From Obasanjo To Yar’adua: Has Anything Changed?

by Peter Claver Oparah

It would task the most ingenuous minds to locate where exactly the Yar’Adua presidency is headed. It would stretch the greatest genius to even hazard a guess on where exactly this regime’s destination point is located. It is not because this regime has not tried to tell us its lofty intents, its cherished dreams and its desired destinations. Like all regimes before it, the Yar’Adua government has tried to articulate its intents to Nigerians but to all purposes, it is not convincing Nigerians that it has the vision, the drive and the will to meet these lofty objectives, which gets loftier and unattainable by each passing day Yar’Adua and company dithers between playing the wretched cards left for them by their mischievous benefactor and pleasing Nigerians that refuse to see the difference between the Obasanjo and Yar’Adua regimes bonded by the same persuasion that power is a do-or-die instrument that must be coveted at all costs for the benefit of their ilk.

Is anything really changing with this Yar’Adua regime or are we sold phantom film tricks to create a picture of reversal from the sad, dark and dreary Obasanjo years Nigerians would love to put permanently behind them? Is Yar’Adua’s really different from the horrible rag show that defrenested the country between 1999 and 2007 and reduced the country to a scammer’s colony where all manners of vices and corruption were elevated to the hallowed art of statecraft? Has anything, I mean anything, really changed between the eight years of unmitigated parody where adult delinquency, pranks and deliberate guile were inflicted to arrest the progress of the country and the present marked by indecivesness and tentativeness? Has anything changed from the eight years of plain dubiety and absolute lasciviousness when the country was made to sound its lowest ever depth in misrule while the vicissitudes were unleashed to hunt and deal with Nigerians in their most ravenous passion and the present government-is-on-holiday situation where half heartedness has been included as sacred arts of statecraft? Is what is going on presently different from the organized fraud Nigerians lived with between 1999 and 2007? Are we getting commensurate value for our naivety to go along with bare, premeditated, packaged fraud under the dubious guise of ‘moving the country forward’?

Let us not argue about it, when he came, Yar’Adua knew quite well that the manner of his emergence was nauseous enough to revolt even the most decent stomach. He knew that the fraudulent underpinning of his emergence will only breed repulsion from decent Nigerians who will always snicker at the suggestion, made a fact of life by Obasanjo’s dubiousness that this country cannot recruit its leadership outside howling scam and abject fraud. Yar’Adua and company knew that however they try to blot that hunting experience of April 2007 when men chose the garb of beasts and migrated to the very piths of hell to grab power for their selfish and nefarious interests is a hard task that requires the split personality he has coveted since his came and the inherent contradictions that separate his words from his actions to deal with. They know that what would assuage the feelings of most Nigerians, who by the way, are just a shade different from the Roman mob, is to sound equally repulsed of the reprehensible process that gave them their dubious commission and soon, and very soon, their battle would be taken over by Nigerians who excel in inventing self-delimiting arguments to adapt to a despicable situation. That was why he sounded so offended by the volume of the electoral fraud perpetrated to see him into office and why he made some desirable sound of adhering to the rule of law at the earlier stages of his discredited regime. That he presently deepen these vices, though still sounding offended, shows that he is a chip off the old Obasanjo fraudulent school that thrust him on Nigerians.

Granted, Yar’Adua has made one or two reversals here and there but do these, in any way, suffice as the reasons why Nigeria needs a president? I have heard of his intent to reform the electoral process albeit he had modified his earlier repulsion of the dawdy electoral process that brought him to power to insisting he won a free and fair election. We have heard of reversal of the mindless offloading of our refineries to cronies and fronts of the erstwhile Obasanjo regime. We have heard of the reversal of the sale of houses to the favoured lackeys of that regime and one or two other policy reversals. We have heard of the loud vow to be different from the regime Nigerians are united in loathing. For all their mass approval, these reversals are mere tokenisms that are thrown as miserable baits to curry the support of Nigerians and no more. They remain shallow placebos that are meant to remain so and serve the temporary purposes they are fangled for and no more. They have been mere symbolic gestures done to curry the sentiments of the people, riddled with annoying paradoxes and executed in ways that offer apology to the very regime that perpetrated them. The rot that were instituted and sustained to aid the roguery of the Obasanjo regime are allowed to still endure and no harm has been done to the deep crevices of corruption, the rooted superstructures of graft and the culled personnel with whom Obasanjo infested Nigerian public corporation and made them haven to the worst ever breed of corruption this country has ever come across with. Check out the NNPC, the NPA, the Railways, INEC, and nearly all the federal parastatals, all the people that made them case points in public looting are being left to continue their deadly commission, as if nothing was amiss. To the extent that Yar’Adua sounds so offended by these malfeasance and still retains the characters that brought these situations about demonstrates a crude irony and shows that Yar’Adua is an awkward general against corruption who does not delight in taking captives.

If one wants to explore the howling irony that attends Yar’Adua’s public postures and his actions, one needs to look at his so-called electoral reform and his dual role in sustaining the fraudulent leadership of INEC that should rot in jail were he really convinced about the public posture he tries to create as being opposed to the brigandage that was employed by Maurice Iwu, Obasanjo and the PDP to manipulate the 2007 shambolic elections. In line with this deceptive foil, while Yar’Adua covertly encourages his PDP soulmates to carry out similar electoral hemorrhage in their various states in the phantom local government elections, he yells out that he was not in support of such process with a caveat that he would not interfere to restore faith in the process; a way of bolting the stable door after the horse had escaped. But there is nothing to suggest that Yar’Adua does not enjoy, partake and indeed fund the dangerous scepter of electoral fraud that happened in the various states in the guise of council elections, if what we observed from the terrible manipulation of local council polls where he refused every entreaty before that farce to act to save the situation when it was obvious that the PDP states were on the verge of carrying out another round of electoral fraud. Truth, hard truth is that Yar’Adua desire the contiuation of the artificial dominance of his PDP over other parties through dubious means because this stands to benefit him and others that now hide under the façade of integrity to dupe Nigeria. He cares not if Nigeria becomes a Kenya in the process. The issue is that on all issues he invests on, Yar’Adua wants to eat his cake and have it. All these border on the qualms of a Yar’Adua that is ethically rusty, morally compromised, administratively sparse and clever by half, in contrast to an Obasanjo that is ethically insipid, morally wrecked, dubiously active, corruptly conceited and plainly mischievous. In between these cretins, Nigerians are permanent victims of a purblind leadership that mutates in varied unproductive forms as the days go by.

Then, has anything really changed from the pallid state of infrastructures during Obasanjo’s regrettable era and the situation presently? Has there been any improvement in the supply of light, in the availability of good and motorable road, potable water, provision of good and functional education, in the provision of employment, in dealing with a ravaging inflation, in the meeting of basic needs like food, shelter and clothing, in reducing the vicious pangs of poverty and want? The answer is no and in the face of what has become a shut down and inactive leadership, torn between retaining a cultic fidelity with its vice-driven patron and retaining its own tenuous hold on power, Nigerians are increasingly suffering the unending pangs of leadership inertia that seems to have been instituted as a permanent denture in a greatly endowed country. It is only that the style of Yar’Adua and Obasanjo differs for while Obasanjo would openly celebrate, garland and reward the purveyors of the mindless corruption that interned our hopes for a workable country in their own elephantine greed, Yar’Adua would rather choose to pretend the problem does not exist, as his approach to the power sector presently portends. Where Obasanjo, defeated by the contradictions in his own hypocritical posturing, would celebrate failures in the vain hope that we may buy into such fraud, Yar’Adua would chose inaction in the equally vain hope that it would solve a lingering problem.

What the present sustenance of the state of rot the country is continuing in suggests is that there is nothing to choose between the negative activism of Obasanjo and the indecisiveness of Yar’Adua, which indicts the party (or is it rally?), the PDP and the process, intently forged dubious elections, that brought them into power. In the long run, Yar’Adua is proving not to be different from Obasanjo whose low yield in the midst of unprecedented revenue fonts hobbled this country for eight woe-laden years. He is proving that he remains a grateful scholar of that same school of mischief that forced him on Nigerians and he is relishing all the wiles, intrigues, schemes and plots that benefit the cartel of buccaneers that control the PDP and each passing day, he consolidates on this and hopes that Nigeria will continue straying the paths of self-destruct because it benefits people like him and Obasanjo while the masses pine and die away in preventable circumstances.

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