Posted by Dele Sobowale on
"Kings and princes can bestow titles and orders but they cannot make great men who therefore must be held in respect.
Ludwig Van Beethoven, 1770 - 1827
IN Nigeria at least since 1966 till today, it has not been kings and princes bestowing titles, it has been military officers, armed with weapons purchased with the wealth of fellow Nigerians who have turned those same weapons against the people to install all sorts of characters who cannot be held in respect by any one still having brains in his head as heads of state.
Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) who in saner societies would probably still be in the army struggling to reach the rank of colonel has long been promoted past his level of real ability as a soldier (he certainly can’t match an Israeli Lt-colonel in combat knowledge) has long raced to the highest military ranks; became head of state with no more preparation for that post than he had to become a professor of nuclear physics and has since been returned into the dustbin of ex-this, ex-that by another gang of armed adventurers.
For a long while, Buhari maintained dignified silence befitting someone who as head of state left no lasting positive legacy to his credit. Having tried and failed woefully, Buhari it would appear, is no judge of what good governance or good performance is all about. After all, as the great journalist Walter Lippmann had reminded us during his lifetime: "It takes wisdom to know real wisdom". Only a good head of state can know who has performed, not a mediocre.
Last week, Buhari was again in his usual form, that means saying things that leave no doubt that it was a national misfortune to have ever had such a head of state. According to stories not yet refuted (my good friend Rev. Hassan Kukah might again help him out by telephoning him. I don’t have his telephone number), Buhari was abroad asserting that Abacha’s administration was more purposeful than Obasanjo’s two years old government.
Now, that makes me feel uncomfortable because holding brief for Obasanjo is not one of my favourite hobbies. But speaking the truth as best as I know it even if it favours Obasanjo is my duty as a public commentator and opinion-moulder. And based on that, Buhari’s statement unless otherwise modified or repudiated by the General (rtd) is frankly speaking a lot of drivel.
Which of the Abacha years is Buhari comparing with Obasanjo's two years: all the five years or the first two? which specific achievements of the Abacha years is Buhari pointing to as having a purposeful impact on Nigerian life? Was it the deliberate sabotage of the oil refineries to enable Abacha and family import toxic fuel or was it the fraudulent Petroleum Special Trust Fund (PTF) which benefitted mostly the Northern parts of the country?
Is it even possible to compare a dictator’s government with an elected one? Who vetted Abacha’s budgets? It is on record that Abacha invited Buhari to "come and chop" (apologies to our honourable minister) and Obasanjo removed the "chopping pot" called PTF; that alone makes Buhari a biased observer. That he can regard a regime which pillaged so much of Nigeria’s wealth as purposeful leaves one wondering if ........
Buhari, along with others, we already know is pursuing a strictly northern agenda; his government was the only one to brazenly have two northerners and Muslims as head of state and chief of general staff.
Southerners be damned. He would want a return to those days, forgetting that Nigeria has changed since he left office. Still "he (the mole) not unlike the great ones of mankind’ disfigures earth (and Nigeria); and plotting in the dark, toils much to earn a monumental pile; that may record the mischiefs he has done". (William Cowper 1731 - 1800).
For Allah’s sake, what is the matter with Buhari these days?
Presidency 2003: Ndigbo surrenders
"They came forth to war, but they always fell", James Macpherson (1736 - 1796).
ORJI Kalu, youthful controversial energetic Governor of Abia State and the most vocal agitator for Igbo Presidency in 2003 last week raised the white flag of surrender.
Mrs. Stella Obasanjo attended the funeral ceremony of Kalu’s mother and brought Kalu out of the trenches with his sword turned to ploughshares. With Kalu declaring a separate peace and virtually all the Igbo heavy hitters pursuing individual agenda, Igbos have nobody worthwhile still at the battle-line. It is henceforth going to be "all quiet on the Eastern front".
General Obasanjo (rtd) and reactivated, has adopted the Chinese philosopher’s, Tsu-Szu, approach to warfare: "The supreme act of war is to disarm the enemy before a shot is fired." Adopting a strategy of divide and rule based on "come and chop" approach to patronage, the President has disarmed the South-East’s most powerful artillery corps. Well, he who fights and runs away, lives to run another day. The Igbos will now have to wait until 2031 or later to secure Aso Rock because after Obasanjo, it is non-stop to the North. Dreams die first .......; dreamers follow.
Return of schools to missions
Governor Bola Tinubu deserves a medal of courage for resisting the threats of the Nigerian Union of Teachers with regard to the return of mission schools. Some of my best friends and relatives are teachers. But, the NUT must be honest with themselves: "The schools that they have set up may properly be called the Satanic Schools" (Robert Southey 1774 - 1843). That explains the proliferation of private schools and the unrelenting flight from public schools.
Obasanjo and Nigerian media
"Dogs and journalists keep out". Read the sign on the gate of Obasanjo Farms before Abacha slammed him into detention. Dogs didn’t fight for Obasanjo’s release from Abacha’s ditches, journalists did. And on his release, the retired General took all of five minutes to express appreciation to those who risked everything (life included) to proclaim his innocence on the pages of their papers and who paid dearly for it.
Soon after, the nation got to know about the "Hidden Agenda". Obasanjo was to be imposed on the nation as the "elected" President. Still, attempts were made to repackage an unrepentant hater of the Nigerian media. Today, he "de kampe" as the President of Nigeria, fearing no one. He also has forgotten his real friends, the media, who stood by him when he was in direst need fighting for his life. About two weeks ago, a self-satisfied Obasanjo, bristling with the hubris usually associated with those who have not yet learnt enough about the transience of human power was again at his vintage best kicking his favourite "dogs", that is journalists.
Hear him: "You people " i.e. journalists, "are deaf and dumb (emphasis his and mine) I have told you before that it is in their own interest to appear. If they don’t want to appear, you people should go and arrest them. That was Obasanjo’s answer to "what is government doing to get Buhari, IBB and Abdulsalami to appear before Oputa?"
Compare that, if you will to President Bill Clinton’s response to repeated questions during the turbulent impeachment proceedings involving the American President. Not once, was the man rude even when forced to address the same question a hundred times. The President of the world’s most powerful country would not class his gentlemen of the press, even though mammalians, with dogs; he treats them with respect because he understands too well the transience of power.
He never allows power to intoxicate him and his country is the better for it.
Soon, it will be election time. As in 1998 and 1999, Obasanjo’s media consultants will be running around attempting to convince journalists that Obasanjo has changed. Yet at every given opportunity, the President confirms the old adage: "a leopard never changes its colours".
To I.G.P: Musiliu Smith
Mr. I.G.P, when will you stop Police bullion vans and occupants from terrorising the citizens of this country.
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