Are we Dangerously Intelligent? II: Umar Yar’Adua, The Unwilling President

by Churchill Okonkwo

“I never worry about action, but only about inaction”Winston Churchill

In The Beginning

When in 2006, at the peak of campaigning for the 2007 election, the dangerously intelligent cabal of Obasanjo and his dragons that surrounded him convinced and drafted a man – Yar’Adua – who was just content with managing the people and government of Katsina to run for president, I knew we were about to witness another era of unwilling presidency.

It was Leonardo da Vinci that said, “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” But Mr. President was never willing, he never had a vision for Nigeria, he never knew the level and gravity of enormous tasks that waits the Nigerian President, so, how could he feel the urgency? How can he apply? How can he do?

I think the biggest question to all Nigerians at this critical stage in nation building should be; “Is being indifferent part of being dangerously intelligent that we take the easiest way out or worse still join the dragons in the dance of shame?” Our greatest enemies are indifference, inaction, indecision and incompetence.

Inactivity And Deprivation

Just recently, Mr. President said that $10bn had been invested in the sector between 2000 and 2007 with nothing to show for it and that is why he is not prepared to inject money in the power sector “without a stable project management arrangement”. So he deliberately left out power project in the 2008 Appropriation Bill. I hope I didn’t get that right. What this means is that we have to buckle up for a year of darkness and inactivity at improving the power supply in the country. The national electricity supply is down to 2,000MW. The required nation-wide supply is about 30,000MW, and nothing is being planned till 2009? Beautiful nonsense!

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Security and Minting Plc spends N414m yearly to generate power for its two offices in Abuja and Lagos, N228m is spent on rented generators while the Power Holding Company of Nigeria collects the balance of N186m as electricity bills. In Lagos, the company spends N11m monthly on generators while the PHCN receives N9m. Now, imagine what NNPC, Government Houses, ministries and other government agencies are spending on power on monthly basis not to talk of private firms.

Why has Mr. President not deemed it necessary to probe into what happened to the $10 Billion? Who are the contractors supplying and maintaining these generating sets? Knowing Nigerian government agencies for what they are, the question is; who is benefiting from this epileptic state of power generation and distribution in Nigeria? Is Mr. President too scared to cleaning up Nigeria?

Just because he is riding on stolen mandate is not enough reason for Nigerians to continue in the present state of inertia with a crop of politicians that are visionless yet dangerously intelligent. If the hands of Mr. President are tied behind his back that he is confused and only goes to the office to listen to the untouchable sycophants that manipulate him, he should resign and tell Nigerians that he never really won the election.

The Minister of National Planning, Senator Sanusi Daggash, has just revealed that fuel subsidy has risen to as high as N450 billion. He added that, “That is a huge amount. I am sure that there are a lot of things we can do with N450 billion. The question of subsidy can only be addressed by getting the internal pricing right”.

Getting the internal pricing right? What happened to our refineries? What happened to the privatization? What happened to the Billions of Dollars meant for the Turn Around Maintenance? What has happened and is happening to the money from excess crude sales? Is nobody in this administration thinking right? Has things gotten this bad that everybody seems to have given up?

The Dangers

Quoting Robertson Davies, “Inactivity and deprivation of all accustomed stimulus is not rest; it is a preparation for the tomb”. Is this present state of inactivity in all sectors of our national life a preparation for the tomb?

The only way a woman can ever reform her husband is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life and then dies. We have lost interest in what is happening to our educational sector, lost interest in and confidence in privatization, we have lost interest in family values and traditions; we have lost interest in excellence, integrity and merits. We are currently losing interest in and confidence in our electoral system (if not lost); we are losing interest in the fight against corruption, the reform of the Nigerian Police Force, the …

Someone should tell Mr. President that a man who marries a woman to educate her fall victim to the same fallacy as the woman who marries a man to reform him. By reluctantly accepting to be president of Nigeria and riding under the worst electoral fraud in our history, was Mr. President thinking he will easily shake-off the cabals that brought him to office – those crude but dangerously intelligent gangs- without being chained?

We have to remind him that the grasshopper that runs into the mist of fowls ends up in the land of spirits. So, the rest of the country continues to suffer in the hands of few? The greatest dangers of all these is that we may end up just wasting the nest three and half years, consolidating on the evils of institutional corruption, incompetence, nepotism and bad governance.

The Way Forward

Paraphrasing Mother Theresa; when you look at the inner workings of electrical things, you see wires. Until the current passes through them, there will be no light. That wire is Mr. President, you and I. The current is vision, willingness to take action and strong determination to say no when confronted with acts that are not in the overall interest of the nation. We have the power to let the current pass through us, use us, to produce the light and the way forward for all Nigerians. Or we can refuse to be used and allow darkness to spread.

The way forward is that we have to allow the current to pass through us. How? First, Mr. President being sincere to himself and to the nation admitting the obvious; that his hands are tied by the same elements that presided over the running of this country in the last twenty years and that nothing will “work” in this country until he is unchained (which I we know is not going to happen) or until the Presidential Electoral commission declares the process that brought him to power, null and void and calls for fresh election. Failure to do this will be a confirmation of our not only having an unwilling president but an incompetent one.

Secondly, we all have to come to the rescue of the nation by doing away with the present show of interference and attitude of “if join can’t beat them, join them” which in itself is being dangerously intelligent.

My elders use to say that, “No matter how many spirits plot a man’s death, it comes to nothing unless his Chi (personal god), has a hand in the deliberation.” Our personal gods has never had a hand in the plot to perpetually keep this nation in darkness, that is why we still have hope and are making contributions and suggestions on the way forward; that is why despite the of few at home and abroad at creating a bad impression that everything out of Nigeria is bad, we still find our voices and stand tall individually in our respective endeavors even if we are not proud of our motherland.

Being indifferent or unwilling will definitely not make the electrons to flow, action- positive actions are the only way of proving to the world and to ourselves that truly, we are not dangerously intelligent.

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Sick Nigerian August 22, 2008 - 11:21 am

I did not get to read the whole piece, but the first couple of paragraphs gave me a broad picture. First of all, the name of this website is “Nigeria’s in America”. I do not think anybody in America is equipped with enough knowledge to judge what is being done here in Nigeria. I left for school January this year to the Uk after christmas holiday, and came back and was impressed with what was going on. My roads are finally being covered with interlocking stones, the light situation is even a whole lot better, and the transportation is even getting better with new commercial buses put on the road and the plan for corporate taxis in the works. Its easy to profess our love for Nigeria when we are not living here. If people love this country as much as they claim to, then here is where they should be and not abroad trying to fix things. And from what I have seen, Mr. President is far from unwilling.

Nonpartisan Nigerian January 23, 2008 - 12:13 am

As a noob to Nigerian politics, I kind of find it appalling that Yar’Adua was reluctant in deciding if he wanted to become president or not. If he was reluctant, how the heck did he get into power in the first place?*Sarcasm* I think we all know how. In my opinion, the only way Nigeria is ever going to rise above its current depressing state, if it ever does, is when there’s a true presence of democracy and capitalism rather than alleged democracy, ubiquitous corruption, and political malfeasances. As my dad always said, “How did that monkey-looking Obasanjo ever even get into power?”

Musa January 21, 2008 - 3:31 pm

Good one


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