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Government with its Agbero Mentality, By Adeola Soetan

November 7, 2022

Agbero can create, impose and collect any levy fiercely by fire by force with those rude, croaking voices, very frightening red eyes guys that will make Sango Olukoso run for cover.

If governance is mostly about 'gbas gbos' imposition of high taxes, levies and rates on citizens by all tricks available, then let's 'kuku' hand over government to the Agberos, Up National! Progress!, and Area Boys. They are masters in that field of governance. 


Agbero can create, impose and collect any levy fiercely by fire by force with those rude, croaking voices, very frightening red eyes guys that will make Sango Olukoso run for cover.


Like our artful banks too, Agbero taxes and levies are countless and come with different funny funny tags: 'owo union' 'owo olopa' 'owo lastma,' 'owo soja' 'owo u - turn' 'owo reverse' 'owo busstop' 'owo chairman' 'owo council' 'owo illegal parking'" " owo security"and all sort of different owo owo (levies).


Agberos like, tax crazy government, careless about the drivers'ability to pay, condition of the vehicles, the safety of passengers, bad roads, traffic situation or financial status and health of drivers. They are not that humanly gifted to be humane, the motivating drive is 'kowope', complete money at all cost and by all means necessary. God saves that driver and conductor that refuse to pay or delay payment. 


One day my car got stuck at Ile Epo area due to overheating during a complex closing hour Lagos gridlock and it developed other minor mechanical faults, as my mechanic arrived and wanted to start work, three igbo and ogogoro smelling red eyed thugs just came from only God knows to demand from me what they called:'Owo Otaku' (stuck levy), that is I should pay them because my car 'taku' (that my car got stuck). The shameless elder that led the area boys introduced himself as Chairman of 'Otaku' from pleasure to katangua bus stops. I had to stop my mechanic from fighting them with a severe  warning that scared them off before they left me to harass  other 'Otaku' victims for extortion. Can you imagine that kind of madness?


Routine leadership at any level of government  can never be creative beyond lazy approaches to governance by extortion. You see many extortionist states and local government that cannot think outside the box to raise IGR have now commercialized all sort of real or unreal minor offences.


They outsource crime commercialisation biz to some shylock revenue collectors they tagged consultants on 'prepaid basis' by collecting huge amount in advance from their consultants and thereafter unleashed them on motorists, passersby, market women and men, to go and make profit.


The reasons you see different kinds of official thugs of government harassing everybody on the roads alleging them of one offence against their illegal laws, or the other, many of which they hurriedly created for the purpose of trapping people for money.


At times they drag you to a mobile 'Icheoku' like Court' presided by one Yeye magistrate who is also a vested interest in the commercialisation of offences business. In such a court, even if you rent all the the Technical SANs (T - SANs), in Nigeria, you can never be discharged and acquitted because there is revenue target for the day.


I ask, how do citizens survive and prosper under this type of government and its agencies' extortionist gangsterism, local to federal government? Yet no quality value added to people's life and no transparency in government.


My frank honest advice is for these accidental merchant leaders without vision to be humbled enough and go back to history and learn how the Awolowos were able to run a successive ingenious government with landmark achievements where people prospered before levying  taxes on their prosperity even when those leaders were not saints. 


Anyway, when leaders lack vision and blinded by neo - liberalism, the nation and citizens will continue to agonize. Government needs to cure itself from its Agbero Mentality and Think, Think and Think.                        

Adeola Soetan


 The Agbero road extortion and violence with impunity gets worse everyday.