Matters miscellaneous

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By Abdullah Abdulganiy

Professor Olatunji Dare, high-ranking academic and columnist, is a master when it comes to scribbling words that wet the appetite. With his carefully chosen language style alongside his sense of sarcasm, his writings and interventions on public issues are one in town.

“Matters miscellaneous” was lifted from him. Whenever the cerebral journalist has many public issues to wade in, he adopts it as the topic. This is what some writers also call “random musings”.

So, the choice of “matters miscellaneous” here is quite instructive because of the many burning issues that I wish to lend my voice to. For a couple of days, the media, both online and terrestrial, have been awash with different issues that catch my attention.

Sit back, grab your popcorn (if you have any), and continue reading!

Hushpuppi’s gate

Whoever is still a doubting Thomas as to the aptness of the truism that, “Every day is for the thief, but one day is for the owner,” should take his time to follow the travails of one Ramon Abbas, alias ‘Hushpuppi’.

Hushpuppi, as we used to know him, is (or was?) a Nigerian social media “celeb”. A core “Instagrammer” if ever there was one, he flaunts his luxury lifestyle, an expensive fleet of cars and reckless spending to the public.

He regales social media users with his latest designer wears, mobile phones and automobiles. And not to forget, he is also a glutton who eats his head out. As if all those were not enough, he derides Nigerians who are struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis.

With his reckless and extravagant lifestyle, many people wonder what he could be doing to earn a living. He, however, often taunt himself as a “social media influencer”. Some people would later take him for his words as popular Nigerian artistes sang praises of him and politicians posed with him in many photo-ops. All these gave him the robe of a good person.

Alas, he is a fraudster, a frontliner at that. The long arm of the law caught upon him during the course of making his regular fraudulent activities. Investigations so far show that he has perpetrated so many unlawful acts across borders. He is now behind bars abroad.

Back home, the APC and the PDP have been in serious face-off because of him. The APC threw the first salvo, saying the FBI should investigate the link between him and certain PDP leaders he took pictures with. Then, the PDP fired back, arguing that Buhari is another ‘Hushpuppi’ himself.

Reno Omokri, who called himself “Buhari’s tormentor” for instance, noted that the PDP leaders were even better because they never knew Hushpuppi was a fraudster as at the time of taking pictures with him. He added that the thief enabler was Buhari who still had affairs with Babachir Lawal after his “grass-cutting gate”.

I say shame to all our leaders, both the ruling APC and opposition PDP. A period for sober reflection that a Nigerian is soiling the image of the country has been turned to a blame game challenge. The contest is now on, “Your thief is better than my thief”. Pitiable!

In all of these draggings, however, the lesson for the exuberant youth is that no one associates with a fraudster. To engage in menial job is better than to steal. “Yahoo Yahoo” does not pay. Most of those who engage in it end up in nothingness. If they do not go the Hushpuppi way, they go mad or even become impoverished than the church rat.

Solutions? Let’s go back to the family. The first point of human socialisation. Father, mother, your child is not into any lawful business but rides exotic cars, wears up-to-date dresses and spends recklessly. That’s where it starts. We even have “Association of Yahoo boys’ Mothers” in Nigeria. Wonders shall never end.

Also, the criminal justice system should be strengthened to bring those who are found wanton to book. It appears there is no consequence for bad behavior in Nigeria once you know your way and steal big. What’s the latest about Evans the kidnapper and many other Hushpuppies scattered around the Nigerian society?

Time for decisive actions!

Kwara’s 17 million daily spending on COVID-19?

When the story came out from some media outlets that Kwara spent 17 million naira per day for 3 months on COVID-19, my thought was that they had exclusive information to that effect, and that their reports were not filed from the press release issued by Mallam Rafiu Ajakaye, the CPS which I also had access to.

However, it turned out that they relied on same press release. Then, I thought probably that my eyes overlooked some things, and I went for a re-read. At no point did the press release show that 17 million naira was spent on a daily basis. What it stated was that about 1.6 billion was spent in those three months, and the breakdown of the spending was attached to it.

I wouldn’t know the intention of those online mediums in making such report. Oversight? Ignorance? Mischief? The fact is that they goofed. What they had probably done was to divide 1.6 billion naira by 90. That’s a misguided calculation that does not bear consonance with simple logic. That’s not the way to get average spending for those who did elementary statistics/mathematics in school.

Maybe the big figure is the problem. If I spent 3,000 naira for a month, does it mean on an average I spent 100 naira a day? There are days I may not spend up to 100 naira, while I may even spend more than that some other days. Again, I may not even spend at all in some others. If an average must be gotten, what I spent per day is what you add together and divide by the number of days. Not the “wuruwuru” to the answer done by some reporters. It’s simple logic, and due diligence is key in reporting.

However, the die is cast. But like the Yorubas would say “o ba ni ko baje”. I expect these media outlets if they have any modicum of honor to tender an unreserved apology for misleading the public after withdrawing the report. The apology statement must be passed to all platforms the former report reached. That’s my one cent advise.

Whoever feels he’s too big can continue to be adamant. Credibility and goodwill are however important. Who takes Sahara Reporters serious again? Sanity!

That portfolio swapping

Also, last week, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq did a cabinet reshuffle which affected five commissioners who were taken from one ministry to another. Only the Governor knows what he sees for such, but I sense it may not be unconnected to incompetence and non-performance.

It’s good that the Governor is signalling a red light to his appointees that he wouldn’t condone nonsense. While some commissioners are active and alive to their duties, others are taciturn and not performing.

I raised the concern in one of my articles of recent that former commissioner for communications, Mr Muritala Olanrewaju was not alive to his duty as a commissioner; ditto to commissioner for sports and youth development, Ms Joana Nnazua Kolo.

Some days after, I noticed a change in Mr Muritala and was very glad about it. But only the Governor knows why he chose to transfer him to the ministry of agriculture and rural development. I wish he would be alive to his responsibility there too. Agriculture is a key sector, and I wish him the very best.

My barometer is very much still alive as I will be assessing the performance of political office holders under the present administration from time to time. Though Ms Joana is doing well in sport, I’ve not seen any changes in youth development, and it is a crucial sector.

The commissioner for education may still be at the mercy of the current ongoing strike, I just need to inform her that quality education is beyond physical renovation of schools, policies also matter. What educational policy would she be remembered for?

Abdullah is a sociologist and writer. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halarho123. Phone number: 08090637356 (SMS only).

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