Revolution Against the Mindset of “Big-man Syndrome” Is What Nigeria Needs; Not Political Restructuring or Separatism

– says Dr. Sunday Adelaja


Dr. Sunday Adelaja has opted to do what Nigerians have little interest in doing. Facts backed up by data are not of great concern to the average Nigerian. So also is time. Arriving at a scheduled meeting or event hours late is presumed reasonable, even by those in leadership positions in society. It is hard to remember when Nigeria honestly had a census that was designed to capture the vital statistics of the most populous African country. The population, Gross Domestic Product, per capita income, literacy rates etc for Nigeria are nothing more than the best estimates that the so-called experts and officials could come up with. No one is interested in the compilation, storage and retrieval of data as veritable tools for making critical decisions that affect socioeconomic wellbeing of the citizenry.

That Nigerians ignore the import of data does not mean that anything meaningful can ever be accomplished without accurate information about the past and present. It is only when the past and present are understood and put in proper perspective that good plans can be made. Governing a society without relevant data statistics is akin to flying a loaded passenger jetliner in blindfolds and earplugs. That the society has developed a nonchalant attitude to the significance of data and statistics does not mean that facts about how the country is operated do not exist. Of course, they do. But only those who know how to dig them up can speak with the authority that Dr. Adelaja does.

Facts are stubborn, they say. Hate or like them; they remain what they are. This YouTube video is used by Dr. Adelaja to shine some light into what became of AMCON, a supposedly crucial national development program packaged and put into effect by the Obasanjo administration. In summary, AMCON was used to assemble vast sums of money into a common kitty that was subsequently plundered by Nigeria’s so-called “big men” who are now indebted to the near moribund AMCON in the tune of billions of US dollars without any intention to repay even a cent.

Dr. Adelaja went to search for the data archives and succeeded in digging up facts that astound all who learn about it. Twenty prominent Nigerians owe as much as 5.5 Trillion naira (or the equivalent of US$15 billion) to the Nigerian government through the AMCON conduit. The plundered funds have already been used to establish private businesses as well as to maintain the debtors’ lavish lifestyle. The funds garnered from the commonwealth of 200 million Nigerians to fund AMCON have already disappeared, no one hears about AMCOM’s effort to recover its debts any longer and the economic woes of Nigerians continue to bite even harder and more mercilessly. Rather than make good on their government-subsidized loans, a handful of Nigeria’s “big men” instead use the public funds in their possession to live large and procure political patronage at the state, ethnic, regional and national levels. The video then proceeded to give the names of business entities that owe billions to AMCON and the personalities behind these entities.

Dr. Adelaja believes that Nigerians’ obsession with the “Big-man Syndrome” is at the core of the country’s problem and little else. From his perspective, the Revolution needed at this time should be targeted at changing the mentality that creates and sustains the citizens’ obsession with the “Big-man Syndrome”, not at restructuring or breakup of today’s Unitary Nigeria. Unfortunately, this audacious statement was not elucidated as expected in this video.

On balance, Dr. Adelaja made a vital revelation that all concerned stakeholders must take out some time to study. The list of names and companies were retrieved from the AMCON database. If so, readers can do their own research to corroborate the veracity of this piece of information. We have been exposed to the facts regarding the vast sums of money siphoned off Nigeria’s commonwealth for the plunder by a few. What to do about these mind-numbing facts is another matter altogether. It is tough to argue that a geopolitical restructuring or even the breakup up of a country that can tolerate this humongous plunder of public assets should not top the list of options to be considered in making sure that this stinking status quo is put to an immediate end. 

“We the people…” have the choice of slaying this monster of insatiable greed by a handful in the population or the monster shall ultimately bring absolute ruination to the 200 million citizens of African most populous country. All this could have been prevented, in the first instance, if a people-oriented constitution had been put in place and enforced in the past two decades. There would not have been any chance for the emergence of AMCON and the greedy one percent of the population who control nearly all the wealth of Unitary Nigeria as we speak.