Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Try your hardest to minimize your contact with law enforcement, a.k.a police. This can be done in several ways but the ones that work best are:
1. Minimize your driving. If you can bus, train or cab it, do so with immediate alacrity.
2. Minimize contact with emotional, highly-strung or overly dramatic people. These people will definitely bring the police and your dear self in close contact sooner or later.
3. Lastly, never ever call the police to your residence. This would seem obvious in light of what I have written above, but I will write it anyway. The police are not your friend.
Monday, March 21, 2011
1984: Muhammadu Buhari was the Head of State, his sidekick was the military hardliner Tunde Idiagabon. The government decided to change the currency, in an effort to revamp the economy which had been in freefall since 1981. They also wanted to force the politicains they had deposed to come back with their stolen loot. In those days, the Naira was trading at N1.50 to GB£1, and 85 kobos to US$1. (Yes, this was the exchange rate in those days!!!! If you can lay your hands on a copy of Punch, Daily Times or Punch newspapers from 1985, you can check these facts out for yourself).
As part of the currency conversion excercise nobody was allowed to take any money outside Nigeria's borders. Lo and behold it was reported that the Emir of Gwandu successfully smuggled out 53 suitcases of naira notes, presumably to change into foreign currency abroad before it became worthless.
The press and social critics raised a lot of dust about this, but nothing concrete was done about it. Nevetheless, the credibility of the Buhari regime suffered terribly as a result of this.
The story which eventually became the accepted true-version was that he took the suitcases to the airport, but the customs officer on duty, a certain Alhaji Abubakar Atiku wanted them confiscated and reported to the military government. However, the Emir came to the airport with some army officers, two Colonels who insisted that the Emir must fly out with his Naira laden luggage. In case you were wondering, yes, the customs boss in question is no other than Alhaji Atiku, who would eventually become Vice President.
What happened really was this: Atiku was alleged to have waived all formality to let the Emir and his entourage through without even searching one suitcase. Most customs officers at the scene were shocked and appalled. It was also later alleged that many of the suitcases were filled with money. This incident incensed the then Head of State, General Buhari and his Deputy, Brig. Tunde Idiagbon, who ordered an immediate and thorough investigation into the matter, to the chargrin of the Head of State's then ADC, Maj. Mustafa Jokolo, who was also the Emir's first son.
The Finance Minister at the time, Onaolapo Soleye and another young but influential Army Officer, Col. Chris Alli, tried in vain to plead Atiku's case before Buhari and Idiagbon. Fate conspired in Abubakar's favour just as his trial was all set to go ahead: General Ibrahim Babangida, in an alleged effort to save his own skin, overthrew the Buhari regime. This worked perfectly well for Atiku Abubakar, who was eventually eased out of office (effectively sacked).
...and that, despite the trash being bandied around today, is the true story of the 53 suitcases. Class dismissed.