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Amaechi tapes: The hypocrisy of Nigerian ruling elite

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The dissonance between what they profess before the public and in front of the cameras and what they believe or admit to close aides and friends in the closet are worlds apart and go to show the quality of leadership the country parades and why the country is retrogressing despite its promise and the amount of resources available to it.

The Minister of Transport and Director General of the Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, was caught on tape decrying the dismal failure of the Buhari administration while characterising the president as one who doesn’t read and isn’t moved by criticisms and complaints. He also dismissed the country as hopeless and helpless country that is up to no good.

Although the minister has refused to confirm the authenticity of the tape, it is almost certain the tapes are genuine and he made the remarks as captured.

The leaked tapes offer rich insights into the thinking and hypocrisy of the average Nigerian politician who put up the appearance of being the most patriotic Nigerian with the zeal to transform the country but inwardly, doesn’t believe in the viability of the country and is prepared to sell the country for a mess of pottage.

That explains why, despite the effusive claim to patriotism by our leaders and politicians, Nigeria still remains a backwater country with broken education, health, and other critical infrastructure necessary to help Nigerians lead meaningful lives while they ensure they and their families have access to these facilities in other developed countries of the world.

Unsurprisingly, in a fourth Amaechi tape, the minister was again heard boasting that all his children live abroad and his salary as a minister cannot cater for their expenses. “My salary is N960, 000. APC takes N100, 000. How much will remain? It won’t pay; all my kids are overseas, all. My first son is in Dublin, my second son is in Canada and my third son is in Britain. It won’t pay any of their fees.”

Going by Amaechi’s claim of not earning enough to pay his children’s fees abroad, the rational step of action was for him to decline public office and go into private business to be able to raise enough money to cater for his family abroad. But no, he would do anything; go as far as giving his life to remain in politics and government in Nigeria because, politics, in the words of Claude Ake, Africa’s foremost political economist “is now the established way to wealth.” So, those who win state power “can have all the wealth they want even without working, while those who lose the struggle for state power cannot have security in the wealth they have made even by hard work.” Predictably therefore, the struggle for the capture of state power “inevitably becomes a matter of life and death.” It is also why Nigeria’s political terrain is devoid of ideology, devoid of principles, and devoid of morals. It is all about personalities, interests, and the spoils of power. Consequently, political parties that should serve the important functions of bringing together those with the same ideological persuasions have been turned to mere vehicles for capturing power. Therefore, there is no distinction between the parties and politicians hop from one party to another in desperate quest for platforms on which they will ride to power. As the saying goes, there is no permanent friend or enemy but interest.

That is why an El Rufai, for instance, in 2010, will describe Buhari as old, expired, and ‘perpetually unelectable,’ when their interest did not align, but will turn round in 2019 to urge Nigerians to vote for the same Buhari because only he possesses the ability to solve Nigeria’s existential problems, when their interests are in syn.

This type of hypocrisy is the norm among Nigerian political leaders, starting from the president, who projected the image of an ascetic, disciplined, incorruptible ex-general who would break from the practice of political leaders living a luxurious life while the people they claim to serve live in abject poverty. No sooner had he ascended to power than he jettisoned all his promises during the campaigns. He has led the way in public officials seeking medical treatment for even minor ailments vacationing abroad. His kids also school abroad. So, the next time you hear a Nigerian politician mouthing patriotic slogans; go beyond the spoken words and look at what he does: Where his family lives, where his children go to school, where they access healthcare, go for vacation etc.

 

Editorial

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