I lift my hand in solemn vow, never again to talk or write, read or smell any such stimulus as may have to do with the word Obasanjo. I swear to appease and adore my readers and all admirers alike, who are nauseated by my failure to jump aboard the bandwagon (of a Vodka-goÔÇŽ or was it a Merry-go-round?) to unleash hate and anger no matter how imbalanced. I pledge to abide by the dictates of popular conscience even if it drives the land to a senseless standstill. Above all though and in all seriousness, I assure everyone that this is not about Obasanjo. This is about Nigeria and Nigeria alone as all my treatises have been.
Treatises in which contentions were advanced to identify failures in mental and practical terms to arrest a collective psyche supportive of a perpetual standstill and impeding a forward march! Today, it is clear that the land needs a messiah here and now. I hear them say the Messiah will be found. Don't ask me how.
For all I care, the readings on the wall speak one language. The language of doom! Failure and shame in a country of abundant resources, where energies are now voluntarily diverted to the unproductive gestures of public entertainment to stir up emotions in executing the bidding of a vindictive school of thought.
This thought occurred to me when I once heard someone say, "I pity Nigeria". Do we truly deserve pity? Well, do we see the signs of time when they offer themselves? Are we so blinded by emotions that we often let the signs slip by unnoticed?
For years, I heard the clamoring. They said it was a disaster that a non-educated General with a poor gift of articulation was ruling Nigeria. At last, we ended up being blessed by a highly educated lecturer in the field of natural sciences. A head of state with the gift of articulation and smart looks in public appearances. Unfortunately however, there is a snag in the length and breadth of this presumed blessing. The lecturer is imbibed and consumed in a cloud of worries, fears and tactical intrigues. Intrigues agitated by the unfortunate call of nature manifested in the shape of limited physical ability and confinement in the ability to unleash potentials in governance. The President is sick.
Sick in action and sick in the body! The President's actions are dictated by a coalition of diametrically opposed interest groups, which he seeks to appease at different points in time. Gaining a mastery of this balancing act has witnessed a flurry of headline waves in the news media swaying emotions here and there as the ultimate barometer for measuring the President's changing stance or lack thereof, as the occasion may be. Under suspicion for at best, tolerating the desecration of his predecessor, the President came up with some half-hearted position to highlight his worries at the growing pace of a new-found passion in parliamentary, executive and media bashing. The reaction was prompt. The table was turned. The parliamentary committee smacked and the bashing mob takes a retreat to regroup and live to fight another day beginning with the opening of a new front on Nuhu Ribadu while the ailing President smirks in grins and giggles from a salient background view.
Aside from Presidential jitters and dithers, why was testimony before the parliamentary committee frustrated and the committee given a virtual slap in the face? Above all who frustrated it? Speculations abound. Were the interests of powerful former heads of state suddenly endangered? Did anyone somewhere fear that this could be the catalyst to an orgy of a vendetta-driven show summoning? We have seen the prelude and the shape of the final outcome.
Today, the state of health of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is such that unearths the depth of his personal and official vulnerability. In a land in which even autopsies may be subject to manipulation, the nation should pray that the President does not quit in untimely death. The President would be lying if he claims to be unaware, how many close confidants seek to succeed him if the courts declared his election invalid. He would be lying even more if he claims not to be aware of a desperate northern plot to frustrate the heading of a Presidency by a southern Jonathan if Yar'Adua quits in untimely death. Plainly put, the President is enmeshed in a web of intrigues. Umaru Musa Yar'Adua should be double careful. Engineering his death to accelerate the implementation of a clandestine agenda is an option that cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. After all it will be easy to say that he has been sick since time immemorial.
In the aftermath hereof, the nation is in a standstill. Issues that matter do not dominate headlines. Never! It's all about Arakadede and Oshobe!! Drag him down and crush him dead!! Meanwhile, the water treatment plant of Egbin Power station made to generate 1,350 megawatts of electricity is out of order and production is said to have plunged to 860 mw and no one is telling us why this has not been fixed. A few days ago, some favorite fugitive stunningly provided a list of power stations that were commissioned before the exit of the past administration and even stated in clear terms that the present government has not followed up on minor investments to keep the stations functional. The headlines are dumb. No questions are asked as would have been done if public enemy number one were said to have stolen public money.
Not long ago, parliament was bent on frustrating the efforts of the government of the natural scientist and highly educated President and pride of the nation, to acquire foreign loan for whatever purpose. It seems to be a curse that the illiterate General had sought to free us from the bondage of foreign debt. Meanwhile, revenue intake is multiplying on daily basis in the face of an endlessly soaring oil price in the international market. Still, Nigeria needs some foreign loan! The headlines are dumb and no questions are asked as long as emotions are fed to kill the public enemy number one. Till date, no one knows if the loan has been taken.
Facts have unfurled. Locations specified and accusations upheld: Contractors paid but no job executed, Contracts awarded but contractors are not registered as companies; Family members and proxies have been awarded contracts, etc. etc. Unfortunately, no name is mentioned and no case is referred to the EFCC or ICPC. But the stage was set. The thunderous applause was as sure as it was deafening! Adjectives are not left wanting. "Monumental corruption", "Unrivaled scale of corruption", "institutionalized corruption" etc.! It indeed required the accused party himself to remind us all that individuals should be identified and names forwarded for prosecution. Yes! Public prosecution for that matter! Let them sing and expose names and have issues settled once and for all. Unfortunately however, the market of spectators and onlookers is flooded by Pseudo-intellectuals who rise to jubilate at the slightest stimulus and stones thrown in the direction of their wishful enemy. A crowd that is so blinded by emotions that rational reasoning ceases to convey any meaning save one end-result: "crucify him"! In effect, no further question is asked as long as the plot has failed to dock public enemy number one. Selective sincerity!
Meanwhile, the parliament is busy enriching itself in collective consensus. The EFCC is chasing a lady who spent public money on public service while Patricia Etteh who allocated outrageous amounts for dubious projects was not even mentioned for prosecution to say the least of an arrest. Yet the crowd is applauding in the spirit of selective vengeance a la carte!
Now they say the President is appalled at the indiscretion of his Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the face of his chains of foolish and unguarded public statements. But the same President it was who sacrificed Nuhu Ribadu for the whims and caprices of Aondoakaa when it mattered to him to appease the interest group that he needed to consolidate power. Why should anyone raise eyebrows that the Minister now feels strengthened? But Nuhu Ribadu is back on the line again ready to be surely demoted if public enemy number one cannot be docked! Vendetta a la Carte!
Again they say the President is appalled at the one-man show of Governor Soludo of the Central Bank and someone says we have a long way to go. If the rules of democracy make the President the number one citizen, there are reasonable doubts that the same rules did not make way for a few institutions to operate independent of the Presidency. The President feels slighted when the Governor of the Central Bank takes autonomous decisions on monetary matters and seeks to know who the hell is the boss in this Goddamn Nigeria! So much for the need to have a highly educated President! Pray the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany and perhaps the European Union educate Nigeria on the function of an autonomous gatekeeper of monetary policies in practical democracy.
Pray the Chairman of the American Feds, the President of the German Bundesbank and the President of the European Central Bank pay instructive visits to Nigeria and lecture the Presidency on the scope of independence the head of a Central Bank enjoys outside the domain of the Executive. This is a potential area of endless doom and asymmetric assertion of individual might. And it will stay uncontrolled as long as a Soludo man occupies the crucial office with the determination to exercise the powers defined by the laws available to the parties concerned.
How doomed we are! University graduates we sought to have. Now we have them in abundance. University graduate in the Presidency! University graduate at the House of Representatives! The President does not steal but he is as good as non-existent one year on in the Presidency. A lame-duck politician tied in the strings of several interest groups and being pulled in constant intensity with one party occasionally gaining the upper hand over the other until some balance is re-established. The ultimate show is inertia and glaring developmental stagnation. We got rid of a hairdresser, who they thought was a disgrace to a nation of Nigeria's integrity. The ÔÇśSuper-delegate' graduate who took over the helms is teaching us a lesson in looting by consensus. Acting the same script in different scenarios. Again it is financial self-service a la Carte! The ultimate show is inertia and developmental stagnation of the entire nation save the ruling elite.
But whenever boredom threatens though, it pays to conjure just one name: "Obasanjo" and the entire nation is awake and up in arms. Unfortunately though, the follow-follow masses do not seem to know how much they are taken for a ride. The senate committee probing the power sector was given a decent slap in the face with pretenses of respect ushered on them by Obasanjo and Atiku such that they had a face-saving reason to publicly express satisfaction at the written submission. The EFCC has maneuvered itself into a blind alley on Iyabo Obasanjo, fooling the nation that it does not know where the senator is hiding. What the EFCC now lacks is the face-saving formula to come out of the dilemma in a decent manner. If the court fails to provide this, then there will be further complications. Thank goodness someone seems to have prevailed on her to come out of hiding.
But wait a minute! Did I mention "Obasanjo"? Gosh! I raise my hand in solemn vow that I have never in my life vowed to desist from writing, reading, smelling or perceiving anything Obasanjo. I swear to the best of my knowledge that the word is dominant in contemporary Nigerian politics and there is no way I will ever avoid writing on the subject. I make this solemn vow in the exercise of my constitutional right of freedom of expression! Then you may wish to ask me "Who is fooling who?" Go check it out and you'd finally understand how the clock of Nigeria ticks to the detriment of you and I! God bless Nigeria and hopefully in our generation still!