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Tag: 2015 General Elections

Finally! Mr Muhammadu Buhari is President!

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Buhari is Inaugurated. For the first time in 16 years Nigeria will today inaugurate a president who emerged from the opposition in the March/April 2015 General Elections. The hithero ruling party PDP will occupy the opposition- a role it has thus far despised as being responsible for badmouthing Nigeria’s huge achievements while the party ruled the country into the mother of all ruins. The realization of a dream it is for the new president, but a larger dream come true it is for Nigerians because they worked tirelessly to vote out the incompetent incumbent. The till yesterday incumbent President Jonathan was the worst president to ever happen to Nigeria by all standards. We congratulate President Buhari on his inauguration and wish him a successful first term in this historic presidency.

Chatham House Full Speech of APC Presidential Candidate Muhammadu Buhari

Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.

The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.

So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.

As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.

In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.

The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.

But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.

While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.

With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.

It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.

Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.

The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.

But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.

Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.

You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.

On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.

But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?

The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.

Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.

With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.

In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.

On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.

But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.

In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.

As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.

In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.

Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.

I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.

You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.

I thank you for listening.

MidWeekSpecial: Cote d’Ivoire Parallelisms in Nigeria’s Presidential Election by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed is Nigerian and political activist. He shares his time between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. He is a passionate believer in Nigeria and discusses Africa, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. He writes extensively on many international issues affecting the continent and the Middle East. He guestblogs on AhjotNaija.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 can definitely not be said to be a day like any other. It was indeed a historic day for Professor Attahiru Jega with several brainstorming sessions and negotiation with the various political actors and stakeholders in the electoral process. The INEC Chairman finally surfaced on that fateful night to the full glare of the waiting  gentlemen of the press. Millions of Nigerians and perhaps friends of Nigeria, home and abroad, were equally glued to their television sets. Those who were not lucky with the electricity distribution companies resorted to their generating sets. Others who could not access live streaming settled for the instant briefing on the social media platforms (Facebook, twitter etc.) The issue of the rumoured postponement, true or untrue, must be laid to rest. As Nigerians wait to hear directly from the horse’s mouth, the tension was palpable… Prof. Jega, using the security report from the service chiefs as a force majeure, finally officially extended the Presidential election by six weeks, during which the Nigerian military and the Federal Government vowed to crush the Boko Haram sect once and for all.

On hearing of the new March 28 and April 11 election dates, many were disappointed. For some, nothing much to worry about. As long as the May 29 handing over date remains sacrosanct. Yet some were of the opinion that the new development will allow more Nigerians who are yet to collect their permanent voters’ card (PVC) to do so.

Personally as Nigerian, I did not know what word(s) I could use to describe my feeling: betrayal, embarrassment, anger, disappointment, scepticism… It was definitely not that of relief or indifference. Indeed the stakes were and are still high. And I have a stake in the (un)becoming of my nation. Every Nigerian should in fact have. Like many others I settled for calm and vigilance. I ruminated on any similar event in history that I could remember. With historical retrospection, one can peep and permit oneself an introspection in to the future. As Providence would have it, exactly twenty four hours after, the next capital of call for the African Nations’ trophy will be Abidjan, just two years after it was in the Nigerian federal capital, Abuja. Cote d’Ivoire, a country still recovering from the vestige of a deep politico-military crisis that threatened its very existence, narrowly defeated the Black Stars of Ghana in a keenly contested penalty shoot-out at the AFCON final. A lot of political pundits will agree that Nkrumah’s Ghana has become a model of democracy in governance, albeit in a politically unstable West African sub-region, having succeeded to have civilian to civilian intra- and interparty transitions. From the likes of John Kuffour to Late John Attah Mills and then to the current President John Dramani Mahama.

As the euphoria of seeing the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire becoming the new African champions waned, the perplexing and tensed Nigerian situation reared its head again in the mind. The new itinerary of the AFCON trophy seems to pass a warning signal. Will Nigeria go the Ghanaian or Ivorian way in the days and weeks to come? Eternal vigilance is the watchword! Let me digress a little. Cote d’Ivoire used to have two political gladiators too, especially before, during and after the 2010 presidential elections. We will draw some interesting yet shocking parallels in subsequent lines. It is an axiom that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

Alassane Ouattara, like Muhammadu Buhari, was born in 1942 to Ivorian parents of northern extraction. After completing his primary and secondary education, he proceeded to Philadelphia in the United States where he bagged his Bachelor degree, Masters and Ph.D. in Economics. Ouattara later rose to become the Director of Africa at the International Monetary Fund before he was then nominated by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny as the Prime Minister and Head of Government in 1990. He held this position until Houphouet-Boigny’s demise in December  7, 1993… Let us also do a quick panorama on Laurent Gbagbo before going back to the crux of our analysis.

Laurent Gbagbo was born in 1945 in Gagnoa, a city in the southern part of Cote d’Ivoire. He obtained a degree in History at the University of Abidjan in 1969 and proceeded  in 1979 to complete his Ph.D from Paris Diderot University, France. He lectured at the University of Abidjan for many years before finally joining politics and forming his opposition party Front  Populaire Ivoirien (Ivorian Popular Front) in the 80s. He contested and lost to Houphouet-Boigny in the 1990 election. Gbagbo later actualized his Presidential dream in 2000 in an election which saw Ouattara disqualified on the ground of not being an Ivorian descent and hence his nationality certificate was cancelled. A legal decision that can be said to be the genesis of the country’s decade-long crisis.

Laurent Gbagbo whose tenure was supposed to end by 2005 had the general elections postponed several times. He disbanded or caused to disband several electoral commissions. Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko, ‘the Ivorian Jega’, who finally organised the 2010 election was also threatened and frustrated. And when the elections finally took place and Bakayoko was set to announce Ouattara winner, Gbagbo rejected the result and refused to concede defeat. The International community (ECOWAS, AU, UN, US,  France etc.) all accepted and aligned with Ouattara as the rightful winner. In fact, Mr Soro Guillaume, the  Prime Minister under Gbagbo accepted the ballot’s verdict. Gbagbo kicked. He manipulated and managed to secure a contrary verdict from the court. Hell was let loose. The Ivorian national TV and radio stations became instruments of propaganda. Independent International news media like Rfi, TV5 were stopped from transmitting. Pro-Ouattara news media were muzzled. And that was how far Gbagbo went in his desperation to keep power at all cost. Several thousand Ivoirians and foreigners paid with their dear lives in the ensuing post-election violence which ended only after Gbagbo’s capture on April 11, 2011. And he is presently cooling his feet at the ICC in the Hague… The rest is now history.

The similarity in the opposition parties’ strategies is equally worthy of mention here. Just like Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) merged with other opposition parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC), Alassane Ouattara also formed a coalition alliance, Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP) in order to have a common front against the incumbent and his party. This indeed proved effective as it really made the election a keen contest and not an easy walk-over that the power of incumbency always breeds. And that in fact brightened the opposition’s chances at the polls. Alassane Ouattara finally ascended to power in 2011 since his expression of interest for the Ivorian highest office as far back as 1995.

Watching current happenings in Nigeria with the various legal cases seeking to disqualify Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the 2015 Presidential election on the ground of his school certificate (remember Ouattara’s birth certificate saga), the recent postponement of the elections, rumoured plans to have the electoral umpire removed and replaced or even the outright scuttling of the Nigerian democratic processes via the search for an extension of the incumbent’s stay in power, institution of an Interim National Government or instigating a coup d’état etc. all make one to wonder if indeed we learn anything from history.

As we seem to be at the crossroads now, and yet as our nation seems to hold her breath, we can’t help but ask if  Nigeria will go the Ghanaian or Ivorian way in the days and weeks to come. And that is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question to which the Nigerian political class must give an answer, most especially the two major political gladiators: President Goodluck Jonathan and Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari. The actions and inactions of the duo  together with those of their individual foot soldiers and sympathizers will indeed determine in what direction our national pendulum will swing. Verily, the thin line separating the two nations scenarios will be determined by how far the two Nigerian heavyweights choose to go. Alas, only our proverbial thin line separates the Hague from the West African coast. Both Charles Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo know better though, as they are both living testimonies whereas we the poor masses are living witnesses.

Our fingers are more than crossed!!!

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): The Homes in His Head

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

There are four homes in Uncle Tunde’s head. Home when Maradonna was the Military Head of State (HoS) and president at the same time. It was this home that Mr. Ajibade visited weekly because Daddy had promised to lend him some money. The government had devalued the Naira and Mr. Ajibade was unable to import the 3 printers he wanted from Germany.

His financial ruination happened in the space of three days. On Monday, he had the whole sum for three industrial printers! 50,000 Naira! On Wednesday, the money for three could only buy one! Consequently, he wasn’t able to execute the printing contract he got from a multinational!

Thereupon, the bank threatened to take his house. Mr. Ajibade died one Saturday morning. This Job’s message came to us while we breakfasted. High Blood Pressure (HBP) snatched his life! He was a man in his prime!

Uncle Tunde smiles when he remembers that home because beside the many downs of that home, they had it good a number of times. Before school, they ate good food and Milo was in granules. They could afford tin-milk. Water ran in many houses. They had light so much that they only noticed when it was taken. It was from that house and home they built and moved to our present house where I was born in 1996.

Many neighbours also moved to their houses. Life was a mélange of good and bad, a cocktail of having and not-having, but they enjoyed the excitement of riding in parks, the fun of waiting for Christmas and how they drove to school in Daddy’s car. Sometimes, they used the school bus and so did his friends.

He said: Back then, we were not rich but we were not poor. No wonder we hated so much the man that made our lives miserable and less pleasurable.

There is a second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, home when General Sani was HoS. It was in this home that everybody forgot what it meant to have a right! In fact, they forgot how to talk! They must learn to register displeasure in whispers! Political activism was noticeable only in buying Tempo or Tell Magazine or other newspapers. In them, the cruelty and idiocy of the bad government was exposed.

Visitors shrank drastically. Family members and friends had checked out. Uncle Seyi escaped to London; Uncle Kayode made it to Saudi Arabia; our neighbor, Aunty Gladys travelled to Italy. One man went as far as Azerbaijan!

In the second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, they groaned under the heavy oppression of a Monster but they could still afford something close to dignifying lifestyle, only that they lost their voices. Gani Fawehinmi, Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Chris Ubani and many others spoke louder and stronger like everybody had donated their voices to them.

There is a third home in his head; home when OBJ was president. It was in this home I began to talk and run around. From here Mummy took me to kindergarten. I know this house fairly well. People began to find their voices in this home. They began to gather again at news-stands to abuse our president. But beyond finding our lost voices, nothing much changed. In fact, things grew worse. For one, Daddy complained we used too much milk, Mummy removed Milo from our reach. So we needed permission to take a tablespoonful of Milo! It was in this home Daddy bought tyres infrequently. He could only afford to change them yearly. Before, he did that twice a year.

Even the number of foreigners on our street thinned out. Ghanaians, Togolese and Beninese began leaving for their countries. We heard their countries were now better. Genevieve told Uncle Tunde that Ghana had changed. They had light longer, she said.

The fourth home. Actually, two fourth-homes. In that home Baba Go-Slow was president. Upon whose demise Mr No-Shoes took over. Uncle Tunde said they were one and the same. You can’t say the root of a tree is not part of a tree. So I agree. We live here now. Many people have since moved to our home in Lagos. They are jobless. Neither Ibadan nor Abeokuta where their parents live, provide them with their needs. Lagos is no better place to get a job either. In short, finding jobs in Nigeria is like a wind-chase. The longer you chase, the faster it eludes you!

In this home, Uncle Tunde and friends argue every day. He is now a philosopher, he has stopped going to church. His reason: religion is our problem! Religious leaders are crooks. I don’t know for him. When my other brothers argue, he faults their argument for generalizing. But now he generalizes and blankets all religious leaders! How many does he know sef?!

Anyway apart from his problems with the religious leaders, I like Uncle Tunde because he says the truth almost all the time. For example, yesterday he said: Our country is bad because of President No-Shoes. No reasonable person pushes for the renewal of MEGALOMANIAC EPITOMIC CLUELESSNESS.

I suspect he was right. The big English confirms my suspicion 🙂

Nkem’s Shoeless-Dothan by Emmanuel Oris’

Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi is a writer and an inspirational speaker. He is the author of “I Dare to be a Nigerian: A collection of inspiring stories, plays and anecdotes” available on Amazon We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi is a writer and an inspirational speaker. He is the author of “I Dare to be a Nigerian: A collection of inspiring stories, plays and anecdotes” available on Amazon
We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

See the blood course through my veins as I try to slow him down before he crashes and burns. He shrugs my hands off. Hear my voice call out to him just before he heads off a cliff. He deafens his ears to my pleas. His heart is fixed. He is bent on reaching Hell’s gate, to ascertain if indeed it is what it is.

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here”

Was that not what the philosopher Dante figured the inscription at Hell’s entrance would read? Yet I wonder why Papa Nkem wants to dare the Fates and hopes his gamble pays off. We all thought he was joking when he told us that he was going to marry off our favourite daughter, Nkem, to that unsophisticated Fulani soldier man. For God sakes even the village lunatic remembers Maigari’s days at the helm of affairs at our village’s military consignment. Those were dark days.

Like a slave master, he placed shackles on our freedom. Like dogs we were put on leashes. He called that discipline. A long standing curfew paralyzed our night trade and completely put my late uncle out of business. Papa Ada, who was a palm wine tapper, never truly recovered from the ban on all drinking parlours. He died during Maigari’s repressive regime. It’s a pity he couldn’t hold out a little while longer, as God heard our prayers soon after and Maigari was kicked to the curb.

I can hardly believe Papa Nkem would wilfully allow such a man into our family. I know my friend Dothan really treated Nkem poorly at some point, but no one can deny the fact that the man still loves her. And the look on Nkem’s face this afternoon when I saw her was that of the moon when the sun has been stolen away from it. A thousand stars wouldn’t compare. The moon needs the sun to shine.

It was exactly four years ago we all rooted for Dothan when he asked for Nkem’s hand in marriage. The man was the epitome of humility and servitude. It’s a fact he has gotten a bit overambitious over the years but unlike others I still see that gentleman that charmed us all that sunny afternoon. I remember it like it was yesterday.

The clouds hid themselves that day, heralding the sun’s heated embrace for red earth, thatched roofs and bald heads. Papa Nkem, the family elders and I sat under the Ukwa tree in front of his compound awaiting the arrival of Dothan and his brothers. We had had our fair share of flamboyant displays from red cap chiefs, city businessmen and the likes for the hand of our daughter, but we weren’t impressed. And we were certain this man from the south would be no different.

Soon after they arrived and our hearts were turned. He was a common civil servant, dressed in khakis. He introduced himself and we got to question him further. It was then we discovered his luck was good. Out of nothing – from having no shoes—Dothan had become the vice principal of his community’s grammar school. Soft spoken and mildly tempered, we were certain this was the man for our Nkem. It was Papa Nkem himself who convinced those who weren’t. It behoves me why he has changed his mind to a point that apologies and promises bounce off him like a ball off a brick wall.

I have tried telling him over and again that his temper would one day get the best of him and this looks like the perfect storm, but I’d rather he doesn’t drag Nkem down with him. In times like these patience is more than a virtue. He’s crying for change, but that’s not what we need right now. We need to keep moving forward.

Dothan has started us off on the road to success. I mean, take a good look at Nkem, she was crude and seemed to lack an idea of what to do with herself, but look at what Dothan has done with her. He paid for her to continue schooling. The other day I heard her speak through her nose in a manner I’m sure her white missionary teachers would be proud of. Instead of keeping her at home to rot, this man saw the best in our daughter.

Life is a journey where we sometimes stumble and fall, but that’s no excuse to throw in the towel and return to base. Dothan –much like every man alive – is not perfect and has made some mistakes in times past but I’m sure he’s turned a new leaf and is ready to do what’s right this time around. I may be wrong about him, but I doubt it.

They argue that Dothan hit Nkem, but marrying her off to Maigari – that brute of a man – would somehow make things better. If anything, that sentences the poor girl to severe brutality and this time we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Papa Nkem doesn’t understand the politics Maigari’s playing. Maigari is a proud man who believes everyone is beneath him and the only reason he’s sulking up to everyone right now is because of Nkem. And when he has her, I bet he’ll show everyone his true colours. And God forbids he does worse to Nkem, is it her lily-livered father that will storm a military man’s house to drag her out like he did to the quiet Dothan? I think not.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s often a mirage. I wish we would be grateful for what we have, understand that no man’s perfect and be patient with this man – Dothan. He may not deserve it but it just might be the only wise thing to do. For I will sleep better knowing that our daughter Nkem is lying down in the arms of a common civil servant than be in the neck crushing chokehold of a malevolent fiend of a man.

It is said that “those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it”, but must that be our story? I mean, the man has shown us his hand several years back, must we allow him deal his last card when the power is in our hands this time around?

Have you heard? Our Nkem is getting married this Valentine. Have you gotten your Invite? Of course, the Invite is the PVC. Your vote is your voice in her betrothal…do have your say wisely.

Take charge.

General Elections 2015: Preliminary Geo-Political Permutations

Nigerians are permanently fired up when it is election time; at least the majority. They know election is the best tool to rid themselves of failed governments and particularly politicians who promised what they cannot fulfill. This is exactly the reason why they do not take it lightly when it is election time. They know it is their only chance to try again.

There are those among them who collect money for their vote and vote the other way, and some vote the party who bribed them. Nigeria’s electorate is one dynamic phenomenon that must be understood. There are times they even vote to make a statement- think of Ekiti. Apparently, those on ground knew something was not alright with Dr. Fayemi’s approach to governance. Governor Fayose was not the best hand on offer on election day, but Dr. Fayemi was neither a of messianic material, so he was let to fall. Fayose cruised to victory carried on the back of the people, plus supported by President Jonathan’s band of army and police officers. Shared rice or similar incentives are of secondary relevance in this matter. After all, both camps shared rice.

In the ongoing campaign for the presidency, the voice of the people cannot be mistaken. It is clearly a total NO to a government with no clear-cut approach to anything. Truth be told, President Jonathan has no agenda at all. He is only interested in sitting out his terms of office. Everything about him is a confirmation of this fact. The people do not want him. If they really wanted General Buhari is a different matter entirely. President Jonathan’s grave incompetence is the best reason to replace him, even if with a carbon-copy of himself, so far it is not a return of the original person!

Lets get real for once, the supporters of the incumbent are not doing so based on the quality he has to offer. Not all at. I agree with Mr. Olumhense’s submission on the matter- awon-ajegundujera i.e. profiters of/from Jonathan’s ultra-corrupt government are the only elements in that camp. Add to that, many stand with him notwithstanding his enormous failure based on personal principles, herein comes the eyele-principle very handy to describe their plight. This proverbial faithful bird will not desert his master no matter what. Think of Dr. Abati and the picture is perfect. I respect this careless choice. But I respect Nigeria and care about her way too far. Another group of teeming supporters are the PDP-remnants, the die-hard core PDP-ers. PDP is way too strong to not have this kind of fight-till-death-membership. All these people shall vote the PDP and Jonathan in February. Are they enough to win him the presidency? Capital NO.

Lets permutate geopolitically: The Southwest is securely in Asiwaju Tinubu’s pocket. APC shall win with a landslide in the Southwest. The mood right now is comparable to 1999 when Alliance for Democracy (AD) won nearly all seats leaving remnants for the PDP. If you don’t believe me, ask the person beside you to wake you up to reality.

The Southwest as a voting bloc has a history of voting and sticking together. Call it anything, this is who they are. At the moment, this geopolitical zone is best insulted when a party throws Jonathan at them for another four years. They voted, on Tinubu’s prompt, overwhemingly for Jonathan, not PDP, in the 2011 election. The incumbent did not deserve a return because he failed woefully. Add to that, this strongest political voice at the moment, upon whose body language Jonathan was elected, is no more in doubt that Jonathan is a big shame. In short, Jonathan and PDP’s political death are surer than night and day in the Southwest, at least till 2019.

PDP shall win minimal votes in the North. The North has three geopolitical zones. These zones shall vote overwhemingly for General Buhari. The reasons are far too obvious to be debated. Think of General Buhari coming from Katsina (Northeast). Jonathan only helps the ease of deciding finally for Buhari in that part of the country with his failed attempts to secure the freedom of the stolen girls, fight Boko Haram and stop the bombings threatening to destabilize the fragile peace in the states. We must not forget also that Kogi and Kwara, two states in Northcentral are most likely to vote along the Southwest bloc. The likelihood of a landslide victory for APC in the North is at an all-time high. Political betters who bet on General Buhari in the North may start counting their political chickens.

The Southsouth is presently not in Jonathan’s grip alone. Not only Rotimi Amaechi, but far too many politicians in the region envy the incumbent. And they do not hide their beef for him. Yes, beef is allowed in politics! And by the way, is there anyone, who is not beefing President Jonathan at the moment? Even his staunchest supporters are in short supply of good reasons for their support. So, while one may want to call the Southsouth for the president already if PDP’s rigging-machineries worked well enough, there are far too many hands that will ensure APC won the zone. Mind you, among APC’s sponsors and moneybags are riggers per excellence! This geopolitical zone shall be hotly contended and the smartest will carry the day.

The sway-geopolitical zone, i.e. Southeast shall be won on a state by state basis. No bad-belle intended, but these states shall politically sell their votes to the highest bidder. Selling in this light does not involve money changing hands alone. Mark the qualifying adverb- politically! The idea is, since the Igbo will have neither the predidency nor vice, they will vote the party likely to give them better representation at the centre, plus improve the lot of the region via investments in infrastructures. Jonathan promised the Southeasterners too many things in 2011. That he practically spat in their face by not keeping the promises is a fact. Religion will play a decisive role in this part of the country, no doubt. However, this will be minimal. It is not going to be as decisive as in 2011. Plus there are indications the zone shall likely pay Jonathan back in his own coin, i.e. spit back at him in the face! Rev. Father Mbaka’s sermon is a wake-up call to reality.

Away from geopolitics, lets round-up on Jonathan’s campaign team. Two extremes in the team shall busy us shortly as jaara in this piece.

Chief Anenih, the cunniest and election-rigger-in-chief has met a match bigger than him in Chief Tinubu and APC combined. Sam-Ndah Isaiah’s piece on Chief Anenih is a worthy piece about a dishonourable end. A good slogan sums up the beautiful article: May our end not be like Chief Anenih and may we know when to die politically in peace!

Zeroing in on the most unfortunate choice in the team, Femi Fani-Kayode. That he made the team confirms the incumbent’s desperation. Fani-Kayode is a bastard, in that he has ruined all political goodwill of his father. I am sure Chief Fani-Kayode of blessed memory is weeping in the grave-beyond for his son’s political gone-haywire-lifestyle. Femi successfully destroyed whatever is politically left of the goodhouse he came from. He is presently a political-no-weight and thief. Here are two prayer-slogans derivable from Fani-Kayode: May we never be accursed with children like Femi Fani-Kayode’s directionless waywardness! And may fate not make us fathers of political longthroat and potential prisoner!

I will not pity Femi if after PDP’s loss, Jonathan or Madam Patience decided to sue Femi for campaign fraud. Plus his EFFC file reactivated, there shall be no escaping prison for Femi Fani-Kayode. His crying way too loud and acceptance to lead Jonathan’s assault are his last hope before a sure political-death. Chief Obasanjo knew him well. Hear OBJ: Femi is my boy, he will do anything once you give him food (paraphrased). Fact is: Femi Fani-Kayode has never won an election and is no strategist. His political greenhornery plus naivity far outweigh that of Ribadu.

So, why and how did President Jonathan end up in the hands of two counrtywide political thief and pretender? The answer is the mirror: The president is best advised to get one for himself!

Talking Point: 2015 General Elections in Nigeria

It is less than 50 days to General Elections in Nigeria. It needs no saying that the best jingles right now are from various political parties and contesting politicians. Most paramount on the list of contested offices is the office of the president. With the attention the incumbent and his handlers give the APC candidate, President Jonathan has signaled the presidential election shall be between him and General Buhari. For the first time, he seems to have taken a right decision, albeit in his own interest. If only he had done same in issues that concern the country by acting this decisively on matters that matter, the electorate will need no firing up this tense to get him a re-election.

The presidential election shall be a very close contest. It shall very likely be a near close-loss for General Buhari, if he lost. And a very thin-win for the incumbent if he eventually won. The possibility of a re-run is high, going by tension not only in and around social media, but in prime states with real high number of eligible voters, e.g. talk of Kano many bombings and too many unrest in the Northern states. A geopolitical zone is practically presently ungovernable, i.e. the North-East. We need remember that a two-third-win of total vote-cast is still in place to win a presidential election. So, with Kano on fire and the North-East as a death-trap for Nigerians, General Buhari’s clear win or President Jonathan’s outright loss will require a genius abracadabra to realize. Plus this: Vote in Lagos shall be shared between PDP and APC! Lets wait and see.

Talking social media, it seems as though some media houses have sold themselves as mouthpieces to different camps, particularly to APC and PDP. SaharaReporters’ attempts to be a non-biased outfit is unsuccessful. An astute follower will know that that reports from her kitchen is clearly not Pro-President Jonathan. I understand SaharaReporters’ bias. Notwithstanding, I expect excellent journalism from her yard. I hope SaharaReporters adjust her reporting.

Vanguard Newspaper shamefully reports controversial and unconfirmed sturves. No doubt, the goal is simply to get unconfirmed lies and half-truths into the market. There are enough gullible voters to swallow the thing completely. I am sure even Sun Newspaper, best-known for her Boulevard Status, will be jealous of Vanguard new status as yellow-news-plus-propaganda-outlet. In short, Vanguard Newspaper has not done well at all.

I can only hope PremiumTimes will do well this time around to feed us with balanced and researched reporting. So far, I noticed her reporting tilts towards the incumbent, but not with unfounded reports like Vanguard.

At the rate things are going, it is likely too late to tell people to watch out for what they consume. It seems as though the more they are being told to watch-out, the faster they swallow and believe the bias, lies and half-truths. It is safe to conclude that majority already decided who the candidate of choice shall be come election day. Not to be hasty though, there are still many undecided voters to sway this or that way. The shock this time around is likely to be that the best campaigner and spender may not win. In the past twelve years, it is clear that Nigeria’s elections at presidential level go beyond campaigns, it is deal-cutting. The best deal-cutter is likely to carry the day.

Asiwaju Tinubu will not betray General Buhari this time around by cutting a-last minute-deal with President Jonathan. That much is certain. I am but sure the President will not relent on his oars until he has enough heavyweight behind him. On his visit to Minna, General Babangida urged anyone who loved Nigeria to vote President Jonathan. I am afraid the body language of General Maradona is more important than his words. If I were President Jonathan, I will take General Babaginda’s words only with a half-pinch or no salt at all. In fact, it is best to throw them real hard to the wind upon leaving the Minna Mansion.

Reverend Father Mbaka finally made a U-Turn with his sermon which has since gone viral on YouTube. He even demanded the incumbent step-aside for the People’s General. Men of God hardly surprise me. I suppose the president has either not given him enough money or the Man of God does not want to fall out of grace in case the president lost in February. Whatever the outcome of this election is, an important lesson politicians will learn is this: The lesser the number of Imams and Priests in their entourage, the more success they are likely to record in six years in office.

Truth be told, President Jonathan’s choice to carry his religion into Aso-Rock is not new, only that he probably went a step further by including arm-dealers cum gangster jet-flying money-changer-priests in his list of serving ministers. I would have been less-pained if he employed poverty-stricken Imams and Pastors in the rank and file of his spiritual swindlers.

Notwithstanding the poor performance the incumbent has to show for his six years in office, the number of eligible voters who have seemingly vowed to vote for him must not be underestimated. There are many factors responsible. One of them being the choice of APC presidential candidate, namely General Buhari.

Going by the fear of these people, they see the retired General as a liability too big even for himself. They see him as a mere figure-head and a sheer marionette, whose indebtedness shall simply be too much to Asiwaju Tinubu, APC is best advised to *kukuma* declare that a vote for the former is a vote for the latter. Therefore, instead of a pretending presidential candidate, General Buhari should come out to declare to his supporters who truly shall rule if he won!

He is simply not the awaited messiah. Add to that, many said the alliances that threw him up into our face as the singular and viable alternative to failed Jonathan is a far too compromised potpourri of criminals, one is safe to bet on the side of Jonathan’s siddon-look plus loot-us-tire kind of politics and tactics. Paraphrasing Ikhide, it is like leaving one pit-latrine for another pit-latrine. The stinking shit will/can only get more terribly piercing, thorough and thorough. More shit shall be shat on the people! So stay put with PDP?!

Many claim that APC is not PDP. They went further. They said the PDP-ers in APC are really the good-performers in the party they left behind. As such, their cross-carpeting to the APC portends something good for the country. I hope I understand the logic. There are many disgruntled APGA and PDP elements in the conglomeration which finally birthed the APC, in fact, there are so many of these politicians cum born-again commonwealth-thieves in the pretend party of change, namely the APC. The anger of those who have chosen to vote anything but APC is thus not unfounded.

Talking about voting anything but APC, this reminds of the voice of those on the side of change at all cost. They simply want to demolish a monstrous PDP. Their choice of demolition is by voting-out PDP at the center. Even Prof. Adesanmi belongs in this group. In a post, he seemed to submit that APC, being a party that is yet to be tried at the center, deserves a benefit of doubt. One could deduce that Prof. Adesanmi wanted anything but the incumbent, who is the greatest embarrassment Nigeria has ever had to lead her affairs.

At this point, a call for caution to the vanguards of change at all cost becomes necessary. Campaigning for four more years of phantom-change is clearly not what they wish for Nigeria. If their wish is measured in that proverbial standard of recognizing a man’s character by his company of friends, people bankrolling General Buhari’s election will not pass this sacred test.

Someone said if General Buhari had campaigned on a different theme other than change or corruption, he probably would have been taken serious. APC is after all a new PDP. The pillars and moneybags in APC are corruption personified. So, why lie to us? The fear is, voting in General Buhari under a renewed and reformatted PDP is more disastrous. The people argue it is safer and better to keep the PDP in power, that being the quickest pathway to allow the PDP a selfkill and for Nigeria to achieve a true and revolutionary change.

I am for a change with caution. True change is what Nigeria needs. The rate at which we demand for change in this election must be upheld even after the election. For instance, these vanguards who demand for change at all cost must be ready and willing among other demand to not turn a blind eye should the new president choose to not supply us uninterrupted electricity for two straight years! This is certainly not asking for too much!

All in all, the country must go to polls. Nigeria has once again been presented with two giant difficult choices. It is upon eligible voters to decide which of these two they shall cast for. I sincerely do not envy their predicament. Kamaparo oropesije!

Nigeria’s Need for a Mind-Overhaul

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

We need not only an overhaul of Nigeria’s physical infrastructures, there are strong reasons to propose a complete mind-overhaul for Nigeria. Reform starts in the head. Prof. Adesanmi’s call for a psychological rewiring and demand for a reintroduction of civics in Nigeria are, in my opinion, not unconnected with a desire for a mental-overhaul of the Nigerian. I suppose the reason being this: Somehow we know that there can be no true freedom without mental freedom. We tout the popular Reggae quote which demands Blacks to free themselves from mental slavery, but reality confirms that we understand these words to be true but care less for practical realization.

Our sense of what is acceptable is noticeable already in little things. Take for instance, we readily accept to be moved with a goat-cargo from point A to B. After all, they are just goats! Chickens and other domestic birds scratch waste-hills in front of houses with stinking open gutters. After all, they disturb nobody! Chickens are beautiful and goats are the least of my worry. The open-gutters worry me more than the threat of a potential bird flu-outbreak. After all, the goat will move-on and the chicken will go away, but the open-gutters and their many deaths are part of our daily lives!

The problem is this: Humans and goats for transport do not belong in the same train or lorry, bus or car etc. It is a matter of health, and dignity too. Chickens and these other wonderful birds deserve to live in peace, no doubt, but we need accept we live better/safer when they are reared and transported separate from humans.

Lets move away from goats and chickens. In talks/chats it can be seen many Nigerians condole abuse. Political abusers know this. So when Nigerians fight (back) in protest, they needed only to be given time and they shall justify their own sorrows in ways that beat the imaginations of their abusers and tormentors. Many times, they find reasons to blame themselves for the failure of politicians and leadership.

Talking about justifying/supporting abuse from the leadership, here a practical example: Bishop Oyedepo slapped a worshiper in full public glare and he got away with it! Did I tell mention someone said the victim deserved to be slapped? This is the justification: She said she was witch for Jesus! Does Jesus have witch ni?! It did not stop there: After all, he won the case in court paapa.

I was short of words. 1. How do I explain Bishop Oyedepo erred when he slapped? 2. How do I explain I do not dislike him but his action, so that faithfuls do not only see shit-storms thrown at a man of god? etc etc.

Our willingness to self-explain plus justify abuse is a cool alibi exploited by politicians in matters of national importance. They have always bet on Nigerians to (1) either self-explain injustice and (2) forget completely or overlook crimes as if they never happened. The consequence is visible countrywide.

This state of mind explains why public school children learn in the most undignified conditions. Over the years, the practice has always been to give an already dilapidated school complex a face-lift. Whereas somewhere in faraway Yola or Ota some children learn in air-conditioned classrooms with Western grade teaching/learning materials.

Incredibly strange, but true, many poor (wo-)man readily accepts it is “our lot” to be poor. They are quick to conclude that someone somewhere has it worse! Well, no doubt about the relativity of poverty. The question is, do I have to die of hunger because I am poor and if my children had to be taught in spaces not fit for a pigs?!

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC's breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC’s breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

This kind of problematic acceptance of evil fate is another reason for the necessity of a mind-overhaul.

To advocate for an outright eradication of poverty in the land will be Utopian, but like Nelson Mandela said, there is a level of poverty that should be unacceptable to Nigerians (paraphrased). This unacceptable descent below the acceptable is the problem. This unacceptable poverty level is best daily noticed in the wealth-flaunting-mentality of the Nigerian noveaus-riches. Many in this group are probably least interested in oppressing the already-downtrodden. They only confirm that Nigeria’s poormen and -women are kept real-hard down, so they show it when they finally “made-it”! Add to that a mentality that these children deserve the kind of classrooms photographed in Arinze Primary School in Edo State. A poorman’s descent into the hottest part of hell is then complete. Arinze Primary School with different shades and grades litters the nook and cranny of the country.

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Crazier it is when one imagines a woman who scoops water from a real dirty mud-pool, but covers her nakedness with a wrapper demanding the reelection of President Jonathan or the installation of General Buhari as the change we earnestly demand! Could there be a starker nakedness than this display of ignorance! Let me put it banally: it is a wishful hang-on to life yet begging to be raped harder by a killer. Such contradictions?! Yes! We are talking Nigeria. Really, we live in strange times in that beautiful and yet strange space.

How we see ourselves matters on the road to charting a way out of bedeviling problems. Allow me to illustrate a point. Governor Aregbesola was in a classroom dressed in a school uniform. Governor Okorocha followed suit. He was photographed in a classroom. What is the problem? Here: Mr. Okorocha was in a terrible classroom. Apparently, he was only interested in the photographs, and not the teaching conditions. The blackboard speaks volume.

See for yourself!

govs

If a governor thought that kind of blackboard good enough, then I need not tell us there is trouble. Governor Aregbesola’s attempt to beautify public primary schools (new uniforms, benches etc) apes woefully what is good. Mind you, these are performing APC-governors. I wonder what terrible governors would show for performance!

Add to these two a visit to a typical classroom in a public primary school in Lagos state to get the picture of the bigger trouble with Nigeria. My choice of Lagos is obvious. APC and particularly Governor Fashola are the present paradigm of good governance in Nigeria. Compare what you see with a five-star private school in the same state. Be sure to upload on social media your report before you break down in holy-tears and anger! Our children do not deserve to be abandoned like this!

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

I once wrote a piece on the need to see our school complexes/buildings in the right historical context. Chief Awolowo rightly pointed out in his autobiography that the structures were decided for considering finance and urgency of the moment. That was over five decades ago plus government was financially much “poorer” than today. Definitely, Chief Awolowo intended to improve/replace these public school buildings/complexes with structures like those in present day The Bells, Winners Chapel Secondary School and other five-star private schools all across the country. We however lost that vision and are stuck somewhere in the past.

In this light, if there is any set of Nigerians that needed the mental rewiring most urgently, it is the leadership. I agree with Achebe, partly. Nigeria has a leadership problem, not a followership problem. One of the biggest problems is a leadership surviving on over-hyped achievements while it abandoned many things that matter. For every 10km of road constructed, for which a governor “hired” journalists to robustly media-report, there are more than ten over-congested plus badly equipped classrooms which the governor pretends not to notice. Many problems and more rot stare the leadership in the face. Its choice of looking away makes the mental rewiring in these leaders more urgent than ever before. So, while the rewiring of the leadership cadre is but most urgent, the people, i.e. followership must not be spared the difficult road down the house of the mental-overhauler. We just cannot afford to live on without it.

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Our President Wants Second-Term!

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Nigeria is one country that voted for a man because he declared *I had no shoes*. Nigerians certainly forgot in that moment the man in question is a career-politician with nearly 20 years of active naija-politicking. This man came around wearing a bowler hat on black traditional attire to declare he had no shoes. The contradiction could not have been more stark.

An acquaintance once counseled, *don’t ask a politician what he will do. He might lie. Ask him what he has done and you will know who he is*. Apparently, this wise counsel we largely ignored in 2011.

When President Jonathan contested, Nigerians did not bother to ask him how he had spent his nearly 20 years of service as Assitant Director of OMPADEC, Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President.

I suspect the godluck-fever was infectious, the dreams were high, it was desirable, the air was fresh and breathtaking and he was a ‘god-fearing’ man. So, we refused to harken to wise counsel, we refused to judge the man by the work of his hands. En masse, sans rigging, the gentleman from Otuoke became the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Recent happenings are pointers to the fact that a large chair does not make a king. This president voted on good intentions has failed the electorate woefully. In spite of the numerous failures trailing the administration of the incumbent, it is unfortunate that our PhD-President is seeking a second term. It is irresponsible to go back to a lender of seed-yams to borrow more seed-yams, justifying/blaming such return on beetles, who ate up the previously borrowed seed-yams!

Worse is, this big fish, namely the president makes an enemy of those who point out the weaknesses in his sense of judgment. He is the proverbial man with head full of lice. Come to think of it: Should the man from whose head lice are being removed be ungrateful?

Personally, I am against baseless judgments and unnecessary comparisons. Like grand-ma would say, *you will kill one child for the other if you compare children*. So, considering objective performance yardsticks in critiquing the president’s, he still is not living up to expectation. Impeaching this president for underperforming would not have been exaggerated.

Since the needful is not being done to expedite the removal of a lameduck president, the electorate is left with the singular option of removal via the ballot box. This last option is needful at this moment of our collective existence as a country.

We don’t want a president, who aids corruption and abates transparence. Corruption at the moment is at an all-time high. Not only are many officials corrupt, the president encourages, embezzlement, bribery and nepotism. Think of Oduahgate, Otehgate, the outcome of the fuel subsidy saga, Nuhu Ribadu’s report etc. Till date there are no clear explanations for the removal of fuel subsidy. Worse still, accountability seems to be the elusive leopard in the oil sector.

It needs not get worse. We must stop this economic hemorrhage. A fastest way to halt this cancer is to deny President Jonathan a second term. His infamous statement *stealing is not corruption* only lends credence to the argument that the president is both unguarded in speech and governance. One can only wonder what statements he shall utter if he won a second term!

See, we all know this: If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. Boko Haram insurgence grew out of proportion mainly because the president delayed the arrest of the situation. It would not have been a bad idea if he had ordered the Nigerian Military to wage a full-blown war on these insurgents.

Furthermore, his late response to Chibok Kidnapping is far from being commander-in- chief-like; it is, to say the least, disappointing and cowardly. Does a man not know when he has pepper in his eyes? Is it not annoying that in spite of the security challenge that we face, with no respite in sight, the president still wants a second term? This president has a full mouth of challenges already, so one wonders what he needs another mouthful for?

A child that will sell on spot-price the family house plus other valuable properties therein shall not hide his bastardly character even as a child. Every time I think of another four years of a Jonathan presidency, the duo of Ohimai and Reno Omokri come to mind. Not only have these two disappointed this generation by churning out blatantly stupid lies, praising to high heavens phantom successes of the president, they continually stifle the voice(s) of reasoning. I can only imagine the enormous power these two moral criminals will wield by 2019 if President Jonathan wins another term.

These two and others who enjoy present windfall will not only have earned millions to step into the shoes of existing corrupt politicians, they will also have religion-power to cajole Nigerians into doing their biddings. Maxims like *Rome was not built in a day*, *E go better* etc will then sell well like widely coveted hot Akara at sunset during Ramadan.

If a load is too heavy to carry, one will do well to give the load to the ground to carry. It seems the burden of the presidency is too heavy for our president to carry, the responsible thing to do is to turn a deaf ear to sycophants who are *begging* him to contest again.

So having said so much, allow me to end on this note: The president should be reminded that no one forgets the discussion of yesternight just because (s)he went to bed. Therefore, we shall not forget the missing 20 Billion Naira, Nigeria Immigration recruitment sham, his incessant travels etc.

Really, in saner climes, President Jonathan’s oral submision of Nigeria’s sovereignty by inviting a stranger *to come and fix Nigeria* would have earned him an impeachment. We have not forgotten this jamtalk too.

The sumtotal of all these matters is evident enough to prevent this incumbent president a second term. He doesn’t deserve it.

2015 General Election- The Change We (Don’t) Want

A Choice between PDP and APC is a choice between drowning in a latrine and drowning in another. Millions of Nigerians prefer their present odious circumstances and refuse to go to to the party of Tinubu and Atiku, the party of “reform” where it costs N27m to collect “the people’s form. We will stay with PDP until we see real change agents. This is the only way to hold our looters accountable. Ikhide R. Ikheloa

The clamor for the return of General Buhari as president recently reached a disturbing height. Fortunately, so loud are the counter-voices that demand a never-again to a Buhari-return. They prayed to be spared the WAI-nightmare among many people-unfriendly policies during his iron-fist reign. Never mind that General Buhari was in power for only two years, yet his crimes still busy us till date.

Comparing the wild jubilation which ushered in the coup-plotter soldier in December 1983 with the present choking frenzy, almost obsessive demand for General Buhari presidency in 2015, one thing is evident, namely the extreme incompetence and terrific corruption of/in the GEJ-led government. We must remember that the Shagari-government was overthrown, directly due to election malpractices, but largely due to unimaginable corruption in and out of government. There is therefore a positiveness to this present demand. Nigerians are aware of GEJ’s incompetence and are tired of his circus. They want a TRUE policy and directional change.

No doubt, the 1983 coup-plotters understood the only way to legitimize the coup was to install a figure extremely opposite to what they swept out of the way. Hence, the unanimous decision for Buhari.

General Buhari bit the bait; he characteristically outperformed expectations of his soldier-benefactors.He jailed indiscriminately. He wanted order and discipline in the country- War Against Indiscipline (W.A.I.) was born! Soldiers beat and battered citizens routinely. The streets, express-roads, stinking gutters, dirty drainage, open-wastelands etc became drill-land for the Buhari-boys.

Lest I be accused of telling too much truth, I will forget to remember that common Nigerians were the soldiers’ drill tools. General Buhari’s barbarism knew no end. He stretched discipline and terror to breaking points.

Actually, enough has been written on General Buhari’s reign of terror. Only that we often forget to mention that the General looked away too often from too many crimes. In short, his anti-corruption manuals were applicable only to Nigerians! Yes, bloody Nigerians alone!

While his soldiers beat the hell out of indisciplined Nigerians somewhere in Asokoro, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the Corruption-in-Chief, whose government was coup d’etat-ed, was kept in a mansion-like detention, enjoying the benefits of a president only that he had no country to preside over. Opposition leaders and politicians languished in Buhari’s jails countrywide. The maxim was to rid the land of corruption and indiscipline, but only those of the common people, dissenting opposition and journalists were relevant.

Anyone would then understand why General Buhari never listened to pleas from every quarter to spare the lives of the Nigerian youths he murdered on a retroactive law. He had to make up for the image loss. He would not be outdone by his sidekicks and soldier-boys, who were either busy assaulting journalists or looting our commonwealth.

An objective observer will understand therefore that General Buhari’s claim to be an anti-corruption Caesar is nothing but sheer double standard, nepotism, murder, oppression and undiluted terror. The willful public miscarriage/manipulation of justice in the Middle Age could not be much worse.

General Buhari should at best leave us alone to heal in dignity. Yes, we are still healing after over 30 years of his two year regime.

Lets assume for a second that Nigeria’s primary problem is corruption, still General Buhari will be the wrong man to cleanse the country of this plague. Don’t take my word for it. Read WS article on Buhari. Only an endemic Buharist would still stick to him if past records were a yardstick. Buhari’s anti-corruption prescription was selective, poorman-focused and a farce. I shall leave it at that to attend to other matters.

I have warned severally of an election of a president based on sheer trust. That is exactly what is being clamored for right now, barely eight months to general elections. In a Facebook post, I asked if anyone needed a manifesto from General Buhari. I had at one time stated very clearly why we need a clear-cut agenda from anyone who wants to preside over us. S/he is best advised to WRITE down these agenda and how they shall be achieved in CONCRETE terms for the electorate.

We have been politically duped and raped for too long. We are therefore allergic to a campaign on trust. Our allergic condition worsens especially if the so-called choice candidate is a General, whose past records are as controversial and divisive as Buhari’s.

We have nothing to loose by talking no riddles, but we stand the danger of loosing too much if we kept quiet. So, we shall talk clear terms. Here is an open truth: General Buhari has no strategy beyond his declaration of intent to contest. If his antecedent is any yardstick, we are not certain if he will combat true corruption- not common stealing (apology to GEJ). Meanwhile corruption is the only campaign-club his foot-soldiers on social media presently wield/throw around.

Definitely, upon election, the likes of Rotimi Amaechi and Asiwaju Tinubu, other APC-defectees etc etc shall not be jailed for plundering the till of their various states/constituencies. We don’t have to wait until 2015 to know already what a Buhari/APC-led government shall do. APC’s handling of Tambulwa-crisis is a strong pointer to the future; an APC-led government shall only apply the constitution if/when it is convenient.

I have searched the internet endlessly to find what goals and plans a Buhari-government shall pursue if elected, unsuccessfully. I wont mind being given a link to such plans. We are not asking for too much, considering the fact that APC’s selling point is that difference-mantra being fed to the public.

We must keep in mind that late president Umaru Yar’adua had a seven point agenda! We do not want such agenda. We need a step-by-step-manual on every promised agenda.

Tanimomo, a guestblogger on this blog would vote for Buhari if the General would tell him in concrete terms his plan for the health sector. That is a legitimate demand! I am particularly interested in knowing General Buhari’s ABC-approach to tackle the endemic power problem in the country. Undoubtedly, the people are tired of living in darkness. Should General Buhari promised to supply 24-hour electricity uninterrupted for two years (NOT FOUR YEARS!!!), backed by a practical timetable for realization, I am sure no hate message would hinder Nigerians, even South-South electorate from voting this promised messiah. In fact, I would be tempted to personally champion his cause on every platform.

I am particularly troubled because overtime we seem to have zeroed-down Nigeria’s problem to corruption. This false assumption leveled the ground for the Buhari-Vanguard, so that their singular reason why Buhari is earnestly necessary in 2015 is a fight on corruption. A wrong diagnosis leads to looking for the solution in the wrong person/place. Corruption is not Nigeria’s primary problem. Yes, you read me correctly!

I believe this is a possible message President Jonathan wanted to pass across when he gaffed with his *people call common stealing corruption* statement. Corruption is indeed an offshoot of a more terrific endemic problem. In same vein as Christian and Muslim Pentecostalism is a byproduct of an impoverished people. Yes, poverty can birth many things.

Corruption is a practical manifestation of a people, who are permanently in search of a secure-tomorrow that actually do not exist. Nigerians have been abandoned for too long that they simply cannot do otherwise than steal, plunder commonwealth endlessly and game the system at any chance they get. Those who are less-abandoned, i.e. they are employed by the system, experience daily the blind-looting by the leadership. Not stealing/plundering the leftovers from their masters- the government is thus considered foolhardy and strange.

It self-explains when a police-officer demands bribe to allow a lawbreaker go without arrest. He has a wife and children to feed! Remember, he is a bloody recruit/constable! And please do not tell me it is not the government job to feed his eleven children! The police-officer is corrupt. Yes! But do you bother to read Ikhide’s Barrack Boys to understand what is wrong with that police-officer?

Think of the SCOAN building that collapsed killing so many due to structural defects. So, nobody saw that the building would collapse? Of course, the townplaner, whose pension is a farce, was smart enough to look-away.

It probably has never occurred to anyone to ask why corruption returned immediately General Buhari was overthrown. General Babangida only reformed and introduced newer means to corruption. He did not introduce corruption. It was that which General Buhari had attempted to fight unsuccessfully. The reason for the quick recuperation of a suppressed corrupt system is not far-fetched- General Buhari was only fighting a symptom, not the sickness. Nigerians are corrupt, but that is not the problem; the primary issue is not corruption. The Amukun-Philosophy sums up Nigerian’s true problem(s). I shall attend to this philosophy in another piece.

So given that Buhari is bent on fighting corruption to a standstill, he would have only succeeded in fighting a symptom, only for the sickness to reemerge stronger once the General is out of office. Of course, we are aware of antibiotic resistant ailment if not properly/hurriedly treated! That explains partly the resistance of the Anti-Buhari-Vanguard. Nigeria experienced Buhari once. 30 years thereafter, we are still corrupt, in fact, more terribly so.

Like many political observer rightly observed, if President Jonathan practically achieved nothing in his two years of acting as president, he will be a disastrous president if elected full president. Jonathan out-proves critics’ fears. He is a mega-disaster. Likewise, an old General Buhari shall not outperform that young army general, who overthrew our infant democracy in 1983 and subjected the whole country to two years reign of terror and a farcical anti-corruption war.

Charity, they say, begins at home. On this note, we shall return to Daura, the birthplace of General Buhari. Lets keep in mind that we are talking Nigeria, so Buhari’s God-status is un-tampered, also in Daura. That means Daura’s council chairman would listen once Buhari speaks. Even the Governor of Katsina would not dare ignore the people’s General if he offered public advice/practical help. So, he could have been playing president in his birthplace since his election loss four years ago, if just to prepare him for 2015.

So, what exactly has this man of the people done/been doing in the past four years voluntarily for public primary school children in Daura, whose classrooms are yet to be air-conditioned?! Daura averages 35 Degrees Celsius yearly. Nobody can survive conducively in such a harsh tropic weather without an air-conditioner. Yes, General Buhari is not the government! But aren’t we talking of a nonchalant PDP-government and Daura-citizens dependent largely on goodwill of prominent citizens? If there are still Daura-born Almajiris, then what exactly has Buhari done to convert Daura into a paradise for them?!

There are still PUBLIC primary and secondary schools in Daura, whose learning condition and building standard are different from those of Pampers International Primary School Lagos, Bells Group of Schools Ota and Loyola International College. General Buhari would do well to cater for a successfully managed Daura as a model for a countrywide project. Until then, he is (shall be) a terrible (but temporary) hindrance on Nigeria’s path to escaping another PDP-led government in 2015.

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