Friday 3 April 2009

Nigeria: Do him for vagrancy

A typical prodigal son

It is difficult to pick up where to begin to do this story any justice but it represents a microcosm of malaise that affects Nigeria, to ignore it is to condone a greater injustice where debate is necessary to deal with the ills that plague our country.

I was drawn to the story when I saw the title, “My father was a governor, but I’m dying of poverty.” [1] At first, I thought, Big Deal, why should your father who having been governor now have any bearing on your life today?

However, on reading the story, I was filled with revulsion, disdain and anger, emotions that could only be assuaged in the slightest by this blog.

A fatherhood of disgrace

This man’s father was Alhaji Barkin Zuwo, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1979 and 1983, then Governor of Kano State in 1983. He was an ill-educated stark illiterate [2] who on seeing a number of For Sale signs thought the labelled goods belonged to Saleh.

He is the one of whom was said when asked about the mineral resources [3] in his state suggested the abundance of coke and fanta – minerals being a Nigerian euphemism for carbonated soft drinks. He also preferred to keep state funds in his house than in the bank.

In his lifetime, he had 4 wives and 18 children, a whole brood of incompetents and never-do-wells of which this Tijjani Sabo Barkin Zuwo is one.

Whilst certain religions allow for polygamous marriages, to sire a brood without attendant parental guidance that would allow them thrive and make something of their lives is the height of irresponsibility; it goes without saying that whilst people might not necessarily have large families no proper consideration is taken of what it takes to run a family properly before starting one.

Printing tales of woes

However, this apology of a character who finished secondary school around the time of Murtala Mohammed’s regime which puts it around 1975/76 went on a printing technology course in America sponsored by USAID and apparently made nothing of it.

I would suggest the reason why is because he thought since his father was a politician he could hang on the coat tails of patronage and influence peddling to get by, something many children and relations of people in power do in Nigeria.

Now that the father is dead, the friends who congregated in his harem with their noses to the trough have moved on to other sources of patronage leaving Tijjani and his siblings seeking ways to perfect mendicancy on the reputation of their father in whose home was found 3.4 million Naira cash [4] at a time when the Nigerian Naira was almost par with the British Pound.

That such men have been visited on Nigeria is beyond the pale but worse still is the legacy of beggar children who are all grown up, useless, shameless and without an iota of dignity.

Wasted opportunities for corruption too

If Tijanni with the little and almost inconsequential education he had with all the patronage he could have commanded had played his cards right, he might not have found himself in the sorry state he is in now.

But the sad tale is many children of influential people rest on the laurels of the parent’s achievements and bide their time for the inheritance that eventually gets shared amongst a multitude of leeches that they really do end up with nothing – as the story goes, Tijjani’s slide from riches to poverty started at time of the death of his father.

He suggests his family is not united and there is no love between them – well, why would there be love in a poorly constituted sham of a family of numbers rather than children where the women who think they are wives were just sexual pleasure units of the religiously-sanctioned libido of lustful and lasciviously reprobate men?

Take a breather – Akin!

Hit him on the head with his beggar bowl

Anyway, Tijjani believes if he can unite his family they can take their begging bowls to the current state government and find familial succour as a matter of right.

I can count a good 100 million Nigerians who are more deserving of succour from their government; the 70% who never had a life of privilege or an atrociously corrupt father, who live on less than $2 a day, working hard to make ends meet – Tijjani deserves nothing more from anyone except if he gets off his backside and gets a job, else he should starve like lazy sloths do and die.

It is breathtaking when he suggests that many of his age mates are permanent secretaries and top government functionaries – it is laughable that a cretin with a printing technology certification of sorts thinks he should be in a top government position, Nigeria does tolerate and celebrate mediocrity in excess though.

You lay your own bed, it is not communal

It however highlights a number of issues; the feeling that we should all keep within the average success range of our peers that we cannot countenance the idea of people of a lesser age being in ascendancy and above us – Get real, this is the real world – I had to endure and live through the situation where when I was in my first year, my junior in secondary school was finishing his 5-year course – I faced the situation with dignity and got on with it without regret or commiseration – such is life.

He believes that he has passed the age of applying for a fresh job, well, he must have passed the age for having food on his table too and consequently he is a useless parasitic organism in society breathing air that might be of use to those who are well over his age still working their backs out.

Do him for vagrancy

Tijjani by estimation should be about 50 years old, maybe tops in his mid-fifties, but I doubt he has ever done a decent job in his life and so has no experience or skills to offer the Nigerian marketplace.

If he is anything like is father, he would be too much of a dunce to train for anything – I feel so disgusted to my guts writing these lines but Tijjani’s life probably parallels the lives of many other children of privilege in Nigeria who have done nothing useful in their lives and expect everything to come to them by reason of the hard work of others.

Tijjani apparently has written a bailout letter to the Deputy Governor of Kano State who I believe should dump the letter in his bin but send a reply that if he hears from any of the brood of Barkin Zuwo again they would be charged with vagrancy.

Tijjani “feels a nostalgia remembering the privileges he once had, but which are no more.” I almost find myself sympathetic but I refuse to be overwhelmed with that emotion.

In closing, Tijjani “is optimistic that help is not far away from coming his way.” Not if I could help it, get off your fat lazy arse and find some work, I say in utter exasperation.

Note: The Sun News On-line should use a spell checker and do some proofreading, it is the least to be expected of a newspaper – that is not to say I am perfect, I am always reviewing my blogs


[1] My father was a governor, but I’m dying of poverty – Barkin Zuwo’s son - The Sun News On-line

[2] Etteh: Language as physiognomy of the mind - The Sun News On-line

[3] The Varnishing tribe of glamorous politicians - The Sun News On-line

[4] Crippled giant: Eghosa E. Osaghae - Google Book Search: Book Preview Page 174

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