Nigerians Are Not Mindless Robots!
Reports reaching us here in the Diaspora say times are hard in Nigeria. Recently, there has been a campaign of calumny against President Jonathan by the opposition. Secret and underhand plans, we gathered, are also being framed to achieve this by retaining the services of professionals and social media users to totally discredit him.
Given their ongoing malicious and scheming little minds, let us carefully examine the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the calibre of men in the party’s hierarchy. The Nigerian Constitution establishes a system of government that allocates power between the national level and its constituent units at the state and local levels. These are contained and well spelt out in the Exclusive, Concurrent and Residual Lists.
In the Exclusive List, the Federal Government has the power to legislate solely on matters regarding defence, foreign affairs, overseas trade, etc. The Federal Government remains the sole authority in these matters. Concurrent powers are those powers which are jointly shared by both federal and state governments; but in the event of any conflict the former overrides the latter. Matters in the Residual Lists are enjoyed by the states without interference from the Federal Government and these range from urban planning, property issues to civil law, etc.
The Federal Government of Nigeria controls defence. We have not had an armed invasion of Nigeria by enemy forces, the insurgency we battle at home today is from within solely invented by political opponents who are hell-bent on bringing down the present administration under President Jonathan, that is the deal on ground – take it or leave it. A hungry man, it is said, is an angry man. Prices of foodstuffs as part of the lies being peddled about by the mainstream opposition have sky-rocketed as we now import vegetables such as tomatoes from neighbouring Benin Republic. For the man in the street, President Jonathan receives the blame. This is ridiculous, if you ask me! One third of the nation’s agricultural produce comes from the north – the area being ravaged today by bloody insurgency. A score of men have been killed in the country’s north. Local farmers have not been spared either in the on-going diabolic attacks which in turn tell on the nation’s food supplies. Going by the forces of demand and supply, this results in upward movement of prices and we find these being used as parameters to measure President Jonathan’s successes and failures!
Graft is another weapon being employed by the opposition to discredit the President. Wait a minute! Is there any stalwart of the APC that can extricate himself from corrupt practices? Bola Ahmed Tinubu? Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku, G-5 Govs, to mention but a few. What marks these men out? What qualifies them as saints and probably the Messiah of which Nigeria urgently stands in need? Is it the billions of naira which could not be accounted for during his days as PTF chairman? Bola Tinubu has become mega-rich with Lagos State fortunes going down the drain. We are not unmindful of the billions of naira which also have disappeared without trace under President Jonathan. All these are part of the ongoing scheming by his detractors.
Obasanjo, we were told sometime ago , in his letter to the press severely criticized President Jonathan for not containing the insurgency by the radical Islamist sect , Boko Haram in a Machiavellian fashion by wiping off the entire Nigeria’s north east off the map the way he did at Odi. This, he opined, would have nipped their activities in the bud. Here I think President Jonathan deserves a pat on the back for possessing a rare gift of humility and tolerance. However, this would have been used to score cheap political points against him and further incite the public against his administration. This makes him so dear to my heart which often ignites a burning desire in me to be as humble and tolerant as President Jonathan.
”The Messianic Party APC”
Often times we hear members of the main opposition say they only possess the magic wand to fix the nation’s problems and some Nigerians being so gullible are taken in by their hydra-headed lies. There is nothing wrong with making airy promises. Nigeria, like I pointed out earlier on runs a federal system of government where power is shared between the centre and its constituent units. There are matters in the concurrent list and the constitution empowers the state to deal with such matters and these border on road maintenance and construction, urban and regional planning, agriculture , housing, provision of pipe-borne water, schools, hospitals among many others. In the light of the above how many APC governors have been able to transform their states to the proverbial El Dorado? What transformation has taken place in their states which they want to see replicated in non APC-controlled states?
I shall use Lagos state for a case study being one of the party’s strongholds and where I grew up as a child which has eventually become my spiritual home. Bola Ahmed Tinubu ruled the state for 8 calendar years while his hand-picked successor Mr Babatunde Fashola has ruled for about 6 and half years now. In the not too distant past the former Lagos state governor reportedly went to the USA for knee surgery where he stayed for months before returning to Nigeria. This adds up to 14 and half calendar years but the condition of the state-owned hospitals, we understand, is better imagined than real. All this time the self-styled Messiahs could not build a health facility with equipment sophisticated enough to fix his knee. Late Nelson Mandela was never flown overseas for medical treatment while alive!
To make matters worse reports reaching us here in the Diaspora say Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently acquired 3 airplanes worth over N40 bn. If this is anything to go by N40bn, you will all agree with me, is a lot of money which is more than enough to build world class hospitals in the state. That there is no such hospital and other facilities in Lagos State today, we understand, is better blamed on a godfather who wants the sitting Governor succumbing to his whims and caprices at every turn. Fortunately or unfortunately Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains the choice of some gullible Nigerians for leadership. Perish the thought, folks! I am doubly sure that no state allocation meant for Lagos has ever been held by the Federal Government.
The economy of Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial hub will soon hit the $45 billion mark going by the present remarkably fast pace which will make Lagos the 13th largest economy on the continent. Lagos is one of the leading states in Nigeria in terms of relative fiscal independence. It has over N18 billion internally generated revenue coming in monthly. This is according to official figures released by the state Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Ben Akabueze. This is a lot of money! Yet this state suffers infrastructural decay with most state-owned health facilities reduced to glorified consulting clinics. Potable water as one of the basic necessities of life is a rarity in the state. Local residents depend on water sourced from boreholes sunk by rich neighbours as the state water corporation is increasingly becoming a lame duck. Do we need President Jonathan to provide water for Lagosians when he has never held federal allocation meant for Lagos state? Yet gullible Lagosians are bamboozled by APC into thinking President Jonathan is responsible for the dry taps in Lagos state!
To the Asiwaju trusted lieutenant Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.), we must now turn. This is a man whose regime was characterized by gross human right violations. The Oputa Panel was established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo through the Statutory Instrument 8 of June 1999 pursuant to the Tribunal of Inquiry Act of 1990. Its duty was to investigate incidents of Transitional Justice Institutions and Organizations gross violations of human rights committed in Nigeria between January 15, 1966. Buhari , we were told here , treated a Commission of Enquiry – the Oputa Panel with unconcealed disdain by refusing to appear before the panel in spite of the complaints that were tabled against him regarding abuse of power and blatant violation of human rights. Buhari remains an arch-tribalist whose integrity I call in question. On assumption of power via coup d’état, he told Nigerians his regime was corrective; more so that he has come to revitalize the decadent paralysis imposed on us by the prodigal years of the defunct NPN misrule. While the then head of government Alhaji Shehu Shagari was dethroned and kept in cozy house detention in high-brow Ikoyi his deputy Alex Ekweme of Igbo extraction was locked up in Kirikiri maximum security prison in Apapa, a Lagos suburb. Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has little to tell us about this man Gen. Buhari:
”Shall I remind this nation of Buhari’s deliberate humiliating treatment of the Emir of Kano and the Oni of Ife over their visit to the state of Israel? I hold no brief for traditional rulers and their relationship with governments, but insist on regarding them as entitled to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of any Nigerian citizen. This royal duo went to Israel on their private steam and private business. Simply because the Buhari regime was pursuing some antagonistic foreign policy towards Israel, a policy of which these traditional rulers were not a part, they were subjected on their return to a treatment that could only be described as a head masterly chastisement of errant pupils. Since when, may one ask, did a free citizen of the Nigerian nation require the permission of a head of state to visit a foreign nation that was willing to offer that tourist a visa”?
On corruption, Buhari is often given a clean bill of health by some enthusiastic imbongis. I often recline on my sofa mouth agape with incredulity. What about the missing billions in his days as chairman of PTF? As much as N25 billion could not be accounted for by this retired General. This is a lot of money! The PTF commenced operations in 1986 with an initial capital of N60 billion. This fund was to be spent on rehabilitation of roads and waterways, health institutions, procuring drugs and connection of parts of the country to the national grid, extending railways and communications amid others. This fund was inaugurated in 1996. I am very sure that Nigeria never had it so good at the period under review which eventually collapsed like a pack of cards under president Jonathan. How many world class health institutions were built with the Funds under General Buhari? How many world class roads were built across Nigeria with the Funds under General Buhari? This is just a tip of the iceberg.
General Buhari who today again aspires to be the most powerful man in Nigeria, we are told, is not corrupt. Wait a minute! There is one question I want Nigerians to answer. Did Abacha , the late Head Of State ever indulge in any official graft? Buhari says ‘NO’ with all the emphasis at his command. But Transparency International says otherwise. Which of these claims do we believe? I would believe the latter considering the stolen billions by Abacha sent back to Nigeria by the Swiss government. Who stole this money and had it stashed away in foreign bank accounts? Abacha’s ghost probably did. For lying to Nigerians and shielding Abacha makes him a collaborator in no small measure! Buhari-Idiagbon regime was sacked via putsch and Idiagbon retired to Illorin where he led a sedentary life till his last days. He never identified himself with IBB or General Sani Abacha by way of seeking juicy contracts or accepting appointments even when he was offered one. But Buhari went ahead romancing the regime of the late dictator. A leopard, they often, say can never change its spots!
Buhari as a leading protagonist of violence comes into play with a statement credited to him that he will make Nigeria ungovernable if he loses the last presidential election. Errie happenings in the country today have substantiated this as Boko Haram, the dreaded Islamist sect have continued their attacks with undiminished intensity. Many people have been killed in these ongoing bloody insurgency with no word from the General in condemnation. San Jose, the Brazilian philosopher did once say ”to maintain neutrality in times of conflict is to be on the side of the oppressor.” How can or who can fulfil his electoral promises to the people with distractions here and there by political opponents? Hence there is no way General Buhari can extricate himself from the culpable acts of his men which is adversely telling on the President’s ability to deliver on his electoral promises to the citizenry. But like an old soldier that never dies we see him marching on in the face of all agonizing distractions repositioning Nigeria on the path of development by making her the largest economy on the continent.
The Hausa-Fulani Agenda: In a letter by Lord Lugard to his colleague Walter H. Lang dated September 25, 1918 he said:
“The Hausa-Fulani has no ideals, no ambitions save such as sensual in character. He is a fatalist, spendthrift and a gambler. He is gravely immoral and is seriously diseased that he is a menace to any community to which he seeks to attach himself.”
In 1970 it will be recalled that northern leaders of Fulani extraction met and resolved that the capital of Nigeria be moved to the north. This was occasioned by the dream the then sultan had that someday his offspring would be asked to obtain entry visas to the southern part of the country – their conquered territory – which they took urgent steps to forestall seeing that the entire country was and is still regarded as part of the Sultanate Empire of Uthman Dan Fodio. The control of this empire they resolved must not slip from them no matter whose ox is gored by a charging bull. Religion was to be used as a weapon or methodology to achieve this. Everyone will recall that Buhari vehemently threatened fire and brimstone if Sharia is expunged from the nation’s law books when the campaign started in Zamfara State years ago under randy ex-Governor Sani Yerima. That dream is still alive to this day which speak volumes of their desire to reclaim and consolidate their hold on power and go on and on ad infinitum. The concept of ”live and let’s live” is Greek to the Fulani man for all I know. He sees Nigeria as his ancestors’ inheritance; in fact as far as he is concerned he sees other ethnic nationalities as second-rate slaves to be ”used , dumped , maimed or even killed for the good of the Fulani man which speak volumes of their on-going political alliance with the south west. It is their belief that others have to die so the Fulani man may live which is part of the reasons why General Buhari has never openly condemn the killings of Christians in the country’s north east and north-west by the dreaded Islamist sect Boko Haram. Thus it is now self- evident from the foregoing that the Fulani who Buhari represents is ready to kill and maim in order to hold on to his grandfather’s ”inheritance” – the nation of Nigeria.
In summary, this article is not to whitewash the ruling PDP but to disabuse the mind of Nigerians who are increasingly being fooled by the opposition that President Jonathan’s administration does not mean well for the country. Over here in the Diaspora we often hear of defection to APC. Then who are these defectors? It is a thousand pities that an armed robber in PDP metamorphoses into a saint overnight the moment he pitches tents with APC. What a crying folly! If APC is sincere in its claims to be the Messianic party to regenerate Nigeria then why accepting defectors with very sordid pasts? Must defection be seen as a means to an end? In advanced democracies, power belongs to the people. The people decide who they want as representatives but the reverse appears the case back home. This, if I dare say, is bushman politics at shameful play. I often wonder hand on chin what exactly has indeed beclouded our sense of reasoning like mindless robots by turning a blind eye to the antics of these men who are bent solely on personal aggrandizement.
Finally, I am not like a traditional imbongi whose services has been retained to sing the praises of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party particularly President Jonathan and should therefore not be mistaken for one. I remain an independent free thinker here in the Diaspora who has been watching behind the scenes. I believe in organized system of governance founded on the ideals of true democratic values as obtains in contemporary western societies.
Iyoha John Darlington, aka Lington Donovan, a political analyst, public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin , Italy.
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