Photograph — The Independent

Great news! Chief James Onanefe Ibori will be returning to Nigeria’s political scene soon. Well, maybe not so soon, since he’s still trying to convince the judges in London to overturn his conviction, which bars him from being involved in politics for 10 years.

However, if he succeeds, which I doubt very much, he would be back, up front and centre in politics. And if his appeal is quashed, then I guess he would wait a decade to get back into politics in Nigeria. And guess what? That is inconsequential. 10 years is nothing. At 57, Ibori is merely a youth, and at 67 in ten years, he will be a full-grown adult, just the right age to dabble in all the futility, ineffectiveness, hopelessness, and uselessness that is Nigerian politics and democracy.

I see you. Yes, you. Die hard Nigerian patriot, rolling your eyes at the adjectives used to describe the country’s system of government and governance. Well, I am a writer, not a pessimist, but most certainly not one to live in denial and in the illusory Nigerian mantra of “E go better.” Do I want my country to get better? Yes. Do I hope that things will get better? Yes. Do I pray that things get better? Yes. Do I see signs that things will indeed get better? NO!

Four years in, four years out … Actually, make that eight. And it’s the same set of raggedy old recycled leaders promising what they never intend to deliver, and even if they intend to, never can deliver. Because well, you cannot give what you do not have. And what’s worse, actual youths have gone bonkers with the get rich quick mentality and fervent aspirations to get a share of the national cake. So if you honestly assess the situation, “change”, whatever it means to you dear patriotic Nigerian, is a long shot.

Anyway, the last two paragraphs was a digression, so back to the matter. This past Tuesday, Thief James Onanefe Ibori, former governor of my beloved Delta state told Reuters that he will always be a polithiefcian. And that in Africa, once you get into politics, you are in it till you die. I guess it is another way of saying, in Africa, once you taste power, you cling on to it till you drop dead or get shamefully exiled from your country. Or just low-key be a godfather/mentor to others, which would not be a problem for Ibori. The dude has more fans and protégés than he is aware of.

“I am a politician, I will always be a politician. I play the politics in my party and in my country for the good of my people,” he said after a court hearing in London on Tuesday. “What happens in African politics – you are in it until you die.”

Yes, you read that right, “for the good of his people.” I really would love to meet this man and ask him how stealing public funds, is for the good of the people. And how all his mansions and luxury cars bought with stolen money translates to benevolence. But then again, he said “my people”, which could mean his cabal of thieving sycophants who have since held the fort and aptly stuck to the modus operandi that was set up for them.

Perhaps you are thinking it is impossible for Ibori to get back on Nigeria’s political scene – ROFLOL. Yes, that is me laughing at your naivety. Did you not hear that when he was released, people threw parties, and there was great dancing and rejoicing in the streets? And that people posted congratulatory messages on social media? Yes, that happened to my disgust and dismay. Yet you wonder why I think “E go better” is nothing but a mantra that we recite to give ourselves a false sense of hope.

Ibori will be back to steal and plunder, and this time, he might do it brazenly, or not. Since “his people” already know, and have accepted him for who he is – a generous thief.

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