My Own Thief Is Better Than Yours

My own thief is better than your own thief because mine stole in naira while yours stole in British Pounds. My own thief is still a local champion while your own thief has become a global player. Can you compare a mere N139m to £13b?
The only similarity lies in just the first two figures 1 & 3- but that's where the similarity ends. We judge our thieves by the size of their loot. We judge our thieves by the current exchange rate. If your loot can suffer devaluation, the better.
The size of the loot determines the depth of the outrage. Our outrage is not about the loot itself but about the size.
My own thief is better than your own thief when mine is known to have invested his loot in Nigeria. My own thief has created jobs and feeds many families. My own thief has invested in the local economy. His stealing has done the nation good.
What has your own thief done? Your own thief stashed his proceeds abroad. He is a foreign direct investor. Your own thief can't point to any newspaper published, any TV station in operation or any other business from the proceeds of crime.
My own thief set up a local airline while your own thief flies foreign ones. My own thief flies a private jet while yours flies chartered planes. That's how my own thief is better.
My own thief is better than your own thief because mine is a progressive thief. He steals progressively while yours steals conservatively. My own thief pretends to fight for the common good while your own thief makes no pretense about fighting for the common purse.
My own thief is better than your own thief because mine says the right things and associates with the right people. My own thief is schooled in the art of public speaking while your own thief is only schooled in the art of public stealing.
Your own thief doesn't give a damn but mine gives a hoot. My own thief is well- mannered and steals decently but your own thief doesn't have table manners.
My own thief is better than your own thief because mine is a performing thief. He steals as he works but your own thief does not work as he steals. The more my own thief works, the more he steals. In fact, he works so he can steal.
Your own thief steals while making no pretense about working. He doesn't work, so he has enough time to steal.
My own thief is better than your own thief because mine is a fellow tribesman. I am sworn to support my own tribal thief even if he extends his stealing from the ethnic purse to the national treasury.
I even call it national cake when it suits my fancy. And cake is meant to be eaten anyway. I can understand when my tribesman steals but I'm outraged when yours does.
My own thief is better than your own because mine professes the same religion as me. And everyone knows that a Christian thief is different from a Muslim thief the same way Sunday is different from Friday.
One steals facing upwards while the other steals facing the east. As long as we face the same direction, I support him irrespective of the loot.
My own thief is better than yours because my own thief belongs to the ruling party. Since the ruling party has the power to forgive sins, my own thief is forgiven while your own thief will soon get to Golgotha.
My own thief stays in line and is a party faithful and supporter so I have the right to selective amnesia. Your own thief belongs to the wrong party and he will now suffer from insomnia. It depends on whose side the thief is. It depends on whose side the loot is.
If the loot has worked for my party's ambition, it is good. If the loot has worked against my party's ambition, it is corrupt.

That's the way we rationalize and make justifications.
That is why our oppressors have kept us in chains. We celebrate our oppressors and piss upon the graves of our liberators.

We are our own problems.

(I wrote this article exactly 5 years ago on Oct 8, 2015. It is reproduced unedited).

©Bayo Adeyinka
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