Naija Notes: What's Wrong With Obj?

Lagos is holding its breath and Abuja is already comatose. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh are in town for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Tony Blair aka George Bush is Always Right is also expected in town as well as heads of other countries that make up the Commonwealth or what is left of it.

OBJ is laughing like a hyena. Twice in less than six months, the Chicken Farmer has gathered the tribes from across the world in an orgy of extravagance.

While Nigerians are groaning under the yoke of poverty exacerbated by the increased fuel prices and myriad problems, OBJ is spending millions in self-aggrandizing carnivals and playing up his role of World Class Statesman.

The man who is used to dishing out orders has failed to realize that there is trouble in the land. Like a raging volcano, the man is sweeping away all opposition and acting like a Maximum Ruler, browbeating hapless legislators and Senators into doing his bidding.

Two days ago, the House of Representatives passed a Supplementary budget of N269.02bn and we are still wondering why the Naira is depreciating so badly.

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A little over two weeks ago George Bush paid a state visit to the UK to cheer up his good friend, Tony Blair.

Londoners turned up in large numbers to protest against the visit as well the war in Iraq amongst other issues. They waved placards, gave him the finger and screamed abuses. The police looked on while the 700 strong US security operatives kept what Saro Wiwa would call “sharp lookout.”

Among the protesters was a daughter of a serving minister in the Blair government. Her father is still keeping his position.

Yesterday, six civil rights activists were arrested in Lagos for staging an Anti-CHOGM protest. The protest was held in Lagos, 1000km away from Abuja but the FG and the Nigerian Police did not want to leave anything to chance. The men were arrested and pressmen who were invited to cover the event were “manhandled”.

And OBJ is accusing Amnesty International of bias in its damning report against the Nigerian government’s poor human rights record.

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Last Sunday, I listened to OBJ defend his call for the de-registration of most of the 30 odd political parties because nobody even remembers that they exist.

This morning one of the major newspapers published a letter from Chief Gani Fawehinmi taking issues with the call. The Legal luminary said there are over 40 political parties in Indonesia, 32 in Britain, 36 in Isreal, more than 11 in Niger (Niger ke!) and more than 12 in Ghana.

Well, I have to disagree with the chief here. I am sure that in Britain most people believe there are just two parties, Labour and Tories. And the situation is no different in the US where the Democrats and the GOP hold sway. The other parties just don’t carry much weight.

In Nigeria, only the top three or five if you add APGA and NCP come to mind. (What was that party Kris Okotie ran on its platform?)

The situation is also different here because the government funds INEC and bears the cost of huge election expenses. The extra N9billion allegedly spent by INEC because of the proliferation of more parties could have been put to better use elsewhere.

But the good chief is spot on when he says that the president has no right whatsoever to dictate to INEC on whom to de-register. Someone should knock that into OBJ’s head.

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As you read this, academic, polemicist, politician, orator and former Senate President Dr Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo will be on his way to his final resting place.

The man who died months ago after inhaling tear gas fumes at an ANPP rally in Kano was eulogized by friends and foes in a joint valedictory session of the Upper and Lower Houses.

Okadigbo was hailed by all and sundry with someone calling him the Vice President Nigeria never had.

As Shakespeare would say, all’s well that end’s well.

Adieu, Oyi!

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