1. DISGUSTING: An adjectival word that speaks for itself. You know from the sound that it is unlikely to mean anything fanciful. Do you impulsively poke your index finger deep into your nostril looking for you-know-what? Or walk around with a cotton bud looking for every opportunity to clean your ears? Or do you speak on your cellphone as if the microphone is ‘deaf’? Maybe you are just a normal guy who doesn’t care where he blows his nose? Well these are no more than bad habits; but hard, unforgiving puritanical folks, who neither give nor accept bribes unless they are sure there are no hidden cameras around, would describe such behaviors as disgusting. And they could be right too, because who really wants to know what mess you have deep inside your nostrils, or what scum you are carrying inside your inner ears, or what your girlfriend is having for dinner?
But deplorable as these behaviors are, they are not nearly as disgusting as the behavior of the fellow who makes a habit of abusing other peoples’ intelligence. Take Representative Farouk Lawan, the diminutive baby-face legislator from Kano State. Since 1999 when his fortune changed and he managed to escape the drudgery of the teaching profession, he has been a prominent member of the House of Representatives. The only benefit he hasn’t enjoyed in the House is the one that has not yet been invented. At a conservative estimate, assuming legislators take home N20m a month as salary and allowances on the average, Lawan must’ve grossed over three billion Naira in the last 12 years, ‘chua-chua’ money not inclusive. He shone like a real star when as chairman of an Ad Hoc committee investigating the management (or mismanagement) of the subsidy on petroleum, his committee unearthed corruption worth N2.6tr. The committee prepared and submitted a report on time and one that Nigerians applauded loudly and earnestly. Many people had indeed started wondering, in the positive, “What next for this ‘vertically challenged’ legislator?”
Then it happened! First he rose on the floor of the House and requested that the name of one of the people his committee indicted, Ibrahim Dankwambo, who is now the Governor of Gombe State but who the committee indicted in his previous position as Accountant-General of the federation, be removed from the list of those indicted. No reason was given except that a letter from the Central Bank said Dankwambo was not guilty. Faint odour of a dead rat started wafting out from the mouth of Lawan. I took the trouble to enquire from a member of the committee if exonerating Dankwambo was a collective decision of the committee, the member said no, but they did not object because they did not want to distract the House from the substance of the report.
Then on April 24, Rep. Farouk Lawan again requested that two other indicted companies, Synopsis and Zennon, both owned by Mr. Femi Otededola, a post-1999 oil billionaire as my friend Abba Mahmood of LEADERSHIP Newspaper described him, be removed from the list of those indicted. Ah ah! That makes it three dead rats now.
As it turned out, all along Farouk Lawan was just being clever by a quarter. The whole world now knows the story of how the man was a hero by day and a disgusting villain by night. Even his colleagues find it hard to understand how a “seasoned Nigerian legislator’ ( we all know what that connotes), could allow himself to fall for such cheap trick of being filmed collecting bribe IN THE RESIDENCE OF THE PERSON HIS COMMITTEE HAS INDICTED. Those who saw the video recording described how Farouk Lawn, leader of a group in the House that calls itself The Integrity Group, was stuffing wads of US dollar bills into his pockets, and when his pockets were full he stuffed the rest into his long oversized cap and then put the cap back on his head.D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G!
2. IRRITATING: Okay, this is easy because at one time or the other, we’ve all been faced with the humiliatingly arduous task of having to scratch embarrassing parts of our bodies in public. Or, put differently, we’ve all had to put up with what we dislike. That’s irritation.
But the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Aminu Lamido Sanusi, provides a more practical definition (in anger of course) of the word in question. Forget about his other tolerable human failings such as donating N500m to a University and then accepting an honorary doctorate degree from the same university; or ignoring Maiduguri and Damaturu and donating N100m to Kano ( we all know why), or even his presenting an ACADEMIC PAPER (not a speech) which turned out to contain aspects someone else’s work (plagiarism). But why, just why couldn’t he see that his going ahead with the ceremony of his coronation as Dan Majen Kano when victims of the Dana Air crash in which eight top officials of the CBN lost their lives, were yet to be buried would earn him nothing but scorn from the public? Since everybody agrees that he is not daft, that makes him super insensitive. But we must be charitable, and attribute his insensitivity to the protected childhood he enjoyed by the circumstances of his birth.
But is he still a little kid? Did he have to rub it in by coming to his office in title robes? Has this man ever lost somebody dear to him? Okay, pleeeeeease President Jonathan, do send a bill to the National Assembly for a change of nomenclature of the leadership of the CBN. Instead of Governor, let’s call it EMIR of the CBN at least for the duration of emperor Sanusi’s tenure. We understand why people have to be proud of their heritage (even though Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never made an issue of his noble parentage), but must it be done with blatant disregard for the feelings of others? Let’s hope, for the sake of the good, warm and receptive people of Kano, that if, and when, Sanusi ever becomes emir, he would not be this: I-R-R-I-T-A-T-I-N-G!
To our readers: this column acknowledges and appreciates the so many text messages from readers. As many of them as possible would be published in due course.
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