Yar'Adua and a sick nation

Yar'Adua and a sick nation
By Okey Ndibe


One fact should by now be clear to most Nigerians: Umaru Musa Yar'Adua should not have run for the office of president. Despite the best efforts of his handlers to put a mask over the truth, Yar'Adua's poor (and apparently deteriorating) health has become the central story of his desultory regime. 

Let's be clear: Yar'Adua is only half to blame for the unmitigated disaster of his impostor presidency. A great deal of the blame belongs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the principal recruiter of Yar'Adua, and the man who, in the end, smuggled his ward into office. Obasanjo had alleged that Yar'Adua was a tested performer. That's now a self-evident lie. Many residents of Katsina, where for eight years Yar'Adua held gubernatorial sway, remember him as a mediocre governor. 

From the outset, it was an open secret that Yar'Adua has been battling serious health problems. Obasanjo, a trader in superstition, told Nigerians that Yar'Adua had been healed. Another lie. Since his imposition on Nigerians, Yar'Adua has been flown to Germany for treatment. His feeble health has also meant that he often can't keep scheduled appointments. When I visited Abuja in July, a journalist with sources inside Aso Rock told me that the man retires to bed before 8 p.m. 

Obasanjo lied on at least two fronts when he said that Yar'Adua had the vision to continue the pursuit of political, social and economic reforms. First, after more than one year in office, few Nigerians would be in a hurry to put Yar'Adua and vision in the same sentence. Sometimes the kindest thing to be said about the man is that he occupies (presidential) space. The second is the fiction that Obasanjo had reforms worthy of perpetuation. In a lot of ways, Obasanjo saddled Nigerians with a legacy of deforms, not reforms. 

A man with Yar'Adua's health woes should have made the prudent choice of retiring from public life to devote full attention to himself. It's a pity that the man didn't have the strength of character to rebuff the flattery of those who wanted to install him in Aso Rock as an enfeebled stooge. Of course, it is not uncommon for a person, even one in weak physical shape, to decide to make self-disregarding sacrifice in order to advance the public good. But nobody who has watched Yar'Adua in office would testify that he evinces passion about bettering Nigeria. He is, at best, a confounded figure who is dozing while Nigeria sinks into depths of despair. 

During my recent six-week travel in Nigeria, I encountered many people from different stations of life who bemoaned a country cast adrift. A constant refrain from different quarters, whether it was in Abuja, Yola, Lagos, Awka, or Asaba, was that Yar'Adua's inability to govern had put Nigeria at the mercy of some despicable forces. Some even stated that a coalition of former and serving governors, with James Ibori and Bukola Saraki as co-captains, had hijacked the country. 

Yar'Adua's self-effacement and weakness derive from two sources at once. One is that the man is too beset by sickness to be an effective manager of a complex, challenging country like Nigeria. The second factor is the fact that, the ruling of the presidential electoral tribunal notwithstanding, Yar'Adua and his sponsors know that his mandate is - we need not mince words - stolen. When all is said and done, Yar'Adua is a usurper, and one who came to office without the benefit of any blueprint. Given the two strikes against him, it is no surprise that he has resorted to making wooly promises about transforming Nigeria into heaven on earth come 2020!

Many Nigerians who, for one reason or another, chose to accept the imposition of Yar'Adua as "president" are, it is clear, now gnashing their teeth. More than a year after his illegitimate inauguration, Yar'Adua has proved, above all, the danger of putting the affairs of a nation in the hands of a man too beleaguered by sickness to be attentive to statecraft. Nigeria is a sick country that requires the astute attention of an alert, visionary leader. Unfortunately, Yar'Adua's sickness has left Nigeria sicker than it ever was. 

Yet, the beneficiaries from the Nigerian malaise persist in playing ostrich. Last week, Ojo Maduekwe and John Odey combined their ministerial voices to retail a white lie to Nigerians. Emerging from a federal executive council meeting, the two men tried to debunk an online publication's report that Yar'Adua was being treated in a Saudi Arabian hospital. They told reporters that Yar'Adua was quite hale and fit, and that he was occupied with matters of religious piety in Saudi Arabia, the headquarters of Islam. 

What a pathetic picture the ministers cut in their effort to mislead the world. Asked to explain why Yar'Adua's scheduled state visit to Brazil was hastily cancelled, Maduekwe thought he was scoring a point by lecturing reporters that the trip was only "readjusted." Nobody was fooled. Not Nigerians, who are more knowledgeable than they get credit for, nor Brazilians and other members of the diplomatic corps in Abuja. To me, the shamelessness of the ministers' canard was matched by the media's pitiable collaboration in spreading falsehood. 

Maduekwe and Odey are products of a political culture that thrives in the dissemination of misinformation. One often wonders whether the Maduekwes and Odeys of our world truly believe that Nigerians are so gullible, or whether they are just caught up in a system whose currency is to rearrange the truth? 

Sadly, much of the Nigerian press lends a hand, I suspect wittingly, to this process of deception. First, I don't recall any newspaper, major or minor, that published the report that Yar'Adua's trip to Saudi Arabia was for medical treatment. That story was told exclusively by saharareporters.com, a website that has become a must-go destination for Nigerians anxious to find out, in words and pictures, how their country is misgoverned. 

The website's accuracy in reportage is nothing short of stunning. In fact, the reliability of its exposes is posing a challenge to some Nigerian newspapers and weekly magazines that now specialize in recycling official fabrications. A few weeks ago, having a drink with two academics at the staff club of the University of Lagos, I overheard a lecturer speak glowingly of saharareporters.com. Since discovering saharareporters.com, the man said, he hardly bothered to read Nigerian newspapers. "Saharareporters tells me what's going to happen in Nigeria sometimes two weeks before it happens," he said.

The website had reported, before Yar'Adua's departure to Saudi Arabia, that he was headed for medical treatment. It even reported that Yar'Adua's handlers had refined an official narrative to the effect that he was off to observe the lesser hajj. I don't recall that any major Nigerian newspaper published this report, even as speculation. Through their silence, the press allowed Yar'Adua and his handlers to get away with deceiving Nigerians. Yet, the newspapers gave prominent coverage to the government's denial of a story the press never had the courage to carry. 

Yet, a day after the government's absurd denial, several newspapers suddenly woke up to their reportorial responsibility. They reported that Yar'Adua had undergone surgery in Saudi Arabia. What manner of "president" would sneak out of the country and mislead his country about the personal nature of his mission?

Yar'Adua's friends and family ought to tell him that, much as Nigerians would sympathize with any ailing person, they deserve an energetic, intellectually vibrant, and visionary leader to run their affairs. Even more, they deserve a man they choose in a credible election, not one whose mandate is beclouded by electoral fraud. Yar'Adua has sound health reasons to immediately announce his resignation from an ill-gotten office. But if he won't do it for the sake of his health, he must do it to spare Nigeria its continued descent into the abyss.



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Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Dewdrops posted on 09-01-2008, 13:55:23 PM
QUOTE:
Yar'Adua and a sick nation

By Okey Ndibe

One fac...[URL=http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10031/55]Read the full article.[/URL]


Yar'Adua's friends and family ought to tell him that, much as Nigerians would sympathize with any ailing person, they deserve an energetic, intellectually vibrant, and visionary leader to run their affairs. Even more, they deserve a man they choose in a credible election, not one whose mandate is beclouded by electoral fraud. Yar'Adua has sound health reasons to immediately announce his resignation from an ill-gotten office. But if he won't do it for the sake of his health, he must do it to spare Nigeria its continued descent into the abyss.



We know all these things. But the problem is lack of planning and the absence implementation.

It also takes an energetic, intellectually vibrant and visionary populace to command such a leader.

Once again. . . . .the leader is a reflection of the general populace. A match made in both heaven and hell.
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Aiksmart posted on 09-01-2008, 14:18:08 PM
QUOTE:
We know all these things. But the problem is lack of planning and the absence implementation.

It also takes an energetic, intellectually vibrant and visionary populace to command such a leader.

Once again. . . . .the leader is a reflection of the general populace. A match made in both heaven and hell.


There you Dewy!!! You`ve found your lovely voice again!!! Hmmmm I missed you grl.
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Dewdrops posted on 09-01-2008, 15:09:02 PM
QUOTE:
There you Dewy!!! You`ve found your lovely voice again!!! Hmmmm I missed you grl.



Heeeeeeeeeeeey Thank you very much ooooooooooooooh! I was just trying to lay low for a little bit. I missed you too. You know that eeeeeeeeer, after that small quarrel we had and some people wanted to put pepper and salt to make the fight sweet eh? So I just ran away so that those people sending "fatwahs" all over the village will find someone else to target.

I will be treading kiafully so avoid all those "booby" traps.

Thank you for agreeing.

I just wish that our people will wake up and not settle for complacency. If I was there now, I would have been very vocal. . . . .but you know that comes with "untimely" death because I will definitely be a lone voice in the wilderness and many will sing "crucify her", "crucify her" even if you are fighting for them.

So let us keep fighting from long range since life is tooooo sweet to give up just like that.


Let us keep praying for our beloved "obodo Nigeria" ok?
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Denker posted on 09-01-2008, 15:16:19 PM
Dewdrops,..na you biko..you dey too much for dis forum...really one man riot soldier..lol!
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Ariteni posted on 09-01-2008, 15:29:38 PM
"What manner of "president" would sneak out of the country and mislead his country about the personal nature of his mission?"
Well, there is a culture of lies (and liers in Aso Rock). Duro Onabule in 1987 told Nigerians a lie: i.e. That President Ibrahim Babangida went to France for treatment of radiculopathy. (The Military Dictator could not announce the trip for fear of coup.)

The Ministers - Odey and Madekwe are not the Chief Culprit. Mr Segun Adeniyi, Presidential Spokesperson deserves an award for successfully pumping up the tissue of lies about Lesser Hajj and Sahara Reporters gets its own for puncturing the lies (telling Nigerians something they did not know) and of course Okey Ndibe's panacea for the nation's sickness adumbrated in this excellent piece deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Hopefully Okey Ndibe would, some day (in the spirit of reform) name the "Abiola" of this Presidential Election i.e. the real winner "gan gan gan" whose mandate was stolen by Yar Adua, so that the common man in Nigeria can know under whose banner he will be going "back to the trenches".
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Ibiyinka posted on 09-01-2008, 15:56:31 PM
It says a lot about the state of affairs when the citizenry has to [a] guess the whereabout of the president and [b] be kept in the dark about the state of health of the occupant of the most important public office in Nigeria.
It ll be comical if we do not have a complelling and urgent issue of monumental misgovernance in this country, the fact that we do makes this a tragedy. We have on our hands, a man who did not want to be our president, and who KNEW he does not enjoy the best of health to boot. Yet somehow, we delude ourselves that many of our urgent problems are being addressed by him and his cabinet. Our capacity for self-deception boggles the mind.
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Adisko87 posted on 09-01-2008, 16:11:42 PM
Ehe, how many of you told the caller on the phone or at the door that your parents were not home while they were lounging in the house?

How many of you did your parents tell that there was no money for your school needs though you were sure their bank accounts were not empty?

We don't have any sense of outrage, we condone lies, so our government is bound to feed us with our staple.

We prefer lies than the inconvenient truth, carry go UMYA

Yeye dey smell!!
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Aguabata posted on 09-01-2008, 17:20:01 PM
Its obvious that the Nigerian press is anything but professional, I read Nduka Obaigbena image laundering article on Yaradua, I understand newspapers are free to be left wing or right wing but I'm damn sure none of those agendas are of interest to our media houses. If we had integrity in our media houses they should be running riot till Odili, Ibori and Co's trials are given the attention they deserve. Rather it is Ndi Okerekes party with her more money than sense friends that the EFCC is concerned about. On EFCC's priority list that matter should be at the bottom. The media houses are a sale out, some of the editors are simply waiting for appointment as press secretary to Governors or hitting the bulls eye as presidential spokesman as their brother Adeniyi.
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
Bobokite posted on 09-01-2008, 17:43:03 PM
QUOTE:
Hopefully Okey Ndibe would, some day (in the spirit of reform) name the \"Abiola\" of this Presidential Election i.e. the real winner \"gan gan gan\" whose mandate was stolen by Yar Adua, so that the common man in Nigeria can know under whose banner he will be going \"back to the trenches\".


Thats a good question for ON but i dont think he is not in a position to name the winner. He can only name such person if there were elections in Nigeria. No body Voted, Maurice just allotted scores so how could someone be a winner?
Re: Yar'Adua and a sick nation
NWANZA posted on 09-01-2008, 18:36:01 PM
QUOTE:
Maduekwe and Odey are products of a political culture that thrives in the dissemination of misinformation. One often wonders whether the Maduekwes and Odeys of our world truly believe that Nigerians are so gullible, or whether they are they just caught up in a system whose currency is to rearrange the truth?

Sadly, much of the Nigerian press lends a hand, I suspect wittingly, to this process of deception. First, I don't recall any newspaper, major or minor, that published the report that Yar'Adua's trip to Saudi Arabia was for medical treatment. That story was told exclusively by saharareporters.com, a website that has become a must-go destination for Nigerians anxious to find out, in words and pictures, how their country is misgoverned.


We need to fight for the passage of FOI bill, and the need for full disclosure from the Presidency about the capacity of the President to carry out governance.

Nigeria deserves a government that works for all of the people, and that means 100% truth & honesty 100% of the time. Democracy will not survive with the type of deception that is taking place today.

The president should not travel out of the country without the media as is done in other nations. Our president should not attend hajj and leave the seat of power without handing over to the vice president.

Scurrilous gangs that won't let go has hijacked Nigeria; therefore it will take a revolution to get this government back to the people.
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