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Nigeria in One Chance

One chance in Nigeria’s local street lingo is a type of trip in which a gang makes up the majority of the passengers in a bus alongside the driver. They pick up a few non-gang members who would innocently join the bus but are, in fact, targeted victims. Once the to-be victims have boarded, the bus takes off and then stops somewhere before its destination in a secluded area where they get mobbed and robbed.

Ideally, one chance requires the majority to prey on a minority. It is curious that in the case of Nigeria, it is the other way around. The minority seems to be in charge of this “one chance” driven by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria’s current president, and the majority of Nigerians are in for constant and continuous victimization for the next three and half years.

In the last six months, there have been a series of events in the never-ending drama directed by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the latest is the 1,411 delegates to the COP28 in the UAE. Truthfully, such a large delegation for the Nigerian population may not be as much compared to other countries attending the conference. However, for a country in Nigeria’s current situation, the 590 government-sponsored delegates were at least 500 people too many. Names like Toke Makinwa, a controversial socialite, and Gilbert Chaugory,  an alleged bagman for Abacha, Nigeria’s most notorious military dictator, as well as the sons of the president with no official government portfolio, are part of the sponsored delegates whose expenses will be catered by taxpayers. The strain such a large delegation would put on an already struggling economy and a practically nonexistent foreign exchange reserve is enormous.

A report by Business Day has estimated the cost of the sponsored delegates’ flight at about 885 million naira without accounting for feeding, logistics, lodgings, and so on. The report claimed to have arrived at the estimate by computing current flight rates from international airlines. It also noted that the Nigerian government has a preference for international flight operators despite some Nigerian airlines having approvals to fly the same routes, which would not only be much cheaper for the country but would also help save scarce foreign currency as well as inject government spending into the local air industry and ultimately the Nigerian economy.

Sadly, President Tinubu, who is known from his governorship days in Lagos state as a “Lau Lau Spender” with a compulsive need to prove to everyone, including himself, that he is a big boy, has refused to smell the coffee that is Nigeria’s current reality. This one chance is not sustainable for the driver, his co-conspirators, and their helpless victims. Hopefully, everyone involved will realize it before it gets too late.

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