Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo and the Passport Cabal: Final Round Fight

Most kids these days or permit me to even say the core of the generation that makes up the working class have an idea of how fighting games such as Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter and Tekken go. If you and your opponent both win one round each of the first two, there is a resultant final round and that is where we find ourselves in the case of the fastidious sheriff of the Ministry of Interior, Honorable Tunji-Ojo and the cabal that profited from the passport rigmarole in the Nigerian Immigration.

Clearly we all recall how the minister won the first round with a flawless victory, if I am truly honest I am one of those that laughed at his promise to clear the backlog he met there in 2 weeks. Two weeks ke, you think those profiting from it (if you have ever tried to get a passport in the last three years you would know that the scam started from the gateman at the gate all the way to the very top) would sit back and watch you take “their” food away was the statement I made to a colleague on our way back from work.

Even when it took an extra week, I rolled in even more derision, this one wan take us do mugu, we will wait and hear the truth from those who truly matter, the masses. Lo and behold my shock when a full month after all we have heard is words of commendations and praise and not one person has claimed not to have gotten his passport since he applied.

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Then came the release of inmates whose fines were paid by cooperate social responsibilities of companies under the guidance of the same minister in a bid to decongest the prisons. The starboy of this administration was born and the masses were feeling the impact.

But corruption never lies down and dies peacefully, as President Goodluck stated, it fights back with a passion akin to that of a woman scorned. Soon as the wolves on land and sharks in the sea smelt blood they came in ferociously in two distinct groups the Obidients who would not want to see anything good come out of this administration and the syndicate fabricated via finance with one aim in mind; to bring the minister of Interior to such levels of disrepute that he is ousted from office and another person that will join them in feasting on the carcass of the ordinary Nigerian is sent to replace him.

In his defence to the allegations, Hon. Tunji-Ojo brought forth certified true copies from CAC that clearly shows that he had resigned from the company as a director alongside his wife since 2019 in accordance with the constitution. Yet, such was the impact the barrage from the agents of corruption that their combined onslaught wrought that even though it was a close affair, they managed to edge the round only because they did manage to smear the white kaftan that the Minister was garbed in due to them stating that logically it would be impossible to rule out influence based on personal interests.

Though sometimes one wonders if the minister himself is not a lawyer as he clarified on TV that having fulfilled all stipulated requirements, shouldn’t the next question be to ask if the contract was awarded legally and if it was, was it executed and in accordance with the laid down guidelines in small print. Or are we then suggesting that a company that has proven itself in over a decade of handling contracts with the Federal Government be deemed unworthy of patronage because it once was run by a serving minister even though it is the most qualified of those that put in a bid for the work?

Those that have eyes see even when they are crying and that is the stage that we are currently in. Claims were made that despite the clearing of the backlog and the resultant ability to fill your passport application online and only go for biodata at the NIS offices, the cabal was still gleaning a few morsels of meat by randomly delaying those they felt they could intimidate but even that was going to be taken away from them starting on the 8th of March when the entire process of passport acquisition from application to delivery at any address of the choosing of the applicant would be done without interfacing with officers of the Nigerian Immigration service. This is the reason why they now have to fight back.

Yes, they have to fight back to be able to sustain the lifestyle that they are currently enjoying based on coning the average Nigerian out of his hard earned sweat. At this juncture, I call on the person of the President of the federal republic of Nigeria to not harken to the voice of a few influencers who have been influenced by cash and other promises but rather to that of “vox populi” allowing the game go on and enabling us all watch as the Honorable minister of interior defeats his detractors in grand style come March 8.

Temitope Adesina is an environmentalist, writing from Abeokuta

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