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Oh! Ngozi

One/Two/Three…
Alright!
Oh, Ngozi
Your love your love is what I want
Your love your love is what I need
Please give it to me…
Every night, you come for love
Every day, you come for money
I want your love
I want your love…
            Felix Liberty (Ngozi)

One/Two/Three…
Alright!
Oh, Ngozi
Your love your love is what I want
Your love your love is what I need
Please give it to me…
Every night, you come for love
Every day, you come for money
I want your love
I want your love…
            Felix Liberty (Ngozi)

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 Since President Goodluck Jonathan started pursuing Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, begging her to return to Nigeria to once again head the Ministry of Finance, this song by Felix Liberty has been playing in my head. I have imagined Jonathan, in tuxedo, with that smooth dancing moves he showed during his inaugural ball, crooning the lyrics of this song into the ears of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala.
 
“Your love your love is what Nigeria wants/ Your love your love is what Nigeria needs/Please give it to Nigeria,” I pictured Jonathan singing over the telephone’s long distance line from Abuja to Washington, DC.
 
President Jonathan and a whole lot of Nigerians believe in Ngozi. They believe in her love. And that her love is what Nigeria needs. And they are willing to beg for it. Some are saying that a mixture of Goodluck, Patience, and Blessing (Ngozi) will catapult Nigeria into the stratosphere.
 
I stopped believing in miracles a long time ago. But I do not begrudge those who still believe. Despite not believing, I actually root for miracles. I want to be surprised. I want to be proven wrong. I want that crazy country fixed as much as the next person. I gain nothing by saying, “I told you so.” Considering the large number of sycophants in Nigeria and the well-meaning ones who desperately want to believe, it surprises me that multitude lose sleep over the few critics who remain steadfast in saying that we can do better.
 
I just know that as Felix Liberty’s song lyrics proceed, they become complicated.
 
“Every night, you come for love/Every day, you come for money/ I want your love”
 
What does Ngozi want? Why did she leave the World Bank to return to Nigeria? Did she enjoy the ‘changes’ she made with her business elite the last time she held the same post under Olusegun Obasanjo? Did she enjoy the abuses she got? What does Ngozi come for during the day? What does she come for during the night?
 
I don’t know the answer to these serious questions. Unfortunately, we don’t have senators capable of asking serious questions like those. Imagine! They had Ngozi under oath (Not that it matters much in Nigeria – unless the oath is administered at Okija shrine). And all that they could ask her was, “Why did you run away from Obasanjo’s administration?” Her answer was that she determined that she could no longer perform so she resigned.
 
When it comes to Ngozi, my pessimism means nothing. And your optimism means nothing. What really matters is what Ngozi, our Ngozi, wants in the day and at night? So there is no need wasting time asking her why she thinks that she can perform under President Jonathan and the same PDP gang that were there when Obasanjo was in power. If you do, she might tell you that she accepted to come back for Jonathan and not for the PDP.
 
Ngozi did, however, give a hint on why she decided to come back and “serve.” It sounded radical. When I read it, all I could say was, Oh, Ngozi.
 
Here is Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her own words:
 
“We have coefficient of inequality. It is this inequality that is holding us down. People keep asking why I want to come back to work, but the reason is simple. In a country where the rich keeps getting richer and the poor keeps getting poorer, we need to bridge the gap. We live in a country, where the rich can just wake up and decide to travel abroad, just as their children school abroad and have access to good healthcare. On the part of the poor, the reverse is the case,” she lectured a bunch of millionaire senators.”
 
She continued, “The children of the poor don’t have good schools to attend to (sic) and no good healthcare system in a country of 150 million people. That is the inequality we are talking about. We must change this because I know it is possible to do so. I will ensure that we improve the lot of the common people, in order to prevent our young people from moving abroad.”
 
Right there I sensed that something fishy was going on. This was not your grandfather’s macro-economics pep-talk. This was a campaign speech. What was she campaigning for? A higher office? Was she positioning herself to be Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Nigeria during the day or Mohamed Elbaradi during the night? It couldn’t be a campaign for the eradication of poverty. Didn’t she and the old economic team take care of that during Obasanjo’s presidency?
 
The poor have always been with us. They have never been noticed when we work hard to satisfy the demands of the World Bank and the IMF. We do not remember them when we give away, at rock-bottom prices, Nigeria’s assets to our business elite (wink! wink!) Aliko Dangote & Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke and friends in high places. We basically say a big Go-To-Hell to the poor when we constantly remove the so-called oil subsidy that comes about because of our inefficient management of our oil production and processing sectors.
 
When did the poor become the love children of Ngozi and her likes? Is it possible that the few who are rich have become so rich that their riches are no longer safe from the many who are poor? I get troubled when people who schooled abroad and raised their children abroad arrogate to themselves the responsibility of preventing others from moving abroad. But more troubling is the possibility that Ngozi’s sole mission home is to stop an impending revolution.
 
I feel at home when Ngozi is talking about fiscal policies, recurrent expenditures, capital flights, debt relief, market reforms, privatization, revenue allocations, budgets and bla bla bla. As soon as she starts talking about the poor, I become suspicious.
 
Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Financial Times of London that despite the threats she was receiving from corrupt politicians and business elite not to return to Nigeria that she was determined to come home and do her job. “I cannot give up on Nigeria,” she told the newspaper in a display of enviable patriotic gusto. Corrupt business elite? I’ve never heard of them. Where did they come from? Who let those vultures out?
 
I tell you what! Other than good healthcare, schools and infrastructures, the only other advantage of living abroad is that it doesn’t take a lot to bamboozle those living at home. It helps a lot if some white people have raised your hand up for the world to see. It means you have arrived. It allows you to join those who can now take a bow and go and get your own National Honor. It grants you the privilege to dazzle and baffle. And as the saying goes: when you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, you baffle them with bullshit.
 
Ngozi is doing both. What you see all depends on where you’re sitting and what time it is – day or night – because, every night, Ngozi comes for love. And every day, she comes for money.
 
Please correct me if I’m right.

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