Since the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on a date that only Turai Yar Adua can vouch for, Nigerians have been inundated with an endless stream of messages of condolence, almost all of them invoking the late president’s honesty and humility. Implicit in these messages are efforts to redefine the meaning of honesty and humility in Nigeria.
For those who have been too busy or angry to follow the messages, permit me to attempt to aggregate the essence of these messages regarding what it means to be honest and humble in Nigeria of 2010. Here we go:
1. Apply for or allow yourself to be compelled to apply for a job that you honestly know that you do not have the physical and medical abilities to cope with;
2. Lie to 150 million Nigerians about your medical condition when questioned about your ability to cope with the rigorous demands of the job you have voluntarily applied for;
3. Acquiesce to the unprecedented election rigging needed to get you elected;
4. Admit to imperfections in the way you were elected and promise heaven and earth in reforming the system but make no serious efforts to actually reform the system;
5. Despite publicly admitting to imperfections in the process that led to your election, instruct your lawyer to argue in court that there was nothing wrong with the process;
6. Despite your claim to be an advocate of the rule of law, bribe the judges handling the numerous legal challenges to your election to the tune of billions of naira to ensure that you win at all cost while tongue-in-cheek giving the glory to God although everyone knows that God does not have to rig elections to get a candidate elected;
7. Publicly declare your assets of over N800, 000,000.00 (eight hundred million naira) that was less than N50, 000,000.00 (fifty million naira) eight years earlier while appropriating but failing to declare over N2, 000,000,000.00 (two billion naira) that was donated to your political campaign and is not your personal money or assets under the laws of the country, not minding your rule of law mantra;
8. Take a massive pay hike a few months after resuming office when at the same time those you promise to serve are subjected to hell on earth;
9. Surround yourself with incompetent, indicted and known criminals who have looted the treasuries blind and created the very problems that you have vowed to solve;
10. Promise to declare an electricity emergency within 90 days knowing full well that you do not intend to keep your promise;
11. Make sure you declare obedience to the rule of law as your basic mantra while you watch your family members, friends, ministers and advisers engage in massive corruption and violent violations of the laws of the land;
12. Promise to continue with the war against corruption while making sure that all those who are bold enough to actually fight corruption are either handed into exile, burnt inside their vehicles a few kilometers away from your office and residence or are demoted and posted to some police station near the border with Cameroon;
13. Appoint people who are corrupt beyond redemption to take charge of the war against corruption;
14. While it is patently clear that you are unable to do your job because of limitations caused by your health, lie, lie and lie to Nigerians that you are in good shape and that they will soon start to reap the dividends of democracy;
15. Promise to revamp the medical system while leaving no one in doubt that you are too big to attend a local hospital and be seen by local doctors;
16. When it becomes clear that you can no longer cope with the demands of your job, thrash your constitutional obligation to handover to your deputy, take off in a publicly funded jet and make sure that the entire nation and its over 150 million citizens are sitting on a keg of gun powder over how to resolve the crisis precipitated by your decision;
17. Make sure you initiate, pass and consent to Sharia law in the plural and secular country called Nigeria;
18. Despite the worldwide naming, indictment, prosecution and conviction of all those involved in the Siemens and Halliburton bribery scandals, you make sure that the Nigerians involved continue to enjoy their freedom while you are paying lip service to the war against corruption and the rule of law;
19. Make sure you are often in the company of treasury looters, murderers, big time smugglers, certificate forgers and experts in bringing down banks.
Any Nigerian Politian who is hardworking enough to ensure that they meet the above requirements are guaranteed a place in Nigeria’s hall of fame. Upon their death, their fellow countrymen and women will bathe and serenade them to the sweet tunes of honesty and humility. For the more creative ones there are no limits to what they can conjure in their quest to be honest and humble like Yar Adua the Nigerian way. For the Gani Fawehimi’s of this world who abhor corruption they can go to blazes. This is Nigeria for you.