When the dead body speaks…Nigerian leaders hear fit

October 24, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Wahabi Oluwafemi



Prince Charles Dickson

It was one of those experiences that lingers…one which when you recall, it is filled with nostalgia; it has a sense of humor in it, but largely filled with the irony of life.

So, what is this experience, kindly indulge me, I will tell us at the end of my admonition for this week, but for now patiently examine these few thoughts embedded in the following paragraphs:


In Nigeria we have 72 Governors, technically that includes the redundant 36 Deputy Governors. There are some 72 Speakers of the various States Legislative Houses, and that includes their Deputies. I have excluded in this simple math the Secretaries to the State Governments, the Clerks, Chief Whip and Minority Leaders in the Legislative Houses. I have not included the Chairman of the Ruling Party.

And to the above math, add the Head of the Civil Service and whatever number of Permanent Secretaries. You won’t have up to 50 per state, that gives us 1800, this figure including a certain Patience Goodluck, and her likes.

Let us for the sake of their nuisance value accept that it is barely 15 legislators per state, we would have 540 Legislators, excluding the key officials.

How about Commissioners, maybe a minimum of 15 again, that would translate to another 540.

I will exclude all those Senior Special Assistants, and the not too Senior, and the Junior one, the reason being that I know a state called Bauchi, where it’s governor appointed over 2000 of such at a point. And then take into consideration the fact that in some cases, you have Senior Special Assistant Media, Senior Special Assistant Social Media, Senior Special Assistant Radio, Senior Special Assistant Television, Senior Special Assistant Newspaper, with Chief Press Secretary and then a Director of Press Affairs in the Governor’s Office…So let us not get lost!

Let me spare us the agony of Chairman of Boards of Parastatals, and Director Generals, and General Managers of one-thing-some-thing, because in most cases not all these parastatals have parasitic value, but of course there is always a little juice at the Board of Internal Revenue, State Education Board, and a few, so let us leave the figure at a miserly 5 per state, that would amount to 180.

Before you get tired of me, and I exhaust my goodwill with you…Let us quickly move to the almighty un-hallowed chambers, both the red, green and any other color they possess. In the figure I have added the National Assembly Service Commission leadership, and all those liaison SA’s with the Presidency, and arrive at 500.

How about the Ministers, both junior ones that are stronger than the senior ones, add the Permanent Secretaries, head of Parastatals under these ministries and all that MDAs, I am thinking that 5000 looks awkward, but this is Nigeria, nothing really is…

Then finally the Mighty Nigerian Presidency, whether it is the one that bought more presidential plans or the one selling them off, all the organs directly under the presidency like the NSA’s Office, and the likes, Directors, and wetin call, for time sake, I would add the office of the Vice President…Let us assume that they are all 10,000.

In concluding this bizarre math, add the Supreme Court Judges and the other ones whether corrupt or not, add the real Generals, like Buratai, I mean Generals that “save”…, Vice Chancellors, ‘real’ Traditional Chiefs and ‘thieves’. I would generously put the figure at some 500.

If we leave the margin for error at 200,000 or even 50,000, we would have as total in this math, some little close to 600,000.


Now to my experience which I was supposed to share, some few months ago, a man was a driver of an ambulance that had a corpse, siren blaring and driving at minimal speed until it got to a check-point, and the following ensued:


Police: Stop

Driver (screeches, bringing car to a halt): Yes

Police: Wetin you carry

Driver: Deadi bodi,

Police: Can we see?

Driver (very mused): Sorry?!

Police (barking orders): My friend, come down and open this coffin

Driver (comes down, opens coffin)

Police: Okay, carry on, you can go.

Driver (with a wry smile): No vex, the deadi bodi talk say him no dey go again


It was supposed to be a joke; the line was building up on both sides of the very narrow road. The ambulance driver refused to move, he threw the car keys at the policemen, no one not even any of us had joined at the scene.

Now, hold on, and hear what happened next…as the boss in charge of the policemen called the driver aside:


Police Boss: Abeg, we are sorry

Driver: Sorry no dey this matter

Police Boss: This is not fair

Driver: The deadi bodi too talk say una no fair

Police Boss: But really no vex, beg the bodi for us


I was actually eavesdropping, and then what transpired next herein lies the lesson and the essence of all that I have enumerated in my essay. The Police Boss went back, called his men, asked them to empty all the monies in their pockets and proceeded with the monies to the driver…The Driver simply REFUSED!

Don’t ask me what happened at last, but this is it, the men and women that hold this nation hostage are at most a million, but they are not up to, yet they hold an entire nation hostage; we remain laughing stocks in the community of nations and amongst ourselves.

Are we the worst nation on earth, certainly no, but really are we where we should be, again certainly no…We are all the dead bodies in this epic story, we need to talk, citizenry needs to get it right, do the needful, in duties and until citizens take the gauntlet and like the driver cum dead body hold leadership to ransom to do right, we all would be joking on this project called Nigeria, but for how long–Only time will tell.










Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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