First published in 2006

This is No Bullshitting!!! (By Harry Agina)



I am Harry Agina, and this is your radical Socio-Political Critic of Africa, No Bullahitting! WITCH-HUNT is one of the most miss-defined, most-bastardized, most miss-applied terms in Nigeria’s political arena. Yes, indeed! Nigerian politicians and leaders don’t know when to stop with the witch-hunt cliché! They hide under it to whip up public sentiments as response to allegations of crime, rather than defend the allegations. We do have in Nigeria many past cases of big and loud “witch-hunt” claimants who were eventually convicted in court with evidence of looting.

I put it straight to you that a crime suspect is NOT LIKELY to spend so much funds and energy campaigning for ‘witch-hunt’ sentiments from the public; if he/she had any honorable defence to offer in court. Importantly, I also put it to you that nobody can ever witch-hunt an innocent person; and, a person being accused of a crime he/she actually committed has no right whatsoever to talk about being witch-hunted!!!

          I WILL EXPATIATE, citing various English Dictionaries for definition: Witch-hunt is “An attempt to find and punish people who hold opinions that are thought to be unacceptable or dangerous to the society” (Oxford Dictionary). “A witch-hunt is an attempt to find and punish a particular group of people (or a person) being blamed for something, often simply because of their opinions, and not because they have actually done anything wrong” (Collins English Dictionary). Another pertinent definition is that witch-hunt is A public smear-campaign against an individual.”

          Smear campaign means: effort “To damage someone’s reputation by slandering, misrepresenting, or otherwise making false accusations about the individual.” The underlined phrase is the basis of my argument! Accusation of “witch-hunt” is only valid if the so-called witch-hunter is making false allegations. And, the only legitimate way to ascertain false allegation is through investigation and court trial, and not with cries of “witch-hunt” or blocking investigation and trial, which is common among Nigerian leaders and politicians. All over the world, when a person evades or tries to evade trial, average, rational humans presume, sometimes even conclude unequivocally that the evader is guilty. I mean, why else would any rational person try to evade trial; if not for the knowledge that he or she would be found guilty when the trial happens?

When a person is accused of looting, the only sensible question is: is he or she guilty or not? If we want to stop bullshitting, nobody should even mention the word witch-hunt at all!!! If the accused is guilty; what the heck does it matter who exposed him or why he did it? Who cares if the petition is politically motivated? I sure don’t give a hoot! We should all rejoice that a thief has been caught, period! I repeat my position that you can never witch-hunt an innocent person; and, a crook has no right whatsoever to accuse anybody of witch-hunt!

The witch-hunt gimmick employed by most indicted Nigerian politicians is just what it is: a gimmick to evade the law!!! If you prove your innocence when accused, then and only then do you have the right to stand tall and cry “witch-hunt,” which means that you have been slandered or accused falsely. Indeed, you may now actually sue your witch-hunter for libel damages. But, if the accused is guilty of the allegation, then a person that exposed him or her has not in any sane definition committed any witch-hunt. The reason for exposing him or her (political or otherwise)is completely irrelevant. In my book, the so-called witch-hunter is simply a good citizen that wants looters to pay for their sins and crimes, period!

          As a matter of fact, there should be a massive witch-hunt going on now in Nigeria. All Nigerians should join hands and hunt down all the witches. We should all be the hunters, and guilty looters are the witches. Yes, indeed, according to the English dictionary, looters of the nation’s treasury do “hold an opinion that is unacceptable and dangerous to the society.” Their dangerous opinion is that our national cake belongs to them alone!!! 

Sadly, each time we start to prosecute somebody, some people say, ‘why him, why not others first?’ So who are the others that we must start with; beings from other planets? Nigerians; we have to start with somebody ooo, haba! Of course, I do strongly support the call for the spread of the corruption war, and following the rule of law in the prosecution of the war. In particular, there are too many ex-governors and ex-ministers who Nigerians know to be looters for sure, who are still walking around freely and intimidating Nigerians with their blood money. But it is nonsensical to argue that we must set one rogue free just because we have not prosecuted all the others. We can never prosecute all suspects on the same day. What we must do is to keep pressing, constructively, for more non-selective prosecutions, but not to press to free the ones that we already started to prosecute. It is nonsensical, and the world is sneering and laughing at us as the race that is too smart for its own good! The late Reggae legend, Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley would describe our political antics as “playing it smart without being clever.”

I am not so worried about misguided comments of a so-called “common man” in the street; he needs to be enlightened, which is what I am doing here. I am only worried about the words of acclaimed so-called “opinion leaders” of the society, because our youths are listening and copying their debased opinions and values. The youths trust their views/opinions, and, with some of their gratification-induced utterances, they are misguiding the youths on ethics and values. Some of the “opinion leaders” surprise me with questions that even children can give instant correct answers to. One truly annoying question that I hear is: “why are law enforcement agencies now addressing past corrupt practices of looters that happened years back?” The answer is obvious even to a child! Policy and body language of Buhari against corruption—that’s why! Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan did not empower or embolden the law enforcement agencies to go after the “untouchables.” In the days of Jonathan, a court would have granted big shots like Senator Saraki the injunction he so fervently sought to stop his corruption trials. We do have a number of such audacious law-evading injunctions still pending in Nigerian courts today, because the weakness of Jonathan encouraged court corruption. Now, Buhari Fever has cautioned the judges that it is no longer corrupt business as usual in court. They had no choice but to wake up and smell the coffe after some of them got the shock of their lives to be arrested for corruption. Hurray, for the first time, as far as I know, not just one, but two ex-governors have been sentenced to prison in 2018 for corruption, within a space of one month.

I wish to offer a little professional, humble suggestion to my colleagues in the media (specifically the news reporters), to please strive to represent the questions and feelings of Nigerians when they encounter our leaders. When Senate President Saraki and his spokes people told reporters that he decided to appear at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) corruption trial because he is a “law abiding citizen,” I expected a reporter to take him up on that obvious nonsensical contradiction. In the first, place, did the senator have the right not to be law-abiding? Secondly, the man repeatedly disrespected the summons of the CCT; meanwhile spending a lot of energy and huge funds on a team of some of the powerful lawyers in the country, and even imported more from outside the country, all to quash the trial. And, when all the authorities that he approached for business-as-usual told him that hBuhari had made it impossible to be untouchable, he then turned around to tell us that he decided to appear at the tribunal because he is a “law-abiding citizen.” Naturally, many Nigerians mused: “What do some of our leaders take the rest of us for; idiots?” The man only became “law-abiding citizen” when he realized that he was about to be arrested and disgraced, period! Now, he is at his “witch-hunt” antics again to evade the investigation of his alleged complicity in a robbery case.

          This has been my submission on true the definition of witch-hunt. Alas, Nigerian politicians have manipulated the public to adopt a warped definition, which aims to aid law breakers to evade the law. Do remember that accusation of “witch-hunt” cannot be valid without the establishment of innocence. If we cry “witch-hunt” before trial; what then do we say if the accused person is eventually found guilty? Indeed, many have been found guilty after all the hoopla about with-hunt. What annoys me most is that Nigerians don’t even address the show of shame of the witch-hunt claimants after they have been pronounced guilty. What a shame! You go ahead and think about that, while I think of another one of Nigeria’s political aberrations to talk about in my next blog. Well, I don’t even have to do any thinking to find one; there are so, so many! Let’s condemn and shun them all…and No More Bullshitting!!!

If I said it once; I said it a thousand times that nobody can witch-hunt or blackmail an innocent person. And importantly, a criminal has no right to cry “witch-hunt” when accused of crime, meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

(By Harry Agina)



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