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COLUMNISTS

Pendulum: Buhari, Tinubu And The Abdication of Responsibility

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Fellow Nigerians, despite the open and brazen braggadocious posturings of the ruling party, things seem to be fast falling apart within the All People’s Congress (APC).

The arrogance of power probably must have misled some of the powerful gladiators in the party that they are invincible and infallible. But unwarranted arrogance and pride go forth before a calamitous fall. There seems no doubt that the APC also underrates the extensive networks and connections of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has been in this race for 25 solid years. Speak to most of them, they will boastfully tell you that Buhari owns the North of Nigeria, as if the North is one State or monolithic or homogenous region. Except for those too lazy to analyse the ethnic, religious and political configuration of Nigeria, there has never been a single place called the North. It was merely one of the cunningly systematic way some politicians inferiorised and brainwashed Southern Nigeria into thinking “Oh we can’t win the election because the North will not agree.”

Except for military interventions that gave some parts of the Northern region some edge and predominance over other parts of Nigeria, particularly in the South, only three Northerners and three Southerners have ever won Presidential elections at the highest levels, namely, Shehu Shagari, Moshood Abiola (though conspired against and could not assume office), Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. We had pre-Independence leaders who presided as our first and only Prime Minister ever, Tafawa Balewa, 1957-1966, who shared a bit of his power with Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was our first and only ceremonial Governor General of Nigeria, from 1960-1963, before emerging as the first President of Nigeria, from 1963-1966, when our country became a Republic. In reality, Nigeria is too diverse, and too intertwined to be claimed by any one group.

What has happened is that the politicians, from both sides of the divide, have managed to manipulate our brains and hoodwink us in such a way that most people begin to doubt their own existence, like the French philosopher, Rene Descartes. Nigerians have also been kept down through the greatest forms of hypnotism, mass illiteracy and abject poverty, a very lethal combination. No Nigerian politician has benefitted from this political cocktail than President Muhammadu Buhari, who the poor masses see as their friend and Messiah who will free them from their wicked oppressors and fiendish looters. Prior to 2015, Buhari could do no wrong, as far as this class of people were concerned. But the burble is beginning to burst. I will explain how it happened in a jiffy.

Buhari would have preserved his image as a poor man, friend of the poor, the incorruptible avenger, the Messiah without a blemish, if he had not gone in to politics or if he did not win the 2015 Presidential election. Many of us would have been screaming our heads off, that he was cheated a fourth time, that unscrupulous Nigerians wickedly robbed us of yet another good leader, like Obafemi Awolowo, Moshood Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi, and a few other icons who contested at one time or the other. To win that election, Buhari needed to go through some rituals, or rites of passage, which were totally controlled by those he once regarded as bad guys. And of course, he needed what James Hadley Chase called The Whiff of Money to sustain and fulfil his ambition. And no individual could possibly have matched the PDP, cash for cash since they were getting their cash by dipping their hands, indeed their whole beings, into the most secure and productive vaults in the country – the Central Bank and the NNPC. So, Sai Baba got practical and sought the kind benevolence of his erstwhile sworn enemies. He had to crisscross the country, cap in hand, pleading for help and support. He knew he had to visit and beg the big dons, the acclaimed owners of the land who have the keys to unlock the doors of power and fortune.

Buhari navigated his way to former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in Minna, Niger State, the same military General who sacked him unceremoniously from power in September 1985, and from there meandered his way to former President Olusegun Aremu Okikiolakan Obasanjo in Abeokuta. He also travelled to see General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma in various places. He must have had to swallow his pride in all this sallying to and fro.

Having engaged the powerbrokers, Buhari went for the financiers. He knew that one of the major problems of his previous failed bid was the inability to sustain campaign as he did not have the financial resources to maintain the same. He needed billions and billions to pay polling agents or risks his votes being diminished or outrightly stolen. He turned to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who was a Director General of a Presidential campaign, like no other, from 2014-2015. He went all out to seek funds and made available a gleaming private jet owned by the Rivers State Government which more than eased the campaign itinerary and logistics of the Buhari Campaign Organisation. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the capo di tutti capi of Lagos, was eventually beckoned and coaxed to come on board and persuaded to be on hand to arrange this and that. Bukola Saraki was also heavily involved in mobilising funds from his wealthy friends many of whom he managed to get to drop some heavy sums out of their billions. Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Wale Tinubu, Muyiwa Bakare and many others were some of the faces who were regularly at Saraki’s Ikoyi home in Lagos to make contributions. Meetings were also sometimes held in Femi Otedola’s iconic apartment in Knightsbridge, London., where Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana once lived. Buhari was very much in the know of the powerful military, political and financial coalition that were behind him.

These personages were united in one mission, to arrest the perceived perfidious drift of the nation towards perdition. They were all close to President Goodluck Jonathan but felt that he had allowed too much laxity and excess and was allowing some of his aides to get away with murder. They did not expect freebies from Buhari, but they felt he was going to reorder the nation and provide a level playing field and opportunities for every Nigerian, without fear or favour. Let’s again postpone the full story.

However, no sooner than Buhari took power that things began to turn awry. Many of his supporters began to see a new Buhari. The Buhari that used to listen and act on advice during the campaign was no longer available and when accessible began to speak in monosyllables. By the time he moved finally into the gilded cage of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, things were no longer at ease. And before you could shout Tinubu, Buhari had been hijacked and pocketed by a few members of his innermost caucus. This was the beginning of rapid descent into chaos and confusion in the ruling party. Since that turbulent beginning, it has been crisis upon crises, with no end in sight.

Naturally, the party got distracted by this unholy war of attrition. Buhari that was supposed to provide leadership, focus and direction acted like he was not bothered. His personable Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who could have helped the situation by providing strong, innovative and youthful leadership, did not have the cooperation of many of his subordinates who felt they owed their total allegiance to Buhari and no other person. It has always been obvious that Osinbajo has what is needed to set this great country on the path to greater heights, development, security and UNITY and this was made palpable and real whenever Buhari was on medical vacation. Osinbajo mingled freely with the populace, the intelligentsia and the privileged. He interacted well with members of his parties and other parties alike. They all liked and respected him. He was able to douse the brewing and explosive tension in the South East where Nnamdi Kanu was not only gaining momentum but was becoming a figure of hagiography. He assuaged the hurt feelings of the Niger Delta and got our oil production moving properly again. The economy thrived and with new rules of engagement about the ease of doing business, investors began to see Nigeria with fresh enthusiasm. Even the dreaded menace of militants in both the North and the South subsided as prosperity loomed and the things causing tension became calmer. For me, there was a great moment when Osinbajo went to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and cleaned the place of the duplicitous agents harassing passengers at will and we all applauded the new look, but within little time, the nuisance returned with a vengeance. Thus, as soon as his boss returned, he reverted to his military preference for using a sledgehammer to kill flies regardless of the ensuing damage.

Please, let me give one more example of how APC finally missed Paradise, in my humble opinion. Agents of the Federal Government had serially combined to harass and intimidate the National Assembly which was saddled with the task of checks and balances in the Nigerian Constitution. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the invasion of the National Assembly by hooded operatives of the Directorate of State Security. The sad development soon went viral and the thoroughly embarrassed Acting President promptly corrected the anomaly by sacrificing the Director General, Lawal Daura. Osinbajo, immediately, announced the appointment of a new Director General, Matthew Seiyefa, in an acting capacity. Seiyefa was clearly the most senior officer in service at the time, and many applauded the decision. Then rumours began to fly as always that some powerful forces did not like the decision. The rumour became reality when Seiyefa, a harmless scholar, from Bayelsa State, was removed. Many were sad that day. Anyway.

Buhari and his cronies appear to have forgotten how time flies. They stepped on toes without realising elections were just round the corner and that the day of reckoning begins from the day after Inauguration. The Tinubus that had been studiously side-tracked would soon be needed. God’s judgment no longer flies on a chariot of fire but on supersonic jet. Oh, before I forget, APC sacked a perfect gentleman, John Odigie Oyegun, and brought my Brother, Adams Oshiomhole, the firebrand ex-unionist, who began his own war, and may ultimately become the Waterloo of the party. Again, Buhari failed to act decisively and the acrimonious war of attrition has since turned into a third world war, unabated, less than 40 days to the final day of reckoning. A house divided against itself is surely in peril of eventual collapse and this is the script playing before our very eyes.

Nothing has convinced me more that APC and President Buhari and his cronies are in panic mode than the abdication of campaign responsibilities to the Don, Bola Tinubu, who I know many of Buhari’s close allies cannot stand. But they all know, as a matter of fact, that this daring politician is their last chance. What is more, if they fail at the polls, they will be able to blame Tinubu for their failure. I do not envy my big Brother, Tinubu, at all. This position appears to me to be a poisoned chalice! To add to the conundrum for Tinubu, he has to go all out and destroy the last chance of his very good friend and former co-traveller, Atiku Abubakar, who has been on his own epic journey since, 1993, some 25 odd years ago.

This promises to be the biggest heavyweight bout in history. The world is watching with bated breath…

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COLUMNISTS

Saraki and the Tragedy of Victory

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By Jude Ndukwe

Since the National Assembly elections ended in Kwara on March 9, and the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, lost at the polls, those who have lived in mortal fear of one of Nigeria’s finest Senate Presidents ever in history, have not relented in their infantile attacks against a man, who against all odds, wrestled official tyranny to the ground and eventually became one through whom God has preserved what is now our fragile democracy from being turned into a full blown dictatorship.

They have unleashed all manner of media attacks against the one popularly called “Oloye” by his fans, using pliable men who are obviously satisfied with being slaves, even though they are and should be living as freeborn, as long as crumbs fall for them from their slave master’s table.

To prove that Saraki was nothing but only a victim of his own rightful ambition, those who are bitterly persecuting him today under one concocted anti-corruption guise or the other, are merely doing so because they could not stand the audacity of his ambition to be Senate President against the overbearing wishes of the “Bullion Van Hawker of Bourdillon” and his coconspirators in the seat of power.

O, they wailed, they wept, they convulsed in extreme anger and could not believe that Saraki, (who used to be) a member of their party, who also had the legitimate right to be SP, beat them to the game as a master and battle-hardened politician that he is.

From then on, they marked him for destruction but he conquered them all to their dismay. Every trap set against him was neutralised with his soft speaking nature and deft political moves. He navigated their mines expertly, handling the affairs of the National Assembly with so much class that no weapon fashioned against him in the last four years thereabout prospered.

Despite being distracted with spurious court cases, phantom corruption allegations, none of which could be proven in court till tomorrow, official harassment, intimidation and desecration extending to the national assembly as an institution just to weaken and humiliate him, Saraki still kept the senate together, and will be stepping down in great glory as the “Senate President no one could remove”.

No matter what anybody says, the fact remains that Saraki will be leaving the senate as Senate President on his own terms.

The ignominy which his traducers tried their best to rub him in did not work. He was one Senate President who walked through the valleys of the shadow of death and feared no evil, for, indeed, God was and is obviously still with him.

He was professional in his approach to duty that not even for once did he allow his persecution by the executive negatively affect his sense of patriotism in the discharge of his duties.

When passage of budgets has been delayed, it was because the executive either padded the budget with mind boggling figures or that the ministries and MDAs were nowhere to be found to defend their estimates. Because they have a leader who is either bereft of ideas of how the legislature works or he still sees himself as a military dictator who must not be subjected to another institution as president, they expect the national assembly to just pass the budget “as is”. Saraki frustrated their plans to turn the national assembly to just another appendage of the executive arm, or, into a mere rubber stamp.

The Senate under him have enacted laws and passed Bills that have far reaching positive effects on our polity.

Saraki might not have won his last election, he is a victor anyway. No man passes through what Saraki was subjected to by members of the executive, survives and still see himself as a loser!

Sadly, the real losers are those who won elections in Kwara at Saraki’s expense but lost their soul and beholden to tyranny in the process.

With the incessant killings, rise in terrorism, hardship, continued displacement of communities by criminal bands, extra judicial killings by security forces, perpetually rising inflation, job losses in millions, Nigeria becoming the poverty capital of the world etc, to the extent that even the wife of the president had to, in order to exonerate her husband from the mess our nation has become under Buhari, confess that it was no longer her husband that was in charge but about three others, these hack writers see nothing in any of the nation’s misfortunes to address but their headache is a Saraki they love to hate because he beat them to their own game and that of their masters to become the Senate President.

This is where victory is tragic, for those who celebrate the ephemeral triumph of gross incompetence, ineptitude and the embarrassment our nation has become since 2015, by chasing shadows and leaving substance behind just because, to them, the country may collapse as long as they keep getting peanuts for attacking Saraki, it is most unfortunate and the misfortunes of a degraded nation is their lot!

As for Saraki, he has fought the good fight of faith. Yes, faith, because faith demands that we must stand up to tyranny even if just to prick the conscience of the tyrant and constantly remind him and his foot soldiers that all faiths abhor the vindictive imprisonment of citizens for their political and or religious beliefs as we currently have today. He can go home with pride knowing full well that when our nation was at its lowest ebb, post civil war era, he stood up to be counted among the few who used their status and political office to engage tyranny and dictatorship in a head on collision and left the senate unscathed. He is, by all standards, a fulfilled man, a winner!

jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; @stjudendukwe

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COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

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By Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune. So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’
It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.
Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.
So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.
Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.
When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.
However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.
It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques? Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask? Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.
Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.
Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.
Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.
Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.
So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.
In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.
Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.
We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.
A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

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COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

Published

on

 

Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune.  So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’

It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.

Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.

So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.

Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.

When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.

However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.

It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques?  Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask?  Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.

Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.

Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.

Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.

Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.

So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.

In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.

Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.

We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.

A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109 or +2348090917041

 

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