Sunday, 22 June 2014

PDP's Victory in Ekiti as Model for Jonathan 2015?

Congratulations to Dr Ayodele Fayose, the governor-elect of Ekiti. We hope that the latest Excellency in town would see his victory as the signature of a people determined to alter the direction of events. 

We have in the last 15 years, since the birth of the PDP, see all kinds of economic and political rabble-rousers clad under multifarious philosophies: the results are broken promises to the people. Dr Fayose himself has tasted power and powerlessness thereafter. He should therefore not take the people for granted: serve them, you’ve got a second chance! With Fayose’s victory, the tornado of political change may have begun, but it is too early to argue this any further.

President Jonathan may have, through this election, secure a positive number ahead of the opposition in the run-up to 2015. Further, the decision of the people of the State of Osun may further inch Dr Jonathan to the widely perceived dream of returning to the Villa in 2015 or reverse the gains if Omisore is defeated. Mr President should be far from this notion. Albeit, the southwest in a microcosm of the Nigerian State. Somehow, results from these elections can be used to extrapolate the outcome from other states or could be used to model what the president should hope for in the months ahead. If these views are in tandem with those of the President's strategists, then he should take early measures like sacking them. Reason, the Southwest, given her political history, is not an ideal model for predicting the success of a sitting president, at least in the medium term political dynamics of Nigeria. His road to the Villa in 2015 is characterised by innumerable maladies like Our Girls who are still in the hands of Shekau and his terror group. Mr President will also find it hard to rejuvenate the pre-2011 innate love that the masses had for him until he began driving himself against the people through the poverty development policies in the PDP cruise ship.

For the opposition, it is sad that we wasted huge amount of efforts panel-beating their personalities before the masses even when the characters in the movie are not better than those in the PDP. What then shall we say; who should we run to for help when those who are supposed to help us decide to hurt us. A damaging politicoeconomic mistake from the opposition is that their democratic gains were not well consolidated before embarking on poisonous policies against the people, e.g. the school reclassification/uniformication theory in Osun and the puerile Lagos State University tuition. The question maybe asked: Are those in the PDP of higher moral standards than the APC gladiators? Whatever the answer, we note form intuition that the common man is yet to see a political party built around Nigeria as a State; what we have now are sectional and parochial groups of politicians who have the power to work on our psychic and decide the direction of our thinking.

Finally, to the new governor, I am too little a commoner to inform you that you need to born again in view of your past political ordeals which you said were politically motivated. So, enjoy your stay in office and watch over your shoulders.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Atiku's Spots

The wave of political tornadoes that have hit the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) got to its climax on Sunday 2 February 2014 with the exit of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the Party. Mr Abubakar who described the PDP as irredeemable had in the past left the party and returned to it after loosing his bid to become Nigeria's president through another political platform in 2007. In this political time such moves are not dramatic considering recent political happenings that saw the exit of five PDP rebel governors that left the party after failed attempts at reconciling them with the old PDP.

What does the exit of Mr Abubakar mean for the ruling PDP's fortunes. It remains to be seen how the next political moves by the former VP would turn out to be in the months ahead. His home state of Adamawa in northern Nigeria is under his new political party the APC. The governor of the state, an old archnemesis of Atiku, is a strong man in the APC and he is likely not to oppose the former VP in his next political strategy, say wanting to become the presidential flagbearer of the APC. In the past, the VP had contested under the umbrella of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and lost the election to the late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua.  VP Abubakar's supporters are not in the majority in the PDP and his exit alone will not spring a headache for the ruling elite. As a matter of fact, the former veepee's allies are mostly now within the APC and he has no option other than to leave Dr Jonathan's party, the PDP. His continuous political flip-flop will certainly remind many of the nature and complexity of the skin of a leopard.

Many watchers of the Nigerian political scene will trace Atiku's political troubles to his former boss Mr Obasanjo.  It was in 2003 when speculations emerged that the then VP Abubakar will challenge his boss Obasanjo in the presidential primary of the then all-powerful PDP. This move angered President Obasanjo and the battle line was drawn later in the run-up to the dying days of Chief Obasanjo's administration. So, Atiku's political grave may have been dug by himself when he insinuated challenging his boss.

The object of this many ship-jumping to escape drowning under a weak captain may be a spoof as many have opined: that, it is not about how the opposition will do something differently like stamping out corruption, provision of portable water and other basic amenities that are key to survival. The old ways of doing things may not be affected by this cross-carpeting even after the 2015 elections because of the kind of people involved in the political game. We will continue to remember the old wine new bottle philosophy.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tribute to late Prof. Festus Iyayi

The nation was thrown into mourning on 12th November 2013 following the killing of Prof. Festus Iyayi of the University of Benin by a vehicle in the convoy of Captain Idris Wada, the Kogi State governor. This is the second time in less than a year that Mr Wada would be involved in a ghastly motor accident. Dr Iyayi is the second victim of the Wada killing machines. 

Dr Iyayi was the president of ASUU in the late eighties. His tenure was turbulent because he was up against a military junta headed by Gen Ibrahim Babangida or IBB. Following a national industrial action embarked upon by the ASUU, the union was labelled an illegal association of persons with evil motives who were teaching what they were not paid to teach and the union was subsequently proscribed by the IBB regime. His persecution never ended until he was detained and removed from the list of faculty members of one the universities in Nigeria where Iyayi was a teacher of microeconomics. Iyayi was never a teacher of creative writing but he earned global accolades and recognition for his beautiful works. One of his works, Heroes, won him the Commonwealth Writers Prize while he was under the persecution of the federal military government of Nigeria. 

The sadness that characterized the death Dr Iyayi was as result of the condition or the situation under which he was killed: he was on his way to Kano State in Northern Nigeria to partake in a joint decision of the body that would decided whether to continue or suspend the industrial action the union was observing at the time. He never got to Kano. He did as a result of the injury he sustained from the collision fashioned by the group of poorly-trained killer drivers of Gov. Wada. The governor later requested the concerned authority to help him train his chauffeurs. 

In a situation like this one is forced to ask: where are we going as a nation? Are the political leader interested in the education of the teaming youth? How can the docile youth help salvage a dying nation? The struggle that killed Prof Iyayi, will it continue? Could Iyayi have been so naive as to believe that his generation can heal Nigeria of its innumerable maladies? Who will carry on after Iyayi? We will certainly miss the man in Iyayi who refused to be rich even when he had the opportunity. Very few of his colleagues in the academia will put their lives on the line to travel on  the lethal Nigerian roads across the Niger River just for the purpose of trying to build a future of which he new he would never be part of. It is on this note that i see the danger ahead of the Nigerian state because it is his students nationwide, and not Iyayi, who are suppose to be protesting the moribund state of their learning environment. Regrettably, the student never new the depth of Iyayi's statesmanship and his commitment to their generation.   

As i write this contribution to the many voices of anger that greeted Iyayi's demise, the federal government is threatening a showdown with the Union leaders on the very day Iyayi would be laid to rest, December 4. The government of Dr Jonathan has instructed the Union to go back to work or risk being sacked. ASUU on their own have warned that any move to break the strike will be resisted. The union reminded Mr Jonathan that a military junta has tried it decades ago and had its fingers burnt. Will the president of 170 million people be called to order by a tiny pressure group: it remains to be seen. 

Adieu Festus Iyayi of Nigeria.  

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Tribal Support for Stella Oduah: The Beatitude of A Beautiful Baroness?

I don’t think it is right to say that the rented crowd that staged a march for Stella Oduah, the beleaguered Aviation Minister, is entirely Igbo.  I reckon that some of them might have been drawn from Alaba, Wuse, Onitsha markets etc just to pass messages of division and hate across; to show that the number of those calling for her prosecution is limited to one tribe; to demonstrate that their ‘daughter’ is being persecuted by enemies of progress.
Drumming supports for politicians in troubled circumstances are not new in the country; even in other lands you find such supports, though dimension and intention may vary. The uniqueness of everything about us is what some might term as strange. Every abnormality is normal; war is peace; stealing is sane; favouritism is fair; frivolity is fun; to plunder is to plough in some unique way. Only those who have contrary views to these ethical propositions are idiosyncratic and snooty. That is why a mere allegation of petty larceny is taken to mean crucifixion. After all whose business is it when a stellar gift is given to a beautiful and dutiful Stella; or who cares when a princely souvenir is given to a princess? No one has the right to pronounce anyone guilty until proven so.
The perceived subterfuge against Princess Oduah is nothing but a perennial rhetoric engineered to kill a genuine call for a probe. Given the jejune nature of the current administration, the sacking of Mr Oduah may prove illusive. Given Dr Jonathan’s knack for springing surprises, one is at liberty to say that he would rather have her redeployed than sack her. The President does not give a damn about asset declaration; he does not give a damn about any empty call for the sack of anybody. He can only sack a nonperforming minister. The contract obsessed FEC would not sacrifice a beautiful woman to appease a mischievous political call. She might even be beatified if need be. This is one of the most undisciplined FEC in recent times. Some would argue that Dr Jonathan is not responsible for the birth of corruption in the country, this is correct. But what has he done to check it?
Those who were on parade to give their support for Mrs Oduah may not be Anambra. Given the stories that we have read and heard about the rise to opulence of the beautiful minister – I mean about her knowing what she wanted and scheming to consolidate on what she already has – then the noise about her current predicament is coming out poor knowledge of the way things were ab initio. A white-bearded-old man said on a national television that Mrs Oduah’s background is nobler enough to fetch her whatever she wants in life. Given this assumption, one wonders what then the true meaning of nobility is. Based on what we know of the NNPC, a noblewoman would not want to discolour her immaculately pure autochthon by passing through the controversial energy organisation let alone spending about a decade on her (NNPC) payroll.
The master storyteller Prof Achebe has been celebrated in this country for high octane scholarship and dignity. He never accepted gifts (the mundane honours from Aso Rock). In fact, his works were more like my second Bible. I knew Achebe first as a Nigerian intellectual. Genuine and autochthonous people of Anambra have the natural proclivity to fete hard-work, dedication to duty, honest labour, scholarship and excellence. So it may not be correct to see those paid people as truly from Anambra. They have no tribe! Or, they belong to the tribe of the kleptomaniac elites while the rest of us belong to the Nigeria tribe – meaning essentially that there are two tribes in Nigeria; they belong to the tribe of the omnisciently psychopathic thieves that have been plundering this country.  

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

newPDP and oldPDP: Dr Goodluck Jonathan and the Rest of Us

The move by the Alhaji Baraje group might be politically expedient for two main reason. First, it exposed the deep seated failure of a collective group of people to properly associate and forge a common front towards meeting the needs of the larger society.  This sort of discontinuous disarray within the Nigerian political space is not limited to the PDP and has given room for intermittent interruption of true democratic process in most of the parties. There is no amount of name calling and brinkmanship that can change the situation of things with the political space as currently being operated – debilitatingly poor internal democracy within. And secondly, it exposed to the entire world the inability of the leaders to allow the rule of the game to prevail. Suffice it to say that the documentations of the rules of political parties within Nigeria might sound very elegant; it may even be among the best in the world. But because of the deep-seated corruption in the country, the operation of such papers are not practicable.
The failed efforts of those who have been appointed to lead the reconciliation of the renegades with mainstream partymen should not be befuddling owing to the situation Barack Obama described as strongmen weak institution. If the institutions are driven by true intention of providing enviable welfare for the people, I do not think that there should be open desecration of the political ambience. The need to forge a common front to fight poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease should be the primary focus of the group. Economic data are not encouraging at the moment. The number young people who are willing and able to work is about one-fourth of the nation’s total population. This alone should be the most critical concern of those paid by the people to help revamp an ailing economy.
My fear however is that we may collectively fall again into the hands of the President in 2015. This is very likely in view of the fact that Nigerians are extremely sentimental when it comes to taking important political decision such as voting to elect new political office holders. Past elections have not produced true democrats; rather, it has served as a boon to legendary politicians with inimitable political legerdemain. With water-tight cohesion with economists, politician usually get extolment after abdicating owing to tenure expiration; and, are honoured for their ‘selfless’ service  to the nation even when there is not proportionate redemption of the economy when a metric-tape is used to gauge the amount of money spent during a four-year-term and the physical infrastructure on ground.  Like in warfare, just as it is in present day Nigeria, hunger is a potent weapon for the political emancipation of the few smart ones – some see money as the election winning wand. With as a sum of money as meager as two dollars, congenitally poor Nigerians often commit crime against themselves. This is like committing suicide by stealth. The idea of living for tomorrow is only possible in the minds of those who can live beyond their immediate needs. The poor people in Nigeria are pitiably weak-minded individuals who are tools in the hands of powerful politicians. Some do not actually know what they want from the ruling class.
The president will certainly contest in 2015 and his homing to victory is not in doubt. The import of this argument is valid based on the electoral resources and the uniqueness of his generation. Dr Jonathan belongs to the facebook, twitter, etc generation of leaders with huge fan base on the internet. Nigeria being one of the fastest GSM economy in the world. With over 35 million mobile phone users in the country, Dr Jonathan will certainly not have problems reaching his audience. This is good news for him but it also depends on whether his popularity with these people is not waning. Most importantly, it is pertinent to mention that the presidency in Nigerian federal system is an astonishingly powerful office. In fact after the Almighty creator the president of the country is the next in command. The president is either more senior to Satan the devil or he intermittently share official responsibilities with him. Simply put, the president is too powerful. He controls all the essential infrastructure in the country.  These hydra-headed issues do not have practical solutions in Nigeria. 
The true federalism and devolution of power should be the primary concern of the newPDP if really their committed to resolving the crisis facing the country. An understanding of the federal government as the single most debilitating headache in Nigeria will set the nPDP on the party of creating a nation. Genuine agitation like this one will make them the heroes of our democracy and not by fighting an individual who is simply deploying the richness of his powers to suppress any form of criticism with the hope of keeping himself in office. The reason in my line of argument is that even if  Baraje and his group succeeded in removing from the list of PDP aspirants in 2015 or say preventing the president from contesting, they would still  continue to tap into the federal stinking arsenal with the hope of weakening dissenting voices. So the whole noise about misrule, highhandedness and dictatorship will amount to phantasy. It would only be seen as the sacrifisation of Jonathan for the resurrection of Sule Lamido or Kawu Baraje. Nothing would have changed in essence. This is why discerning Nigerian should help this group to re-designate their angle of attack towards addressing the real issues that gave Dr Jonathan so much power.

In the meantime, we welcome the implosion of the PDP and hope that the fight towards creating a better Nigeria has started with the pioneering group of 7. If the people cannot stand up to the maniacal and minutiae elites due to their insincere love for this troubled country, or as result of their congenital obsession with religious catechism with credo of happiness and other esoteric rewards deemed to come after life, then the fight by the rich and powerful against the other rich from the other bloc is a tipping point for psychopathic gangs to act. But caution must be exercised in the struggle. As  has been seen in other climes where such has taken place,  some other entrenched interest could display the natural owners of the struggle; some of this people might even been sympathetic to government or honed by government to make nonsense of the genuine agitation of the people.