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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Open Letter To President Jonathan: How We Occupied Nigeria Last January – By Jude Egbas

To be read to the President and Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by potty mouthed Dr Doyin Okupe in his Hotel Room in New York where he is attending the UN General Assembly; to the accompaniment of ‘African China’s’ Mr President, Lead us well…..

Dear Mr. President,

I hope this letter meets you in good stead. I am sure it will. You have never had a dull moment since you assumed the number one office in our land; ready to fly at the drop of a hat to saner climes at a moment’s notice. Accept also my deep concerns and warmest regards as it has to do with the health of your wife and our first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. I hope and pray that she recovers in double quick time.

I have always felt like writing you a letter, Mr President. That moment had always petered out once I had realized the sheer futility of the act. I have always had this notion that deep down inside you, you really do not care about us. Please correct me if I am wrong, but your every step since you assumed office as our substantive President has been couched in several mis-steps. Your demeanor often betrays a certain non-chalance towards us. Last week, at a public lecture in Abuja, you gave my theory regarding your perceived non-chalance, several shots in the arm.

I was amazed as anyone else, Sir, that you believe that the Occupy Nigeria protests which you quelled by deploying armed Military personnel to the streets, was instigated or sponsored by people who harbor deep seated animosity towards everything with the Jonathan insignia. Again, I find your attempts to always point the finger, very effete and jejune. Time and again, you have been a lot more concerned with blaming everyone else but yourself for your inability to fix Nigeria. If this is not dereliction of duty on your part, nothing else will be.

You had alluded to the fact that the fuel subsidy protest, especially in Lagos, was bankrolled by your political opponents. You had wondered aloud in the following words: “Take the case of Lagos. Lagos is the critical state in the nation’s economy, it controls about 53 per cent of the economy and all tribes are there. The demonstration in Lagos… people were given bottled water that people in my village don’t have access to, people were given expensive food that the ordinary people in Lagos cannot eat. So, even going to eat free food alone attracts people. They go and hire the best musician to come and play and the best comedian to come and entertain; is that demonstration? Are you telling me that that is a demonstration from ordinary masses in Nigeria who want to communicate something to government?”

Mr President, you were wrong. Every time you have spoken extemporaneously, you have ended up shooting yourself in the mouth. But your harangue last week did not come to me as a surprise. As the protests gathered momentum last January, it was comical to hear some of your aides and a sprinkling of Senators who belong to your Political Party, dismiss the uprisings as the workings of the opposition. Even more comical was the fact that you bought this line of reasoning from these deluded persons, hook, line and sinker without doing any research of your own. Again, you have proven your disconnect with the people who elected you.

On the third day of the protests, Mr President, a certain Madam Toyin placed a call to our family home.Toyin was a family friend. She was co-coordinating attempts to help with food for the growing number of protesters. How could our family help? She enquired. Madam Toyin runs a Research outfit. Like other members of the middle class, she was disturbed by the insensitivity of your administration at the time and your growing intransigence, Mr President, at genuine dialogue. I do not think Madam Toyin was prodded to call our family home to ask for assistance by any member of the ACN, CPC or the ANPP.

The Occupy Nigeria movement, Mr President, was coordinated by ordinary Nigerians like Toyin. Most of the persons you saw amongst the crowd in Ojota, could afford their own bread or water in any case. Food vendors made brisk business from selling snacks, bottled drinks and water to the surging crowd. To dismiss all of these people as some paupers who could not afford bread and water, was derogatory and deprecating, Mr President. Why, in any case did you have to show your disdain for Lagos by that syllogism with your country folks? Again, your prognosis proved your worrisome insouciance towards the people.

I do think Sir, that you owe the likes of Tunji Braithwaite, El Rufai, Dele Momodu, Pat Obahiagbon, Dino Melaye, Seun and Femi Kuti, The Gani Fawehinmis , the artistes who performed in Ojota and all Nigerians, an unreserved apology for insinuating that they could not afford loaves of bread of their own. Mr President, most of the artistes who were considered not to belong on the side of the people were booed off the stage. Most artistes pleaded to perform because they wanted to participate in what was an epochal event in the annals of our country.

Mr President, Occupy Nigeria was a landmark historical event; and it will be foolhardy to attempt to reduce it to the level of mundane politics and brinksmanship. In Occupy Nigeria, our country crossed the Rubicon. In Occupy Nigeria, we realized that Nigerians were not as gullible as they had been perceived to be. Occupy Nigeria was a spontaneous Movement; riding on the psyche and crest wave of a people who have been pulverized and pushed to the wall by a heartless coterie who pretend to lead them.

Your aides and praise singers may have fed you with the wrong sequence of events all along, but you may want to take their shallow mindedness and capriciousness with several pinches of salt at this moment.

Yes, the likes of Pastor Bakare may well have headlined the protests in Lagos, but they were not the arrow-heads. The real arrow-heads of Occupy Nigeria were Sikirat, Bisi, Dapo, Mohammed, Chibuzor, Oghenebriore, Halimatu, Nsikak and Uduak—faceless and ordinary Nigerians who are bracing up for change come 2015. Be afraid…be very, very afraid, Mr President, of these young and faceless Nigerians. This group of persons can buy their bread and water and they can decide which way the pendulum swings next time out at the polls because Occupy Nigeria afforded them the opportunity to unite and to believe again.

Thank You Mr. President for taking your time to read this letter. Enjoy your brief sojourn in New York, interact with your more serious peers and pick their brains on how to lead a country. Thus far, your colleagues haven’t really rubbed off on you. In which case, you may consider changing your friends.

Yours Sincerely,

Jude.

 

The writer is on Twitter @egbas

 

Twitter: @ Femiolas

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Jonathan’s 80 Pages Of Nothingness – By Chinedu Ekeke

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He misses the presence of the past; when the world smiled at him and men bought his deceit. Huddled up over a heap of dusty files and abandoned sleaze reports, Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, grieves over the metamorphosis of goodwill; the sharpest and shortest in any recent political history. His friends, most of who, last year, helped cook up the lies to spite his electoral opponents, had swiftly become his critics, and even enemies. In his office, furnished to taste with a rich touch of royalty, he pores through the invectives poured on him daily by millions of angry citizens. In pains he let out a line of grief, of a heart broken, like a baby grieving lack of love from his parents; “I’m the most cursed president in the world.”

Cocooned by a retinue of aides trapped in the box of years of yore, when secrecy thrived in the seats of power and ignorance weakened the citizens of nations, he misreads the situation. Aides with mindsets more pedestrian than those of commoners, intent only on power, privilege and money, have sold him the commodity of perception. They said perception is the culprit. He bought it hook, line and sinker. He thinks very highly of them, as possessing more experience in the politics of public relations than himself – the taciturn shy man who never was ambitious, and never aspired to play at this tough stage where the rule entailed slicing up people to remain sailing.

So their opinions are weighty. He fancies being dressed in the garb of a “listening president” by these aides. It’s one of their ways of warming up to his heart, his royal heart. He would have been a great president if they were right. But they aren’t. He listens, as the only choice he has, because no alternative thoughts ever emanate from him, with which to balance their views and schemes. These views become policies and programmes, unleashed on the public domain, and are pushed to become laws. You remember the six year single term?

The perception challenge is their view, and he bought and paid. The work has been done, they told him, but the people have yet to know. Let us change their perception, they agreed. As though the whole world suddenly went blind in one fell swoop, they proposed that the work they’ve done, which no other living soul has seen, be scribbled down in fancy letters and glossy images. The images are more of the workers –the president, his Vice, his over-bloated cabinet, and his aides – and less of the works.

In the computing cloud hangs the book, an 80-page book of accomplishments. We are dared to read, to find present the projects that are absent on the streets and in our homes. We are persuaded to share, to forward to contacts, to carry family and friends along. As we read, they hope for open-mindedness in assessments and fairness in comments. Here, there was a slight departure from their 19th century mindsets. They acknowledge the change in ways information is shared. The internet, that’s the new village square. They came to the square, to ring the bell.

But that’s selective appreciation of the powers of the modern world. We can read and forward, just like we can upload and share damning evidence of lies said by public servants. It works in both ways, and works more against one when one chooses to reside on the side of injustice. On this same cloud we compare notes on how our friends and brothers and neighbours remain unemployed after graduation, and how those who oversaw the biggest scams in our history, as well as the scammers themselves, remain unpunished.

Before I began typing these lines, my friend in Abuja sent me a message. She was giving up on Nigeria. She couldn’t fathom why she couldn’t find fuel in filling stations in Abuja, but saw boys hawking them in gallons near the same stations, and with policemen looking on. Her friend, a close one with whom she had been at the forefront of the battle for the rescue of Nigeria from the gang of fuel subsidy thieves and their backers in government, just took a job with a wrong organization. She thinks she has lost the battle. She wept, and told me so.

A day or two ago, another friend on Twitter sent me a message. He got done with his Masters in the UK and returned home last year. Till date, he’s been unemployed. No jobs anywhere. But there’s a book, the book of accomplishments. The book says all is working, just that we’ve been blind to it.

Aha! Back to the book. I’d have loved to relish in the freshness of its smell were it physical with pages I could flip through. New books always smell fresh and predictably arouse the curiosity of the lover of reading. Sometimes, at the end of the book, you may discover that the only thing about it was actually the smell. In such a case, the book was a waste of one’s reading time. In Jonathan’s newly uploaded ebook, Sure And Steady Transformation, nothing was visible.

Conceptualized to serve a predetermined end, the book comes out vague and dry, unfortunately projecting us as a country that faces a million problems. It tries to cover everything and ends up covering nothing. It crawls from the shameful to the ridiculous, and then mocks us by its existence. That book shouldn’t have been published ab initio. It is another waste of our scarce resources.

Trust our brand of leadership. Perpetually mouthing a president’s campaign mantra is an unwritten law. That is why you will find “transformation” in almost every page of the book. It seems the president derives the power to become from the sound of that word; and the energy to live and act from its steady repetition.

“In support of Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development developed and is aggressively implementing an Agricultural Transformation
Agenda.”

Transformation. Transformation agenda.

In search of what to point at, we read meetings that were attended. In almost all the ministries, meetings that were attended by Ministry personnel were included as achievements.
In the Ministry of Health, we read; “Conducted 55th National Council on Health Meeting in Abuja 16th-20th July, 2012”

Another one, still on the Health Ministry; “Submission of report of Presidential Committee on a harmonious working relationship in the Health Sector.”

For the Ministry of Information, we read: “Refocusing of the Vision and Mission of the Ministry.”

The wonder is that somebody in the presidency proofread these things and approved their inclusion in the final draft. Another wonder is that they do not hope to persuade people to consider if the “achievements” are worth being so named, the surprise is the aggression with which it is being forced down our throat; “I have delivered!”

Part of the delivery is the type you will read on Page 43 of the report.

• Purchase of 3 (No) Staff Buses.

• Procurement of 2 (No) of Hiace Buses.

• Purchase of various office furnishes and fittings.

When the Federal Government boasts of 2 Hiace buses, then a Local Government Councilor has no business providing anything for his constituents. And it is rather troubling that nobody in the presidency cringed when 3 Staff Buses were being included amongst the list of achievements made by the president of Nigeria.

But we must find the courage to ask the necessary questions: how many jobs have been created – either directly by the government or by the private-sector as a result of employment-inducing policies of the government – in the last two years? If jobs were created, how did they affect the gross unemployment rate?

Are we aware that the use of okada as a means of transportation is a sign of a state that is failing? Movement of humans and goods is one of the essential indicators of a functional society. Why are our roads still in bad shape? Olumide, my friend, recently spent 3 hours on a spot at the Lagos-Benin Expressway and witnessed 3 different auto accidents on the spot. That doesn’t sound like transformation. That is destruction. But we have a glossy picture of that same road looking well paved.

How many houses did the government build in the last two years? How many Nigerians now have access to decent and affordable housing? Where are these houses?

Have we upgraded the quality of our schools? We did expect that Almajiri school will litter the pages under the education ministry. We only wonder what state and local governments will showcase. I heard last night from the young Nigerian who has been moving our kids from the slums to schools that Nigeria has over ten million children of school age outside the school. What future does that leave for us?

If the image of improved healthcare published in the book is true, where is our First Lady? Why can’t she be treated here at the intensive healthcare units?

If someone says there’s no money, how many of the thieves who stole our billions have we prosecuted in the last two years? How many high profile corruption cases have we successfully pursued and brought to conclusion?

If there are achievements anywhere, Mr Jonathan will not need a book to show them to us. Our streets are where these achievements will resonate. All eyes will see them and lips will confess them. There was a relatively significant improvement in power generation for about two months, and everybody commented on that. Nobody needed a book to confirm that electricity supply in their houses had improved. The bulbs that were lit up for more hours were the books we needed. Our problems aren’t as vast as an ocean. Our challenges as a people are few, but fundamental. Once these few key ones are attended to, the rest naturally fade away.

Nobody enjoys a song without melody. Nobody enjoys a dance without motion. A book in which nothing was written isn’t different. Nobody enjoys an 80-page book that says nothing.

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Aburo Iro: American Politics, President Jonathan’s Aides, And Lies – By Pius Adesanmi

A lie, any straightforward, flat out lie, has younger brothers known as “aburo iro”. Nowhere is this phenomenon better illustrated than in the actualities of American political life and practices. In the late capitalist democracy that is the United States of America, there are two things you don’t do in government: (1) you cannot be overly parsimonious with information about how you run the affairs of the country and the lives of your citizens; (2) you cannot form a habit of trafficking in straightforward, outright lies. Lying to the American people over even trifle always has grievous consequences if you are caught.

Yet, there are always tricky and embarrassing situations in the daily business of governance. Government and her officials often find themselves in slippery situations where telling the plain, unvarnished truth is no easy option. This explains why American politics is the world’s most prolific manufacturer of the younger brothers of lying. In American political culture, when a lie is dangerous, you seek solace with its younger siblings.

The lexicon and the registers of American politics boast the world’s largest collection of euphemisms for lying. Because he cannot be seen to be lying outright to the American people, because he fears consequences, an American government official has options such as “spinning”, “misspeaking”, “misstating”, “misrecollecting”, “telling an untruth” or, as I learned recently in a magazine article, “having an unstable relationship with facts”: anything but lying outright. And, of course, when a misstatement, misspeak, or mis-recollection has been exposed, the American official scrambles to “walk back” the fib.

Now, why is “aburo iro” – the younger brother of an outright lie – so crucial to the relationship between the American government and the American citizen? Why don’t American government officials make life easy for themselves by lying outright in every situation and every circumstance? The answer is simple. There is not just the fear of consequences. There is an underlying civic culture which makes you respect the citizen so much that you don’t look straight into the camera and lie to them. When you flat out lie to the citizen, you are doing more than insulting his intelligence. You are, in fact, undermining his civic agency.

In a funny, ironic way, the younger brother of lying is affirmation of the government’s respect for me as a citizen. They are so scared of me, of consequences, of the power I wield at the ballot box, that they dare not tell me outright lies, even when they are in a terrible bind. In this circumstance, the public official who, like Paul Ryan, makes a habit of telling outright, straightforward lies, becomes an oddity, an exception to a political culture which privileges the younger siblings of lying. In American political culture, you have to be a mythomaniac like Paul Ryan to prefer a straightforward lie to its less harmful and more deniable younger brothers.

And that is the trouble with Nigeria. Mythomania in governance and public life is not an exception to the rule. It is the rule. Make no mistake about this: American officials are not morally superior to their Nigerian counterparts. Given the chance, they would probably lie as frequently as the Nigerians. The difference lies squarely in the domain of consequences. The political costs are enormous when an American official is caught lying but in Nigeria, the lying and corrupt official is often on his way to the national honours list.

Because of the total lack of political consequences, Nigerian public officials do not even bother to approach the younger brothers of lying in trepidation. They and their convoys hurry to the full embrace of outright lies in full public glare. In some cases, their lawless convoy may even crush a journalist as they hurry to embrace lies. Worse, in Nigeria, there is no such thing as respecting the people enough to walk back your lies when caught. Rather, when caught, double down on the lies. Witness the recent example of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s “invitation” to Charlotte by President Obama. Caught in a web of lies and deceit, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Asiwaju’s Man Friday during the US trip, doubles down on the lies. This Governor isn’t going to respect the Nigerian people enough by walking back anything. Such is the stupidity, the arrogance of Nigerian officials.

The Presidency, as usual, takes the cake. More than any other President before him, Goodluck Jonathan and his wife have assembled some of Nigeria’s most incompetent liars in their harem of aides. And these aides don’t even respect us enough to tell us the younger brother of lies. Although Okey Ndibe has addressed this brilliantly, Ayo Osinlu’s management of information concerning Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s health crisis is still a good place to start any analysis of the rudeness of Presidency aides to the Nigerian people. Indeed, it is rude to tell those kinds of silly lies to 160 million people.

No attempt to spin, misstate, misspeak, or misrecollect the facts. That would be granting too much consideration to the Nigerian people. Ayo Osinlu simply lied emphatically that his boss had gone to Germany for “a moment’s rest” because she had not rested since her husband’s election. Trust Reuben Abati to double down on his colleague’s stupidity. He joined the fray and said there was absolutely nothing to the news that Patience Jonathan was ill. Of course, the collective children of anger must be responsible for the rumour. And since their lies about Patience Jonathan were exposed, have Ayo Osinlu and Reuben Abati even pretended to have the decency to walk things back a bit? For where?

But Abati was not done with telling the Nigerian people outright lies. He went on to publish an essay about the gains of President Jonathan’s largely useless foreign jamborees. Rudolf Okonkwo has brilliantly put together the itinerary that Abati set out to justify. Writes Rudolf: “Here is an incomplete snap shot of his travels after he was sworn into office on May 29. On June 6, he was in South Africa. On June 21, he was in Brazil. On June 26, he was in Brussels. On July 30, he was in Trinidad and Tobago. On July 31, he was in Jamaica. On August 9, he was in Ghana. On August 22, he was in Senegal. On September 3, he was in Ethiopia. On September 9, he was in Malawi. On September 10, he travelled to Botswana. And by next Thursday, he will be in the United States.”

Rudolf Okonkwo’s list is incomplete and he admits that much. And we really cannot fault Abati for doing what he sold his soul to the devil to do: defend these inanities. I am sure he will write in future to show us the Foreign Direct Investment that poured in from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Senegal, Malawi, Ethiopia, and, perhaps, Chad and Mali.

However, we must draw the line for him when he begins to weave outright, despicable lies into his defense. Abati starts his essay with a little detail about the size of President Jonathan’s delegations to his foreign destinations: “The gains of President Jonathan’s diplomacy are often overshadowed by misrepresentations of the size of his delegation, ignorance about the value of his foreign travels, and the positives of his constant engagement with the international community. I have had cause on more than one occasion to expose the lie about published figures about the size of his delegations.”

If you overlook the characteristically arrogant assumption that he is writing for an audience that is ignorant of the value of his boss’s overseas jamborees, Abati tells a flat out lie about the circumstances in which he tried to confuse issues (he says he was exposing lies) with regard to the size of the President’s delegation. The case in point was their trip to Addis Ababa where the President had bungled an attempt to become the Chairman of the African Union. As Reuben Abati was lying through his nose about this bungled attempt, the media in Francophone Africa was awash with news of President Jonathan’s moves and the eventual success of President Yayi Boni of Benin. Abati then turned to Sahara Reporters, claiming that Omoyele Sowore’s figures of the Presidential delegation were wrong.

Sowore challenged him to prove his allegation that the size of the delegation was misrepresented. Abati promised to send him the full list of the president’s entourage, claiming to have forgotten the said list in his Addis Ababa hotel room! Subsequent efforts by Sowore and Sahara Reporters to make Abati deliver on his promise to release the list proved abortive. I also learnt later that our friends at Premium Times had equally tried to get him to prove his claim that the figures were exaggerated. Abati tucked his tail between his legs and ran, only to come out now and lie so blatantly in an essay. He was probably banking on the famous short memory of Nigerians. And this is a situation where he could even claim to have misrecollected the facts as they transpired between him and Sowore. That won’t do. Nigerian officials prefer an outright lie to its younger brother.

In the same piece, we encounter another blatant lie. I say it’s a blatant lie – as opposed to not being in possession of all the facts – when somebody who writes so confidently about our Foreign Affairs minister goes on to state that our embassies abroad are better organized. Now, where did Abati get this one from? Apart from the regular woes Nigerians abroad are familiar with when it comes to services at our embassies, how on earth can embassies that are not paid be better organized? Delay in salary payments to our embassy officials was a regular feature of the Obasanjo/Yar’Adua years.

In some cases, our missions would owe rent and landlords would be after them in foreign lands. Sadly, this has continued under President Jonathan and his foreign minister. In the past two months, salaries have not been paid – unless they were paid after I finished writing this piece. Now, how can hungry, unpaid embassy officials properly serve Nigerians abroad? How can they better organize our embassies when they are worried about their bills?

I spoke behind the scenes to numerous embassy officials, especially outside of Canada, trying to get to the bottom of this salary wahala. A good number of them pointed in the direction of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and his Central Bank bureaucracy, claiming that their salaries are somehow held up in the CBN labyrinth. Not having sufficient knowledge about where their salary originates from in Nigeria and how it travels through our bureaucracy until it reaches their respective bank accounts abroad, I sought to verify this charge from Sanusi Lamido Sanusi but he is yet to confirm or deny it. However, what is important is the fact that the Jonathan government has not paid salaries in the last two months to our embassies yet the spokesperson of the same government invades our airwaves with lies about better organized embassies.

Now, we know that a government culture of lying nurtured by successive administrations since October 1, 1960, and tolerated by successive generations of Nigerian citizens since October 1, 1960, is not going to change overnight. So engrained is this culture in our political life that the government official who tells lies does so with a sense of entitlement. Just who are you, citizen, to query my lies? Do you know who I am? Not to believe our foolish officials is to run the risk of being accused of showing disrespect to constituted authority.

Not used to being challenged, Nigerian officials are demonstrably unhinged in those rare cases when their lies are exposed. This explains their pathological fear of social media and their sustained, carefully calibrated assault on it. So great is their fear that the ethically-damaged sixty-year-old contract racketeer in the Presidency is even threatening to muzzle citizens with his lawyer, Festus Keyamo.

Only in Nigeria can somebody leave his own state of origin, loot two states via contracts, and then turn around to threaten his victims with lawsuits for even talking about it. But it is your civic duty to challenge every lie they tell and expose them wherever you can, especially on the terrain they fear the most – social media. You, citizen, are paying their salary. If you are going to pay people to lie to you, you have the right to insist that they at least lie intelligently.

NOTE: The this piece was written by Pius Adesanmi and copied from @elrufai.

 

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in Thoughts

 

9/11: A Rememoration Too Dear, Too Distant – By Femi Olabisi

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September 11, 2001 was a day too dear to forget, too painful too hold on to – forever it will be and fresh it shat remain.  Today is a rememoration of carnage, deaths, sorrow and trauma.

9/11 – the day Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda redefined terrorism. 19 terrorists, four planes, World Trade Centre twin towers, Pentagon, Pennsylvania field; all are too much to forget.  History was made, albeit a tragic one.

Generations will hear of the insanity of one man (Osama bin Laden) and his mentally deranged apostles of death.  Generations will also tell of the zeal of United States to remain strong in the face of daunting and almost unbearable tragedies, and its resolves not to bow to madness of some lunatics.

September 11, 2001 was more than a page in history book; it was a day that will live forever.  Our hearts go to those who will forever live with the trauma.

Though 11 years have gone by, the memory is too fresh and painful bear and also too dear to let go.

God Bless American!

 

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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Hold Your Stone, Don’t Haul It Yet, Dr Abati! – By Debo Adejugbe

“They” in this piece refers to all the powerful “mumus”, Barawo incorporated, attention-grabbing praise singers, the irritating, self-loathed “govtivists”, the tactless and dumb-looking, blubbering, ex-hacktivists, collective old men without shame, the factually challenged crowd of cassava bread addicts, the press-loving drooling nitwittery association of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to parade President Goodluck Jonathan’s fabricated achievements and foist it on us as facts. This army of government sponsored and depressed no-do-gooders is so diverse; many of them actually know why and how they are shielding the President from proper scrutiny – they are paid handsomely to do so.

The clear danger to government’s business is that we have a lot of expired and redundant advisers repeating same rubbish clichés and too many mistaken intelligent persons in government unmasking their idiocy, lending relevance to cassava-induced conclusions. Hold on. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I am not saying nobody should work with the Nigerian President. I spent some time learning that street maxim: “a doctorate does not equate to wisdom”. Public position comes with its own share of amnesia and thoughtlessness . But the turncoats, senile old men, attention grabbing crowd in the presidency must be guided by facts.

Hold your stone. Don’t haul it yet. Shhh. Wait, Dr Olodo! They have spent the last fourteen months working with President Jonathan.

They followed him everywhere of note and can obviously write a whole book on his Presidency so far, but you won’t get to read that until much later because there is still an abundance of wealth they want to amass. What they can report, for now, is that the President is grossly misrepresented by his aides. Too many of them are untruthful and economic with facts about him. People criticize him out of ignorance because if they know the truth, they will stone his convoy at every opportunity. They abuse him out of mischief when they should have never voted for him. And the opposition doesn’t make things easy at all – they clearly, are not offering a better alternative. Can we look at a number of issues?

They say he is not a clueless President. You are wrong. He is clueless.

Nobody is more deluded about the Nigerian Project than President Jonathan. President Jonathan is doing his utmost best to blame everyone but himself on his failure to transform Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians know and are tired of this. Those parading themselves as advisers claiming that the President has the support of Nigerians represent only themselves and their befuddled minds.

President Jonathan is overwhelmed, lacking in ideas and surrounded by neophytes, He has successfully made himself a butt of jokes, leaving people to second-guess his motives. He understands the complexity of prosecuting corruption cases in Nigeria and he is milking it to commit a full frontal corruption-assault on our treasury. He is the bane of the common person, particularly the children of all blue collar workers who never wore shoes or got a chance to eat three-square meals, and whose mothers and aunties could never be part of policy-making processes – He is making sure people see them as mentally ill equipped and ideologically weak for any position of value.

When he spoke about not wearing shoes as a child, he meant every word of it literally just like MKO did in ’93, and he had to shed tears to drive home his point. But I have heard some persons metaphorically attributing it to Nigerians’ simplistic view. Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that his henchmen are painting him as an Ijaw President (even if not consciously), the fact on ground and the President’s body language has not dispelled these notions. Jonathan has made Tompolo, Asari, Clark and the likes his unofficial spokespersons to underline his ethnic sentiments. He sees himself as weak without persons of shady character in his employ. He is focused on looting our treasury blind. He wants to transform Nigeria into a Cassava republic.

He knows Nigerians want regular power supply. Rather than consolidating on the improvement seen in some areas, 4, 400 MW has been turned into a song with several remixed versions coming out every passing day. If a country of 150 Million people sees this as an unparalleled achievement when 100,000 MW is required to make Nigeria an industrialized nation, then we should tell the apologists to shut up!

He knows Nigerians want infrastructure. But all we get is a threat to a contractor to fix the carnage called Lagos-Ibadan expressway, two years into his Presidency. A Minister has been told to fix the East-West road and get it done quickly – that should sound irritating to even a bandog like Abati. Directives are being given to relevant agencies to get corrupt persons to answer for their misdeeds, but Diezani Madueke is still the “OverLady” of Aso Manor despite overwhelming evidence pointing us to her culpability in the Subsidy action film. He is strengthening Nigeria’s foreign relations by galloping around the globe doing absolutely nothing trying to beat OBJ’s record – He should explain RIO. He is said to be transforming the agriculture sector, Fertilizer distribution and Cassava bread innovation falls into the revolutionary trend Dr Abati is pointing out. And more……… (Obviously, “they” ran out of reasons why Mr President is not clueless). Also, for Dr Abati, there should be a feast every time Mr President announces one of his white elephant policies, if a PhD holder can be this warped…..we are in big trouble.

Dr Abati exquisitely painted what nightmares meant to him, but what he failed to point out about the situation is: No one in Aso Rock deemed it fit to disclaim Tompolo, Asari and his wife, Edwin Clark……or whoever see it necessary to attack the President’s adversaries. They come gun blazing when the “twittering addicts” and “Children of anger” decide to stick the boot in.

For Dr Abati to actually list out few positions, with corresponding states of origin, bandying it like some sort of achievement says more about the state of his mind than the President’s – even by his calculation, the reason he wrote them out was defeated.

Mr President gets to the office very early and leaves very late. I think we should all clap for the president, he is doing what an average Nigerian does with his life, but without the attendant luxury obtainable in Aso Rock. What Dr Abati didn’t tell us is whether the President spends all that time playing solitaire – we definitely want to know why he wastes his precious time doing nothing in the office. Dr Jonathan is on Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS,
BB, and he reads. And he writes. All according to Abati. There are countless trolls on Facebook, Twitter, Email, SMS, BB – they all read and write, so what is Abati’s point? I’m beginning to think Ikebe Super is still in vogue, that must be what the President reads as he doesn’t think like someone who reads. What am I saying? I might be wrong though. Listing out people you intend to bribe for support obviously pass for writing these days.

Appointment of women now counts as an achievement? Sacking them must make him a devil, judging by Diezani’s case. Mr President is definitely not clueless in that area. Abati went on to dawdle out a list of women in the employment of Mr President. He obviously doesn’t get it, we want performers and not a list to remind us they are women. Who cares?!

They say Mr. President doesn’t drink. He does and we know it. You’ve only worked with him for fourteen months, you definitely don’t know him like the people he grew up with. Stop feeding us Lies. Lies. Lies.

They heard that the President spends billions on feeding. Its a shame that they failed to break down the President’s feeding budget in an attempt to dispel the lies of the “Children of Anger”; facts failed them and they had to grapple at straws to make their point that Mr President is not a glutton. Well, we know that whoever budgets Three million naira a day for eating Fish pepper soup, cassava bread, slices of yam, rice, boiled plantain, fruits and vegetables….and claims to eat a little, is not only a glutton but a thief and first class “wobiliki Wobiya”.

Here is a man who is an epitome of cluelessness mistaking it for simplicity. The thing about the President’s advisers and handlers is that they just cannot challenge their benefactor to sit up. This is the Abati Complex. Abati finds it hard to tear into his benefactor because he is now in the inner circle, looting, drinking and eating cassava bread. And just like Abati threw the words at Jonathan out of uncontrollable desire to get noticed, these power-mumus are out to throw any kind of mumbo-jumbo to see whether we will gulp it all, hence all their lies and anger about the President’s critics.

Let me end by saying that the “children of Anger” are a simple bunch, but simplicity is not naivety, we can definitely unleash our pent-up anger if pushed to the wall. Beware! It is obviously an act of desperation for “they” to liken President Jonathan to such great men as Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Kwame Nkrumah, who, one way or the other have shaped the world that we live in by simplifying what people like Dr Goodluck have complicated.

Now is the time to “Pick your stones. Haul it fiercely. Make some noise and run down Dr Olodo”. He gave us a lenghty newsy article, so irrelevant and purposeless, valueless, that it actually makes a mockery of his purported intelligence.

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Thoughts

 

Nigeria’s ‘Children of Anger’ Reply Reuben Abati – By Chinedu Ekeke

Dear Dr Reuben Abati,

The Nigerian children of anger, part of who I am, have directed me to respond to the recent umbrage you took on us for speaking out against President Goodluck’s government. Actually, I am not a child, neither is any of my colleagues, but we like to think you chose to sound African by referring to whoever you consider younger than you a child. We aren’t angry at that. We understand you are the elder here. We are Africans; aren’t we? And by dismissing us as children, you equally arrogate superior wisdom to yourself, and stupidity or lack of wisdom to us. Again, we understand.

First, Doc, we are disappointed that your much publicized intellect didn’t reflect in that scathing commentary. For instance, you could not demonstrate that you understand the principles of common logic, and that you could use it to make valid arguments. At best, Doc, that was very disappointing.

While trying to score a cheap point against some of us who say your principal is clueless, you declared: “You say the president is clueless. You are wrong. He (the president) is not clueless.” At that point, simple logic demanded that you told us instances that confirm him not to be clueless; instances like his deep understanding of internal security which he deployed in tackling our ever present security challenge, his understanding of how to recruit men with the right pedigree to work with and deliver results, his knowledge of how to give electricity to 160 million people etc. You couldn’t do that, Sir. Instead, you claimed; “Nobody is committed to the Nigerian Project than President Jonathan”.

Now, Sir, how does “being committed to the Nigerian project” make it impossible for President Jonathan to be clueless? Anybody can be committed to the Nigerian project, especially when such person is in a privileged position to easily access Nigeria’s treasury and utilize same to achieve personal purposes. In fact, one of the reasons why a clueless man would want to remain committed to the Nigerian Project is because of the strange political reward system which converts politicians to billionaires in just months.
Facts on ground haven’t suggested in any way that our president understands what he is doing in the presidency. These facts are in pictures, and they speak louder than any presidential aide can say. So, Doc, when next you want to make valid arguments, ensure you do not sound as illogical as you sounded in that piece, otherwise we may never give any thought to using our “idleness” to pursue a PhD, to avoid sounding like you in public.

By the way, Doc, when the President spoke about not wearing shoes as a child, he meant he did not have shoes, physical shoes, not spiritual shoes. You, Sir, do seem to habour a special likeness for the usage of “metaphor”. In a bid to twist the truth, you always take literal connotations out of context in which they were used in both written and oral speeches. For example, when the President went on a journey of personal vendetta in Bayelsa State to install Seriake Dickson as the governor, he made reference to the hauling of stones to non-performing public officers by the citizens. That gaffe incurred the rage of analysts who questioned the wisdom in such utterance. In your defence, you claimed the president’s statement was metaphorical, that the man never meant physical stones in his clamour for public stoning. But we know it wasn’t. It was an open lie from you, Dr Abati.

That essay from you, in truth, made us pity the president. He is certainly in trouble with a supposed intellectual like you around him. It is strange that you, Doc, left the quite pertinent issues you should have addressed to delve into the petty lane of ethnic bigotry. How does the size of the Ijaw nation, or the president coming therefrom, affect the key issues of governance? Was the president voted in by only Ijaw people? None of us cares if Ijaw is the most populous ethnic group in Nigeria or the tenth most populous. In the hardship that this administration has unleashed on Nigerians, the Ijaw man on the street is not left out. For instance, most of us are “idle” and “idling” because we have no jobs. In over two years of his presidency, Dr Jonathan, your colleague in PhD, cannot point to the exact number of jobs he created. It isn’t modesty like you’d want us to believe. It is because he has no jobs to point to. In the modern world, Dr Abati, job creation is one of the major yardsticks with which governance is measured. There, just like in every other area, your principal failed woefully.

You claimed the president doesn’t habour any bias for his ethnic nationality. You lied, Sir. You lied. He hasn’t risen above ethnicity. If he has done that, we are yet to see it. Because we know that the president pays militants from his South-South region millions of dollar per annum from our treasury; he also awarded the contract to secure our waterways to Tompolo, an illiterate militant; his “brother”. If that doesn’t scream “tribalism”, Doc, we wonder what does.

When you accepted to function as the president’s spokesperson, we thought, albeit wrongly, that you would be bringing class and finesse to the office. We expected a departure from the usual lack of proper language from presidential spokespersons. We looked forward to a departure from the era of clichés and barefaced lies. Judging by where you were coming from, we had expected a regime that’ll show forth outcomes of properly debated meetings. But what do we have from you? Nauseating regurgitation of “transformation”, “transforming” “transform” as if the words themselves would jump out of the paper and fix our roads, water, electricity, corruption and etc.

You bragged about the president being the first Nigerian leader to appoint a woman his Chief Economic Advisor. This is plain ridiculous, Dr Abati. How many jobs did that “appointment of a woman” create for Nigeria? How many roads were tarred because a woman was appointed a president’s Chief Economic Adviser. Reserving 35% of your political appointments to women shouldn’t ever be mentioned as an achievement by any serious government. But again, has your principal been able to convince anybody that he is running a serious government? Okay, he has appointed women, and we know that one of them, Diezani Madueke, represents whom not to appoint in a position of public trust. A consensus has long coalesced on her person, that she is massively corrupt, and that even in the prima facie evidence of corruption, the president has only shielded her from prosecution.

You said you heard the president spends billions on feeding. Well, we haven’t heard that. We only know that he budgeted approximately one billion naira as feeding money for the office of the president and vice president in just one year. It was after our outrage in January that he reluctantly slashed the ungodly vote to what he presently has. Are you, Dr Abati, unaware of this? As a revered public affairs commentator, we had thought you understand that what your principal feeds with is above the salary of the United States president for two whole years. And for a country in glaring poverty, it is sinful for any leader to appropriate such a humongous amount to himself just to feed. And yes, you said the president doesn’t eat much, so why was so much budgeted for just feeding? To create room for the illicit enrichment of apologists like you? Think, Dr Abati, think!

And wait, Doc, did you mean to call us “anarchists” really? Or did you just use it for lack of the right words? That pronouncement said more about you than us. It captures all the years you spent doing what we do, and for which you call us names, as years spent in public deceit; years used in attracting attention to yourself for the chance to be part of the national destruction. You have arrived, Dr Abati. You have surely arrived.

Your many years of noise-making have paid off. Your insecurity manifested in every word you typed on that page. The message we got was a clear one: that your plan is to cover up an opaque regime and gag critics from commenting on the failure-prone administration you are promoting. We are not anarchists, Dr Abati. We are patriots, genuine and without any hidden agenda like you.

But we will like to call your attention to the facts on ground; facts that your attacks cannot stop us from announcing to the world.
Contrary to your assertion, the president doesn’t love Nigerians. We don’t, however, doubt that he loves Nigeria. Who wouldn’t when Nigeria makes you a billionaire in just months. The president we know is a protector of the corrupt. Under his watch, Nigeria has been rocked by the biggest scandals in our history: Fuel subsidy theft, Malabu Oil fraud, pension scam and many others. He hasn’t bothered to bring the fraudsters to justice. Despite empirical proofs that corruption in government produces massive poverty for citizens, Mr Jonathan has effectively built a massive corruption-fertilizing frictionless machine called government. It is that machine, dear Doc, that you are out to defend at all cost. If the president loves Nigerians, he’ll fight that which inflicts poverty on them.

The president has failed in his primary role, which is the protection of lives and property. And this is in spite of the huge sums voted for security. He makes security appointments either to satisfy ethnic cravings or political demands. He hasn’t handled security with the expertise that it requires, and this begins with the quality of appointments from him.

The president we know hasn’t shed his cravings for primitive acquisition. That is why he sat and watched his greedy wife accept a bizarre appointment in Bayelsa State as a permanent secretary when, in truth, she hasn’t been on seat in the last 13 years, and also functions as the sitting First Lady. What the Jonathans are about is just money and power: two things they don’t know how to apply even after acquisition.

The president we know is the one whose wife is wasteful. That was why the 200 BMW cars came up in the first place. And wait, Doc, that was why you wrote that article. That was the point it was considered appropriate to hire Doyin Okupe – whose conscience is more dead than yours, to help propagate further lies about the president. In writing that piece, you thought to re-exert your relevance, but you smartly chose to address the parochial issues, those that would shift attention for your boss’s mediocre performance.

So, Doc, you see, the president you wanted us to know is the man who eats cassava bread, drinks coffee and eats fresh fish pepper soup. We really don’t care about that. We want to know the president who criminals are afraid of, whose regime doesn’t grow corruption, who will stop issuing condolence messages like his life depends on them. We want to see a responsible president who understands that a poor nation cannot spend N1b -or even N500m – just to feed two offices in a year.

This is what we are about. Aren’t these enough to make us angry?
Finally, Doc, the tragedy of the commission you undertook is that it subjects your acclaimed intelligence and supposed expertise to the ridicule of semi-illiterate ambitious women and their not-so-intelligent husbands.

It’s a pity, Doc. It’s just a pity.

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Thoughts

 
 
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