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BY DELE MOMODU 

Your Excellency, it is with every sense of love and patriotism that I have decided to write you again despite the frustration of knowing that you may not hearken to my sincere advice to you, as I have written to plead with you on several occasions, but my entreaties have been to no avail. I pray this letter meets you well in the beautiful city of London where I expect you to be resting and relaxing by now whilst waiting to undergo your mandatory physical check-up. Sir, though this piece amounts to unsolicited advice from a self-appointed Special Adviser, I wish to reassure you that you should stop banking on professional politicians who are merely using you to feather their own nests. I demand and require no gratification whatsoever other than to put it permanently and indelibly on record that someone told you the truth while the unrepentant liars took over your space and led you astray.

Before I go on, please, permit me, Sir, to take you down memory lane, from the First Republic to the present. Practically all our leaders failed, or fell, usually not because of only what they did wrong but ostensibly because of what they did not do right. Let me also establish one fact. Most of our leaders have been catapulted to power, not by their superlative might, but by divine intervention. One day, I will chronicle how providence has been responsible for the exalted position all our leaders found themselves. Sadly, practically almost all of them forgot how they reached their lofty heights and sought to personally perpetuate themselves in power, but the celestial manner of their enthronement also saw to their humiliating, sometimes tragic, downfall. Consequently, virtually all, except may be General Abdulsalami Abubakar, were disgraced, removed or retired ignominiously or controversially. President Obasanjo who was easily the most efficient, efficacious and effervescent leader, after the brilliant and youthful General Yakubu Gowon, ended his tenure in 2007 with the reverberating hoopla surrounding his third term bid. Whether he was interested in it, or his acolytes forced him into it, all his good works would always attract that cloudy addendum. It is noteworthy, for emphasis, that no leader in Nigerian history has ever succeeded in enslaving Nigerians. We can stretch this further, by stating categorically, that no leader in the world has ever achieved absolute authority permanently. Indeed, that is a preserve meant only for God.  If only humans reminded themselves constantly of this fact and their mortality!

This is the reason I wish to appeal to you once again to resist the temptation of wanting to take Nigeria back to those days of oppression and suppression. In case you need to be reminded of how much God loves you, I shall gladly oblige. When your military regime was toppled in 1985, your enemies danced on the streets. You were compared to the worst dictators on earth and many would have thought it was finished and over for you. But the ways of the Almighty are not the ways of man. 30 years later, the same Nigerians who rejoiced over the collapse of your military junta, in their collective wisdom or stupidity or amnesia, gave you a resounding victory at the polls against a powerful government and incumbent President. This was after you had tried for a record third time and had virtually given up any chance or hope of winning a Presidential election again. You had actually wept for Nigeria and yourself on that third inauspicious occasion. This time around, in 2015, everything seemed stacked against you, including old age and diminishing health. Yet Nigerians at home and abroad placed their abundant faith in you. What you have done with their faith since then is debatable.

What more could anyone ever ask for again in this life? Credit for that victory must go to everyone, including saints and sinners, in case such nomenclatures exist on planet earth. Please, let no one rewrite the history of that epic battle to dislodge the PDP behemoth. It was thus a gross miscalculation to get power by such default and try to change the narrative by saying you belonged to everyone and to no one, or whichever way it was crafted by your speechwriters. Truth is you belonged to the party that embraced you, warts and all, and all the foot-soldiers who made it possible for you to attain power once again. Not just that, you instantly became the father of the nation on that fateful May 29, 2015, and could no longer discriminate against anyone for that matter. If you wanted to govern in peace and make appreciable impact, you should have treaded softly and walked gingerly towards your ultimate destination. The war of attrition that broke out as soon as you took power was totally unnecessary and uncalled for. Except for your most loyal supporters, not many ever trusted the many fisticuffs were to the benefits of Nigeria, but only for the pecuniary gains of the privileged ones in power.

If you fight a war for over three years and you are unable to defeat your enemies, you should realise that it is either they are stronger than you or your strategy is abysmally faulty and failing. I love the Yoruba adage: “ta a ba leni, ta a ba bani, iwon la a bani sota mo…” (If we pursue an adversary and cannot catch up with him, it is better to retreat, than continue to make enemies of such a person). It is not an act of cowardice to retreat or even surrender. The fight you are pursuing right now would eventually prove too costly for you and for Nigeria, even if you manage to win it, which I seriously doubt. By the time you reach the end of it, you will discover the meaning of anti-climax. The victory will be a pyrrhic one or if otherwise, a cataclysmic defeat. Therefore, I’m shocked that you’re allowing some reckless and vengeful politicians to goad you on and mislead you into victimising those who have left your party and are now opposing you. The same people you met and laughed with recently, before our very eyes, have suddenly become enemies who must be destroyed by all means. Sir, this act is totally unfortunate. Only God can give power and only HE can take it back. You did not use force to take power in 2015, why do you then think you need to retain that power by use of force and fire?

I’m not sure if you are familiar with world history, my dear President. You may need to ask your aides to print out some dark moments in human history for your perusal. What often happens is that you will, inadvertently, turn those you’re harassing now into superstars. What you are playing with is a game of David and Goliath. It is one of the most fascinating scenes in the Christian Bible. Goliath was so confident of his awesome strength and stamina and so looked down on pitiable and diminutive David. The Holy Bible recalls their fight was a classic example of a mismatch. But Goliath suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of David. That battle is still celebrated worldwide till today, and it is a story almost every child knows and is taught to learn from. The didactic lesson from it is that not every battle should be fought and not every arsenal should be deployed. Better to keep some things till they are absolutely needed. This cat and mouse game of using State apparatus to witch-hunt deserters is becoming predictable, boring and nauseating.

Those who have decamped from APC have only exercised their fundamental rights. Whether they are morally right is neither here nor there and is ultimately a verdict for the electorate to ponder and unravel when elections, which loom large, finally arrive. Similarly, whether they are legally justified in their defection is a matter which your party may seek to take up in the courts, and I am certain that the Courts will do justice to the case as they have been doing despite terrorisation, bullying and coercion from some over-exuberant agencies of your government. I pause to observe that some of these guys were hailed by us when they joined our side the last time. At that time, we justified their defection to us as being part of the democratic process. If they have now decided to go because they believe they are not wanted by some influential gladiators in the ruling party, my dear President, please let them go. Your party’s point that they have done so for less than altruistic reasons will be considered and digested by our people who are quite politically savvy and discerning. They will make up their minds as to the rights and wrongs of it all.

Your Excellency, I want you to remember that you will not be in power forever. You have your family and friends to consider. Those who have been locked up in prison today and those being hounded could never have envisaged a day like this would ever come when there would be a reversal of power and fortune. It is too cheap for a Governor to decamp today, and then he and his operatives are being terrorised tomorrow. Power should never be abused in this manner. Who knows what would happen when tomorrow comes again?

One of the reasons former President Jonathan is respected today and enjoys some peace is because he gave you great respect though both of you fought tooth and nail over power. He tolerated many of us who supported you and did not make the occupation of Aso Rock a matter of life and death. Sir, why can’t you reciprocate this wonderful gesture? It is to his eternal credit that, in the midst of our attacks on him, I got invited to the wedding of his daughter, and was treated with decorum. Politics should never be a matter of brutish animosity. That is why I always have tremendous regard for lawyers.  They may fight like savage adversaries in Court but, whilst they are there, they still show themselves some honour and respect. It is their attitude once they step outside the courtroom that is even more remarkable. Then they shed the toga of adversaries and become noble and learned friends. I wish all of us could imbibe this kind of camaraderie in the practice of our political beliefs.

Furthermore, I have copious examples that show that what you sow is what you reap. I wish to plead with you to cool temper, Sir. I know how it feels to be abandoned in the lurch by your own friends and supporters. But that is life. Everything can’t be smooth all the time. When you go to the FIFA World Cup, you do so knowing only one team can grab the much-coveted trophy.  You should try to play a good and clean game and leave the rest to Allah. You have played your part to the best of your abilities and should be happy once your conscience is clear that there was no better way to do things.

Even if you decide to keep all your opponents in the gulag, it still does not guarantee that you will win the next election in 2019. But if you do it in God’s way by embracing decency and fairness, your rating will go higher. You will attract natural admiration. The love of the people cannot be forced. You’ve been drawing sympathies to the decampees because of the high-handedness and intolerance of some of your agents. As I started this mail, what kept coming back to me was a very popular autobiography I read as a youth, LET MY PEOPLE GO, written by Albert John Luthuli, the very first Black African man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Luthuli led the African National Congress in South Africa in the apartheid years for 15 agonising years and coordinated mass resistance and non-violent crusade against the White supremacists. Though he did not live long enough to see the end of apartheid, others carried on the task and Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, came back alive to become the first President of an independent and free South Africa.

Mr President, there is a moralistic lesson to learn from the life and trajectory of the great Madiba Nelson Mandela. He became a world Statesman for his uncommon magnanimity and spirit of forgiveness. He had the power to exterminate his former tormentors and jailers but instead he decided to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee that tried to integrate the whites into a new black-dominated government. Nigeria needs urgent reconciliation, healing and unification, which has led to a strident clamouring for restructuring. We should be tired of fighting for power for personal aggrandisement after groping in darkness for 58 ugly years. There are no prizes for war but there are beautiful garlands for peace.

Sir, I’m begging you in the name of God, please, let your people go, in peace.

I remain yours most sincerely…

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COLUMNISTS

Buhari, Aisha and the Symphony of a Confusing Orchestra

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By Jude Ndukwe

Just like a majority of Nigerians who have come to see the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari for what it is, a weak government of ineptitude coated with stark incompetence and lacking in any leadership substance as a result of which Nigeria is now the worst of many backwardness, wife of the president, Mrs Aisha Buhari, confirmed last week that only two people were holding the Buhari government down and stopping it from performing as expected.

This is not new to Nigerians only that it is being given concrete credence by the beautiful First Lady’s outburst which must have come from frustrations owing to the incontrovertibly poor performance of her husband in office contrary to the expectations of those who believed in and voted for him at the last presidential election.

Nigerians have always known that there is a powerful cabal holding the presidency down and forming a cog in its wheel of progress, that is, if there was any will in the wheel at all. The only thing Nigerians did not know until Aisha Buhari made the disclosure last week was that they were only two individuals so powerful they hold not only the president down, they hold the entire presidency down and hold the entire nation to ransom. Although Aisha did not mention the names of these individuals but whoever they are, they must have been so powerful that Nigerians were thinking that those that make up the retrogressive cabal were in their numbers. And that is because they have inflicted serious damage not only to the image of President Muhammadu Buhari whose ratings before he became president were very impressive but also to the lofty credentials APC paraded prior to the 2015 elections but which have obviously dissipated into thin air now.

While the presidency has always insisted that there was no cabal in its fold, Nigerians have always known that there was one. Isn’t this why President Muhammadu Buhari had on several occasions claimed ignorance of weighty occurrences around the presidency even when such occurrences had a stamp of the presidency on them?

Aisha had at a time said that the president does not know 45 out of every 50 of his appointees. In other words, others make the decision for him without any input from him. She had claimed that her husband’s government had been hijacked as “Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position”.

When the pension fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina was recalled and promoted by presidency officials despite being on the wanted list of security agencies, there were fierce exchanges between the presidency and the civil service over who was responsible for the controversial recall and promotion. Yet, before our very eyes, when it became obvious that the bubble of Maina and his collaborators in high places had busted, he was still given a leeway to escape. The alarming thing was that some top government officials gave the impression that the president was not aware all in a bid to shield him from the mess which the saga had become.

Also, on the Benue matter, after repeated and unending attacks on the people of Benue, President Buhari had ordered the Inspector-General of Police to resume in Benue with a view to curbing the rising wave of herdsmen attacks on the people. But few weeks later, the president lamented that he was not aware that the IG did not obey his orders.

If the president were truly in charge, how could an IG of police had refused, neglected and or failed to carry out his orders as Commander-in-Chief until it became public knowledge? Does that not imply that there are people in the presidency, as Aisha publicly confirmed, who have taken charge of the government and away from President Buhari so that recalcitrant staff and aides can afford to routinely disobey him on matters of grave concern to the nation without consequences?

Does anyone still remember Babachir Lawal’s arrogant and infamous “Who is the presidency” question?

Like Aisha said on that occasion, it is quite shameful that those who are supposed to stand up for Nigeria at a time of its unimaginable obscurity caused by a rather rudderless government, those who are supposed to assist the president in saving the ship of state and rescuing it from further sinking, are the same men who go about Aso Rock, in the words of Mrs Buhari, licking the shoes of these men!

Mrs Buhari seems to have had enough. She could no longer stomach the ineffectiveness of her husband’s government and the pitiable state of the nation under him. Surely, when she was out there during the campaigns, in the trenches with her husband, doing all she could to convince the populace that her husband deserved to be president, or rather, that her husband was the best man for the job, tough enough to lead the battle against insurgents in the north, fight corruption to a standstill, and yet remain compassionate to the plight of the people, she never envisaged that her husband would become this effeminate, easily overwhelmed by the nature of the job and overpowered by overzealous aides.

Today, the nation suffers for it, and the woman cannot stand it. All attempts to confine this delectable woman to the “kitchen, the living room and the other room” has so far failed to yield its desired results as she has continued to wax strong in the defence of her husband against those who are holding him hostage.

But then time has run out on him. The damage is irredeemable. Buhari has lost enormous goodwill since he came to power. If he was the kind of leader he sold himself to be in 2015, no other candidate would have had any chance against him in 2019. But as it is today, Buhari’s support base has depleted badly. Those who worked for him in 2019 have since realized that they were sold a beautifully packaged product whose content lacked any substance or value for its users. One by one, steadily and surely, they are all leaving him and his party. Those who are left in the party are lamenting, one can no longer call them “Buharists” as it used to be. Those who are honest enough in his party are telling him the bitter truth. His children, particularly, the daughters, no longer defend their dad as they used to do. The wife has continued to sing but her voice does not seem to be in symphony with the orchestra. The choirmaster is no longer in charge of his choir. The symphony of the orchestra is confusing, the group has lost melody, and the service will soon come to an unceremonious end!

With Nigeria becoming the poverty capital of the world under Buhari, the third most terrorised nation under a man who boasted that he would fight insurgency from the front, and our soldiers who have lamented poor welfare and equipment killed at will by these same insurgents, corruption worsening under him according to Transparency International, over 7 million Nigerians becoming unemployed in just 21 months between January 2016 and September 2017 and still counting, among many other gory tales of the Buhari presidency, it is obvious that things have fallen apart in Buhari’s government and the centre can no longer hold.

A presidency that cannot manage its presidency cannot manage Nigeria! There is hunger in the land; it is so palpable that the hand can feel it. No matter how the choirmaster tries to organize his orchestra now, the symphony has gone coarse, and irrecoverably so!

It is on this note that patriotic citizens must commend the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, for taking the bull by the horn and speaking out when men who are supposed to do so are busy lining up to lick the shoes of some two retrogressive elements holding the nation to ransom.

Will Aisha Buhari likely have partners from their circle in this mission of extricating Nigeria from the shackles of strong men? Only time will tell. For now, history will surely be fair to her!

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COLUMNISTS

LASPOTECH: GIANT STRIDES AT 40

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By: Morenike Adetunji

Life, as it is generally espoused begins at 40. As such, Lagos Sate Polytechnic Aloft At Forty celebration could best be described as a new beginning for this citadel of excellence.
Looking back through the years, the institution has grown to higher heights in several areas; from acquiring a permanent site in Ikorodu to producing over 220,000 graduates, offering 67 programmes at National Diploma and Higher National Diploma Levels, and against all odds, curbing cult activities on campus.
LASPOTECH commenced classes at the temporary site, (Isolo Campus), early January 1978, and in seven years (1985), the permanent site was moved to Ikorodu. Just recently, department of Business Administration, one of the three departments outside the main campus, was moved to Ikorodu campus in a bid to have all departments domiciled in Ikorodu.
At inception, lecture started at the institution with 287 students in five departments: Accountancy and Finance, Management and Business Studies, Insurance, Secretarial Studies and Basics Studies, and over the years, more than 220,000 students had graduated from the institution.
The school has as its mission statement, “to produce skilled manpower for commerce and industry using modern facilities and competent personnel for benefit of all”, and as such has been able to produce individuals who hold high positions in various sectors of the nation.
Few of these alumni are: Immediate Past Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN), Mr. Bisi Onasanya; Ex-managing Director of Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Mrs Funmilayo Babington-Ashaye; Current Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, Movie Icon, Kunle Afolayan; Mr. Rotimi Edu, Chairman, Quicklink Insurance; the Late Thespian, Aishat Mohammed; Music Star, Adekunle Kosoko known as Adekunle Gold; Winner of African Movie Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA), Tunji Afolayan and Award Winning Investigative Reporter, Head of Crime Desk at The Nation Newspaper, Olukunle Akinrinade among others.
Omoshalewa Babalola a student of Science Laboratory Technology in 2014/2015 Academic Session graduated with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0. Also, Ejire Adedolapo Abdulazez graduated with a CGPA of 3.83 in 2015/2016 Academic Session.
The 10-day celebration saw several events put in place to commemorate LASPOTECH Aloft at forty. These include; Community Relations Programme, Novelty Match, Interdenominational service, Walk for Life, Students Marathon race, Laspotech Students’ Talent Show, LSTS, Dinner night, the anniversary grand finale and many other events.
In 40 years, several landmark achievements had positioned the polytechnic among other high ranking polytechnics in Nigeria; The institution’s department of Mass Communication was designated as Center of reference for Journalism training by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The establishment of LASPOTECH 101.1fm as well as construction of Centre for Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition, among many others.
With all these outstanding achievements, it is imperative that the Institution must not rest on her oars, but do more in order to remain a pathmaker for other institutions.
However, an area of concern is the fact that an institution with such status and achievement cannot boast of having a hostel accommodation for her students. The rector, Mr. Olayinka Sogunro, has however promised that before his tenure elapses, he will ensure that hostels are built for the polytechnic’s students. We, for the sake of the incoming students do hope that this promise will be fulfilled.
At 40, LASPOTECH has achieved so much and for this reason, the management indeed deserves some accolades. Looking into the future, this landmark anniversary without doubt is only a stepping stone as the institution continues to journey into greatness.

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Pendulum: Why Many Nigerians are Scared of the Year 2019

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BY DELE MOMODU 

Fellow Nigerians, this is usually a festive period when most people look forward to the New Year, with high hopes and great expectations. But not anymore. I don’t know if you have noticed, wherever two or three Nigerians are gathered these days, the subject of discussion is Nigeria’s elections, especially the Presidential election, coming up next February. And many analysts talk with trepidation, out of the fear that the APC government appears desperate and may not wish to relinquish power, voluntarily, without putting up a fight. “Buhari was a military dictator, unlike Jonathan, and it would be difficult for you guys to chase him away like you did to Jonathan,” a prominent Nigerian told me recently. I then asked, “do you mean Buhari will refuse to hand over power even if he glaringly loses the election?” His response was chillingly cold-blooded “mark my word, Buhari’s people are ready for war…” he quipped.

Though the tell-tale signs are there, considering the unusual electoral malpractices in Ekiti, Osun, Kwara and other places where voters have allegedly been brazenly intimidated, disenfranchised and disillusioned. It is generally believed that the security forces, especially the Police have been largely compromised and that they are unashamedly doing the Government’s bidding, even if it means that the very tenets of democracy are being eroded with the attendant calamitous consequences that may befall our beloved country as a result. The Government has not helped matters much on this issue because people wonder why such use of humongous force can be strategically organised and positioned for elections, which should otherwise be peaceful events, when such force cannot be used against our insurgents who appear to be back with a bang and slowly, steadily and surely eroding our territory and our sovereignty. The Government’s claim that its aim in dealing with elections in this way is to protect democracy and ensure the fairness of those elections seems false given the allegations of intimidation and violence made against the security forces.

That is not all. It is being widely debated as to whether or not the government is busy throwing money around as a way of suborning the electorates under the guise of empowering the masses through its Trader Moni and Npower schemes.

The Trader Moni scheme aims to start of petty traders with small interest free loans starting from N10,000 and rising incrementally on repayment to N100,000. The Government says that the Bank of Industry co-ordinated scheme hopes to assist petty traders who would not otherwise have access to affordable bank loans to grow their businesses. Detractors question the timing of the scheme and the amount of money that beneficiaries of the scheme are being paid. It is almost as if they are being paid this initial N10,000 in order to buy their votes and this was magnified by the unfounded rumours that was circulated that PVC’s were a requirement to obtain the loan. As the Government stresses in promoting the scheme, this is an empowerment programme which is not associated with any vote-buying scheme. One thing is clear though, the petty traders who are recipients of this interest free loan are smiling all the way to the bank and appreciate the Government’s gesture. The turnout and visible smiles on the face of market women where ever the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has visited in promotion of this scheme speaks volumes about its acceptance amongst those it intends to benefit. Whether there is an ulterior motive will soon be revealed especially when the period for the incremental increase dawns and the elections are over.

The other scheme which traducers of the Government claim is merely a vote-buying gimmick is Npower. The scheme aims at eventually providing everyday skills which can be usefully deployed by the millions of unemployed youths in the Country. Those lucky to benefit from the scheme get paid a stipend which the opposition considers is a mere bribe to secure the votes and support of the jobless, frustrated youths.

It is a mark of the times that we are in, and the impoverishment of the people, that these two schemes with the miserly amounts involved can catch the attention of the populace. Their intendment and effect have been likened to the welfare system which operates in most welfare countries, with Government protagonists calling it a form of the “dole” which operates in the United Kingdom. Those who oppose both schemes say that these are corrupted versions of the benefit system being propagated to suit a corrupt purpose by a government which corrupts everything including its so-called seminal fight against corruption.

What is also scary for neutral observers of the polity is the fact cyberbullying has been on the rise in dramatic fashion. Everywhere you turn on social media, there are rabid Buhari supporters, in particular, who treat their idol like God, such that any form of criticism attracts instant vitriolic and acerbic attack. On a WhatsApp group I was till yesterday, a querulous and garrulous young man who seems to defend every action of APC and Buhari went completely berserk saying anyone who supports Atiku Abubakar must be mentally deranged and requires urgent psychiatric attention, perhaps. Another one of them said Omoyele Sowore must be sick because of certain utterances he made recently. I couldn’t take the intolerance again and told the attacker to change his attitude “in the name of God.”

As far as these people are concerned, everyone who has any form of sympathy for PDP or its Presidential candidate is automatically a rogue and looter. Yet the same so-called “looters and rogues” are welcomed with open arms whenever a member of PDP saunters across to APC so that his sins can be forgiven instantly, and he can become a ‘saint’ in the eyes of these unreasonable and illogical fanatics. It is true that the PDP has created a long list of looters and perceived looters, but the same has always been true of APC. That is why the corruption fight has never really gotten off the ground and it is why the Government may eventually lose the war because of its concentration on this one issue while failing to realise that the people want economic and social emancipation first and foremost. For them, corruption is ultimately only at best a distraction which will be relegated to the background when the reality of the pervading hunger biting at them strikes home.

Many are wondering how some could be so brainwashed into seeing the sins of one Party and its members but are completely blind to the sins of others who are members of the ruling party. Blaming the problems of Nigeria on the 16 years of PDP is no longer ingenious now that APC is busy attracting and accepting the same demons into their fold, indiscriminately. I do not understand the audacity that makes APC feel it can continue to use those lines of calling others thieves when there have been too many instances of similar recklessness within its circle. Those with discernment recall that it is not all of the 16 PDP years that can be described as a period of profligacy and reckless plundering. In any event apart from possibly some of the antics of the Petroleum Ministry and the NNPC, few knew about the pillaging that was occurring under the Jonathan Government until the Government fell. Some argue that the same fate awaits the present administration and that people will be amazed at the level of brigandage and damage done to our collective commonwealth by a cabal within this government and a few other senior Ministers. The claim is that Dasukigate is child’s play, but that we shall only know the truth whenever the government is dethroned. I cannot personally vouch for the authenticity of these claims, but I hear the strident pleas of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari about the need to expose a cabal which is making the Presidency unable to fulfil the Change that it promised.

Also, whenever they call the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a corrupt man, I often wonder if Atiku was ever more than a Vice President and if he wielded more influence than the President. Moreover, the only basis for this continues to be the fact that his Boss, President Obasanjo, said so in the past, and an American Congressional investigation seemingly indicted him on some transactions as a result of which his visa application was turned down. What I fail to understand is why these two matters would continue to be an issue when the Boss, President Obasanjo has wholeheartedly embraced the candidature of Atiku, warts and all, and the American law enforcement agencies have never indicted him, and the Government of that country now appears prepared to issue him a visa. In my view, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A lot of respect has been accorded the President whose dignity and integrity has generally been protected by the military and political class and the fourth estate of the realm. This is understandably so, because we must not denigrate our leaders or soil their reputations if this can be avoided. Nevertheless, I think it is about time that the Administration starts trumpeting its successes in the economic and social infrastructure sector as well as security.  The government does have laudable and stellar achievements it can point to. The Government should also focus on its plans for the future. If the President allows his team to trawl the gutter in the allegations they are making against the former Vice-President of the country, a time may come when all the gloves go off and fisticuffs or roforofo fight becomes the order of the day with everybody besmeared and besmirched.

It is the unrelenting smear campaign against the PDP Presidential candidate Atiku, without any real regard to the issues which are paramount for the masses that is ultimately the biggest fear factor. If the APC has nothing good to tell us about what it proposes to do for the country if it wins, beyond saying that Nigerians must not vote for a looter, then the presumption is that they will take all steps to ensure that their rhetoric succeeds by hook and by crook. The logic is that the APC is so desperate to cling on to power even though it does not know what to do with it and accordingly, out of that desperation it will subvert the will of the electorate by foisting itself on the people with the might of the security forces at its behest and disposal. We may not need to get to this stage if APC realises that it can campaign on the issues, and change its ways, so that winning the elections is no longer in doubt. I fear however, that the ship has long since sailed in that regard and the major protagonists on the APC are hawkish warmongers who do not want to go back into the political wilderness that they had been consigned to before the all-conquering APC was birthed.

It is the hope of the generality of Nigerians that the Nigerian security forces will in the end shun partisanship and live to the true spirit of their oath to defend Nigeria and not any individual or Party. Soldier come, Soldier go! The will of the people must always be allowed to prevail and if this means another Party gaining power so be it. This has happened in the recent past and it will happen again. That is the beauty of democracy which our security forces have sworn to protect!

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