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Abidemi Rufai: arrested for allegedly defrauding the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) during the COVID-19 pandemic

The arrest of Abidemi Rufai, Senior Special Assistant to Dapo Abiodun, the governor of Ogun State, immediately became an instant trend in Nigeria and abroad. Rufai is currently enmeshed in a $350,000 fraud case in the United States of America. Before him, Nigeria has had other sewage ambassadors, in the persons of Ramon Olorunwa Abbas and Obinwanne Okeke. The former, commonly known as Hushpuppi, was an Instagram celebrity arrested in the UAE for a £350 million-worth cyber scam and taken to the US. He is now facing criminal charges of conspiracy to launder money from compromised business email frauds, as well as other scams. The latter, a Nigerian entrepreneur who meandered his way into reckoning and mention in the Forbes magazine, was arrested for internet fraud worth $11m. He has since been convicted and jailed ten years in the United States.

Rufai was arrested in New York on May 14 this yearby America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Current media reports were to the effect that he would continue to be in detention, having failed to perfect bail requirements.

Many people have traded blames on how a maggot of Rufai’s magnitude could swim in the sewage that is the Nigerian political and governmental river undetected. While many blame Abiodun for not conducting due diligence which led to such stain, others argue that there are a thousand-and-one Rufais in Nigerian politics and government and thus, trying to ostracize a Rufai is akin to stilling a corrupt system that has become part and parcel of our society.

Those who single out Rufai for the crucifix are either unfair to him or are on a roller coastal of hypocrisy. The Rufais are us and we are the Rufais. Due to the collapse of the frontiers of values in Nigeria and the rat race for money, whoever has money is the Igwe of the present time. The younger elements impugn us for misleading them into believing that education offers an Eldorado. To them, the world that education offers is at best utopian or non-existent. And they seem very right. Education has become extremely barren to situate the educated in a comfortable world. In fact, it compounds their problem. Today’s world is the world of the Yahoo-Yahoo boys, the fraudsters, kidnappers, bandits and their allies who make more money than imagined and have colonized the social and political space.

If what defines us is sewers, why then do we expect to have a political or governmental system that is composed of the ideal that we read about in western literature? That in itself is hypocrisy. The Rufais fund political campaigns with their ill-gotten money and contribute immensely to the process of electioneering. So why will you collect their money and deny them slots in governments that are themselves not better than a Yahoo-Yahoo system?


The truth is, we cannot continue to eat our cake and still desire to have it. If we desire purity in all our systems, we have to knock down this social system we currently operate that privileges wealth ahead of brain. No serious people of the world make headways with the kind of infected social mindsets that we have now. Rufais are all over the place – in the executive, legislature and even the judiciary. We incubate them right from our homes.

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