Nigeria’s CCT Chairman As A Senior Agbero, By Ugoji Egbujo

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Danladi Umar

Sagwak’s account makes the removal of the CCT chairman urgent. But the government seems somnolent. Sagwak, a Banex Plaza security guard, pointed out to the CCT Chairman that he parked his car wrongly… That was Sagwak’s singular offense. The effrontery to tell the CCT Chairman to follow the rules. 

Nigeria is blessed with clowns. Everywhere you go, a piece of buffoonery awaits you. Sometimes, the feeling is that of living in a vast amusement park. Otherwise, how can a Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman go in search of a roforofo fight with a security guard in a market? The country is replete with motor park urchins in high places. As bewildered folks gathered to restrain Umar, he broke loose and kicked the poor boy in the face. Square pegs have found themselves in round holes and years of grooming in high government offices seem incapable of reforming calcified rascality from early years of lousy upbringing. 

Danladi Umar became the Chairman of the Code Of Conduct Tribunal at 36. At 50, he is still a lout. A pompous brute and uncouth bigot. Thirty years after becoming a lawyer, 14 years after masquerading as a judge of bad conduct, Danladi Umar walked into a shopping mall in Abuja and, in public view, battered a kneeling security guard. Nothing astounds any longer in Nigeria. Priests defraud their congregations to ride limousines. A senator battered a lady in a sex shop and said the public opprobrium he received was the price of leadership. Danladi Umar returned to his office the next day with poise, and the government and police have been mute. 

Through a letter concocted by his aide in a language that belongs to a local shoe cobbler, Umar said the guard who had contested his parking space choice was rude. The guard was rude, so the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal taught him a motor-park lesson. Nigeria!

If Danladi Umar had stopped at kicking and slapping the poor boy, whom policemen had forced to kneel in apology for the crime of not recognising a big man and worshipping him, perhaps Umar could have left the  window open to say he lost his temper. Here, big men can lose their temper, beat their wives, and get public apologies from their in-laws. As such, a CCT Chair can, in a casual act of bigmanism, bash the heads of any irreverent security guard and walk away thoroughly indignant because the traders didn’t cheer him. But Danladi did more.

In that letter showing that many people who work at the Code Of Conduct Bureau didn’t complete secondary school education, Danladi did other awful things. An everyday man who had been caught on camera defecating in public would have gone into hiding in shame. But not Umar, a senior judicial officer entrusted with a national duty to regulate and judge conduct. Umar is shameless. He reconfigured himself as the victim of an attack by the boys in the market. It’s possible Umar wasn’t aware that his kick-boxing practice was caught on video. Otherwise, why would a lawyer, 30 years after he was called to the bar, tell such bafflingly puerile lies. If Umar lied because he believed there would be no hard evidence to establish the truth, then Umar is a scoundrel.  

The story Umar sought to disseminate must be, “Danladi Umar, almighty CCT chairman, went to the market to fix his phone in Abuja. There, some Biafran boys, settlers in Abuja, haters of Fulanis, pounced on him and beat him up. The Biafran boys threw missiles at him and dislocated his finger.”

If Danladi Umar’s lies were innocently childish, then some would have shrugged him away as one of many who defied merit and rose to prominent positions in government, despite glaring mental shortcomings. But Danladi Umar, in a unique attempt to fool the public, used the word “Biafra.” He said he was attacked by “Biafran boys.” The reference to Biafra was a last-ditch attempt by a bigot to deflect public outrage and convert an egregious personal criminal conduct into an ethnic conflagration. Umar isn’t just a brute and a scoundrel; he is a bigot.

The story Umar sought to disseminate must be, “Danladi Umar, almighty CCT chairman, went to the market to fix his phone in Abuja. There, some Biafran boys, settlers in Abuja, haters of Fulanis, pounced on him and beat him up. The Biafran boys threw missiles at him and dislocated his finger.”

Shame on you, Danladi Umar. Who would have thought that a senior government official, post-EndSars protests, who went into a market and assaulted a security guard SARSlike, and incited public outrage, would retain the pomposity to tender anything short of self-immolation in a penitent apology? Not Umar. Having driven like a danfo driver from being a chief magistrate to being the CCT chairman, Umar possibly can’t remember what basic decency means. 

Clement Sagwak, poor and 22, the victim of Umar’s brutality, said the CCT Chairman slapped him many times. What we saw on the viral video was only a fraction of the beating that left him wounded. He said the CCT chairman ordered the police to help in slapping him. Sagwak was perhaps one of the persons the CCT Chairman and his bigotry referred to as Biafran Boys. 

Nigeria, the land of big clowns. It’s not a miracle that the CCT Chair has neither been arrested nor suspended from office. In Nigeria, against the poor, a bigman can get away with anything. Tomorrow, the federal government will organise a circus of a conference to teach the youths how to be responsible citizens.

Sagwak’s account makes the removal of the CCT chairman urgent. But the government seems somnolent. Sagwak, a Banex Plaza security guard, pointed out to the CCT Chairman that he parked his car wrongly. The CCT Chairman had by parking his car wrongly blocked access into the Plaza. It was Sagwak’s duty to keep the access. That was Sagwak’s singular offense. The effrontery to tell the CCT Chairman to follow the rules. 

At some point during the altercation that ensued, the haughty CCT Chairman dashed into his car to find a cudgel with which to bludgeon the boy whom his slaps had failed to mangle. After visiting the boy with violence, the CCT Chairman comically ordered the police to arrest him.

Nigeria, the land of big clowns. It’s not a miracle that the CCT Chair has neither been arrested nor suspended from office. In Nigeria, against the poor, a bigman can get away with anything. Tomorrow, the federal government will organise a circus of a conference to teach the youths how to be responsible citizens.

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But what better code of conduct against violence can be written than the immediate suspension and prosecution of CCT Chair, Umar Danladi?

Ugoji Egbujo is a member of the Board of Trustees of Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Financial Crimes Prevention.

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