Nigerian leaders are on codeine
It was not until the national-awakening documentary by BBC on the insidious harm of codeine on some Nigerians that I began to take a closer look at the behaviour of our leaders over the years. In psychology, there is a direct nexus between animal behaviour and animal physiology. What is inside manifests what we see outside. In my little study of codeine (tramadol, morphine etc) and their abuse, I have come to the inevitable, even painful, conclusion that our leaders have been hooked on codeine since independence. And we didn’t know it.
One of the symptoms of codeine abuse, according to medical literature, is that it impairs your brain. And when mixed with alcohol, it leads to further brain distortion and confusion. In simple language, it makes you not to think straight, think rationally aside making you high and hippie. And when you are in such state of cerebral concussion and psychological confusion, everything, including the most absurd and awkward, seems normal. Bad becomes good, ugly becomes beautiful because the person is incapable of rational thinking. All logic becomes inverted and you can rationalize every unreason.
Codeine abuse makes you dizzy, causes severe sleepiness, lightheadedness and general weakness. It even affects your hearing and sight effectiveness. Worse yet, it makes you suffer dementia (inability to remember things due to cognitive deterioration). Codeine makes men go senile. And our leaders have manifested seizures and senility in manifold ways. They have eyes but they don’t see; ears but they don’t hear. They don’t see the tears of the people neither do they hear their cries. They are on something, or rather, something is into them.
Just imagine how our leaders have over the years rationalized the importation of petrol by a country that produces excess crude oil, an OPEC member and one of the producers of the finest grades of crude. Isn’t it both crass and crude that we have had leaders who encouraged fraudulent fuel import and even subsidised it with trillions of naira? Only a man on crack would produce yam in abundance, sells it off cheaply and imports yam flour at higher price from the buyers of his yam tubers. That must be codeine at work. Don’t kid yourself, drug abuse is not restricted to street urchins feasting on cheap tramadol and sweet codeine mixed with cheap alcohol. It is not the pastime of the unschooled goons getting high on Indian hemp and other cheaply sourced opiating substances. The rich and the lettered also indulge in this psychedelic stuff.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a body that should know, says Nigeria spent $36.37 billion on the importation of petroleum products in the last five years (2013-2017). This is 13.5 percent of the $119.4 billion total imports made by the country within the same period. Remember that a huge part, over 90 percent, of this $119.4 forex committed to import came from the daily sale of crude oil. At an average cost of $300 million each, Nigeria can build a minimum of three modular refineries in each of the 36 states with some cash left to build one for Abuja.
Modular refineries are no rocket science. Refining crude and producing same have been simplified by technology. Both costs are dropping by the day. But those in authority would not tread this path of local refining for obvious reasons. Only a codeine-influenced generation of leaders would continue to encourage such disingenuous economics of selling cheap and buying high to your own hurt.
In February 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan during a Presidential Media Chat said boldly that “stealing is not corruption”. Really? Legally, stealing is taking what belongs to another person without the person’s consent and without the intention of returning it. Corruption is using your office to take what belongs to an organization or country/state etc stealthily without the intention of returning such; or using your position to collect inducement (bribe) to undermine due process. Whichever way you look at it, both are crimes and both mean illegally acquiring what does not belong to you. Yet, to Jonathan, one is not the other.
And this: President Muhammadu Buhari who seems to enjoy the state of not remembering anything just so he does not take responsibility for any default or defect, recently in Benue State said stand-offishly that he was not aware that his direct appointee, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, did not carry out his Presidential order to relocate to Benue in the wake of pogrom by killer herdsmen. The Commander-in-Chief does not know what his chief law enforcer is doing or has done. Something is amiss.
In 1993, self-styled military president Ibrahim Babangida in a nationwide broadcast nullified the Presidential election of that year. The chief reason he gave was that there was massive electoral fraud ahead of the main event of casting and counting votes, which according to him, rendered the election not credible and therefore justified the annulment. The same Babangida in recent years beats his chest as the first Nigerian president to conduct what has been generally accepted as a free, fair and credible election. He holds two opinions on the same event. Something is wrong.
Remember Nuhu Ribadu? He was the first Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Garrulous and fiery, he chased many big men out of town. He verbally and singlehandedly convicted some prominent Nigerians calling them thieves. But soon, he suffered his own dementia. When he was deceived with Presidential ticket of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), he nestled in the warmth and bosom of those he had earlier tagged thieves. And how they frolicked until he was traded and discarded for more juice from the national nectary.
Need I tell you about the master of them all, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He still goes about feeling grand with himself and delusively thinking he smells like rose flower. The same was the man who assaulted our constitution with an aborted third term agenda; the same expended $16 billion on a failed and corruption-infested National Independent Power Project (NIPP); the same conned a nation with a Presidential Library project which today is nothing but a private library but dubiously so named to reflect a presidential status. The same man that encouraged illegal impeachment of governors and promoted lawless badgering of his perceived political opponents in flagrant abuse of due process and the rule of law; the same man who levelled Odi community in Bayelsa and Zaki Biam in Benue is now strutting the political ecosystem preaching the rule of law, human rights , right to life and accountability. Something does not add up here.
Not a few political analysts and historians have dissected the anatomy of the Nigerian union. Most if not all came away with the verdict that Nigeria’s problem is leadership stasis. But none has ever scratched the theory of codeine as the chief influencer of those in the corridor of power. Nothing can best justify the irrationality among our leaders; their proclivity to medieval mannerisms and their madcap inclination to primitive acquisition and bigotry than this theory of codeine. Some people are hooked on something.
First published in Sunday Sun