Saraki, Melaye
Saraki, Melaye

Enfant terrible of the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye remains one lawmaker at the national level whose courage, boldness and audacity are beyond the average anyone, for any reason can fix for his colleagues. His outspokenness at plenaries remains as legendary as his equivocations. But then, controversies remain the hallmark of his swag among his colleague-lawmakers and out of precincts of the federal legislature.

Only recently, at the height of debates as to how the Senate can help steer Nigeria’s ship out of the recession that was setting in, Melaye rode rough-shod over other lawmakers and called for the sack of both the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun and her Budget and Planning ministry colleague, Udoma Udo Udoma. His reasons? Non-performance. That was penultimate Wednesday.

At that august sitting, amidst the cacophony of members voices calling for and against support for federal government’s policies intended to redirect the ship of state, Shehu Sani, respected lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, distanced himself from calls to relieve Adeosun, minister of finance of her duties. To him, taking such action will not get Nigeria out of its current economic state.

But deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Melaye became the obvious co-travellers in the ministers-must-go camp.

However, Ekweremadu’s was a call for the redeployment of the ministers to some other beats where they could be more productive.

Melaye was not to be swayed by that position. With his peculiar baritone voice resonating very intimidatingly across the Red Chamber, he argued, the sack of the minister must be its warning that “this bolekaja approach to the bojuboju economy will not work”. Convinced that his take would prevail among majority of other senators, Melaye added that that Senate President, Bukola Saraki should personally submit resolutions of the senate on the important national issue to President Buhari.

Yes in simple Yoruba language, bolekaja means “Come down let’s fight” while bojuboju implies some hard to get or hide and seek strategy designed to hoodwink others. Simply put, the latter means craftiness or deceit. Thus, what Melaye meant was simple: the deliberate resort to some hide-and-seek strategy by government on such matters of national significance with some determined resolve to confront any opposition to same, will just not stand. He wanted the deceit stopped and a season of openness in the dealings of government to begin and be seen to have begun.
In the rather short history of our beloved country so far, and after many governments, military and civilian, coming and exiting; we have had to witness and somewhat express the same concerns/fears expressed by Melaye at that plenary. And the second coming of Buhari, now as civilian president, has not really ameliorated such fears. Amidst reports of members of opposing political camps being invited and quizzed by anti-graft agencies, with some facing rather humiliating conditions in and out of detention alongside allegations that posters of articles and comments considered unfavourable to government on platforms of the social media are facing similar fate, it is not out of place to queue behind Melaye in this case.
After all, when the people look up to government to bring about policies that would positively affect their lives and welfare, but to begin to have reasons to believe that their wait may be in vein, they start to form individual or group opinions as to the disappointment that is in the offing. That disappointment which the Oshodi, Lagos boy calls boju boju or “the more you look, the less you see” as the Ikeja (under bridge)man would regard it, is what Melaye means here. And when you try to suggest anything to the contrary as to a problem that commonly affects all, but there is so much vehement resistance from the initiators, both the Oshodi boy and Ikeja man take it that you are spoiling for a fight against whoever opposes you. Either way, the subject matter here, the intended policy suffers; and Nigeria remains in the back waters of under-development. Then, enters the boju boju economy.
However, not very many democratically-elected governments may understand the import of Melaye’s cry. Simply put, all the lawmaker was saying was that the people were losing faith in the government’s ability to deliver on the economic front and that the apparent resort to any form of intimidation by government or its agencies to quell that innate tendency of man to protest in any manner that is civil and responsible enough, will hurt the nation and its economy more, both in the long and short terms.
Now, that is the bolekaja and boju boju tendency.