By Pius Adesanmi
Within one week of being caught pants down evading taxes and sundry financial offenses within the jurisdiction of the European Union, Ogbeni Jim Ovia has quickly instructed his lawyers to announce his readiness to refund £11 Million tax he allegedly avoided.
This should be an occasion for sober reflection for every Nigerian. Those of us who are always screaming and bursting two veins per day over the need for us to have a society of consequences are not mad. And we are not referencing 21st-century societies of consequences as ntor – which is what you think we are doing, hence all your insults and lashing back in automated defence of the 17th-century lawless status quo in Nigeria.
Look at it this way. Three Nigerians are implicated in the Paradise Papers: Jim Ovia, Bukola Saraki, and Godwin Emefiele. Of the three, only one is vulnerable for now to 21st-century consequences of tax evasion in civilization. The other two, Bukola Saraki and Godwin Emefiele, are operating in a 17th-century zoo of impunity in Nigeria. They know that they are Lords (CBN Governor & Senate President) in a 17th-cventury animal farm where there is no crime and punishment for their ilk.
Of the three unscrupulous characters, only the one who is immediately vulnerable to consequences in civilization is running upandan to pay back taxes even before he is charged with anything. Don’t you wish this for Nigeria today today?
And you think I should fold my arms and accept that Nigeria deserves less? And you think I should agree with you that we shall get there gradually?
Ko le werk! A o ni gba se! By fire by force, you must understand the urgency of these things for Nigeria.
By the way, anywhere in the jurisdiction of the European Union, Bukola Saraki and Godwin Emefiele would have resigned to go and clear their names by now.
As for Jim Ovia, were this to be within Nigeria’s jurisdiction, he would never have offered to pay back taxes. He would have mobilized placard-carrying young people taught in our school system nationwide by the metaphorical Kaduna teachers to claim that he is being held to account because of his religion, ethnicity or political affiliation.
Or he would simply have said that he is broke. After all, one irresponsible former member of the Federal House of Representatives recently told the courts that he is unable to refund salaries he unlawfully received to the Nigerian purse because he is broke. When I flagged it, there were defenders…
Be fe be ko, whether you like it or not, we will continue to scream these things until Nigeria changes course.