Connect with us

COLUMNISTS

Pendulum: As John Dramani Mahama Turns 60, a Toast to an Icon

Published

on

By: Dele Momodu

I have the pleasure of celebrating the immediate past President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, a man who has demonstrated beyond any doubt that not all African leaders are clueless, incompetent or visionless. Yes, I can confidently assert the fact that this perfect gentleman is an epitome of visionary leadership on a continent where poor leadership has been gloom and doom. I have had the privilege of knowing and following former President Mahama very closely and I’m endlessly proud of his passion for infrastructure development and modernisation of Ghana in particular and Africa in general. Until I encountered this prodigiously brilliant leader, I never thought any African leader could be that committed to the onerous task of nation-building.

John Mahama was born on November 29th, 1958 in Damango, capital of West Gonja District, to an affluent teacher, rice farmer and politician.  His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, was the first member of Parliament for West Gonja and the first Regional Minister of Northern Region, serving under Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah. The older Mahama also served as a Special Presidential to President Hilla Liman in the Third Republic.

Mahama had his secondary school education at Achimota School, Accra and studied for his A’ levels at Ghana Secondary School, Tamale .He had his first degree education at the University of Ghana, Legon where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in History in 1981. After completing his university education, Mahama became a History teacher, teaching secondary school  students. During this time, he completed a postgraduate diploma course in communication studies from his alma mater, the University of Ghana, Legon in 1986.level. Thereafter JDM proceeded to Russia in the old Soviet Union, where he underwent further postgraduate studies at the Institute of Social Sciences, Moscow. He obtained a master’s degree in social psychology in 1988.

After completing his studies in Moscow in 1988, Mahama returned to Ghana, he worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra between 1991 and 1995. He joined the Ghana country office of Plan International, an anti-poverty non-governmental organisation in 1995 and was employed as the organisation’s International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager. He left the organisation in 1996 to take up a career in politics.

JDM, followed his father’s footsteps when he joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 1996. Even then, he was a popular man in his constituency, and was at that early stage already being considered as an indefatigable champion of the underprivileged. He was easily elected as Member of Parliament to represent Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a 4-year term that year. He was re-elected in 2000 and 2004.

He was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications in 1997 and was elevated to the post of Minister of Communications in 1998. As Minister of Communications he was also Chairman of the National Communications Authority where he played a key role in stabilizing Ghana’s telecommunications sector. After leaving office as Minister when his party, NDC, was defeated Mahama continued as a member of Parliament and was Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications and later, Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

Mahama has always been interested in international affairs. In 2003 he became a member of the Pan-African Parliament where he served as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus until 2011. He was also a member of European and Pan African Parliaments’ Ad-hoc Committee on Cooperation. He is a member of the UNDP Advisory Committee on Conflict Resolution in Ghana Foreign Affairs.

Following his Party’s victory in the 2008 polls, John Mahama became Vice-President to Prof John Atta-Mills, a man he would subsequently describe as a father, friend, mentor and senior comrade during the glowing tribute he paid to Professor Mills when he died on 24th July 2012.

It is often said that fate plays a huge role in the affairs of men, and this statement is certainly true of how providence has dealt the cards for John Dramani Mahama, because nobody could ever have foretold the shocking death of President John Attah Mills on July 24th, 2012, and Mahama’s immediate elevation to the position of President of the Republic of Ghana. He thus made history as the first Ghanaian Head of State to have been born after the nation’s independence (March 6, 1957). Like his father who had achieved a string of firsts in his political career, JDM upon becoming President of Ghana gained a string of superlative firsts which is unlikely to ever be matched in Ghana and possibly elsewhere in the world. His achievement meant that he had served at all levels of political office in Ghana – Ghanaian and Pan-African Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister, Minister, Vice-President and President).

Mahama contested the 2012 Presidential polls for as a candidate in his own right and defeated Nana Akuffo-Addo who he had defeated in the 2008 polls as part of the Ata-Mills Mahama Presidential ticket.  He was elected for a 4-year term which sadly for Ghana ended with his defeat to the same Nana Akuffo Addo in the 2016 Presidential polls.

Mahama is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but now a member of the Assemblies of God. He grew up in a multi-faith family, consisting of Christian and Muslims, that experience has been responsible for his ability to connect with effortless ease.

Many have asked me the question why then did he lose the last Presidential elections? The reasons are very simple and straight-forward.

Stomach infrastructure has become a major factor in African politics. There is mass poverty and unmitigated hunger everywhere you turn. When people are hungry, they just want food. Majority of people hardly travel beyond their immediate environment. They do not care about good roads. They have no business in a modern or beautiful airport. Even when there is electricity, it is epileptic, they don’t worry much. Building modern hospitals is mere luxury to the poor. They have been brought up to drink concoctions and incise their bodies to rub in some esoteric herbs. Students go to school hoping to get instant jobs as soon as they graduate and most want government employment. What is worse, there is no strategy more potent than labelling a leader corrupt even when there is no evidence.

President Mahama did not mind his detractors and traducers. He was too busy working with the agility of a horse. He was building new roads and rehabilitating old ones. I have been to all the ten regions of Ghana and I saw wonderful roads in many of them. And they were done in record time. During his Presidential campaign, we drove day and night without any fear and this was made possible by a good network of roads made possible by successive governments in Ghana. Similarly, he believes in the adage that health is wealth and devoted considerable energy not only to upgrading existing hospitals, but also building new state of the art hospitals and medical centres. As I keep saying, Ghana is an example of how a nation can achieve plenty with paltry resources, and Mahama is one of the African visionaries who shows by leadership and example how easy it is to achieve this.

Under Mahama, the sense of pride around the continent was restored. There was a time when positive stories about Africa were as dead as the dodo, but this remarkable man changed all that, reducing the stigma associated with African leaders with his ambitious agenda.

Mahama has always been recognised as an African Statesman and he has grown into this role since he left office in January 2017. Whilst in office as President of Ghana, he was elected President of ECOWAS in March 2014. In June 2014, he was elected Chairperson of the African Union’s (AU’s) High-Level African Trade Committee (HATC). At the 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Mahama became co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates Group comprising of 17 eminent persons who assisted the UN Secretary-General in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In recognition of his amiable but tough nature and his skills as a respected negotiator and statesman, he was part of the ECOWAS Presidential mediation team appointed to resolve the post-election logjam in The Gambia following the victory of Adama Barrow over Yahya Jammeh in December 2016. He was instrumental in the speedy resolution of the matter and the eventual swearing of President Barrow. I was privileged to witness first hand JDM at work together with President Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia and could see the respect and awe that his colleagues had for him, including Jammeh.

Mahama is a very IT savvy person. He recognises the power and place of the internet and social media and believes it is a veritable tool for the development and unity of the African continent despite some of its drawbacks with fake news. Mahama consequently takes his social media awareness seriously and his esteem and popularity is demonstrated by the fact that he is one of Africa’s most-followed leaders on Twitter and Facebook.

The personable gentleman made infrastructure development the cardinal principle of his government and stayed glued to it stubbornly.  He told his people the bitter truth at every point. He felt that for the country to make any meaningful and sustainable progress, the Country first of all had to put in place infrastructure that would be lasting and real. This he said was to be preferred to any immediate palliative that would only offer temporary solace to the people but would never solve their problems or that of generations coming after them.  Thus, he spoke what no politician would have said and what the citizens would not like to hear. Mahama was a man in a hurry to build a new Ghana. His dream was to surpass the commendable work of his predecessors, especially that of the father of modern Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and leave a legacy of lasting structures. Like all mortals, Mahama was not a perfect human being. He had his foibles but was nevertheless rigidly committed to his developmental projects.

Another pointer as to his sense of purpose was how he battled the electricity challenge (which came to be derisively referred to as ‘dumso dumso’), to a standstill and pursued rural electrification with gusto. The deployment of emergency plants and speeding up the completion of the plants that were under construction resulted in the addition of more than 800 MW of power over an 18-month period. Another testament to his vision and daring is the recently completed International Terminal of the Kotoka Airport which has continued to be a source of marvel to visitors and residents of Ghana as it epitomises the vision of Mahama for a Ghana that would compete with any developed nation. The Airport is simply a breath-taking sight to behold and Ghanaians continue to commend Mahama for embarking on this project which in his inimitable way did not cost the nation an arm and a leg.

Don’t let his understated boyish charm deceive you, he has an inner steel that confounded even his greatest of critics. It was this resolve that enabled him to pursue tough reforms that were intended to boost the economy, reduce high unemployment and transform Ghana into a more dynamic, competitive and inclusive economy.

Mahama won many over with his message of hope and warmth, tolerance and inclusion, attributes that mirror his upbringing. As he celebrates his 60th birthday on November 29th, 2018, I join the myriad of his admirer, fans, family and friend to toast the ultimate and consummate Statesman and Leader, John Dramani Mahama. For Mahama, I believe the best is yet to come.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

COLUMNISTS

Pendulum: Four Years After, We are Back to Square One

Published

on

www.securenigeria365.com

BY DELE MOMODU

Fellow Nigerians, how time flies indeed. About four years ago, we went through this very ritual, though the election was shifted by six weeks, for reasons we believed was an excuse to get the ruling government better prepared to consolidate its grip on power. Before long, the six weeks arrived, and there was no hiding place. Even as I write this, many doubting Thomases still believe the APC government is not sincerely ready for today’s Presidential election and that it may still spring a surprise on us. Thus, there have been unconfirmed stories of the elections being postponed for a matter of days because of logistic problems. For my own part, I doubt that the authorities will act in such a cavalier manner, particularly as there are numerous local and international observers and world media around. All eyes are on us.

As you know already, my people are never short of conspiracy theories. These have been fuelled by strange events and activities that are occurring very close to E-Day! For example, there have been reports of sporadic fire outbreaks in a few INEC centres, very strange indeed when one considers the proximity of such fires to the election date. However, I have not seen much coverage explaining the magnitude of the respective conflagrations. We have also read reports of some sample ballot papers being found inside many sacks in Kano. Again, no one has come out to explain what any sane human being could be doing with sample ballot papers. The main thing is that PDP is being treated to mind-games in this high-stakes plot, the end of which no one can predict.

Say what you will, I choose to trust two key people in the whole of this election saga. The first is the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who has already attained the peak of his academic career and would not want to taint and end his distinguished life as a fiendish villain despised by all and treated like a maggot. So far, Professor Yakubu and INEC have managed to acquit themselves well in the preparation and run up to these general elections. They may have blotted their copy book particularly with regard to INEC’s role in the Osun State governorship elections but as this is one of the election cases currently trundling through the courts, I will say no more. It would be the height of foolishness and foolhardiness on his part to lower the bar as set and measured by what his immediate predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega, achieved with a resounding ovation, barely four years ago. I refuse to imagine that Professor Yakubu would sacrifice his personal reputation and remarkable life, for politicians whose lives have almost expired.

Two. The other important man I choose to trust, almost blindly, although I know little or nothing about him, is the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who recently took over from the querulous, cantankerous and rambunctious Ibrahim Idris who fought more battles against real and imaginary enemies than he tackled the horrendous security challenges in the land. I have taken time to watch and study Adamu, as meticulously as possible, in the short time since he has been appointed acting I-G. and I’m reasonably convinced that he is educated, intelligent, smart, charismatic and cosmopolitan. I am unsure about some of the decisions he has taken, one relating to the re-deployment of Commissioners of Police in Ogun State. It seems to me that this decision is in good faith and is made because of the disgraceful way in which street urchins and thugs were brought into the arena to hurl stones at the President and other APC leaders during the Presidential rally in Ogun State.  This was a remarkable show of shame orchestrated to serve the interest of an opposition candidate and shows the real tragedy that has befallen APC, as the general elections loom. It is inconceivable that the Police would not take steps to ensure that the mayhem that occurred that day is not allowed to repeat itself during the elections. For me, it would be a calamity if it turns out later that I have wasted all these superlative adjectives on another recklessly irresponsible police officer. It is always a pity seeing some overzealous people throw decorum to the winds in order to please a god with feet of clay. Time will tell.

For whatever it means, and because I bear him no grudge, I have said it numerous times, and reiterate, that I personally like President Muhammadu Buhari. His personal attributes particularly his discipline and abstemiousness are worthy of emulation. He has demonstrated in the past that he is a credible person, although that has been put to question by some of the actions that his government has recently been taking. There is a hint of desperation to cling to power which does not augur well for our country or indeed the President himself.  I therefore will wish, and pray, that President Buhari meant every word he uttered in his various promises to the nation that he’ll execute free, fair and credible elections starting from today. I have no reason to doubt him. He is acclaimed as a man of integrity. This is the time for him to prove that he is indeed a man who is passionate about Nigeria and means his word that the country will not be broken up and Balkanised.  God has been very kind to President Buhari and his family. He practically returned from the dead less than two years ago and has somehow managed to steer the ship of State from then till today. Nigerians have not complained too much about the situation they found themselves. Rather, as is typical, they prayed for the restoration of good health to their President and their prayers were answered. Therefore, if Nigerians reject him at the polls, in a free and fair contest today, or whenever it pleases the almighty INEC, he should thank Allah for the uncommon opportunity and grace given to him for the second chance to serve Nigeria as it’s supreme ruler. He should go home in peace, to enjoy quality time with his gorgeous wife, beautiful children and adorable grandchildren. The Presidency is nobody’s personal property or fiefdom. He should take solace in joining the commendable and enviable company of other incumbent Presidents in Africa, like Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who made no fuss before accepting defeat in good faith, no matter the secret pains. President Buhari should remember to call his successful opponent, most likely, Atiku Abubakar, and offer his best wishes. I promise, this gesture will turn out to be an icing on Buhari’s cake for final retirement. His apotheosis would also have been guaranteed instantly.

On the other hand, if Atiku Abubakar, fails in a free and fair contest, he should accept his destiny with equanimity. I can understand that it would be a difficult time for him because it has been a long arduous journey for him to eventually land the presidential candidacy and ticket of a mainstream party. It is natural that he and his supporters will feel very disappointed having worked extremely hard to defeat and unseat President Buhari. Atiku should take solace in the fact that he has fought a good fight. His campaign has proceeded in a decent manner and he has concentrated mainly on the issues and not allowed himself to be dragged into the gutter politics that has sometimes been employed against him by some of his more overenthusiastic and fanatical opponents. Atiku must accept that in every contest, only one person can win. As long as the election is free and fair enough, the over-all interest of the country must be considered. Besides, there are remedies already embedded in the electoral act if there has been any unfairness. Justice may tarry, but it will come eventually, no matter how much people may try to manipulate the system and the judiciary.

My only worry is about President Buhari’s footsoldiers. From their utterances and body language, it is obvious that they are spoiling for war and are only ready to go down fighting. They do not seem to care about the outcome of free and fair elections as long as their candidate does not lose. They have boisterously announced to the world, and the President himself has echoed them, that no one can unseat him. That statement may be considered condescending and outrightly arrogant and capable of pouring petrol into the raging fire.

This is very sad because only four years ago, we witnessed the public ignominy suffered by Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe who was busy throwing tantrums like a baby while results of the contest between Buhari and President Jonathan were being announced. It was such a show of shame. Why would the government that came in after that disastrous melodrama repeat the same nonsense? Indeed, on reflection, it seems to me that this Government has in recent times been following the same path to perdition that the PDP and Jonathan followed towards the end of that administration.  It is like history repeating itself.  There is a surreal element of déjà vu playing out. It is my hope that the same silly season and scenario does not repeat itself come the final collation and announcement of results. Nigeria cannot afford such shame and indignity again.

What is wrong with some of the young folks in APC who behave as if they can’t find other things to do expect government work? And because of their own personal avarice and self-aggrandizement, they are unconcerned about the greater good of the greater number of people and their country. No one should ever think of setting Nigeria on fire again. Nigeria has been too kind to these people, and they should, please, leave Nigeria in peace and not in pieces.

From where I stand, I can see very clearly that whatever happens, whenever this election is held, now or in the near future, the ruling government is clearly in trouble and the ruling party has virtually collapsed, with almost no hope of redemption in sight. A house divided against itself that still wishes to stand tall may be mere wishful thinking. APC has abdicated governance and its leadership has started behaving like Emperors and conquerors. The in-fighting is so much that we no longer know who is actually in charge. In all honesty, how can a party that can no longer direct its own affairs, and a President who seems to be clueless about how to maintain party unity, discipline and loyalty, and is apparently not in charge of virtually anything, ask for people’s votes in good conscience? Such a party cannot deliver good governance, much more the change that was promised four years ago. However, it is ultimately the people’s choice as to which road they want to traverse.

From Lagos to Ogun to Adamawa to Imo to Rivers to Zamfara to Kaduna to Delta, it has been one tale of woe or the other. And it all boils down to the refusal of party chieftains to act as true democrats. What is worse, the party has rubbished some of the key figures that brought it to power, many of who have since returned to where they came from, PDP. The major assets that brought Buhari to power have all collapsed and it mainly liabilities that can be seen all around.

The day of reckoning is here. The People will have their say. The contending gladiators must also ensure that the People must have their way. Their choice must prevail no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody is bigger than Nigeria.

Continue Reading

COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Election, A New Beginning

Published

on

Anikulapo Macmillan

Nationwide, we have seen motley crowds, when politicians throw hypocritical words to each other. Indeed it is still interesting when, political parties, begin to impose threat on each other on who will win the poll. So, everything is diffident, here; as we fail to understand that politics is surprisingly a practical.  Even George Orwell, in his 1984, novel described a political system that is related to ours; because we fail to understand the truth than the prejudice.

With the reactions, I have seen from the APC and the PDP, I then wonder what is their different. What has made them the choice of an average Nigerian? Is it that they are telling us the truth or what American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson identified as ‘’ words are signs of natural facts’’

They wear different colognes but they are still the same people. Their conveyances to mega rallies in the country have shown vividness to win with all sorts of tantrums. However, it was on the rostrum, when one of the presidential candidates was saying gibberish. Well, they all say what is vouchsafing from the monies they have given the crowds at the rallies. It is in Nigeria that I have seen politicians promising what can’t be done in four years. Though, it is politics.

The election is bringing different promising and un-futuristic agenda. During the 2015, we were of the drama, and such drama is still being played now like a classic novel title: Great Expectation. Our vote was crammed. Election should be based on maturity but we fail to keep the tenacity up right. We fail to vote for our credence.  Unfortunately, as I saw one of the PDP rallies, I began to mock myself, that Nigerians are gullible— aptly, what came from me was this: ‘’ therefore, we become a dunce, to the lies of a party that has failed for 16 years’’ frankly, what was the achievement of the PDP?

Even the APC, is a party that has turned his rallies, to an avenue to forgive those who are backlists to become saint. The APC, in one of its rallies, the party chairman, had spoken in a croak voice, that anybody that joins the party will be forgiven. Hence, this kind of political crumpet should make Nigerians to vote for their choice.

As the 2019 election comes, Nigerians want a society where they can identify problems without a cumbersome lie then we need to vote wisely. The vestry of anguish in this society has made us to become cupidity; and for this, we have sold our vote for lies.

So, vote with woe. Take yourself with passion. To listen to the presiding officer or any of the assistant presiding officers to check your name from the voter register and listen to instructions. These are the voices we need to create that can make our vote count. Politics in this era is for you and I, to benefit what we are born to enjoy. We just need to grow; out plough, or faceless taut.

Election is for you to grow a seed of your pain in someone’s heart; maybe by wish or paucity. Meanwhile, let vote for our own future in a positive way.  As I do think that we know that Buhari and Atiku are failures to our economy. One is sluggish and one is corrupt. This further bear me in mind, that we have not noticed that; our inequalities are possessed with debauchery.

 

Spokesman, El Rufai

He is a governor, but, last week, he acted in a new dimension to his profile. For instance, his scurrilous statement is prowess to this administration. He has definitely become a griot of politics. It is a kind of character in the novel of American novelist, Robert Penn Warren. Thus, what he said is presumably, the factor of our politics when political parties run for intervention with foreign envoys.

So, the presidency has seen the opposition parties to lobbying for help. I saw Kaduna state governor political temerity on a live programme that was aired on the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA) and hear him: ‘’those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person to come and intervene. They would go back in body bags because nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country”

In 2015, Nigerians should recall that the APC had a rigorous meeting with the US and nobody knew maybe the American government helped in that election that brought Buhari to rule—with what, I would call a draconian rule, because since, he emerged the government has monopolised the institutions to work in its philosophy.

Well, as for me, I do not see anything wrong from what El-Rufai said. Since we all know that political parties are finding ways to win this forthcoming election that is dice. It is an election that we redefine the profligacy and mendacity of the country.

And, El Rufai’s statement is that Nigeria does not need any foreign intervention in her election. Indeed, we should hide above all sentiment, what he said, is not a political talk, but a reality. That it is bad for Nigerian politicians to seek foreign help when it comes to politics.

Yet, we have forgotten that Nigeria is a sovereign state that controls her own territory without external force or comment. Despite, the fact that El-Rufai and his party members are scared of an imminent defeat— however, that does not mean, Kaduna governor is corrigible; to what he had said.

We should know that, election in this part of our own claims, is filled of hocus-pocus. It is a system of lies and all sorts of espousal that is wrong to how democracy ought to be practiced. Therefore, whenever, I read story, that identifies Nigeria politics to be shamble, I laugh. Not that I laugh because of this irascibility of our political ideology, but because we don’t know how to practice politics that is beneficial to the populace.

That means that our so called politicians have forgotten that election will come and go, and the citizenry will stay to understand their tenacity. Not those kinds of politicians that come to rallies and begin to disparage themselves. Fine, it is sacrosanct here. But, El-Rufai’s statement is a warning to foreigners since our political parties have seen succour in interference.

Though, a society that is intervening with foreign envoy, such society will be in disarray. The society will be left with anguish and blames. Even those wounds will continue to linger forever. If Atiku or Buhari are the men to vote for then; their associate, need to understand that El-Rufai has spoken what supposes to be said in this political tension we are in.

We need to know election in this country is not a do or die affair. Politicians are acting like politicians but we citizens need to act like citizens because a politician is fighting for his/her own interest. They are fighting for impunity and hubris. Like what a British essayist wrote in one of his essay. And I deeply apologise for not remembering the title of the essay. But the lines go as follow: ‘’nobody is deterring to make choice than the populace who know how to determine their future without a magic wand of lies’’

We need to vote for our conscience not for a thousand naira that will be given to us by party agents at the polling station. We need to perform our civic responsibility as Nigerians not as cowards who do not know the true benefit of democracy. Are we enjoying the dividend of democracy in Nigerian? If you know the answer then vote for who you think won’t make you and your children not to be remorseful in the next four years. A stitch in time says nine. A future we want is for us to fight for a new society.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109

 

Continue Reading

COLUMNISTS

Pendulum: THE MESSAGE NIGERIANS MUST DELIVER TO BUHARI NEXT WEEK

Published

on

BY DELE MOMODUFellow Nigerians, please, permit me to make some quick clarifications in this season of general bickering and mutual distrust and spiteful hatred. One. I do not work for any campaign organisation. I’m supporting the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, same way I voluntarily supported Major General Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. I do so because there is no viable or electable alternative among the fringe candidates. I believe it is within my fundamental right of association and freedom of speech to support whosoever I wish. Similarly, I respect the rights of others to support any candidate of their choice and see no reason why anyone should get angry and jittery over mine.

Two. I did not choose Atiku for pecuniary or any other gain. I have not been paid by him or anybody acting on his behalf. I would not sell myself where the future of my country, Nigeria, is concerned. As I write, I’m already on my way to Oxford University to resume and engage in academic ventures for the next six months. I’m gainfully employed and happy and content to manage my modest income, so I’m not desperate for government appointment or patronage, as the social media trolls try to suggest about opposition figures. But I cannot watch my country disintegrate or watch an incompetent government drown our dear beloved country in an ocean of bigotry, backwardness, bitterness and bestiality. I owe it to myself, and fellow compatriots, to stand for truth, and nothing but the truth, as one of those it has pleased God to give some visibility and voice globally. What shall it profit a man who keeps silent in the face of unbridled tyranny and abysmal cluelessness. If I wished, I could have supported PDP in the 2015 elections. Every comfort was assured and guaranteed. But I chose to support a supposed poor man we believed would be a Mandela figure that would rescue us from the scourge of PDP. Little did I imagine we were in the process of inviting a worse pestilence on our nation.

Three. I bear no grudge or personal animosity against Buhari. I love him the way I love mankind and respect the office he occupies which I once attempted to enter when I contested in 2011. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari has not reciprocated the massive goodwill bestowed on him in 2015 and that he has treated us with great contempt and disdain. He has also not properly utilised his professional, competent and capable Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Had he done so, maybe we would now be saying something else. This is not to cause any disaffection within their ranks, but every discerning Nigerian knows that this quintessential gentleman is the reason that there is any real noteworthy success for this administration. Otherwise, Buhari has embarrassed his supporters, endlessly, with his reckless, insensitive and uninformed decisions. What many of those supporting him in public today say behind him is unbelievable and unspeakable. I have friends who confess to private threats of business and physical annihilation and are thus forced to endorse a man they know can never take Nigeria to anywhere meaningful, even if given four terms.

Four. I have tried strenuously to be fair to Buhari and wrote copiously to advise him, from time to time, as I promised him when we met in his office, one on one, in 2015. I gave up hope, after some time, when I saw the direction he was headed and noticed the irredeemable obstinacy in his DNA. Four years ago, many of us were very excited about the hope this great General offered to our nation. Perhaps, we overrated his capabilities. It has become clear that we wittingly dressed him in borrowed robes and we were all hypnotised and brainwashed, somehow. Today, our eyes have cleared from that giddiness and I’m ready to add my voice to those of others who genuinely believe, Buhari must go. I do this with every sense of responsibility to God and to my country. I will give my reasons shortly.

I have had to apologise in the last couple of months to those who feel very aggrieved that a self-confessed democrat like me could ever support a blatant dictator like Buhari. You can never imagine the gale of verbal attacks I suffered and endured for what I considered my innocuous support. The last one that really hit me was in Ghana recently. I ran into the respected Legal luminary, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, at the lounge in Kotoka International Airport. There were two ladies seated with him, one of who I believe is his wife. I greeted them but the other lady snubbed me, and said, “Dele, I will never greet you.” I looked blank and wondered if we’ve ever met, and how I might have offended her. Madam soon threw a sucker punch. “Dele, you are one of those who brought that disaster called Buhari on us…” and she went into her tirade. I tried to explain that I’m indeed very sorry and it was not my fault that I fell for the charms and scam of APC. The woman was practically inconsolable.

I have encountered many people like her. A guy almost went physical with me on a flight to London, grumbling aloud about how some of Buhari’s ignorant decisions have messed up Nigeria, his business and family. All I could do was plead for understanding. Unfortunately, Buhari himself is totally oblivious to the way Nigerians feel or just couldn’t be bothered or is probably insulated from objective criticism by selfish advisers. The tragedy of it all is his Messianic complex. He and his cronies behave as if Nigerians owe them a load of gratitude for favours received. Such hocus-pocus and inanity.

I have no iota of doubt left in me that President Muhammadu Buhari has performed well below expectations and that he should be voted out, peacefully, on February 16, 2019. The message should be clear henceforth that there is no automatic second term for incompetence, irresponsibility, irreverence and impunity. It is a miracle that Nigeria has not exploded into a civil war with the manner Buhari has treated some parts as second-class citizens with no right to complain. Let me now give reasons why we cannot afford to donate a second term to Buhari when he has clearly not earned it.

One. At 76, and with a failing health, Buhari should go into permanent retirement at the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2019. No man can cheat nature and Buhari isn’t an exception.

Two. Buhari has not been in charge or on top of government and governance since he assumed office on May 29, 2015. Some cronies, otherwise known and addressed as ‘the cabal’, have been ruling without being elected. This can only get worse if Buhari is awarded a second term through our collective stupidity.

Three. The human rights record of Buhari has never been anything to praise or applaud at any time. Nothing has changed since he was kicked out of power by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1985. He has refused to adhere to the rule of law and has continued to trample on the rights of Nigerian citizens despite several court orders. What makes matters worse is that he behaves like Constantin Demiris, a character in Sidney Sheldon’s Memories of Midnight, who never forgets a favour and never forgives an injury. He has kept his presumed enemies in prison, indefinitely and compensated a few of his benefactors with appointments. Buhari does not hold the Constitution of Nigeria dear to heart and as such behaves with maximum use of force. His goons have been harassing the Legislature and the Judiciary on the pretext that they are fighting corruption, but they deliberately target those they consider inimical to their hold on power. They have invaded homes of Judges in the middle of the night, breaking down doors, and swarmed on the National Assembly with thugs and later with hooded and gun-totting secret agents in broad daylight. He has suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria when he has neither the authority nor the power to do so. Buhari and those who support this brigandage and total assault on recognised and reverent principles of law and established constitutional institutions choose to forget that the worst kind of corruption is the abuse of power itself.  When it is for ulterior and base motives, as is now obviously the case, it becomes a menace that all well-meaning and true democrats must resist with all their might. There can be no excuse or justification. Otherwise we may as well embrace not just dictatorship, but anarchy.

Four. Buhari has been a divisive leader who appears not to believe in the unity of Nigeria. Under his government, Nigeria and Nigerians have been more divided. The lop-sidedness of his security appointments have been dangerously fixated on people of the same ethnic group and religious persuasion, and he does it with nonchalance and condescension. If you like, jump into the Atlantic Ocean, our President won’t blink an eye. He claims, with a straight face that he makes appointments on merit, but we’ve not seen the reflection and positive effects of this merit on the war against corruption, terrorists and insurgents.

Five. Buhari’s economic blueprint has been more involved in his stereotypical tightening up the noose on the economy, scaring investors away with ill-thought economic policies and reversal of contractual obligations without negotiations with parties involved, instead of opening up the economy.  This has all happened because of his obsession with so-called corruption. Yet, under his watch, not much has been achieved because of his desperation to hold on to power. This has forced him to compromise, capitulate and led him to bring the biggest and possibly most corrupt chieftains of other parties closer to him. He turns the proverbial blind eye to the infamous activities of these nefarious characters because they are perceived as being able to achieve his unbridled ambition for a second term. He had lost elections on three previous occasions and only won when he got the so-called bad guys to help him attain power. Right now, he is heavily relying on them again to bail him out of imminent defeat next week. And this is the man who falsely claims to espouse anti-corruption credentials and touts himself as a man of integrity.

Six. Buhari has failed spectacularly on all his major campaign promises. Nigeria is far worse than he met it. I will be the first to congratulate the government on its achievements in the rail sector and also the success with the militant problem in the Niger Delta. Other than that, he could not even stabilise what he inherited talk less of improving on it. His government has been struggling to control the free-fall of the Naira against the Dollar. He has not been able to cancel and eliminate fuel subsidies which he once described as a big scam and on which the corruption fight has been largely hinged. In fact, payments have more than doubled and the NNPC now holds a monopoly on importation of petroleum products with attendant risk of corruption in high places. We are none the wiser about security spending by him. This was the second plank on which the anti-corruption war was predicated. Loans have ballooned astronomically, yet infrastructure development remains outlandishly backward. We only get to read about monumental achievements on paper.

Seven. The last but not the least in my view is the perpetual and puerile blame game. Four years after getting power from PDP, Buhari has not stopped blaming his predecessors, forgetting that this was precisely the reason PDP was sacked from power. Buhari won those elections not on his own accord, but because the general populace had become totally disenchanted with PDP, it’s profligacy, looting and mendacity. Sadly, It seems we have come full circle. Since Buhari has shown the inability to perform the magic he promised, it is time to send him back home, with the sure message that whosoever comes next will suffer the same fate. It is a democratic template we must put in place now and forever. Otherwise, we must accept whatever fate befalls our dear country.

The world is watching.

Continue Reading

Trending