I have written before that these days; I keep getting calls asking for how to get visa appointments. I do not run a travel agency neither do I work for an embassy, but the calls never stop. Most of the callers are not tourists or people looking for somewhere to spend their vacation. They are people fleeing our country. They want to japa!

You do not need to be told that the belief of a lot of Nigerians in the future of our country has evaporated. Many a Nigerian is selling everything he owns: his car, his electronics, even his father’s land, to pay for a visa and buy a ticket to flee to a country he knows little about. Nigerians have become scared of being roasted in the pressure cooker that the country has become. Time was when some people doubted the ability of the government in power to steer the ship of Nigeria, and therefore sought change. These days, many Nigerians doubt the ability of any government to steer the ship of Nigeria.

Do you remember the statement said to have been made by the immortal Zik of Africa: “a broken bottle has no mmekwatarism”? If you have forgotten, “mmekwatarism” is coined from the word, mmekwata, which in Igbo means ‘to repair’. In other words, what the great Nnamdi Azikiwe seems to have said is that a broken bottle is not repairable. Nigeria appears to have become a broken bottle. Who would have imagined that a few months into the new regime, some Nigerians would be lamenting that Nigeria was better under Muhammed Buhari? It was the same way that during the Buhari regime, many in Nigeria were sure that the country was better under Goodluck Jonathan. Pray, what would our countrymen say if we are lucky enough to have another regime?

When we used to drive cars with tires that had tubes inside, if your tire went down, you patched the tube. You would see some tubes with so many patches on them that there is no question that the car was spending more time with the vulcanizer than with the owner. But there comes the time when even the vulcanizer cannot help you – when both the tube and the tire explode in one moment of madness.

I am the eternal optimist, characteristically the last to give up on anything. I have however recently had to ask myself whether Nigeria has finally got to the state of no return. Are we in the situation where according to W.B. Yeats, “the falcon can no longer hear the falconer, things fall apart, the center can no longer hold and mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”.

Those who know me, know that I am a great believer in the rule of law. I spend more time in court than many litigation lawyers. I believe that without respect for the law, there will be anarchy. In fact, I believe that Nigeria has become what it is because of the wide disdain for the rule of law, across our nation. Lawlessness has eroded almost all our institutions.

I am however not sure that a good fraction of Nigerians is aware that spraying the Naira in public is now a crime. Pasting of money on the faces of celebrants is as old as Nigeria. It has been done in our villages and hamlets with cowries and coins.

In thousands of parties every weekend, the Naira has been openly sprayed for years and years by politicians, businessmen, government officials, etc. Even in our churches, the Naira gets sprayed effusively. At Nigerian weddings, that is how the newly-weds recover some of the money they have invested in their ceremony.

Many will say that spraying has for long been part of Nigerian culture. There are few Nigerian events in America in which you do not have a table where dollar bills are split into one-dollar notes that people ‘spray’ while dancing. Nobody arrests anyone for doing so.

I am on the side of enforcing our laws. What I am against is the selective enforcement of our laws to target specific citizens. Some of us are also interested in empirical statistics and evidence of the harm that spraying does to our economy.

Let me state clearly that I am not a fan of Okuneye Idris Olanrewaju, popularly known as Bobrisky. I am not a fan of cross dressing and I have never met Bobrisky. I know that there are many who are offended by his lifestyle. There are also many who are titillated by the games he plays. I am not sure that Bobrisky is responsible for the looting, banditry and reckless leadership that has brought the Nigerian nation into severe economic downturn. I see him as an entertainer who helps some people find some laughter and deal with the enormous stress that they are going through. To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria has no law against cross-dressing. I am worried that some people will use their positions to institutionalize their personal moral and religious values on the rest of us and find ways to deal with those they do not like.

The speed of the Bobrisky arrest, trial and imprisonment must be one for the Guinness Book of World Records. I do not pretend to know everything that transpired but all the people I have spoken to insist that he must have stepped on a big toe and had to be dealt with hard and fast.

I hope our friends at the EFCC would not mind being reminded that they have enormous work in front of them. I wish them well. I am however not sure how the nation is well served by the EFCC devoting their limited resources chasing after the many thousands of people spraying the Naira across Nigeria. I hope they are not chasing shadows.


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