Listening to the babble in the political field in Nigeria, one would think that the issue is one of personalities. That may be a half-truth. What the status quo would wish very much is for you to ignore the system in which these charlatans operate and thrive. The scheming politicians would wish that the suffering Nigerians would be too pre-occupied with the details of survival to look at the big picture. This group, bereft of ideas, is struggling for relevance in an innovative world where leaders are also necessarily policy wonks who can churn out ex-tempore facts and figures. Are there any smart men among the contenders for the Presidency in 2007?
Now, we hear that IBB also worships God. That is a good start, the next question is, which God? The God that would put IBB in government in Nigeria would really have to appear from hell to run roughshod over the collective will of the same Nigerians who had thrown him out of government before he was ready. We do not want to discus theology with IBB, because we think he may not be ready to bear spiritual truths since he is still in denial of his personal responsibility which is always a condition-precedent for individual salvation and redemption. Suffice to say that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth do I hate (saith the Lord). It is a contradiction in terms for a self-styled “evil-genius” to be a worshipper of God because (in case you missed it) God is not evil. We urge IBB to leave God out of his ambition. That was a side-bar.
Even before I had finished reducing my thoughts to paper herein, one of the mouth organs of the “evil genius” has written to warn the “IBB Haters” to shut up, especially regarding June 12. Its like saying when Nixon is mentioned, do not remember Watergate; or do not mention Monica Lewinsky when you talk of Clinton; or Buhari and WAI; or currently, Americans should stop talking about Iraq.
Of Professor Omoruyi
Again, I reiterate that Professor Omoruyi has the right as a Nigerian and global citizen to exercise his fundamental right of freedom of association as well as expression. By the way, we have those rights as well. Omoruyi has the freedom to hold the view that the devil is the god of this world (which may be to some extent true; but the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; is a deeper truth). We also have the right to refute Omoruyi and to refute his thesis with our anti-thesis. IBB did not give us this luxury when he was the maximum ruler of Nigeria seeking to teach us Democracy. A review the newspapers during his reign would bear this out. That IBB was a military dictator is a fact of history taken judicial notice by the courts and the International community. How much sense does it make to have an unrepentant dictator elected into public office in a democracy is the task of these IBB apologists.
I have no doubt in my deduction that Omoruyi writes for and on behalf of IBB (I would welcome a correction if I am wrong from Omoruyi who has just visited IBB in his media publicized outing to Nigeria) building upon his reputation as the policy wonk at the CDS. No doubt Omoruyi would want to continue to be relevant in the scheme of things in Nigeria in 2007 having worked so hard in the past to enthrone Democracy. The only sorry fact is that Omoruyi is working with patently damaged goods. It sometimes seems like Omoruyi has been so affected by his hero-worship of IBB that he has taken leave of logic. Omoruyi wrote at gamji.com:
‘MY WISH FOR IBB
My wish for the General is that this should be a day when he should resolve never again would he be dragged into responding to the question of June 12. You took personal responsibility many times since 1998 not for a personal failure but for a system failure; that is enough. Nigerians had the opportunity to take on the system in the past but failed. The Nigerian people are now interested in who would address the chronic poverty in Nigeria .‘
Everyone in a Democracy would urge a contender for public office to defer to public opinion, to find the pulse of the targeted audience and to try within limits to be pleasing in order to win as many undecided over (the very reason for opinion polls). That is why Senator Kerry is currently putting out adverts to counter accusations that he doctored his stories of bravery. IBB cannot hide behind the argument of a systems failure when He was in absolute control of the system. If IBB attributes fault to others, does that not show that he was incapable as an effective manager? IBB had many handicaps while in government 1985-1993, lack of control was not one of them.
IBB and poverty
Regarding the issue of IBB’s credentials qualifying him to address chronic poverty in Nigeria; you might as well say, the devil caused sin, he should be the one given the chance to eliminate sin. The issue of the welfare of the poor never featured on the radar of the policy statements for the eight years IBB was absolute ruler. If you heard the term “welfare” mentioned, it was a code word for the settlement of the restive junior officers in the military who would have been minded to topple IBB’s government. Minna, Kano, Katsina and even Lagos still had its throng of street beggars without any government initiative to alleviate the plight of the poor who even went to Obalende Mosque where these VIPs worshipped when they were in power. Omoruyi further wrote,
‘WHO IS AFRAID OF IBB?
It is a pity that some Nigerians, well placed in society are frightened by IBB’s decision to go the Nigerian people for their consideration as a democratically elected President in 2007. This is most unfortunate. There should be no reason why any Nigerians should be afraid of his decision to apply to be evaluated for a position of President of Nigeria that would be vacant in 2007. This is an employment through the democratic process.
Those who are going to the press to raise question as to his qualification outside what the Constitution and the Electoral Law say are unwittingly displaying their anti-democratic behavior. They should not substitute themselves for the political party, the PDP to which they are non-members that would be considering his application in the first instance. They should not also show contempt for the Nigerian voters that would eventually pass judgment on who would be an elected President in 2007. ‘
Professor Omoruyi missed it; Nigerians are not afraid of IBB, they are just alert to his schemes. IBB’s tactic is to manipulate public opinion, to make it seem like he is an acceptable and desirable candidate for public office after having been discredited and driven out of office by popular uprising. Nigerians have decided to counter every write-up calculated to launder the image of the disgraced dictator with a presentation of the unembellished facts. So long as there are innocuous groups out there trumpeting the perceived leadership qualities of IBB, there would be patriotic forces to counter them, strategy for strategy. These groups are also within their constitutional rights to expose the damaging flaws of Omoruyi’s political product. This behavior is not “anti-democratic behavior”. Besides, the people do not have to belong to the PDP before they can warn the party, Nigerians and the International Community of the damage the self- styled “evil-genius” has done and can do to Nigeria at this time in our evolution as a nascent democracy.
Like Omoruyi rightly mentioned, IBB is applying for a job and it is a most serious process. We are saying he does not qualify. We hope the so-called party men read the papers and opinions of enlightened Nigerians. I hope Audu Ogbeh is reading this. IBB simply does not qualify as presidential material. The man has not been known to write a coherent position paper all by himself without the help of the Omoruyis. What is wrong with encouraging Omoruyi or Ibru or Audu Ogbeh or Bernabas Gemade or Iyorchia Ayu, Solomon Lar or Soyinka or Justice Oputa or Bola Tinubu, or Nasir El Rufai or Agbokogba or Ekwueme to run for Presidency? We might as well encourage Mobuto Sese Seko to run, Milosevic and Nixon could be re-elected in their respective countries if IBB is electable.
Freedom of Opinion
Like every person, IBB can have his ideas on what is wrong with the society in Nigeria and even have his brilliant answers and die-hard disciples. We had a taste of IBB for eight hard years (The years of the Locust Swarm) and we do not relish the thought of going back to this ambitious dictator whose major qualification and expertise in the Nigerian Army was plotting coups and counter-coups to subvert the constitution. He does not need to be head of State to care for the poor in the society if that is his current platform. He may start with the Almajiri Brethren who no doubt would throng his hilltop mansion seeking for alms. Omoruyi even tries to sound populist when he says:
‘It would appear also that the religious leaders are too preoccupied with praying for political leaders and the erection of castles. One hopes that one-day, a Martin Luther King would emerge from the rank of the Nigerian clergy who would champion the cause of the poor.
The Nigerian media should focus more on the state of the poor in Nigeria than on the political class and their preoccupation with June 12. The Nigerian media hardly focus on the deplorable condition of the old people, the women, the rural dwellers, the young, the school leavers and the sick.
Suppose IBB turns out to be the champion of the poor? Suppose he turns out to be the champion of the rights of the people of the oil producing communities? Suppose he turns out to be the protector of the rights of the minorities in Nigeria beyond the tripod in Nigeria? Would the poor; the people of the oil producing areas and the minorities not have the right to express their support for him?
The poor who have no access to television, newspaper ads and the internet, cannot properly articulate their position. But if the papers are to be believed, the poor had gate-crashed a certain wedding ceremony without script or prompting had called IBB some uncomplimentary names. Surely a Robin Hood would not receive such welcome. One is not progressive because he reads the ideas of others and adopts them. There can be only one Martin Luther King but that does not mean there are not upright men of God willing to lay down their lives for their brethren even in Nigeria. If Omoruyi would only ask, God would show him the 7,000 prophets he has hidden in a cave even our generation. Evil triumphs because godly men sometimes stand by and prayerfully await the wrath of God on the evil doers. For every Pharaoh, there is a Moses. IBB definitely is not a Moses by the widest stretch of our imagination.
Seeking to justify IBB’s pompous display of unthinking disregard for the wishes of the people he seeks to help rescue from poverty (i.e. Nigerians) Omoruyi commits another fallacy in argument by positing that if the USA does not apologize for their civil war, then IBB does not need to apologize for deliberately and wantonly wasting public funds; for annulling a free and fair election which was aided and supervised by well-meaning International partners; for failing to swear in a president duly elected by a cross-section of Nigerians exercising their democratic rights; for deliberately causing a crash of the Nigerian financial system making millions of Nigerians unemployed and leading to the untimely death of hundreds if not thousands of citizens he had sworn to protect. This is Omoruyi’s justification:
Who apologizes for the US or the Nigerian Civil War? Yet both fundamentally defined the US and Nigerian politics since then till today. The pathological IBB haters are looking forward to where and when General Babangida would personally apologize for such a historical incidence that could be likened to the US or the Nigerian Civil War.
I am not aware that any US politician in the past or in the present has ever been called upon to apologize for that historical incidence, yet the issues arising from the US Civil War are all over the country. The politics of ‘Flags’ in the south and the politics of ‘reparation’ are part of the lingering issues from the US Civil War. These issues are still reoccurring at every election since the end of the Civil War.
My view is that the June 12 and other issues arising from Nigerian past including the Civil War would necessarily feature during the 2007 election. This should be expected in a democracy.
We wish to draw the Professors attention to the fact that the last paragraph reproduced above, contradicts his earlier position in the same apologia that IBB does not need to apologize or explain to anyone concerning June 12. We are not surprised; we were used to such policy summersault. That IBB is Omoruyi’s friend does not add weight to his argument. Regarding vision, however, it does not take preparation for a man of vision to lay bare his thoughts. A man of vision is usually consumed by the vision and would be known by that vision and would always talk about the vision at every opportunity. We have challenged IBB and others like him in our writing that he does not have a vision. His reply as reported in the papers was that the Political Party would map out policy. We have reiterated that a leader who is no ideologue has no right to claim the mandate of the party. Let IBB speak for himself in his broken English and half-thoughts so we can render his ideas puerile and show what an opportunist he is. Let the battle of ideas begin to liberate Nigeria from the hands of charlatans and democratic pretenders.