Bovinelola Borisacrede


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Bovinelola Borisacrede: A Man with a Menace Touch




Jaafar S. Jaafar




December 30, 2005


Mr John Keynes was a man of an uncommon compassion for humanity. He was the head of the British delegation to the 1944 Breton Woods Conference that gave birth to the now extremely diabolical World Bank and IMF. He was against Versailles Treaty (1919) that imposed the payment of reparations of up to $5 billion by the defeated Germany to the victors of First World War. To borrow Richard Akinjide’s words, “Keynes would be trembling in his grave, were he to know what are being done in the developing nations by the two institutions he helped to mid-wife.” The policies of the twin financial institutions do not have a human face: they say don’t spend money on social services, retrench workforce (they say rightsizing), devalue the Naira (allow your currency to attain its value in the market), remove all subsidies (while they subsidise in their homes), etc. In a country of high unemployment rate and abject poverty, this policy is off key. In the same breath, our willing government bastardised the Keynesian policies and adopted the neo-liberals’ warts and all. And wilfully so. How crass!


Similarly, Siddhartha Gauttama (Buddha or the Enlighten One), would have also turned in his grave, were he to know how Nigerians desecrate the ‘Sacred Cows.’ In another clime, a person or thing immune to criticism is called a sacred cow. This term alludes to the honoured status of cows in Hinduism, where they are a symbol of God’s generosity to mankind. The term has been used figuratively since 1910. Dating to this time, the word has its origin in Indian custom. Hindus in India mostly regarded cattle as sacred. Those with the belief will not eat beef even at the risk of death through starvation. Its is also illegal in India to kill a member of the genus: Bos (a ruminant quadrupeds, comprising wild and domestic cows, characterised by stout body, hollow bones and a large fold of skin hanging from the neck). As a symbol of sacrifice, Hindus spare cows because they are guileless, they produce gee (butter used in Indian cook), surrogate mothers (for providing milk) and ‘the “real life” substratum of the good of life,’ writes JC Heesterman in The Encyclopaedia of Religion, vol. 5.


Paradoxically, the term ‘sacred cow’ in Nigerian definition, refers to those who dance to the tune His Overlordship the Imperial President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The ambiguous term further refers to those that can compromise their honour, pride or dignity (if they have any) for the president’s undemocratic agenda whimsically called ‘Third Term.’ The term was said to have had its origin during colonial era when the Willink Commission failed to solve the country-wide agitation for the break up of the three large regions and a creation of more states. This encouraged NPC’s hegemony. Hence depicts the North as ‘Britain’s sacred cow.’ With the exception of the no-nonsense regime of Murtala and Buhari/Igdiabon era (don’t remind me the 53 suitcases and a junta’s top shot who was alleged to be operating a foreign bank account), no any regime that fought corruption without sparing the sacred cows.


And here we had better end the metaphor. Obasanjo has an uneven manner of sparing those referred to as sacred cows, 419 elections architects and the Third Term fixers as administrators of our major means of transportations. We still remember Aneni’s N300bn to repair roads, and still the roads are no more than a death trap. Ojo Maduekwe had barely positive stint in the transport ministry. However, I will still reluctantly say, and want you to take it in good part that a lot of water has passed under the rail during the reign of late Waziri Mohammed as chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), but still no one travels by rail. And now, come the ill-fated aviation Bos, one tragedy, too many.


Dear reader, I hope you are not fed up with the stale story about a man that has, in the past few weeks become a mantra of sort in the nation’s opinion-moulding factory – the media. Unlike the King Midas of Greek mythology, our man in Nigerian mythology is a man with a menace touch. Whatever he touches, instead of turning to glittering gold, it turns to grazing ground. A man who derived a sadistic relish in seeing students at home (during a prolonged strike when he was the Education Minister). An accord defaulter under whom the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report lists Nigeria as one of the countries that may not achieve education for all by 2015 (or is it forever?). An advocate of hostel fees hike (from N90 to N10,000.00). A man who gives contracts to his companies without due process. He was the architect of 419 elections.


Many good persons were once rejected by the senate but never re-presented (if there are no sacred cows in the president’s book, Ambassador Bayo Yusuf’s name NEEDS to be re-presented again). Being a sacred cow, his name was re-presented three times to the ‘fools’ (as another sacred cow, the officious diminutive head of the FCT would call it) under the barren and prideless leadership of Adolphus Wabara. He later had an oblique assignment as Poor and Steal minister to disease (sorry to assist) an already ailing minister. The result was nothing to write home.


After Obasanjo cast the net and bait in the pool (senate) to catch the ‘fools’ (senators) who later screened the fool to fool Nigerians into believing that the pools of blood in Lisa, Kaduna and Portharcourt that flooded under his stewardship have nothing to do with incompetence. His antecedents nonetheless. The rude shock to our expectations was his re-emergence into the cabinet to reform (or deform) the Aviation ministry as a substantive minister.


What really irked Nigerians most is that no heed was paid to appeal from many quarters – media, masses, legislators, activists, professionals (and of cause the bereaved mothers some of whom have reached a menopause) for the removal of this minister. The staged protests of our mothers calling for his removal could not bear fruits. His removal by the President seems more nightmarish than passing through the eye of a needle. It is all like water off a dock’s back. Potholes, craters, malfunctioned control towers, rickety aircraft, over taxation of the operators, runway-cum-pastureland are the genre of his stewardship. The former PDM chieftain has erased a modicum of credence we lent this Third-Term-thirsty government for fighting corruption and sparing no sacred cows. We are once again appealing to the government to ground the rudderless BB 4-19 aircraft: he is Dr Babalola Borishade.


Jaafar writes from Kano




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