Why I'm Afraid of Celebrating Nigerian Public Officials

Richard Mofe Damijo - RMD

A few weeks ago, I featured RMD as a February Man Candy. The list was to showcase Nigerian men who looked good doing what they did, but I also wanted to use the opportunity to celebrate them for their hard work. RMD is a veteran Nollywood actor, but some years ago, he accepted an appointment to work with the Delta State government as an Special Adviser, later a commissioner for Tourism.

Now, RMD is alleged to have misappropriated N50Million meant for a Cultural Expo to attract tourists to Delta State, my home state. I've waited a couple of days for a rebuttal from RMD and his camp, but none has surfaced at this time. Until he has answered the allegations publicly, I've decided to remove RMD from my Man Candy list. He may be eye candy, but if he's guilty, he's not a man I can look up to or ask others to aspire to be like.

...Mr. Mofe Damijo issued a check to the tourism board in the name of its acting GM, Ms. Ajufo. She in turn reportedly deposited the sum into her First Bank private account with account number (3006131619) operated under her name, Nkem Philo Ajufo. Our sources said she and Mr. Mofe Damijo subsequently shared the money.

If this report by SaharaReporters is true, it indicates that RMD may have fallen victim of the "Nigerian factor" - the bureaucracy that means that government officials either do not perform their assigned duties, demand bribes before they do them, or simply appropriate public funds for their personal purposes. While I find nothing wrong with being a public official - both my parents being retired from the civil service - I cannot condone authority figures using public funds without due process, or outright embezzlement.

PS - I know my list is piddling in the scheme of things, but this is symbolic for me.