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Posts tagged ‘Obafemi Awolowo’

A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Jonathan’s 2015 Onslaught By Charles Ofoji.


By Charles Ofoji

Only the naive would still be waiting for President Goodluck Jonathan to formally declare his intention to seek reelection in 2105. The body language of the president and his calculated speeches, inactions and actions leave no one in doubt that he will not only ask the Nigerian people to renew his mandate, but in fact he has started campaigning for reelection. The firing of his Chief of Staff and four ministers last week are unmistakable canons, kick starting a reelection bid.

At last, Jonathan, albeit reluctantly, sacked his controversial political ally, Stella Oduah. Undoubtedly, if not the fact that 2015 is dangerously too close, he would never have fired the woman, who not only played a pivotal role in his emerging as president in 2011, but also, despite her malfeasance, arguably did a good job in the aviation industry as minister. Jonathan was awfully disinclined to sacking Oduah for the two reasons I have mentioned. Her discharge is a loss to Jonathan personally and the Nigeria people. The Aviation Industry will miss the vision this ambitious woman had for it. She wanted to reform the rotten industry and she did well in this direction. I guess her greatest undoing was that she failed to realize that no matter how well you mean or how well you might be doing your job, public service has rules which are sacrosanct.

Oduah got carried away. In that way, she unwisely played into the hands of her enemies, who are predominantly the cabal holding aviation industry hostage – those who want business to remain as usual. At the end, she paid the price for not playing by the rules and her enemies rejoiced. Her greatest mistake was that you cannot be a reformer and live below board. Reforms hurt special interests. The owners of such interests would naturally fight back to retain the status-quo which guarantees their profit.

I was one of those who personally admired Oduah. I had wished she did well, being a woman. It would have gone a long way in bridging gender inequality in Nigeria. I also, on a personal note, wished her well, being a friend of her brother during my times in Cologne, Germany. Nevertheless, her misbehaviour was not tolerable, neither was it pardonable. You don’t bend the rules because people you like broke them.

Jonathan had tried to bend the rules for Oduah until he found out that the heat was unbearable. She had only become an agonizing political liability. This is why I refrain from congratulating this president for sacking those enmeshed in corruption, who dined with him. There is no sincerity in their sacking. They were not sacked because Jonathan was interested in ethics or in the fight against corruption. It was only onslaught towards 2015 – a selfish move aimed at winning back the trust of the Nigerian people.

It is useless to inquire if Jonathan would be successful in getting Nigerians to trust him again. Even if Nigerians would not trust him again, who would they? The so-called Alliance for Progressive Change (APC) has not presented Nigerians with a viable alternative. It takes only an extraordinary candidate to defeat an incumbent anywhere in the world, more so in Africa, where it rarely happens. The names I hear of in the APC do not come near to even being average candidates. In fact, they are worse than Jonathan.

Based on the covenant between Nigerians and Jonathan and his performance as president, he should not bother asking for another mandate. He failed to deliver on his promise – a breath of fresh air. The air got worse under his watch. For those who love Nigeria, it saddens to know that he would remain president beyond 2015. There is simply no credible challenger.

This cast a big question mark on Nigeria’s recruitment and reward system. The mere fact that all those within a touching distance of challenging Jonathan are people of questionable character simply goes to underline that something is terribly wrong with the country. No thanks to a dubious recruitment and reward system bequeathed on the Nation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, those who are competent and those who genuinely love Nigeria and have something to contribute to her forward-march never get a chance to serve their fatherland. As a result of godfatherism, mostly unqualified people and charlatans ambled their way up Nigeria’s political ladder.

Recently, I listened once more to the brilliant speech of former Prime Minister, late Tafawa Balewa before the United Nations. Again I cried for Nigeria. You could only ask yourself, where did people like Balewa, Azikiwe and Awolowo go? Nigeria did not stop producing such people. The truth of the matter is that there is an abundance of people like them. The only thing is that the sycophants the military handed over power to, so that they could protect their interests, hijacked the country. And they would do all, including assassinating, to make sure that people like Balewa are prevented from coming close to power.

Jonathan is the biggest beneficiary of a system that encourages mediocrity. He should never have been president in the first place. He was propped up by a dubious system. Unfortunately, as he said recently, he is still better than those calling him names.

*checkpointcharley@yahoo.de

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Nigeria was born deformed 100 years ago and has died long before, says Bakare.


bakare 2

PM NEWS LAGOS – The General Overseer of Nigeria’s Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said that the country called Nigeria was born deformed 100 years ago, adding that it died when Major General Aguiyi Ironsi abolished the regions in 1966.
The convener of the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, said this while speaking on the topic: “Birthing A New Nigeria Without Complications” during a live programme on Eko FM 89.75, on Tuesday, and monitored on the SNG’s twitter handle @savenigeria. Bakare added that the “Federal Republic of Nigeria” is a lie.
He said with the way the Nigerian is currently structured, we can never produce the Nigeria of our dreams.
“If we are going to become a united nation, we need to sit down and renegotiate our destiny. The foundation of our problem is that the British ensured that for 46 years there was little interaction between the North and the South. The British ensured that the military was basically north. Where ever there is economic interest you will see military. The British were here for the economic interest
“The January 1 1914 amalgamation was merely administrative. The amalgamation of the judiciary was in 1916 and that was of the legislature was in 1947. Awo and Zik were nationalists, they set up AG and NCNC but the northern parties were given northern identities. Nigeria died a long time ago when Major General Aguiyi Ironsi abolished the regions
“The “Federal” Republic of Nigeria is a lie. This baby (Nigeria) was already born deformed. The way the Nigerian government is currently structured can never produce the Nigeria of our dreams. If we don’t restructure and have a people’s constitution, we are deceiving ourselves. Elections cannot produce it. We must not put the cart before the horse,” he warned.
Bakare wondered if there are still people in this nation capable of birthing the new Nigeria.
“George Washington refused salary as president but Nigerian politicians go into elections to make money. But there are people who will put the nation first. I am a beneficiary of Awolowo’s free education policy”
“Don’t trust anyone who has never been tested with power. The way we are going, America is beating the drum that there will not be a Nigeria by 2015 and we are dancing to it. We can avert disaster by going to the negotiation table,” he said.
Speaking on the National Confab, he said,”no matter by what nomenclature the government sets up a national conference, let’s go to the negotiation table. Any constitution that will not bend will break.
“Time has come to recaliberate prayer, evangelism and social activism. There is no time better than now for Nigerians to talk. This confab must produce a new constitution. There is hope for Nigeria.”
“We have had so many low men in high places but we have had good leaders as well. Sixty five per cent of the electorate are youths and they are the ones that can actually change things. When the youth refuse to bow they will not burn
“It’s not difficult to fight corruption. First you must be incorruptible yourself. The reason I teamed up with General Buhari was his anti-corruption track record.
“Pepper thieves are sent to jail while corrupt bank executives are kept in 5-Star hospitals,” he laments.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Afenifere In The Tank For Jonathan: Who Speaks For Yoruba? By Ademola Bello.


By Ademola Bello

I have a slight pause because Afenifere moves closer to the guy in Aso Rock. Afenifere turns away from Yoruba plights. They’ve become a ‘metaphorical piano’ that can be bought with impractical gifts.

Yoruba are giving up on Afenifere because there’s no point to it anymore. The group has got us nowhere under Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.

This is serious. Afenifere press releases by Yinka Odumakin seems like the size of the coin that you will get from President Jonathan communication team of Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe.

Afenifere your heart is not finished-but we can no longer hear your voice that once charmed us with rare integrity and intelligence.

Afenifere is no longer committed to the struggle of common and poor people. The present crop Afenifere is like a train wreck that is in denial of truth.

Yoruba people are in despair, yes, Tinubu is not a Yoruba leader; and Obasanjo should not be the APC navigator. (He, Obasanjo, undermined his own brightest legacy as a military Head of State who handed over to civilian by admitting that he was responsible for Shagari’s victory against Chief Awolowo in the 1979 presidential election).

We all agreed that APC has no ideology, but what has Afenifere done for Yoruba people lately?

What is wrong with Afenifere? Why this buzzed and twittered malicious satisfaction to congratulate Jonathan’s sinking presidency on his exquisite work and fake national conference?

Goodluck Jonathan is a political disaster, and the worst civilian president in Nigeria’s history.

This present Afenifere is a confusion and embarrassment. Now Omisore a suspect in the murder of Chief Bola Ige who was deputy leader of Afenifere, and former Attorney General of the Federation walks in and takes off his raincoat to take important seat as a member of Afenifere. The ghost of Bola Ige is crying for justice.

Afenifere, the Yoruba stare at you uncomprehendingly! For God’s sake, give this romance with President Jonathan a break!

Yoruba sons and daughters would be more interested if Afenifere is promoting Yoruba cultures, history and values. Afenifere should not just be about politics; we need Afenifere to be champions in promoting Yoruba cultural renaissance. Afenifere should be working with people like Professor Akinwumi Isola and filmmaker Tunde Kelani on preserving Yoruba cultural heritage and making sure Yoruba kids learned the language instead of all that noise about politics.

Afenifere, please stop this effusively apologetic press releases in defense of Goodluck Jonathan presidency. This is a precious advice, if you like you can take it. I think your business is done in politics. Afenifere you no longer speak for Yoruba people.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Of Symbolism And Greatness: The Case of Awolowo and Mandela By Remi Oyeyemi.


The famous poet and author, Odia Ofeimu stirred a very interesting debate when during an interview on Saharareporters TV he asserted that the late sage Obafemi Awolowo was greater than Nelson Mandela. He noted that the choice of the Great Awo over indefatigable Mandela was informed by the fact that the philosophical postulations about the workings of a state put forward by Awolowo “were superior to those credited to Mandela.”

Ofeimu had insisted “Mandela could not match the stature of Awolowo,” and added that Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah was the only African leader that could be seen to rival Awolowo. He said, “Bring all their writings, fine phrases, alright, but reduce them to economic terms, and I can tell you that there is only one man who rivals Awolowo in this respect and that is Nkrumah. Unfortunately unlike Awolowo, Nkrumah did not believe in either a democratic or a federal theory. If you want to save Africa, you need those two.”

The reports further quoted Ofeimu thus: “People talk about Mandela’s capacity to put various classes (of people) together as theory, but Awolowo ironed it out very clearly, why you don’t need a class struggle, in order to create a society in which all children can go to school; in which everybody can get a job, and in which old age pensions will be paid to people.” Ofeimu insisted that Awo was greater than Mandela while adding that Mandela did not do anything in South Africa that Awolowo did not do in Nigeria. He noted that Mandela was involved in a negotiation that ended apartheid while Awolowo was involved in negotiations that led to Nigeria’s independence from colonialism.

This interview elicited lots of responses. Some of them were objective and as expected some were just crass. The intellectual perspective that Ofeimu wanted educated and informed minds to dissect and debate was not seen by those who could not overcome their dislike for Mandela or hatred for Obafemi Awolowo. Some however, were of the view that the simple fact that Mandela was more internationally known would suggest that he was greater than Awolowo. This simplistic and naïve view appeared to be more acceptable and it is the reason one has to examine whether being a popular symbol is the same thing as being great.

Why popularity could be considered a variable of greatness, there are a lot more profound variables of greatness that one would have to consider in doing comparative analysis of personalities like Awolowo and Mandela. Such variables would include the context of operation, the intellectual contributions, exuded level of discipline, manifested degree of sacrifice among several others.

Mandela has a body of beliefs. He understands what he stands for and paid a lot of sacrifices for what he believed. During the 1964 Rivonia Trial, he had said the following:

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

This “ideal of a democratic and free society” is not novel. It did not originate from Mandela. What he espoused in this speech is not an idea that has not been heard of nor did he use this as a template of a consummated political philosophy that could be deeply studied in political or social sciences. It is political activism pure and simple.

The Free Encyclopedia noted: “Although he presented himself in an autocratic manner in several speeches, Mandela was a devout believer in democracy and abided by majority decisions even when deeply disagreeing with them. He held a conviction that “inclusivity, accountability and freedom of speech” were the fundamentals of democracy and was driven by a belief in natural and human rights. This belief drove him to not only pursue racial equality but also to promote gay rights as part of the post-apartheid reforms.”

Mandela’s beliefs have no theoretical and practical economic dimensions. Neither did Mandela bequeath any religious aspect of his political belief and the possible links therein that could be transformed to serious intellectual discourse in social analysis as to why certain things are the way they are and why they had to be changed and how that change had to be accomplished. Despite his profile as a “courageous man” his failure to carry out his long held belief of nationalization {borrowed from his days as a member of South African Communist Party} as a means of economic redistribution was considered as lacking in conviction.

“By the time of his death, Mandela had come to be widely considered “the father of the nation” within South Africa, and “the founding father of democracy”, being seen as “the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”. Mandela’s biographer Anthony Sampson commented that even during his life, a myth had developed around him that turned him into “a secular saint” and which was “so powerful that it blurs the realities.” Within a decade after the end of his Presidency, Mandela’s era was being widely thought of as “a golden age of hope and harmony”. Across the world, Mandela earned international acclaim for his activism in overcoming apartheid and fostering racial reconciliation, coming to be viewed as “a moral authority” with a great “concern for truth”. (Free Encyclopedia)

Mandela was a symbol against oppression which has no new philosophical contribution to human knowledge. Oppression is an age-long characteristic of society and will continue to be because of the tendency of man to be inhuman to fellow men. Madela is not the first in this genre of political activism and he would not be the last. There has been Albert John Lithuli in South Africa, Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Frederick Douglas and Malcom X in the United States, Benigno Aquino in Philipines, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Herbert Macaulay in Nigeria and Marcus Garvey who was deported to the Caribbean Islands by the US government among several others.

There are other freedom fighters who became Presidents or Premiers to rule their respective countries after their activism just like Mandela. These include Obafemi Awolowo (imprisoned like Mandela), Nnamdi Azikwe of Nigeria and Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria, Kwameh Nkrumah (came out of jail like Mandela to rule his country) of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jommo Kenyata of Kenya, Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Zulkafir Ali Bhutto of Pakistan,Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Jawahalal Nehru of India among others. Personalities like Ernesto Che Guevera (Argentina/Cuba), Robert Nesta Marley (Jamaica), Fidel and Raul Castro (Cuba), Salvador Guillermo Allende (Chile) among several others are all popular freedom fighters some of who paid greater sacrifices than Nelson Mandela. The only difference between them and Mandela was because the West commoditized and commercialized Mandela and made him popular for the sake of profit. The Award of a Nobel Peace Prize by the same Western World that initially demonized him was to redeem the conscience of the West that was the bastion of oppression across the non-Caucasian world. Mandela does not represent any more moral force in Africa or the rest of the world than Mahatma Gandhi or Patrice Lumumba or Awolowo or Martin Luther King Jr.

Mandela eventually did not need to die for his “ideal” like Thomas Sankara, Walter Rodney, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Ken Saro Wiwa, Kudirat Abiola, Che Guevera among several others. His adoption by the Western world as a poster boy and symbol of freedom in the West’s eagerness to atone for its supporting the evil apartheid system in South Africa could not be divorced from the objective of profit making. The West, always sniffing profit in anything and everything consciously encouraged Mandela’s commoditization and commercialized him. Countless books and memorabilia fostered the popularity of Mandela as a symbol but not essentially as an idea. But given today’s information technology, Mandela could not be anything but popular because of his long incarceration. Yet this does not make him essentially GREAT as Ofeimu correctly contended.

This is because other than being an adopted symbol, a role in which any of the other freedom fighters could easily have been very effective and comfortable, Mandela has no identified political theory that he postulated. He has no economic theory that he could be associated with. He did not put forth any original social theory that has any intellectual value. But those other theories he adopted and described as “ideal” were clear and he was committed to them to the last.

When Mandela became the President of South Africa, his era could only be described as “a golden age of hope and harmony”. Mandela could not claim to belong to the class of serious philosophers. Neither could he claim any serious administrative acumen. His only claim to fame was being jailed for 27 years and becoming a symbol of the struggle against oppression. But so was Obafemi Awolowo, Mahatma Gandhi, Kwame Nkrumah, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others.

Mandela was a freedom fighter like Awolowo. Awolowo was jailed like Mandela, though for a shorter span. Mandela became the leader of his people like Awolowo. Awolowo is a symbol of political activism like Mandela. Awoism is an idea symbolized by Awolowo while Mandela is a symbol propagated as an idea devoid of serious original philosophical fundamentals other than borrowed and adapted body of beliefs. Unlike Awolowo, Mandela was not an administrative genius. Mandela has no philosophical profundity like Awolowo. Mandela had no socio-economic and political theories that he propounded unlike Awolowo who had theories on politics, economics, religion, social sciences in relationship with man. Unlike Mandela, Awolowo was not commoditized or commercialized by the West and as a result could not have been as popular as Mandela. Unlike Mandela, Awolowo was not on the stage in the 1990s when the information technology was unraveling. But obviously, Awolowo is deeper and more profound.

Awo is an idea – an idea about humanity for the development of its potential in relation to factors of production without enslaving man. He was a philosopher as in Socrates, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Descartes, John Locke, Leibniz, Jean Jacques Rousseau and others. Mandela was not. Awo was a prophet – his uncanny ability to make predictions about society is unequalled. Mandela was not. Awo was a pacesetter in so many areas for the African Continent. Mandela was not. Mandela as president has no landmark achievement for his South African people that we can point to.

Awolowo was first a thinker, and only secondly a politician of whatever genre one may want to ascribe it to. According to Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, “Among Africa’s political leaders he is pre-eminent in the analytical manner in which he approached Africa’s enormous economic, political and social problems. His mind ranged far and wide on very complex issues of governance in Africa. Because of his strong belief in the power of the intellect, Chief Awolowo developed and propagated his ideals and vision for Nigeria in a forceful manner. He was concerned to break the – cultural barrier existing in Nigeria and to develop the State into a modem industrial nation . . .In his conduct, in and out of office, Chief Awolowo was guided by the need to promote social justice. The truths which he espoused are marching on, and will remain valid for all time.”

Looking at all the books published by and about Mandela, 90% of them are about his struggles and his prison experience. There are little about any propounded theories on any subject. There are some about his beliefs. But there is a big gap between having beliefs based on what other more gifted intellectual minds have propounded and actually coming forward with your own. This is where Awolowo ascended a higher ladder of greatness than Mandela. Their writings are the evidences of this. Mandela is a packaged product, commoditized and commercialized for profit. Awo is not. He is as authentic and substantive in the realm of idea, with seminal ability to provide the synergy between theories and practicality than Mandela ever was or could ever have dreamt.

On the basis of the internationalization of Mandela, some, out of dislike, bitterness, “bad belle” and naivity, referred to Awo as local and limited to the Yoruba Nation. They fail to realize that Socrates, Edmund Burke, Francis Bacon, Mahatma Gandhi, Bertrand Russel, David Hume, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Jean-Paul Sartre were local just as many other philosophers. Mandela did not belong to this special class for obvious reasons. Mandela did not do anything for any Nigerian or Malian or Kenyan except being a symbol for them. But Awolowo did a lot more for Africans and humanity by propounding theories on their socio-economic and religio-political troubles, why things are the way they are, what they can do about it and how to go about liberating themselves from the vagaries of subjugation, oppression, poverty and want. Mandela does not come close.

Looking at levels of discipline, it would be difficult to say that one is less disciplined than the other. But in terms of self denials which is also a genre of discipline in itself, Awolowo towers above Mandela. Mandela ended up with three wives while Awolowo remain unalloyedly faithful to his one and only wife, Dideolu. Mandela divorced his first wife Evelyn after 13 years in 1957. The divorce was attributed to his unfaithfulness characterized as “multiple strains of adultery” and constant absences. Mandela later had two other wives before his death.

Odia Ofeimu was very correct when he pointed out that the philosophical postulations about the workings of a state put forward by Awolowo “were superior to those credited to Mandela.” And guess what, everything is about the state. It was the State that put Mandela behind bars for 27 years. It is the way, manner and how a state is organized that determines the fortunes and freedom of man in relation to the factors of production. It was the main reason why the French King Loius XIV uttered the immortal words “l’Etat c’est moi” – “I am the State.” Awolowo gave serious thoughts to this in his writings as opposed to Mandela who regaled us with stories of his incarceration. Awolowo provided thoughts that would continue to be the curious subject of objective as well as subjective intellectual research, discourse and study in religion, politics, economics and social studies across the planet, while Mandela would only continued to be held as a symbol of struggle against oppression. Both would continue to have their days in the classrooms all over the world, but at the end of the day, there would not be any doubt about who has more intellectual depth and was more profound among the two.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

Jonathan Vs Obasanjo: Strategies At Play By Asuelimen Aisabokhale.


By Asuelimen Aisabokhale

Nigerians are rightfully horrified by former President Olusegun Obasanjo‘s and President Goodluck Jonathan‘s naked dance in the market.  Everyone already knows that Obasanjo likes to unleash pent-up rage at political enemies. Ask former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. But we are just now learning that Jonathan, though gentle and genial, is not a timid guy. Jonathan’s letter to his pen pal, Obasanjo, shows that when faced with a threat to his political life, he can as well spew out venom. But the strategic intents of both individuals and their letters’ probable ramifications are beyond mere political survival, which is why Nigerians should be alarmed.
Obasanjo’s motivation can be found in the second paragraph of his letter, which is that he has been progressively marginalized by the Jonathan government. He stated that “… none of the four or more letters that I have written to you in the past two years or so has elicited an acknowledgement or any response.” For Baba, that’s an insult, coming from a so-called political son. He repeatedly hammered Jonathan’s inner circle of “selfish and self-centered aides” who have inserted the President into a bubble and insulated him from Big Brother’s prying eyes. Subtly but clearly, Obasanjo expressed frustrations with his waning influence in the South West, within PDP and, if Jonathan decides to run in the next election, in who becomes probably the next President of Nigeria.

To jolt Jonathan out of slumber, the former army general who helped end the Nigerian civil war needed to rally his troops on the crest of unsavoury popular sentiments about the country’s state of affairs. Clearly, the overarching goal is to take the oxygen out of Jonathan’s second term (or third term?) ambition. Obasanjo’s tactical contours and the timing of his letter are a masterstroke. Consider the implosion within the PDP, the APC‘s new lease of life, heightening insecurity in the country, incessant allegations of corruption – all reinforcing the perception of a rudderless ship of state.

Consequently, Obasanjo sprinkled salt in Jonathan’s open wound in order to further stoke public anger against the administration. Yet Obasanjo audaciously said it was his patriotic duty to do so. Jonathan calls him Baba and, as Chinue Achebe reminds, when a child calls you father, have no hand in his death.

There is no argument that Obasanjo played to Northerners’ sentiments that the presidency returns to that region. By positioning himself as a nationalist, a great apostle of Northern interest, one who handed over power to both Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua at different times, Obasanjo’s level of ingratiation becomes odious. Just so we refresh memories, his third term agenda didn’t actually advance Northern interest.

Nevertheless, from a strategic political perspective, his letter must be a net positive. It instantly provides him with a constituency among the rebel governors, emirs, even Northern grassroots population, who have suddenly found one with a big mouth and a loud megaphone to champion their interest. Already, delegations are queuing to pay homage in Otta.

In the manner of the late Obafemi Awolowo who wrote an 18-page letter to Shehu Shagari in 1981, Obasanjo also wants to play the prophet. Awolowo had warned of dire economic consequences unless policies were changed. While Shagari and his team ridiculed Awolowo’s letter as the ranting of a frustrated man, history proved that the late sage was right and Shagari was wrong, as the Nigeria economy subsequently nosedived. Along the same line, sensing the seeming meltdown of the PDP, Obasanjo calculates that should an Armageddon happen, he could easily be touted as one who spoke truth to power – to a President he imposed on the country in the first place.  That’s a trophy he would like to keep in his legacy cupboard.

On good authority, Obasanjo’s letter rankled Jonathan and his team who decided it was time to take off the gloves. Jonathan’s response is motivated by several factors, chiefly that enough is enough, that Obasanjo’s closets must be opened so that everyone can see the skeletons in there. Jonathan and his team want to accomplish three things: rebut Obasanjo’s vitriolic criticisms, undercut his argument by damaging his credibility and showcase achievements of the current administration. The jury is still out on this strategy.

There is no doubt that Jonathan hit Obasanjo below the belt, even acknowledging in his letter that “the grapes have gone sour.” But Jonathan also took serious risks by describing the former leader’s letter as “distinctly ominous” and a “threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.”  Simply put, you can’t accuse anyone of threatening national security and let them go free. If the law must apply, then the stage should be set for Obasanjo to answer a few questions from investigators. Given that no pot is big enough to cook Obasanjo (to paraphrase Tony Anenih), the President may have inadvertently weakened his hand.

Of course Jonathan also hopes that the timing of his letter takes Obasanjo off his imperial pedestal.  The former President’s daughter, Iyabo, had allegedly asked her dad in another open letter whether Nigeria belonged to him. By discrediting Obasanjo’s moral high ground, Jonathan’s henchmen believe they can seize the narrative and nip in the bud, once and for all, the antics of an overbearing former leader.

But the problem with Jonathan’s approach is that he is the President. People care less about what happened in Obasanjo’s government many years ago; people look up to the current leader to fix things. That’s why they hired him. Second, by taking on Obasanjo in a tit-for-tat manner, Jonathan elevates a citizen (it doesn’t matter if he’s an ex-President) to a level of an alternate President. Third, Obasanjo’s vituperations are good ammo for the opposition and each day that Nigerians debate this issue, he wins and Jonathan loses. Fourth, Jonathan’s letter was more defensive than substantive, appearing more like a desperate attempt to maneuver out of a rope-a-dope situation he had been boxed into. Leadership 101: when a President takes on an individual who espouses popular sentiments, there can only be one loser: the President.

The tone of Jonathan’s letter also suggests a siege mentality, if not insensitivity, to current economic, security and political situations in the country. Simple logic: Nigerians believe the country is not doing well. Obasanjo says things are bad. Jonathan says things are good. Therefore, Obasanjo is on the side of the people. Ask the millions of unemployed youths if they are happy with their leaders. Ask the families of those whose loved ones have been murdered in cold blood if there is security in Nigeria. Ask those who have to pay bribes everyday to get the simplest things done if there is corruption in the country.

Jonathan has a point that previous leaders left him a mess and they are now accusing him of not cleaning the mess fast enough. But Nigerians know of only one President and his name is Goodluck Jonathan. A President soaks in insults, even those from predecessors. It’s part of the job. The popular leadership refrain is, if you can’t stand the heat, don’t get in the kitchen.

Jonathan’s letter was ill-advised because it accentuates the key issue in the debate, which is, are Nigerians better off today than they were in the past?

Unfortunately for Jonathan, there cannot be an objective response to that question because memories are often like the morning dew: they disappear in no time. Winston Churchill won World War II and lost the next election. George H. Bush won the first Iraqi war, continued Ronald Reagan’s economic prosperity policies, but he never got reelected. No one talks about how Obama liquidated Osama Bin Laden. Charles Taylor is still wildly popular in Liberia despite his despicable past. Buhari is perhaps the most popular politician in the North yet only few remember the terror he unleashed in 1985 when he became Head of State.

Jonathan can rightly claim some accomplishments but these have been tamely promoted. Therefore, the more this debate continues, the more it chips away at his credibility. Presidents are politicians and needn’t fight a fight they will not win because the cost of fighting is far greater than the cost of peacemaking.  Joe Machin, a top US senator from President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, harshly criticized the President the other day and even accused him of policies likely to result in an economic meltdown. Obama’s response is hush! hush! Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, United States, a Republican, was photographed wagging fingers in Obama’s eyes in a frightening spectacle of blatant disrespect. Days later, Obama cooled tempers saying that she was merely passionate.

The frozen relationship between Obasanjo and Jonathan is unlikely to thaw. So is that of the President and Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. So is that of the President and the rebel governors. So is that of the President and certain regions. Perhaps so is that of the President and some former leaders (If you believe Obasanjo). The opposition is beating the drums while PDP is engaged in a macabre dance. There’s only one way out: ignore the hawks; embrace the doves. Try one more time, Mr. President, to make peace with all and salvage your government – and your legacy.

Asueliment Aisabokhala is a leadership expert based in the United States
kiaisabo@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Jonathan’s Response To Obasanjo Is A Master Piece From A Great Mind! By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

What amazes me about Nigeria is why in spite of all the talents and geniuses the country has continued to produce in all walks of life, Nigeria still remains a poorly-led country with little or nothing to show for her God-given blessings in good weather, mineral resources, manpower, and diversity. One out of every 4 Africans is a Nigerian. There is strength in our cultural diversity, our land mass and population which places Nigeria on the cutting edge of power among African nations.

Nigeria was destined by God to be the land flowing with milk and honey, but the country is being held back and impoverished by very weak leadership and our failure to have and to elect selfless leaders like Nelson Mandela  who places his nation’s interest above his own and was more than ready to lead by example by not preaching what he did not not practice like most of our leaders who are also in denial about the real state of things in our country. Hear Jonathan tell the world that Corruption is grossly exaggerated in Nigeria. Under his leadership and transformation agenda corruption has spread to all of the Nigerian embassies overseas. Right here in the Nigerian Consulate in New York getting your passport renewed used to take just one day under one Ibo ambassador. Today you will have to bribe your way to getting or renewing your passport and you may have to wait for a month or more as the consular staff tell you their Consulate is short of ink to print or their cameras have malfunctioned in the greatest city in the world where those items can be replaced for chicken change at Staples or any other stationery store in New York.

Nigerian leaders including Jonathan would be well advised to go read “MADIBA  A to Z” – A profile of the many faces of Nelson Mandela authored by Danny Schechter.” I have just read the book from cover to cover. Once I started reading it I could not put it down until I finished it. The same Mandela has correctly analyzed the problems of Nigeria as caused by the heartless indifference and corruption of our leaders. Nigeria ought to have been given a front seat at the burial of Mandela by reason of the Nigerian contributions to the South African Liberation Movement under Murtala Mohammed in particular. Nigeria forfeited that right and recognition because of the caliber of the Nigerian leadership at this time and their notoriety for corruption and kleptomania of the worst order.

The Mandela advice to Nigeria which was well publicized at his burial would appear to have been validated by the 18 page letter recently addressed to the current Nigerian President by our longest-serving Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Just when we are still digesting the full import and implications of that letter, another 11 page letter from the eldest daughter of the same Obasanjo who became a Senator by riding on the coattails of her famous father, is right now circulating on the Internet. I have just finished reading a copy of the letter and I am baffled as I linked that letter in my mind with an earlier indictment of the same Obasanjo by his first son not too long ago. The general impressions of the enigma named Obasanjo by other Nigerians who have been very close to him reveal the same scandal. It occurred to me to delay writing this article until I am able to see more reactions of Nigerians to the latest indictment of Obasanjo by one of his own blood and flesh again. I wanted to do that before going ahead to comment on Obasanjo’s letter to Goodluck Jonathan and his “impersonated” response to that letter by a top notch journalist and brilliant mind, Sonala Olumhense, a man I so much admire as I gather up my thoughts to do this piece..

You can say all you want till you turn blue in the face about the motivation and the hypocrisy of Obasanjo in writing his 18 page letter to our current President, one thing you cannot deny or take away from Obasanjo is the fact that the man may be devilish  but he sure knows his onions and he spoke the truth about President Jonathan and the current state of affairs in Nigeria.

In writing this piece I draw a lot of strength from my experience as a one-time speech writer in my career in the Federal Public Service of Nigeria for 25 years. What a good speech writer does is put himself in the position and mindset of the person for whom he is writing. The speech writer imagines what the person going to deliver the speech would have wanted to say to his audience and he reflects such opinions and sentiments in his draft in the hope and expectation the person delivering the speech would reserve the right to add or take out anything from the draft that is not true. Given that presumption, I just cannot see any one statement Mr. Olumhense has made in that satire that President Jonathan can deny. It was a brilliant and truthful write-up from the beginning to the end.

I honestly believe that Mr. Olumhense has done a marvelous job in putting himself in the shoes of President Jonathan and giving such a wonderful response that places Obasanjo and Jonathan in the same bracket of culpability for the shortcomings of Nigeria. Who would have thought the same man who gave Jonathan his chance to be President of Nigeria to begin with, could be so frustrated with him to a point that he could now write him such a letter and make it public without expressing any sense of guilt. For those who may not know, Goodluck Jonathan was the brain child of Obasanjo. There was no way in the world, Jonathan would have emerged the President of Nigeria had he not been picked to be the running mate to a terminally-ill Umaru Yar Adua who Obasanjo knew could hardly live long enough to finish his first term as President based on his medical record as Governor in Katsina which ought to have been scrutinized or properly vetted if Nigeria was not a banana Republic.

Obasanjo had to know that Jonathan was only a heartbeat from the Presidency in the event of Yar Adua dying in office, which was exactly what happened. That Nigeria would allow that scenario to play out like that without lifting a finger says a lot more about Nigerians than it said about Obasanjo. A chain is as strong as its weakest link. A country which would reject candidates like Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo to go settle for a Tafawa Balewa or a Shehu Shagari had to be sick in the head. Shagari or Tafawa Balewa were no where near Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo by their readiness to be President or Prime Minister of Nigeria. Nigeria always settles for a compromise choice rather than looking for a candidate best equipped and qualified to lead the country. Little wonder the country has always been poorly-led and served by Lilliputians whose only claim to office is their place of origin..

Before I comment any further, I urge any of you who have not read Olumhense’s satire to go to Sahara reporters.com to get a copy of Olumhense’s rendition of the kind of response President Jonathan, the Obateru of Owu in Egba land might have given to the 18 page letter from his political god father, the controversial Balogun of Owu. You could call the 2 letters an exchange of correspondence between two high chiefs of Owu in Abeokuta. The wizardry displayed in that letter by Olumhense is what has captured my fancy in writing this piece.

As a speech writer in my days in the Federal Civil Service, I used to put myself in the mind set of the big boss be it a Permanent Secretary or a Federal Commissioner or a Head of State of Governor for whom I was preparing a speech. I used to incorporate in my drafts the kind of information or advice I thought the big boss was most likely to want to put in their speech. In other words I had to know the boss very well and be a good mind reader just like Mr. Olumhense has shown in his very entertaining response supposedly written by a President whose eloquence in the English Language is so profoundly mediocre that he always ends up saying the opposite of what he has been coached to say by his speech writers. He embarrassed Nigeria in making his own comments at the world-celebrated funeral of Nelson Mandela.

President Jonathan has become a loose canon who has to be carefully watched because his own verbiage as President is only one or two notches better than that of his egomaniac first lady with a Ph.D from some back wood university in South Korea. The President has earned his own Ph.D in Zoology from Port Harcourt. He would have been better off serving as a leader in an animal farm kind of setting than a big country like Nigeria.

I remember once drafting a speech like the one Mr. Olumhense has brilliantly crafted for our clown President. I was writing the speech for the first lady Permanent Secretary in the Federal Public Service of Nigeria. I am talking about  Mrs. Francesca Yetunde Emanuel aka (Franco) who recently turned 80 and was a guest of honor  at the Sahara TV studio on October 5 on the occasion of the 53rd celebration of Nigeria‘s independence in the big apple. The woman is still alive and well, and can  testify to what I am about to say in this write-up. I knew that my projecting her as the first lady Permanent Secretary in the Federation could be easily misconstrued by her audience. I let them know up front,that the late Mrs. Ighodalo  and late Mrs. Alakija nee Adesoji Aderemi were Permanent Secretaries before her, but that the two of them were Permanent Secretaries in the old Western Region and not the Federal Service of Nigeria.

I knew it was important to let her audience hear that up front. I was very proud of what I wrote before I passed on the draft to Mrs Emanuel for her approval. I was apprehensive she might not like everything I have put in my draft, but I was confident from my knowing her very well that she was probably going to like my draft, and she sure did, praising the draft and thanking me for a job well done. She made me feel a few inches taller than I was because she was an extremely smart Permanent Secretary and arguably one of the best among her peers which included at the time, the four musketeers or super permanent secretaries comprising Allison Ayida, Philip Asiodu, Eme Ebong and Ahmed Joda.

That draft became the foundation pillar to my more than 40 years of close association with Mrs. Emanuel. She respected me and I adored her. She actually told me I surprised her with that speech because up to that point she used to think of me as “a dapper don womanizer and God’s gift to women” to use her exact word.  I did not deny being a womanizer in my youth,  but I was also an independent thinker and I take my job seriously. I do love women even now in my twilight years, but I try not to allow that weakness to get in the way of my objectivity and natural desire to excel. Mrs. Emanuel found out first hand I was not what a few of my colleagues in the Ministry had thought I was because I love to dress well and it still remains part of my DNA till tomorrow. I was an average student at school, but I recognize a good write-up when I see one. The Olumhense satire blew me away in the way it was put together. How I wish I could write like that..

I did pass the test as a speech writer for Mrs. Emanuel but I failed woefully when I tried to repeat the same scenario with Chief Obafemi Awolowo. After my posting from the Federal Ministry of Establishment, I had the fortune or the misfortune of being posted at one point in my career to go serve as Secretary to the the Special Task Force on Student Financing set up by the Yakubu Gowon Regime with Awolowo as Chairman and the former President Shehu Shagari, Wenike Briggs and Shetima Ali Monguno as members. Also serving in the Task Force as adviser was late Abdul Azeez Attah, the first son of Ohinoyi, the Attah of Igbira land who was the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance at the time.

It was a high visibility Task Force in Nigeria and I was proud to serve as Secretary. The year was 1974. Awolowo was then Chancellor of the the University of Ife that was later named after him. Awo was to deliver a speech at the  Convocation where the late President Leopold Senghor of Senegal  and late Sir Eric Williams, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago were to be honored with honorary doctorate degrees.

I was asked by Abdul Azeez Attah to prepare the draft of the speech Awolowo was  going to deliver  at the Convocation. I was scared to death about the assignment because I only knew Awolowo by reputation and from what I read about him on the pages of newspapers as a former Premier of Western Nigeria. Putting myself in the mindset of the “Lion of Ikenne and one of the most articulate and brilliant minds Nigeria has produced was very intimidating for me. It was an assignment I could not dodge or refuse so I had to do the best I could to write a speech I knew was going to be cleared with Dodan Barracks since all Federal Commissioners or Ministers had to clear their speeches with the highest seat of Government.

I found myself between the Devil and the deep sea and there was no escape. So I ran around seeking advice from some of my trusted friends on what I could write to satisfy Awo. I traveled out of Lagos to Ibadan and Ile Ife to look for samples  of convocation speeches I could find anywhere. I went back to the old West to look for copies of previous speeches Awolowo had delivered as Premier. I thought I had enough information to do a draft I could be proud of. I wrote the draft after 2 weeks and I passed it on to the then Deputy Permanent Secretary, Aminu Saleh who  read the draft, approved it without changing a single word word in the draft. He too passed it on to the Oxford-trained Abdul Azeez Attah. He too read the draft, made one or two corrections before passing it on to Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I was monitoring the movement of the file  from one desk to another till it landed on Awo’s desk. The Lion of Ikenne read the draft, thanked Abdul Azeez for a good draft and the file came back to me passing thru the chain of command. I received a pat in the back for doing a good job and I was very proud of myself.

I confided in a few of my friends that Awolowo was going to read my draft at a convocation at Ife. Unknown to me and the chain of command in the Ministry, Awolowo had written his own speech without taking a word from our draft.  How did I know that? I knew it because I had accompanied Awolowo to the Convocation. The title of Awolowo’s speech for the occasion was “the 1974 Nigerian  Census” and why it must be annulled with immediate effect. As it turned out Awolowo had prepared that speech without clearing it with anybody including his boss , General Yakubu Gowon who was among the guests at the Convocation.

The Awolowo speech was the last straw that broke the 1974 Census back. When Murtala and Obasanjo sent Yakubu Gowon to the turkey farm in 1975 in a bloodless coup, one of the first acts of Murtala Mohammed as Head of State was to do what Awolowo had canvassed in his once-in-a-life-time speech. Murtala Mohammed annulled the Census by decree quoting verbatim some of the exact words Awolowo had deployed in his Convocation address. I would never forget that speech till I die.

Why am I bringing this up in assessing the efficacy of the beautiful satire Mr. Olumhense had put out as the kind of response President Jonathan should have given to Obasanjo’s 18 page indictment or condemnation of Jonathan’s Administration. I am doing it to show my appreciation for the genius of Mr. Olumhense in writing that satire. I think the man really knew President Jonathan and the way the man thinks. He did it in a way to bring laughter to the mouth of anyone reading it including Jonathan’s aides like Reuben Abati and Dr. Okupe who have become the President’s mouth organs, who are only interested in telling the President what he wants to hear and not what he needs to hear loud and clear. They are probably not aware as pointed out by Obasanjo that they have become the worst enemies of the President.

Once upon a time, I used to think a whole world of Reuben Abati who has now become one of the greatest turn-coats in Nigeria. I used to consider him a fire eater before his appointment to the kitchen cabinet of President Jonathan. I was hopeful that President Jonathan was going to succeed by having the courage of his conviction to let a fearless journalist like Reuben Abati serve in his Government. I never knew, for the life of me, that Mr. Abati was only positioning himself for power and drawing attention to himself by writing all those powerful editorials in the Nigerian Concord that make him the darling of many of us at home and abroad..

Once Abati has eaten out of the forbidden fruit of Power and Influence in Abuja, he has forgotten what he used to be. He has himself become one of the oppressors in Nigeria. If the President wanted somebody killed what Reuben Abati would be asking is what method he wanted them to use to carry out his order and not why the person deserves to die. When a President is served by useless aides like that, he should begin to sing his “Nunc Dimitis” because his downfall is around the corner as correctly predicted by Obasanjo.

I never thought Dr. Abati was a card carrying member of the P.D.P before he joined Jonathan’s Government. I thought he was the kind of man who was going to resign  from the Government if he found he was losing his soul by working for a President who is acting and behaving as if his entire life depends on clinging to that office like some of the African dictators before him like Mobutu Sese seko Kuku Ngbendu Waza Banga, Robert Mugabe or Idi Amin Dada of Uganda.

I read in total amazement the information Obasanjo had to know that the President was sponsoring and paying hired killers to go after individuals he did not like like the current Governor of Rivers State and so many others who did not see eye to eye with him and his first lady. I could care less about the terrible letter Iyabo Obasanjo has just put out to irredeemably and forever damage the credibility of her father as a public figure and elder statesman in Nigeria. Olusegun Obasanjo, for all his conflict of interest, indiscretion and double jeopardy as a leader actually did Nigeria a favor by indirectly admitting or regretting he totally misled the country by picking Jonathan as the running mate to Yar Adua and by tolerating him for close to 6 years before parting ways with him as revealed in that letter.

The satire by Mr. Olumhense is a masterpiece that gave out so much information on why President Jonathan has been an unmitigated disaster for Nigeria. Mr. Olumhense has done it in a way that is most entertaining and friendly. He has used one satire stone to kill so many birds in one shot. That satire has done as much damage to Obasanjo himself like it did to President Jonathan and all the current power brokers in the ruling P.D.P who deserve to be given the boot in 2015 if the country does not implode before then.

The opposition mega party in Nigeria may have its own problems it needs to work on, but I still think Nigeria would be better off with the opposition than keeping the P.D.P in power beyond 2015. Nigerian voters must appreciate there is some merit in giving the opposition a chance to prove their own mettle. If the opposition fumbles  like the P.D.P, it should take only 4 years to get rid of them like is done in the ideal democratic countries of the world. The Obasanjo hypothesis to keep the P.D.P in power for 100 years has been deflated as the hallucinations of a mad man. A one party dictatorship is as offensive and destructive in a Democracy. The parties should rotate power based on performance. Keeping just one party in power forever is a recipe for retrogression. If President Jonathan,, the P.D.P  and Professor Jega and his I.N.E.C would allow a free and fair election in 2015. there is no way in the world the President and the P.D.P would be returned to power with all the revelations in the Obasanjo’s letter and the latest from Obasanjo’s first daughter and former Senator of Nigeria. What goes around comes around. The P.D.P has outlived its usefulness. Unto your tent O Israel. Merry Xmas to all of you.

I rest my case.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

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