Game Politics, Fiscal Sharing And The Rest Of Us

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

I am sure you can tell from my parlance that I am not a conventional Nigerian rogue, unpatriotic and uncaring politician. Nigerian politicians lie, hoodwink, and simply tell Nigerians what they want to hear. I tell Nigerians what I believe is in their best interest, take it or leave it. The pitiful thing about the whole scenario is that it takes two to tangle. Having being in the political field for over 15 years, listened to Nigerians who are making senseless demand for votes and basing the performance of governors on the pittance they collect from them and sometimes because they know them, one is forced to ask himself, whether or not these Nigerians are not the human being God regret creating. I certainly understand that Nigerian rulers have programmed the governed to be self destruct, most pitifully, the preponderancy of the ones that have run from the bad situation in Nigeria to the Western World are worse in terms of political mentality than the ones left in Nigeria. Let’s begin to diagnose the illnesses of our society.

As soon as a candidate is sighted, the first thing the Nigerians electorate would ask you is money. Some would even go to the extent of telling you to send their children to school to prove to them that you are a serious candidate. The Royal fathers who are not highly regarded in the Society would expect you to come to the palace with millions of Naira and at the end of the day they will be in tow of the highest bidders. All the candidates for political offices in your political organization would expect you to fund their campaigns, failure of which they would start to conspire and threaten. Fake prophets, both traditional, Muslim and Christian, are ready to sap politicians dry. Can you imagine someone who was jilted in PDP and accepted into NCP threatening me to send N2 million or else? My response was very simple – they can all go to blazes. I told them point blank that if you move to another party and if I am about a better state and you make the state better for me, are you going to say that I should not enjoy some of it?

They were shocked; they have never seen their kind of politicians speak like that. They are used to politicians who will sell his belongings to satisfy them. One even demanded from me a private car, a private 15-passengers bus, a private secretary and a messenger before he can agree to help me. So I said to him, brother, you are not helping me. We are helping ourselves. The next statement he made was, do I know the position that I am aspiring to – governor? So I asked him what is spectacular about that. He said “ipo ola ni” a position of honor. So I told him that I would give him all that he demands, provided he can swear to a legally enforceable statement that should I win, he, his children and posterity would never live in Ogun State to enjoy the benefit of my administration since he has been paid for it. I found out this is why those at the helm of affairs always sell their properties to get into government and you cannot blame them if they replace those things after getting into power. The majority of Nigerian electorates are sick. So it is wrong to blame Nigerian politicians alone. I only blame those who are already rich before getting into the helms of affairs. Those kind of people should be able to satisfy the orgy of the hungry Nigerians and then get to the position to operate on their heads, but no, not them.

To view me as one of those politicians is wrong. If I were in politics for money, I would have accepted a job that would enrich me. For me application to serve is not about making money. I am financially comfortable with my high profile job and perks of good life. I have had the opportunity to make money in the criminal way the Nigerian elected and appointed officials make money by serving under the government of General Sani Abacha. I turned it down. My mission is not about unjustly enriching myself, it is about the dignity of the Black race; it is about enviable legacy that would make anyone associated with me to say “yes, I helped him to get elected.” It is about a name that is enviably larger than life and it is a goal. It is not about propaganda to turn the brains of Nigerians upside down and confuse them as it is being done by Otunba Gbenga Daniel and his likes in government. I believe in nourishing and pampering talents, caring less whence they hail and regardless of colour and national origin. I believe in using those talents it pleases God to endow Nigeria with to make Nigeria great and to accord anyone, especially the blacks in the Diaspora the hope that they can go and visit and reside in Nigeria without fear. My program for the elderly will be the first in this continent and will make the creators of senior citizens to pray for me. I will bring sanity and credibility back to government.

I am not amazed that the people who endure life in the fetid slums of Lagos are bitterly aware that thieves dressed as politicians have robbed them of practically everything, with a slight look at the under-equipped policemen around. At least, much of Nigeria‘s commercial capital, teeming with perhaps 15 million people, is an urban hell. Some shanty towns are so overcrowded that they spill into the sea – their shacks perched on wooden stilts above 10ft of water. Among the potholed roads and alleys, patrolled by armies of hawkers and street children, there is palpable anger over the corruption that bled Nigeria of £220 billion during the first four decades of independence, impoverishing the great majority of its people.

Our leaders are corrupt, greedy and selfish. They siphon our money into their bank accounts – and look, our education system is zero; our roads zero; our hospitals, zero. This bitter experience of misrule and looting on an epic scale has left a sense of fatalism and helplessness. The only thing the G8 can do for Nigeria is give us visas to get out of here. I would leave now. Can you take me to the British Embassies, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who restored civilian rule in 1999, was trying to combat this public despair. An official drive against corruption was under way. An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission named the seven “most wanted” Nigerians, of whom two were thought to be in Britain.

Even when the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo denied that he took unilateral action in the decision to hand over the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, little did I know that it was in respect of the verdict given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) until the Senate reacted recently. Despite that mistake, the last Senate and the House of Representatives under the leaderships of Senator Ken Nnamani and Hon. Aminu Bello Masari were duly served the Green Tree Agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon on the ceding of Bakassi Territory for ratification by the National Assembly. His kangaroo verdict portrayed to tell us the implication of the senate refusal. The former senate leader cannot say if they received such letter, but referred the puzzle to the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly. We failed to understand that it is in our own interest as citizens, blood-born of the owners and Aborigines of Bakassi to state manifestly that Bakassi had existed even before the Nigerian state gained independence in 1960.

Again, I disagree that there is a complete absence of political ideology. For Obasanjo to set EFCC to trap his political enemies is an ideology. For him to entrench corruption in one circle and make it appear that he was fighting corruption on the other hand is an ideology. What is absolutely lacking is patriotic ideology in the interest of the nation. None of these bandits Nigerians allowed to govern them has any ideology for the interest of the nation. Yes, ideology is needed to make a nation great. When Late Ronald Reagan of the United States came to power, he made it clear that by any means necessary, the United States must be the only super power. He consulted astrologers, and he succeeded. When Malcom X said the same thing, he was branded a violent person, and condemned even in death. It is an ideology that tells which of our leaders we must respect.

Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo was the recurring factor in Nigeria‘s democratic transitions for the past eight years. He has, in all featured in four transitions in the following order: 1979- to Shehu Shagari; 1999-from Gen. Abubakar; 2003-from President Obasanjo; and 2007-to Musa Yar’Adua former governor of Katsina state and the freshly minted President of Nigeria. It’s thus, without question, that fate had prepared this illustrious son of Owu to play an unparalleled role in Nigeria‘s democratic history like no other Nigerian leader had, dead or alive; the same way, it bears notice, that fate had played its hands in his heroic role in ending the Nigerian fratricidal civil war in 1970. On the foregoing accounts alone, even without more; on the strength of the above records alone, even without more, and without going into other beckoning areas of his contributions to Nigeria and African development, the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo earned the towering status of Primus Interpares in the pantheon of Nigerian leaders, dead and alive, and its reason why many were prepared to ascribe to him the title: ‘Father of Modern Nigeria’ in recognition of his unparalleled and unequalled contributions to Nigeria’s political and physical development then. He was, undoubtedly, the Charles de Gaulle, the FDR, the Winston Churchill, the Nehru, and the Nkrumah of Nigeria, all rolled into one. And many sober minded, objective, and non-partisan observers would nod their heads in agreement. And I do not mean to include the tribes of cynics, and pessimists in Nigeria, or those corrupt politicians and their bootlickers, who have an axe to grind with the ex-president for disgracing them from office on account of their corrupt deeds.

Of course those who see nothing good in others would be quick to accuse me of praise singing or even call me names like sycophants, praise singer, and what have you. It’s their stock in trade to run down others who hold different opinions from their sick, jaundiced, and unproductive pastimes of Obasanjo bashing. Some have even accused me of having plots in Abuja from the government and angling for ministerial posts in Obasanjo government and now, Yar’Adua’s government. What pathetic bunch! They should look carefully to see whether Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu made the ministerial list! What a people!

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