Thursday, 9 April 2009

A Leak too Far.....

Surely you must have heard by now about the sorry plight of the UK Police chief, who was more or less forced to resign over after an embarrassing security leak, which resulted in a major anti-terror operation being hastily carried out in broad daylight in NorthWest England yesterday. For the Nigerians amongst us, it must be tempting to ask what would have transcended if this had happened at Aso Rock.

In a crazy twenty four hours that has embarassed the Brown government, Bob Quick, Britain's most senior counterterrorism officer, mistakenly exposed high level security papers (see photo above) to the waiting Press, as he visited the Prime Minister at Number 1o on Wednesday morning. Only one of the hungry paparazzi with their space-age telephonic scopes, captured the moment and the rest as they say, is History! Steve Back, the eagle-eyed photographer who took the damning image was also the same guy who photographed Housing minister Caroline Flint, last May, walking along Downing Street, holding briefing papers which laid bare fears of a 10 per cent fall in the housing market.

Of course, there was political gain to be captured and the London mayor and chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Boris Johnson, scraped the proverbial plate and trumped the government to the announcement, something which has left a bitter taste in the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith's mouth.

To be frank, I am only writing about this story mainly to draw parallels for those who wonder why Nigeria has such a long way to go, in the quest for transparency and accountability. There is no mystery really.......let's cut to the chase, if this was in Naija, the photographer would still be in the process of bargaining with the guilty civil servant! In the end, the case (discreetly of course!) would get to the Presidency and the trucculent journalist would be tortured until he gave up the images. Alternatively, the waiting Aso Rock paparazzi wouldn't even have the necessary 21st century cameras, to create the damage in the first case! Nigeria we hail thee! Yet, our President wonders why we are not in the G20.

There is no magic panacea for the type of progress Nigeria requires, we just have to be blessed with officials, who in the face of scandal, fall on their swords. Of course there are so-called 'first world' civil servants, who hold on to power until someone pries open their cold, shameless hands, but they are a new breed who grew up with no sense of duty and have been lucky enough to have an Oxbridge education.......evidently, their days are numbered too. Besides, Nigerian officialdom, in the face of perpetual ineptitude and worldwide condemnation, should aim for a higher bar. Someone should remind our leaders, that one in every five black people on earth, is Nigerian! Ready or not, we have to accept that we are naturally appointed frontbearers and our attitude should reflect accordingly.

That's that then. I got it off my chest! Oh, by the way, if you are interested, Steve Back now runs a company called, which specialises in taking photographs of politicians. Maybe you should take a tour....


  1. castro, i read your musing and it really did make me think. i think we can all agree that due to "accountability issues" we have in nigeria, the (un)fortunate photographer will not dare publish such....or am i been too cynical?
    it would be interesting to hear what others have to say on this.