King Goodluck "Rehoboam" Jonathan's Oil Subsidy War: Time for the Peoples' Own Do-or-Die Battle to Save Nigeria!
© Ogaga Ifowodo
As my first reaction to Goodluck Jonathan's withdrawal of the oil subsidies he and his predecessors have been giving to their contractor friends, and so to themselves as well, for the past two-and-a-half decades, I posted the following satiric monologue to my Facebook page:
"Says President Goodluck Jonathan: I am the Death and the Resurrection. I will raise the price of all foodstuff, every good and service in my country, till the people shall neither afford yam nor fish, nor pay the fare to farm or workplace, till they shall verily die of sickness and hunger. Then I shall flood the land with food and medicine, and resurrect them from death, that they and the world may know my power to do as I am told by the IMF and World Bank. And if any of the people, led by the NLC or troublemakers called human rights activists, should protest, I will order the army and the police to shoot at them, to throw them in jail. Yea, even so will I let Boko Haram throw bombs in their midst! For oil is thicker than water, and must cost a thousand times more. So that there be enough billions to feed me, my wife and children and the throng that beseech me daily on my throne on the Rock set on high in Abuja. For I, Jonathan, a lucky man chosen by God, have spoken!"
But I remain restless. Mostly because I am far away from the streets of Lagos or Abuja, from the barricades, where I would love most to be right now. Because the first month of 2012 proves, by Jonathan's decision to play King Rehoboam and chastise us with scorpions where previous rulers used mere whips – see "Jonathan Plays the Oil Subsidy Game and Imperils the Nation," a co-authored statement/article http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20160&Itemid=154 -- to be the year that the long-suffering Nigerian people must wage their own DO-OR-DIE battle to save their lives and that of the tottering nation. Since 1960, but in particular, since 1999, the band of mercenaries and nation-wreckers known as the PDP has been waging its own do-or-die battle to loot Nigeria to the ground, as two-time head-of-state, General Obasanjo made so clear. They have merely been calling on the greediest and the meanest to "come chop." And now that there is little left to chop, they have decided to squeeze the very blood out of the veins of the masses.
From Burutu to Birnin-Kebbi, Aba to Abeokuta, Jos to Jese, Maiduguri to Mokwa, Sapele to Sokoto - across the length and breadth of Nigeria - deep-seated disenchantment, sorrow and tears announce the abject state of the people. No one is happy with the false edifice called Nigeria handed to us by the British at independence and kept intact by successive rulers. A bloody genocide and an even bloodier three-year civil war was fought a mere six years after that so-called independence to keep the Nigeria-edifice shakily erect. Now it is tumbling down. And from the seething anger of the Niger Delta to the boiling anger in the east, the rage of the west to the fury of the north, every single section of the country wishes for ANOTHER country. Meaning, one which will inspire their loyalty and patriotism. One which will exist for them and not only for the kleptomaniac cabal of thieves and scoundrels with a choke-hold on the nation's jugular.
There is only one way to this goal of the democratic, just and equitable Nigeria of our dream: a sovereign national conference at which we debate and agree on the terms of peaceful and prosperous co-existence through responsible governance - one that responds to the people and not to the contractor class or the IMF/World Bank. But rather than work towards this goal, our governments pretend that all is well with the rotten and collapsing national edifice. And they happily, insouciantly, make the sole business of governance that of awarding bogus contracts never intended to be performed, thereby supervising the collapse of every institution, of every productive aspect of the economy, and of the meager but already existing infrastructure. So that against every argument to the contrary at the factual level, and against every reason to the contrary at the level of public morality and the objective of government, President Jonathan has doubled, tripled - indeed, multiplied to an immeasurable degree - the already unbearable misery of the people by withdrawing the phantom subsidy that has always benefitted thieving contractors with permanent tables in the federal and state houses but, also, made it possible for the masses to perform the daily miracle of drawing water out of stone to keep breath and hope alive. As an immediate aftermath of Jonathan's callous decision, transporters have adjusted passenger fares so that a one-way bus trip from Lagos to any major destination north, east or south of the country costs almost, all or more than the minimum wage. Talk of a take-home pay not taking you home! And yet that is just a tip of the iceberg!
Jonathan's logic of worsening the disease before the cure - in short, of killing the patient so he might perform the spectacular medical feat of resurrection - makes the choice before every sensate Nigerian at this point clear: fight or die! You will die anyway, but only in installments. In fact, one, according to the reports, has already died at the hands of Jonathan's storm-troopers in Ilorin; his name is Muyideen Mustafa, a boy who chose to speak up. Some have been jailed and maimed already. Now is the time for all Nigerians - except, of course, the thieving one percent - wherever they may be, to stand up and be counted on the side of the masses. We must make Jonathan reverse his punitive decision to withdraw oil "subsidy." We must compel him to do the only right thing: clean up the mess in the oil sector; recover the billions and trillions stolen by the oil cartel his administration has identified; drastically reduce the cost of government, in particular the astronomical salaries and allowances paid to all elected and appointive offices; free himself from the clutches of the IMF and their local agents; and swear a new oath to serve the people and not himself or his remorseless party and coterie of nation-wreckers.
It is now or never! Time has run out on Nigeria - well, by my nation-clock, it is a minute to the midnight of disintegration! Unless we fight to fold the wings of time.