The Kogi Senator Melaye needs no introduction. He’s perhaps the most well read out of the 109 senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His chains of degrees swirl like a snake across continents. He has degrees from Nigeria, United Kingdom, Romania, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Canada, America, Cuba, and Antarctica.
The corrupt career of Melaye spans many years. It’s a career with a footnote in corruption for our times. Unlike former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Melaye wasn’t trying to sell a senate seat. Unlike former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, Melaye didn’t try to portray himself as a lovable rogue. Instead, Melaye is of a debauch vision. He’s technically a rabbit in the disturbed hallucination in a costume sense of the word.
Popularly known by his latest CD “Ajekun iya ni yio je” Melaye is a crazy, homicidal, faceless, shameless mania. He’s known for his argle-bargle, jiggery-pokery. His book “Antidotes For Corruption” wasn’t the book that should have been written by him. Punnily titled “Antidotes For Corruption ” is a lethal comedic nonsense. How can a raunchy, self-centered animated looter writes a book on prescription for corruption? It’s like expecting Beelzebub to cast out Beelzebub!
Melaye, the hyperactive neurotic bunny author of “Antidotes For Corruption” should have written a book with the title “Infinite Jest: The Politics Of Looting.” That would have made sense and of course intelligent reading without any tinge of irony.
“Infinite Jest: The Politics Of Looting” would have been his memoir/self-help hybrid that traces Melaye’s painful, impoverished, and unsteady climb out of suicidal despair. It would have been a compelling reading of how a Nigerian senator became instant millionaire made possible by rabid looting of our treasury.
Melaye would have written the book in a confiding, conversational prose that references figures from Soyinka’s “Madmen And Specialists” to Shakespeare’s Cordelia, where Melaye addresses the guilt and shame that comes with binge looting and incurable kleptomania.
Melaye would have made peace with himself and with Nigerians by describing the battles raging inside his red-raw naked mind in a bruisingly lucid detail how he and other reprobate senators plundered our treasury. He would have intimated us with their looting spree in form of unmerited bogus allowances and outrageous salaries. After all, they don’t have to publish their salaries of Senate president, the speaker of the House, the majority leader, other principal officers and the legislators. He would have informed Nigerians that 25% of national expenditure goes to the National Assembly.
The book would have shed light on the fact that each senator rakes in N48 million per quarter or $1.2 million per year. Melaye would have taken pains to come up with insane justification why Nigerian federal legislators are the highest paid in the world and why the country is among the poorest in the world in terms of per capital income, security, and social services and living standards. Melaye would have tried to convince us that go into politics with his other treasury looters was not dictated by greed, fraud, and personal aggrandizement.
For example, Melaye wold have been audacious enough to tell us that out of the 2009 annual budget of N3.1 trillion, N1.3 trillion or 42% ended up as remuneration for legislators, and nothing literally is left for social and economic development, construction of roads, water, education, healthcare, electricity. That in four years, he and other senators will pocket N720 million. Each member of the House of Reps will get N540 million. That Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki as senate president gets N250 million per quarter and his deputy Ekweremadu gets N150 million.
That each of the principal officers gets N78 million. He should have emphasized that looting conduits also include constituency projects, inflated contracts, bribery over appropriations, and other manufactured spending and he and other legislators pocket 90% of the country’s GDP.
The history of Nigeria is a history of corruption. Corruption brings poverty, crime, violence, inequality, and class war. In Nigeria, when the poor ask for bread, they’re given a stone. The thirsty are permitted to drink and the hungry are not allowed to eat. The sick cannot seek treatment in hospital and no access to drugs. The jobless remains jobless. Workers are not paid and retirees are denied pensions.
Children of the poor are trapped in cycles of poverty while their parents watch helplessly with jaw twitching in premonition. Nigeria is blessed with natural resources worth trillions of dollars but the population is blighted with extreme poverty and unrest. Spectacular oil boom for years generated riches for the political elite but offered little to poverty ravaged Nigerians. Unlike a true democracy, the looters are not accountable to our people through a social contract based on taxation and representation.
Melaye’s book on corruption is a reminder of how often real-life political corruption can mirror the imaginations of Nollywood screenwriters. For Melaye of all people to publish a book on a subject of which is a poster boy, indicates that his foresight is much more myopic. His book should infuriate Nigerians who actually believe in democratic governance. Melaye is a man with faulty morals who is intoxicated with wealth acquired from corruption. He’s led by greed to crave for more tethering on a destructive cycle.
The launching of a book on corruption by Melaye with all the titans of corruption – Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki, Patience Jonathan, Ike Ekweremadu, and others as chief launchers is an affront on our values as a people. It’s a distortion of our values and makes mincemeat of morality, truth, and virtue. It’s no wonder that with the Melayes, Mesujambas, Ekweremadus, etc., there is barely any sphere of our social, political, economic, and religious activity that is free from graft, fraud, and corruption of some kind.
Melaye remains the most hated colorful and boastful icons of corruption in Nigeria. By reflecting in his book his truest and sometimes ugly self back to the Nigerian people, it’s sad that sullen-looking, sleepy-eyed, foolish, cunning and dim, complicated illiterates and primitive people like him populate the Senate.