What did Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications, use on Nigerians? Did he use the “juju” called “asegbe”? Reminds me of one of the songs by juju music maestro Sunny Ade: “Nwon ni ki n ma su s’epo mo su s’epo nwon o ba mi wi rara; nwon ni ki n ma to s’ala mo to s’ala nwon o ba mi wi’jo” and so on and so forth. Why does it appear as if we have forgotten about Shittu’s case when ex-Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who committed a lesser offence, has been given the boot? At least Adeosun attempted to get an NYSC letter of exemption, even if it turned out an “Oluwole.” Shittu made no such effort. He simply chose to dodge service. The penalty for that offence is serving time in jail. It is like dodging compulsory military service in the United States. Famous boxing legend, Muhammed Ali, refused to do military service in Vietnam and went to jail. Whereas Ali had plausible reasons and was making a very important political and ideological statement with his refusal to do military service in Vietnam, Shittu, by his own explanation, is a slothful and wilful offender. His alibi – that he thought being a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly equated to NYSC service – added insult to injury. As a lawyer, he knew better than he pretended to know. Now, the same man still sits pretty in office, presiding over a Ministry whacked by all manner of shenanigans. The Ministry under his watch has become notorious for treating wilful infractions of due process with kid gloves. Sanctions imposed on GSM companies are slashed so ridiculously that you wonder why we have the rules in the first place. What is more surprising is that these are companies that can pay if they want to and if they are compelled to. And this is a country that is going all over the world borrowing money to finance its budget; yet, monies that should legally accrue are thrown away. Nigerians know that there must be corruption lurking underneath all these ridiculous slashes, resulting in the country losing humongous amounts of money in hard currencies. And corruption of this kind, we all know, is not practised by one man alone. It usually is a racket. Recouping these loses is one task that must be done. Getting rid of Shittu without delay is another. His continued stay in office offends the sensibilities of conscionable and right-thinking Nigerians. There is no justifiable reason for Shittu to remain in office. He should have been sacked; even if he will be allowed to thereafter slip away like Adeosun. Ideally, he should be tried and sent to jail. Shittu is another nail in the coffin of a Muhammadu Buhari administration that claims to fight corruption. It will be interesting to hear what “Pastor” Yemi Osinbajo has to say on this service-dodger. Senator Shehu Sani is damn right: This government applies insecticides when it is dealing with corruption in its opponents’ camp but applies deodorants when the culprits are members of its own household. That cannot be integrity. It is equality neither fair nor equitable. Shielding the corrupt simply because they belong in your camp rubbishes the whole war against corruption and turns it into a charade. Those who have the power – and responsibility – to discipline Shittu but are not doing so are accessories after the fact of corruption. If none else is guilty of this, President Muhammadu Buhari is because the buck stops on his table.
LAST WORD: Talking about Buhari, I am edgy these days discussing the man, owing to all the news flying about in social media. One of the attributes of an “Omoluabi” which I was brought up by my Yoruba parents to observe is that we do not speak ill of the dead. The earlier all the rumours about Sudanese Buhari and Nigerian Buhari are laid to rest, the better for everyone. Thursday 15th November was ex-Gov. Peter Ayodele Fayose’s 58th birthday. Happy birthday! Wishing you more grit and grease to lubricate the engine of the struggle!