Many things have occurred in Nigeria in the past month
that it would have taken more than an effort to capture everything. Of course, the very serious events might be ignored or forgotten. But not the comical events that brought some relief in these harsh times that are not about to subside, let alone go away.

Consider the news piece on hoteliers in Port
Harcourt, Rivers State capital, who threatened to disconnect their mains from
the state’s electricity distribution company over the huge bills they keep
incurring without as much as commensurate service enjoyed.

Rising from a crucial meeting called by the Nigeria
Hotel Association (NHA), the congregants resolved that “enough is enough” and
that they would no longer take things for granted. Chairman of the NHA (Rivers
State Chapter), Mr. Eugene Nwauzi, insisted that the hoteliers would resort to
using the generator sets and would have no business dealings with the
government-owned electricity company any further.

“We cannot meet up with the new tariff from the Port
Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and we are no longer comfortable with
the huge bills,” he said.

Apparently to underscore the NHA’s hard stance, lest
its members were accused of subversion, Nwauzi also said: “The Rivers State
government, State Security Service and the Police Command are aware of our
plans.” In a direct speech to the PHED, he also said: “You need us as we need
you. But we need your services at affordable rate as many hotels are beginning
to get scared of remaining in business.”

Who says the ears at the PHED were not listening to
the hoteliers’ cries? Hear the CEO of the electricity distribution company, Mr.
Jay McCoskey: “Your concerns are very correct and we will do something fast
because this is strictly business. We want to do business with you and we are trying our best to provide you with 24-hour power supply.”

It must be that, until McCoskey spoke, both parties
had not been in business of “buying and selling on equal basis and that was why
one simply took the other as mere donkey for a jolly ride.

The scourge of ghost workers has pervaded many
government offices in Nigeria from time immemorial. However, very little or
nothing has been heard of how the ghosts are dealt with such that they would
never return. Some have even written off the “ghost” stories as “figment of the
imagination of those who discovered the ghosts.”

But Chairman of the Kogi State Government Staff
Screening Committee, Brigadier General Paul Olushola Okuntimo, has shed some
light on the scourge with military finesse.

“Ghost workers are of different categories,” Okuntimo
disclosed to reporters in the Kogi State capital Lokoja.

“There are those who are employed by the government
but who go elsewhere to work and these are called ghost workers in Diaspora.
There are also those who are called checkers who device deliberately cooked
books in the Accounts Department and there are those who don’t even exist,” he

To rub it in that his committee had been working
round the clock, as it were, Okuntimo said it had discovered separate 67
accounts, 23 accounts and 3, 000 accounts that didn’t exist.

Fearfully, he declared to his stunned audience:
“This is just the first batch. Others that include ghost schools are also

At this rate, it should not surprise any observer if
Kogi is declared a “ghost state” soon. It would be a honour well-earned.

Elsewhere, River State Governor Nyesom Wike was
repeating his electoral promise to his people as though they had forgotten

“I will never renege on my promise to deliver
dividend of democracy to you my people,” Wike said at the commissioning of
roads which he said was targeted at improving the lives of the people.

“I appeal to you to keep supporting my
administration so that I will keep on delivering on critical infrastructure,”
the governor concluded, ostensibly emphasising the dictum “life is give and

Elsewhere still, the lie that Governor Olusegun
Mimiko bandied to impress that he was “man of the people” was laid bare after
the state’s workers practically stormed the Government House, demanding payment
of the wages owed them for several months.

One report said the workers barked “unprintable
words” at the medical doctor governor whose mien could easily pass for a
harmless cat. Another worker, according to the report, said: “We have rendered
legitimate service to Ondo State. So, pay us our salaries.” Another worker
looked back in time to express his anger: “There has been no six-month
outstanding salaries owed workers in the history of Ondo State. We will
continue to press until our salaries are paid.” The bemused Mimiko could only
twitch his face in utter helplessness, if not hopelessness, only for the
Chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress (Ondo State Chapter), Mrs. Bosede
Daramola, to add to his woe, thundering: “I will urge all government workers in
Ondo State to support this noble cause because this struggle is for all.” Hardly
had Daramola ended her short but pungent speech than the Chairperson of the
Joint Negotiating Public Service Committee (JNC), Mr. Sunday Adeleye, chipped
in with brutal round off. “We will not resume work,” he vowed, “until our
salaries are fully paid.”

Mimiko, ironically nicknamed “Iroko”, or fig tree,
had seen in realistic terms how a lie was put to the shelter he said he had always
provided his people. What a turnaround!

A doom-sayer lurked around the corner, courting
public attention. He is, according to a report, a prophet of Goodwill of Grace
and Restoration Ministries, named Apostle Solomon Paul.

He had warned the nation to brace up to a sudden
death of a prominent politician in Nigeria but urged all to embark on ceaseless
prayers to avert what he called catastrophe.

Well, very few, if at all, are politicians in
Nigeria today whose death would be likened to catastrophe; themselves being the
actual catastrophe, considering their selfish and greedy carriage.

Nonetheless, Apostle Paul thought otherwise. “I saw
a vision where a prominent Nigerian politician went overseas on a medical trip,
only for his corpse to be ferried back home,” the prophet said, even as he also
warned of a looming earthquake which had never before happened here and whose
magnitude would be mind-bogging. “The earthquake is an expression,” he further
said, “of God’s anger against Nigeria where the truth is only kept secret and
falsehood has become order of the day.”

One would have safely concluded, even without being
religious, that God’s anger has since resided in this clime. Or is there any
better explanation for why we have often taken three steps forward only to take
two steps backward soon after and thereafter remain stagnant before attempting
to take another step forward?

AfolabI Gambari

Email, Twitter @express_urban

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