Maina-mania: The Making of a Nollywood Blockbuster – By Wale Odunsi


I find it unbelievable but interesting that one man, a grade level 13 civil servant in a federal ministry suddenly became so fierce and powerful enough to rattle an institution as big as the Nigerian Senate.

The standoff which began sometime last year has sparked renewed cold-war between the Executive and the Legislature. Indeed, the case has added plenty premium motor spirit to the raging fire occasioned by the disagreement between both arms on the issue of 2013 budget, sack or no-sack of the Securities and Exchange Commission boss, Arunma Oteh, etc.

The matter got even more interesting when the entire members of the upper chamber of the Legislature, endorsed a motion calling for the sack of their common “enemy” from office. It was sponsored by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba.

Enter Abdulrasheed Maina, the embattled head of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reform and assistant director Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO). No day ends without the mention of his name. He has metamorphosed into a national celebrity, albeit for the wrong reasons. A Goggle of his name shows over 116, 000 results, half of which without doubt are defamatory stories/reports.

The allegation against him especially by Senators is that he corruptly enriched himself, using money meant for poor pensioners. Again he is accused of conducting himself in a most arrogant manner, an outlaw of sorts. They also say he flagrantly challenged the authority of the nation’s parliament.

Speaking of arrogance, reports say Maina cruise round town with retinue of bodyguards; operatives of the Police and State Security Service inclusive. And we are talking about a man on whose head lies Senate’s December 13, 2012 Warrant of Arrest. Who is deceiving who?

The question is: how did the man in the eye of the storm rise to the level he is today. The poser befuddles. I am sure even the Senate President is intimidated by the kind of security arrangement for Maina, Mark must have asked himself: In view of Maina current influence in Abuja, who actually is the head of the national assembly?

Mark while speaking on the debate explained his side of the story and stated how Maina was given ample time to defend himself. According to him “If we hurried over it, it could appear as if it is a cover up. I called the two committee chairmen and directed them to invite Maina, go for a public hearing and get the media houses to be there and let him say what he has in his mind.”

“Now, Maina wrote a petition to me along the same line, even though he was foolish enough, he didn’t sign it, he is a level 14 or level 13 civil servant, I didn’t bother so much about it because it is civil service procedure and that was not the subject matter. I told my Chief of Staff to call Maina and tell him that he must appear before the committee and clear himself.”

“When the committee finally came to me and said that Maina refused to come, I then signed a warrant and sent it to the IG of Police…Of course didn’t show up and then I called the chairman of police affairs and said he should go and warn the Inspector General of Police that he would be on the firing line if he does nothing about Maina. I think then, they declared him wanted but even after declaring him wanted, he was still talking.”

“I called the IGP and said Maina said he is in his house. He said he sent his men from the Force CID to go to his house and that when they got there, he went out through the back door.”

What a country! Should Nollywood decide to make a movie out of the Senate vs. Maina unfolding drama, I suggest “Maina-mania” title. Such motion picture will see him as the bad guy on the loose; The presidency acts as an unbiased umpire watching daily events from a monitored screen; Mark would be the Mayor of the City under threat; Police IGP, Mohammed Abubakar will retain his role as the leader of the manhunt and of course, the rest of us are the “waka-pass” (a parlance used to describe passers-by in film industry).

I am not on anyone’s side however I can tell that Maina days are numbered and he knows this, especially now that President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the Head of Service to produce him. The import of this is that he has now been literally declared wanted twice – first by the Police.

As at the last check, the HOS has directed the Interior Ministry to begin disciplinary proceedings against its official. A friend once joke that Maina is now famous than the civil service itself.

One thing is certain; Abdulrasheed Maina will eventually turn himself in. He has no choice. But going by his actions, I predict a massive scandal in the offing. Reason: He knows a thing or two, perhaps too much and just like a man going down, he will take as a possible many along.



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