- A front row account of Nigeria under the late president Yar’adua by Segun Adeniyi
The book written by Segun Adeniyi, spokesman of Late president Yar’adua, with the title Power, Politics and Death has opened yet another chapter which has shown how the politics of this country is and has further underscored the extent of lack of trust among the various tribes and regions that make up the Nigerian nation. Additionally too, the book has underscored the ugly nature of politics of godfatherism, just as it exposes how must politician are bent on putting their stooges on power so as to do their bidding.
The book, according to the writer, was written at the time he went for course at the prestigious Harvard University in England. He said the course was sponsored by President Goodluck Jonathan and after successful completion of the book, the first person he gave the book was the president as a mark of appreciation for his sponsorship. While giving the president a copy of the book, the author said he was happy to tell the world that the course was sponsored by Mr Jonathan and it was while he was studying that he had the opportunity of writing the book.
It is obvious from the statement of the author and indeed, his action that the book was written in such a way that it will suit some sentiments and interests. In fact, it goes with the time tested saying that he who pays the piper, dictates the tune. Anyone who has read the book with utmost caution and deep comprehension will no doubt benefits from the quality of presentation and the sound use of language which is typical of Segun. Indeed, the book will be useful to many including teachers of literature in our varied universities.
Additionally too, the book will be of immense significance to students of mass communication and writers who are cut between trying to set their story line at the course of writing a book. As a matter of fact, a keen reader of the book will be exposed to how facts are distorted in such a way that unsuspecting readers will assume them to be truth. Through the book, one will see how people succeed even with double loyalty.
Throughout the one hundred and ninety four page book, one thing the writer uses whenever he introduces a story that needs to be corroborated by somebody even to the point of mentioning the person’s name is that he is cautious enough to say what happened the way it happened. But when he sets out to narrate a story that he knows there is no one to corroborate it, the author says the discussion is between him and the late president Yar’adua and as we all know, the dead cannot give evidence. In the book, the author has shown himself as someone who wielded enormous power during the reign of late President Yar’adua and not merely a presidential spokesman.
In fact, he presents himself like a special vice president who intervenes in virtually every matter for it to be successful. Right from the foreword to the book, the author depicts the picture of Yar’adua as some who does not like anybody as a result of which even as the president, he relied on the information of other people in making all his appointments as a result of which in the government, every key figure was brought in by somebody else.
The author has tried to over stress his importance by saying that in the government of Yar’adua, virtually all the good things or nice policies initiated were done with the support of the author. He stresses that it is either he was the initiator or was instrumental to implementing it. As a matter of fact, the author in the said book strives to show that he has tried all he could to avert all the mistakes of the Yar’adua administration suggesting that where such happens, they were because government failed to heed his advice. Segun portrays President Jonathan as someone who was victimised in the Yar’adua era and describes Jonathan as someone who is patient to a fault; who never mind all the ordeals he pass through until truth eventually materialised and he assumes power. A careful analysis of the book reveals that for all the period Segun stayed in the villa, he was busy working for some people and certain interest and not Yar’adua who appointed him.
It is not surprising because he stated categorically that he was forced to accept the appointment by his godfather, not that he accepted the offer on his own volition. In Segun’s book, we were told that the former boss of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has close political affiliation and relations with former president Bush of America so much so that as Segun reveals in his book, Bush felt a little short of pleading with late President Yar’adua to allow Ribadu continue as the chairman of EFCC. Segun in a chapter on Corruption and Ibori saga reveals how the American government supports Nuhu Ribadu on his chairmanship of the anti-graft agency and how the American government turned it back on the agency when Ribadu was sacked (page 17 to 42).
In this chapter, the writer eulogizes Nuhu Ribadu just the way and manner the America eulogizes him. He stated explicitly, the role he played in ensuring that Ribadu was not sacked or sent to NIPSS. All through the book, nobody was praised as Ribadu. On Niger Delta where the writer dedicated a chapter entitled “The Niger Delta amnesty deal”, the author asserts that at a point in time the issue of amnesty almost failed except for his intervention. [Page 61 to 87]
On Banking Reform, the author says Yar’adua did not know the central bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi until he (President Yar’adua) asked him how he is seeing Sanusi, and, whether he sees Sanusi as someone who could be trusted where he (the author) said yes as a result of which he (Sanusi) was given the job. [Page 91 to 101] The author wrote in a chapter entitled ‘Between Mutallab and Boko Haram’ where he spoke on how the Mutallab issue and Boko Haram started. In the chapter, Segun eulogised himself as he stresses that he had to speak to virtually all those who matters that the way the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf was executed was not proper.
Indeed, the author reveals how the American government severed its ties with the Yar’adua government because of the Mutallab saga. [Page 102 to 114] When I read how Adeniyi spoke on the Umar Mutallab saga and the killing of Mohammad Yusuf in the said book but was silent on one important issue, I couldn’t help but be baffled. The important issue for which Adeniyi was silent about is the attempt to murder Sheik Ibrahim El Zakzaky during the reign of Yar’adua.
The Sheikh had said during a Ramadan preaching that there are plans to murder him. At the said preaching, he gave a detailed account of the plan and called on the government to appreciate the fact that he was living in his own house with his aged mother and children and that the government should know that he is living among people. He appealed that whatever happens, those innocent citizens who stay around him should not be affected. Virtually all the national dailies in this country reported the matter.
Why was Adeniyi silent over this matter and couldn’t bring it up in his book? Who hatched that plan? Who gave the directive? Who are those that wanted to execute it? Why was the plan not executed? Everybody knows who Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky is and his significance in the country. Why did Adeniyi spoke on the issue of Boko Haram and Mutallab but was silent on the murder plan? Indeed, this is surprising and has raised so many questions for which the only person to offer answers is Adeniyi since he has stake in virtually everything that happened within the government circle as revealed in his book. He wrote that for any story that bothers on Nigerian nation or the late president Yaradua, even if it is in a press release and was not published by any newspaper, he usually direct for cuttings of such reports and comment before sending to the president. Why didn’t he send the story of plot to murder Sheik Zak Zaky to the president? If he did send it, what was the late president’s response? Why was it not reflected in the book since the issue almost disrupts peace in Kaduna state so much so that the then governor and now vice president sought audience with the pupils of Sheikh and indeed he met with them to douse tension? Indeed, we are waiting for Segun to tell us.
One chapter where the author also engages in self-praise was the one captioned “when counted vote don’t count”.[page 115 to 130[ written about the election in Ekiti where the author said he had to be invited for questioning by the SSS. He said he had threatened to resign his appointment if men of SSS pester his life.
In part two of the book where the author writes on illness and death.[page 157 to 286] Segun said General Ali Gusau was among those who stood as next of kin for the late president Yar’adua at a German hospital. He noted that the late president was taken from German hospital to Saudi Arabia because of the fear of the West. He said he learnt of even the return of late president Yar’adua to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia from the publisher of Sahara Reporter who phoned him to tell him before he confirm from other sources. He averred that even when the late president arrives, he could not see him until he threatened to resign his appointment before he was granted access to see the ailing president whom he said although still breathing, his chances of survival appears very slim.
He said indeed, both Muslim and Christian clerics who were said to have seen the president on his sick bed did saw him. The pastors were even the ones who told Jonathan that from what they have seen, the late Yaradua’s chances of recovery are very slim therefore, he should relax and rule the way and manner he so wish. One of the harshest critics of the Yar’adua administration, Dele Adelaja wrote the foreword to the book. Dele it was who established NEXT newspaper, a paper bent on bringing the Yar’adua government to its knees.
The newspaper died immediately after the death of Yar’adua. The newspaper publishes reports that taint the Yar’adua government. In fact, NEXT was the first paper to report the death of Yar’adua.
Whoever read the book will see that Segun keep reaffirming that he had a cordial relationship with all media houses both local and international where he said all the reports written about the Yar’adua government were true especially the reports of his ill health and all those reports published when the late president was sick.
This book by Segun can be given different interpretation and understanding including of course, breach of trust. In the book, tales were juxtaposed with truth and the author was unjustifiably silent on some important issues. All we can say is we have heard Segun and shall await another book by him or another one to be written by somebody to see what tell-tales would be.
Muhammad Danjuma wrote from Katsina;
He can be reached through 08035904408 or 080 33069201