When former President Goodluck Jonathan wanted to host his Presidential Media Chat of February 2015, little did he know he would be contributing to the idiomaticity of the English language in Nigeria. It was in that media chat that he enriched us with the parable of the goat and the yam.
According to the former President, who still commands the respect of many Nigerians as a man of peace because of the way he handled his electoral defeat, you cannot put a goat and yam together and expect the goat not to eat the yam. He philosophised that as it is natural for the goat to go for the yam, so it is for public officers under his leadership to eat the yam of corruption. So, yam eaters and corrupt officials were elevated to the level of obeying natural law.
What Nigerians knew then was that corruption was rife and was so solidly entrenched in the system that it could be touched, they did not know that a national Association of Yam Eaters had been formed. It took Dasukigate for us to know that the association is a pan-Nigerian body of the greedy and the long-throated. Every passing day seems to reveal new sordid details of unimaginable corruption and members are increasing in number.
Members of this association as contained in various documents include the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki (retired) who allegedly dispensed or misappropriated N525 billion naira arms fund; Jim Nwobodo (N500 million), Tony Anenih (N260 million), Bode George (N100 million/ $30 million) Attahiru Bafarawa (N100 million), Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi (N100 million), Rasheed Ladoja (N100 million), Yerima Abdullahi (N100 million), Olu Falae (N100 million), Tanko Yakassai (N63 million), Gen. Bello Sarkin Yaki (N200 million), Raymond Dokpesi (N2.1 billion), Iyorchia Ayi (N345 million), BAM Properties (N300 million), Dalhatu Investment (N1.56 billion), Mohammed Bello Haliru and son (N300 million), Bello Matawalle (N300 million), Peter Odili (N100 million), ACACIA Holdings (N60 million), Bashir Yuguda (N1,950,000), Olisa Metuh (N400 million), Nduka Obaigbena (N670 million), Guild of Editors (N50 million) and Isa Jafaru (N160 million), among others.
The highly placed members of the association may wish to wash themselves clean with all the perfume of Arabia but the odour still stinks to the high heavens. They may try as much as possible to confuse the public and reel out incoherent details, the truth of the matter is that they have lost almost every shred of respectability in the eyes of well-meaning Nigerians.
The respectable thing to do is for all those who have partaken in the loot of our collective patrimony to return the millions or billions collected from the former National Security Adviser so that Nigeria can address some of her pressing economic needs. There is a lot of hardship in the land and the masses are finding it difficult to cope with the harsh economic climate.
The reality is that many Nigerians do not care if anyone remains in jail or is out of it. What we care about is that the right thing should be done in the dispensation of justice, provision of stable electricity, potable water, good roads and a robust economic regime that does not make minds idle.
If the stolen billions are returned and the money is quickly pumped into the economy to give it the much-needed energy and grit, the situation facing the country will be better. A situation in which Nigerians die in droves due to poverty-induced factors is neither palatable nor acceptable.
“AYE” in Yoruba means life or world. It is sad that the AYE have snuffed life out of those who have died as a result of their greed while they are suffocating the lives of the living, including the internally displaced persons in various camps. The Federal Government should quickly dispense with the cases at hand and let the yam eaters vomit their loot so that citizens can feel the change.
The overarching lesson in the ongoing investigations and Dasikigate is that in this life, nothing really lasts forever and today is short. Caution and carefulness should therefore be our watchwords as we are all going to account for our deeds one way or another. Those who find themselves in public office today should also remember the need to let Nigeria’s yam be so that they won’t need to vomit it tomorrow.
In all, it is always good to remember that we don’t have to fear anyone or anything but the consequences of our choices and actions, as President Muhammadu Buhari memorably remarked.
If the report of a drama that ensued between the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week is anything to go by, it is curious that the goat and yam analogy is being taken too far.
According to the report, when Mr Metuh realized that his hunger strike stunt was not softening the resolve of the EFCC to keep him in custody, “Metuh seized and tore to shreds copies of a statement he had voluntarily made to the commission”. He did not stop there.
What is baffling is that “Metuh was said to be contemplating stuffing the papers in his mouth in a bid to swallow them when he was stopped by operatives who recovered the torn pieces of paper from him.” Yet, Metuh is not goat and paper is not yam. Or is he?
The scenario quickly reminds one of the famous anecdote concerning a failed school boy who reported that he passed but a goat ate his report card. How would a person of Metuh’s calibre contemplate eating paper? How would he metamorphose into a goat?