The tweet from my friend @ricdizzle last night cracked me up so much I couldn’t help but share the laughter. It was the highlight of the audio on a “sting tape” released by Channels TV on the Faroukgate scandal that has gripped the nation. In the midst of the laughter and banter that follows such expose in Nigeria it suddenly occurred to me how familiar my reaction was and how much inaction was to follow. Rather than smash my computer on the ground in anger and mobilize some thugs to the nearest Zenon office, here I was laughing this off and wondering where the hell my cut was.
Sadly, I thought, my demeanor wasn’t unique to me alone or was it to my friend OG who listened in with me. Its the same reaction across board. Nigerians will simply just lament and utter words like “criminals”, these guys are bastards”, “this country don finish”, “God punish these politicians”, and off course “Im calling TJ for my cut”. The TJ factor was now not lost on me. Just how many TJ’s are being used to steal from Nigerians and drain this country to its bare bones. They are everywhere, living amongst us, eating and dining with us and even related to us. We know these guys don’t we? Their job descriptions isn’t complicated or sophisticated, they are simply just called “PA”, Personal Assistant to a politician. The average TJ, bids his time hoping someday his master will set him off with part of the stolen wealth he has so helped siphoned as the middle man. Some of them are even used to kill political opponents, threaten the opposition and ruffle feathers. They do the dirty job on behalf of the Master no matter if its wrong or right. TJ’s aren’t so comfortable as you might expect, after all the master rose through the ranks, so TJ has to be patient too. The Master lives in Maitama and TJ Gariki. Master has a fleet of cars in his garage whilst TJ keeps up with his Tokunbo Japanese car which he bought using proceeds of money he managed to steal from his Master. How TJ gets to work or gets by on a daily basis isn’t much of an issue to the Master, shebi he is doing TJ a favour. He has given him an opportunity to taste power.
So why is TJ happy with the career path he has chosen? Why does he help perpetuate a crime he gets no direct benefit of? Why does he rob his brother to pay his Master? These are questions only the likes of TJ can answer. For some of us, who fortunately or unfortunately do not get to be TJ, we can only have ourselves to blame for allowing our leaders enslave us and brainwash us to the point where heinous crimes are discussed in beer palours helped by curse words and envious undertones directed at TJ’s Masters. TJ never gets mentioned in all of this, after all he is just hustling and only a conduit. People like TJ are pawns and should be used by the just as much by the crime fighter. They know their Master’s inside out and should be turned into state witnesses. But this is Nigeria, not the US and not Europe. Just about everyone has a price, even you and I. All we need is for TJ to be a brother, son or a relation. As a stranger all we need is a call from TJ and his crime may be viewed differently. He was used to move $620,000 cash!! In countries where values are upheld not by mere rhetorics but by mass action, the likes of TJ and his Masters will be rooted out, disgraced and locked up with the full arms of the law. Their tales will serve as a deterrent to others and their names will forever be associated with the crime for which they were caught. But then this is Nigeria not Georgia which has moved from one of the most corrupt countries in the world to one of the least as corruption was fought to a stand still using radical means.
TJ for all you care is probably out of this country or in hiding somewhere with his now infamous phone number the least of his problems. Right now, he is caught between two worlds, how to help his master hide the bribe money and how to create value from the notoriety his initials has now embodied. Somehow, both ends depend on the same means. You and I. Only us can help them achieve their goals. Would you give him a call?