they-wont-read claim. He knew Nigerians know enough of him that he would fill the pages of his public service accounts and military plottings, with Alternative Facts. Who wan read rubbish?
Kalu is engaged in what is known as the Illusion of Truth. Joseph Goebbels, the overzealous Nazi mouthpiece, was the chief villain of what has come to be known in local parlance as the Big Lie; repeat it often enough and it becomes the truth. No court said Kalu didn’t steal money. If he had forgiveness to share and receive, it would be between him and those who testified his grand graft.
The society did him no wrong. If anything, he should be the one on his knees, for the slightest of the breach of public trust. But trust to the Nigerian elite is a byword for stupidity. If you return home today as a Ward Councillor in Nigeria, with your legitimate earnings which won’t qualify for obscene wealth, your kindred will likely place a generational curse on you for wasting the family slot.
Maybe that is why Kalu established SLOK to protect family SLOT. Until the next round of his prosecution, if it will ever be, his face, should adorn more of the Crime Fighter platform, instead of accepting homage from his kind. His kinsman, Chinagorom Onuoha a.k.a African China, wanted that.
One positive message from Kalu though, as he returned from his newest College of Learning, is the advocacy on prison reform. Yes, asking for a better living conditions for the former flatmates sounds hypocritical, considering it is taking him being there, to realise others there, should live like human beings, but adding his voice to the clamour for a well-intent prison reform, won’t hurt, particularly if the newest addition to pro-reform, has been in and out and could be in again, this time, for a longer time. Reminds of a hen taking good care of a soup-pot, knowing it will surely be her resting place. I laff in Igbere dialect.
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