At every given point in time, the Nigerian news cycle is certain to relay a particular tiding whose apparent purpose is to remind you that you are more of a participant in a comical experiment than the citizen of a proper country.
That reminder is the very element that makes the day’s domestic news complete. It serves to succinctly explain the context in which other headlines developed. It encapsulates the grand existential lie that Nigeria purports not to be.
And contemplating that reminder is guaranteed to leave you at the half-and-half place where you simultaneously laugh at and mourn the theater of the absurd that continues to con itself, at inestimable expense, that it is a real nation –a very big one at that!
The latest of those reminders is a joke you cannot but digest with sadness. Here is it: The person who ‘represented’ the Nigerian senate at the Anti-corruption Summit convened by British PM David Cameron, in London, is that transparently corrupt and certifiably insane ‘senator’: Dino Melaye!
It was Melaye, the narcissist and public attention addict himself, who reported that he was in London to ‘represent’ the Nigerian Senate at the summit. He published the news with pride and joy. Pride for having the honor. And joy, that his stock has grown: He is now welcome to global talkshops.
For Melaye, the car aficionado who medicates his low self esteem with a string of new cars, the summit was a huge thing. While it lasts, he was going to draw a sense of significance from the reflected glory of other presences in the environment. He would take selfies and file the event in his memory as one proof that he matters!
Nigerians mocked the anti-corruption pilgrim. They told him he was morally unqualified to be found within 1 kilometer radius of the venue of an anti-corruption summit. Wasn’t he ashamed to announce that he accepted to pollute that assembly with his presence?
Evidently, Dino was nominated to ‘represent’ the Nigerian senate by the career thief he had publicly sworn eternal fealty to, his ‘’friend and brother’’ ‘Senate President’ Bukola Saraki.
Melaye did not have the first call because he is a genius in the cerebration business. He was not the most promising participant that the Nigerian senate could have sent under the circumstances: Melaye is as manifestly incapable of bringing any positive to any consequential social discourse as he is in taking any home.
Nonetheless, the puny mind was made a delegate because he was Saraki’s number one cheerleader. Melaye was sent to ‘represent’ the Nigerian senate so he would collect a generous estacode, embark on a whirlwind shopping, and treat himself to one a full day of indulgence in car voyeurism!
The bribe was meant to fortify his loyalty. The trip, which should rank as the most important event in his life, was supposed to make his ‘support’ rise a notch higher. He had vowed to die for Saraki. After the trip, he would have audacity to warn that he can kill for Saraki!
A person who has the misfortune of meeting Melaye at the summit is likely form the mistaken opinion that this ‘senator’ is one of the best specimens out of Nigeria.
The person would be forgiven the presumption because senators, as a rule, are presidential materials. If you cast a lot in a country’s senate, you should get an individual who has the character, judgment, and vision to govern the whole nation.
‘Senator’ Melaye doesn’t have enough discipline to govern his own self. He has the acumen of an ineducable spoiled child. He exemplifies, like many of his other nihilist colleagues in the senate, the level of decadence all people of good breeding curse.
Given half a chance, President Melaye would convert the entire Nigerian landscape into his car park. He would endeavor to make history as the owner of the largest collection of exotic cars in the world!
On the face of it, Dino Melaye is an incongruent presence in that anti-corruption summit. He is one of the most successful self-advertising products of the corrupt Nigerian system. He is a vain, debouched hedonist. He fights, more often than not, on the side of corruption. He has been beaten and stripped naked in those fights. He is Nigeria’s one and only corruption porn star!
But Melaye’s ‘representation’ speaks to the broader irony of the domination of the Nigerian state by sediments of the Nigerian underworld.
Our version of representative democracy is a bastardization of the idea of a select few sacrificially tending the rest of the society. We have an arrangement whereby con artists, criminals and clowns make a full time job out of preying on taxpayers.
In Nigeria, to ‘represent’ the people is to misrepresent them. It is to desecrate the intangibles of their ethos and etiquette. It is to pour scorn on their moral infrastructure. It is to take pride in being the lickspittle of a robber when your community custom stigmatizes the thief.
In Nigeria, to represent the people is not to be sold on their struggle. It is not to be passionate about breaking the cycle of the people’s generational poverty, or reducing the number of the children lost to cholera every year.
In Nigeria, to ‘represent’ the people is to lie against who they are and how they live. It is to conflate their rounded story with the number of your cars. It is to cast them as folks whose only worldly care are cars and cars more abundantly.
Still from London came the leaked video tape in which British PM, Cameron, characterized Nigeria and Pakistan as ‘’fantastically corrupt’’, while chatting about the upcoming anti-corruption summit with Queen Elizabeth II, the Archbishop of the Canterbury, and the Speaker of the British Parliament.
That tape provoked a storm of nationalistic hysteria in Nigerian cyberspace. At least half of that frenzy leaned towards anger. Some Nigerians felt insulted by the otherness of the plagiarism. They took exception to a patronizing foreigner declaiming against Nigeria in the very terms the Nigerian chattering class discusses the reality of their own country.
Others, however, didn’t bristle at the neo-colonial infringement of their putative monopoly. Nor did they claim that Cameron’s ridicule of Nigeria was a violation of the canon of diplomatic decorum. They queried the correctness of his postulation and demanded that he furnish the authenticated statistics upon which he had premised his hypothesis.
Melaye also jumped into the column of the defenders of the inviolate integrity of Nigeria.
Melaye tweeted, ’’David Cameron is wrong in categorizing my beloved country as fantastically corrupt, what are his indices, yardsticks and criteria.’’
As it turned out, Downing Street did not need to reply Melaye. His own ‘followers’ volunteered to help his curiosity. They told the ostentatious car peddler that he need not look for external evidence that Nigeria was ‘’fantastically corrupt’’. They told him that if he looked in the mirror, he would come face-to-face with the embodiment of all the ‘’indices, yardsticks and criteria.’’
Note that Melaye used a term of endearment in describing his Nigeria. He called Nigeria, ‘’my beloved country.’’ That connotes the instinctive jealousy a man is wont to show when his lover is slighted.
His pretentious affection for Nigeria is consistent with the pattern of Nigerian history. Since time immemorial, the plunderers of Nigeria have raped the country while professing to love it. They call their crime a patriot’s duty. They count it the highest form of service!
Nigeria is essentially the story of an interminable succession of thieves and their affectation of love for the country.
Melaye called Nigeria ‘’my beloved country’’ because Nigeria is just about the only country in the world where a person who wears corruption as a laurel ‘represents’ the country.
Melaye loves Nigeria because since he took up the hobby of showing off his cars, no policeman or taxman has detained him and interrogated his source of livelihood. He loves Nigeria because Nigeria is the only place where he can freely parade cars he can’t afford.
Melaye loves Nigeria because this is the only place where he can plead the fifth when doorstepped. This is the only place where he can evade the question of the name of the magic tree he plucks money from by asserting that ‘’I am a distinguished senator of the Federal Republic.’’
Melaye loves Nigeria because this is the only place where a layabout like him earns more than the President of the United States; with clothes, furniture and the newest SUV as the icing on the cake.
Dino Melaye calls Nigeria ‘’my beloved country’’ because this is a country whose senate is peopled by ‘’like minds’’ like Abdullahi Adamu, Geroge Akume, T.A Orji, Stella Oduah. Thief and pedophile Sani Yerima. Pimp and money launderer Andy Uba. Joshua Dariye, the thief who purchased a single pen for 7,000 pounds with Plateau people’s money.
This is that incredible country where Buruji Kashamu, the fugitive drug baron, can beat his chest and say that he is the ‘senator representing’ Wole Soyinka!
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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