2019: The Year of Stealing

December 27, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Prince Charles Dickson



“Kowa ya dade yaga dadau” – Hausa (Whoever lives long, will see wonders)



Them belly full, but we hungry

A hungry mob is a angry mob

A rain will fall, but the dirt it tough

A pot a cook but the food nah nuff

You’re going to dance to Jah music, dance

We’re going to dance to Jah music, dance, oh-ooh



With singing, clapping and dancing, the congregation were ecstatic. The choir was at her best. My eyes were roving, the women in their sunday best, depending on their marital status, some were married, others single and the others were complicated. They were another set whose answers depended on who was asking. A sober picture of Nigeria but we all wanted to hear…


While I waited like plenty of others I recalled a story. Years ago my friend KOC—While on an international flight witnessed thievery or stealing. (Here in Nigeria, corruption is the word).


Seating adjacent to him across the aisle was this woman who was having four center seats all to herself because the plane was not full.


Ordinarily he could not have noticed the woman but for one man who periodically visited her, then would leave after a while, at first I thought they were something like husband and wife but my curiosity was drawn when I discovered that the man was not always at ease when he sat with the woman.


As soon as the man sat in the company of the woman, he would dart his eyes left and right, front and back, making sure that no one was watching him, after a while of repeatedly doing this he decided to really check out what was happening, why the man seemed not at ease or peace whenever he paid this nocturnal visit. Then he saw that the man always planted a kiss or rather stole a kiss after looking all around to make sure no one was watching.


The dude who probably was in his fifties was sitting somewhere else but periodically came to the woman to steal a kiss and some cuddling, otherwise known as romance. He was thieving romance!


His escapades reminded me of those of us who picked a few nairas from our father’s ‘coatsubla’ (a mix of coat and blazer yet being none) hanging in his wardrobe or ‘picking’ change from our mom’s piggy bank where she put sales money from her local bean ball (akara). The experts amongst us could steal meat from the soup pot and leave no tell-tale signs.


We took our time, checked all the environment to make sure all is right before we snatch but one thing we do not know is that, some eye must see us, just as this dude did not know that KOC ‘ji odu anya ele ya‘. (Looking at him with the upper eye).


The woman was not his wife, for no man steals what belongs to him and no man comes into the plane and started wobbling like jelly towards plucking a kiss from his wife, the same woman he lives with, we also have a saying that, “clear conscience fears no accusation” thus a man will not be surveying his surroundings to make sure no one is watching before he plants a kiss or before he snuggles to his wife.


After witnessing the man’s coming and going several times KOC forgot about the issue till they deplaned. A people stood at and to clear immigration he noticed the same woman standing alone, all by herself with the man nowhere to be found, and what he not only suspected and believed was then confirmed that he was not the woman’s husband but just a “thief” out to steal “waters” probably belonging to another man.


While this incidence happened on the airplane I remembered what the bible said about stolen waters: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” Proverbs 9:17.


I know there are “thieves” like the one on the airplane who go about stealing “waters” that are not theirs.


Then I was back to reality, inside the congregation the prophecy started…



In a society that worships money mongers, where certificates are bought, elections rigged, opposition clad with greed, ruling party at odds with itself. The temptation to steal in year 2019 would be high.


With the investment by our politicians, many have decided to give in, to steal, and steal more. Whether the people are watching or not. They will fill their garage with more cars, and get more properties.


It is an election year…scams and fraud in mind-boggling figures. People will steal o, monies to steal from road contracts that won’t be executed…more ghost workers. If Atiku wins you will be shocked at what was stolen by the dudes on board now, and then they will commence theirs. If Mr. Buhari wins, the stealing would get a seal of approval.


Many would steal plenty of kisses via phantom projects. Bounties would be so large that accounts would be opened in New Zealand and Madagascar. Many constituency project monies would be ‘thieved’. Many would belong to PDP in the morning and APC at night depending on the outcome of February 2019.


It’s going to be a stealing competition, and rendezvous; some are not coming back to office, so it will be a little democracy, plenty lootocracy; some are coming afresh to steal. The people are gullible, it is easy to catch them on religious or ethnic leanings. Very little significant change would occur.


Whether we find ourselves in the public service or private sector, the motto would be aloota continua. The budget is in the trillions; we must get our share.


I am not going to sit and watch and swallow that patriotic garb. 2019 is our year. For those who live long enough in Nigeria’s 2019, we will see wonders in stealing from local to federal level. This is a caveat; don’t say you were not warned.


For many Nigerians, it will be another year to join the ‘big league’ at the expense of the ordinary street folks. If Nigeria will take a significant step forward in governance, development in most sectors, it would be a function of how we deal with the thieves amongst u.



Truth is—


Them belly full, but we hungry

A hungry mob is a angry mob

A rain will fall, but the dirt it tough

A pot a cook but the food nah nuff

You’re going to dance to Jah music, dance

We’re going to dance to Jah music, dance, oh-ooh



Do we really want to curtail the stealing, looting, corruption or whether we resolve to steal sweet waters, do we want to steal our destiny back, will we watch as they steal monies for our medicine in local hospitals, monies budgeted for quality education, will fellow Nigerian brethren’s and “sisterens” allow themselves to be divided while they steal—only time will tell.



Before we forget


On 23 December 2001, 17 years today; Bola Ige was shot dead at his home in the southwestern city of Ibadan.


In a speech at Ige’s funeral, former Oyo State Governor, Omololu Olunloyo was quoted as saying that he was sure that Nigeria was worth living for but he was not so sure that it was worth dying for.


At the funeral, which then President Obasanjo attended, Mr Olunloyo said that with all he now knew about Nigeria, he was convinced Nigeria was not worth dying for.


AI released a report of the number of Nigerians killed during the year in review as a result of the herder/farmer conflict, and we debate the bias or otherwise of report. And abandon the value of life.


To date, the killers had not been found and never will…Nigerians still ask; who killed Bola Ige and is Nigeria worth dying for? A nation where lives are stolen at their peak, prime and no one is accountable.






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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