“It’s better to have only a few friends than to have a lot of sycophants”. –Jacques Chirac
The tempo has been stepped up; the drum beat has increased. The drummer is not browbeaten, but the praise singers are a hired crowd. The dance steps of the King are precise, but his wanton gaze is lost to the frenzy of the moment. The king is hungry- hungry for a good dance. But the King cannot dance. For in this land, Kings do not dance; yes, they can’t dance naked. Kings have danced, and have fallen in this land before; they danced away their royalty till the tumultuous crowd bade them goodbye or spat at their decaying corpses before it is dragged to the evil forest. But the king wants to dance anyway, he not only wants to dance but he wants to do so while naked. What an abomination! Ewo – in the words of the great ones of our land. This land, the land of our forefathers- this land is ours.
To you my readers this king needs no introduction. Having been on the throne for ten years, he is the longest serving king in our little kingdom; our kingdom of rabid amnesia, untold corruption and horrendous violence. A kingdom we built with the tenacity of determination and “multiplicity of our duplicity” (apology to Dr. Fash). The third term agenda is real, at least for those who do not wait to have the bad news delivered to them in a candidly worded e-mail or post letter from his Excellency at Aso Rock.
The third term agenda however just assumed a new dimension. In the past week, an ethnic attribute is slowly being added to this great development plan – so the proponents call it. My Yoruba kinsmen are torn- the Yoruba, once the hotbed of national activism and opposition politics have tasted power and they love it! I don’t blame them- we fought for this union, we suffered for Nigeria: we got killed jailed and exiled by all dictators except none. Even our own son turned on us, and now we finally have him wrapped up. The power has finally come home to roost I suppose- and we ain’t giving it up; so many of my Yoruba brethren seem to be reasoning this day. This article is for the truly torn members of my kindred; my kinsmen that are open minded to see beyond the “omo wan ni e je o se” mantra.
The sham on display at the third term hearings was a spectacle. How wonderful was it to see the Niger Delta third term governors sell their birthright for a pot of porridge? It was glorious to see the unsettled house of Ndigbo when their own Chairman came to betray them in public – umn! I just hope in the future we all remember the unholy utterances of Governor Donald Duke who came to reverse the position of his state as presented by his own Attorney General the previous day. As for my dear Olajide, dishonorable secretary of the Yoruba Council of “What?” shame is what comes to mind. Why the hired crowds? One thing is clear however, the proponents of the third term issue have something at stake beyond patriotism. The Governors want an additional term to plunder state treasury, the OBJ boys need to be protected after all they have stepped over many toes, the business class need to continue their mind boggling purchase of our national treasures on the cheap while the ethnic minded Nigerian, needs to feel at peace that home boy is at Aso Rock. However in the midst of all of these are the truly patriotic Nigerians: that are torn apart by the prospect of the future and good works the current administration is doing on one hand and the need to have the rule of law prevail on the other. It is for this last group, that I have also drawn this short treatise to debunk the white lies of the hired or harangued crowd.
Many will say Mr. President is yet declare- even if he did, does it matter? They say he promised and did handover in 1979. Haba! Was this not the same man that promised not to run in 1999 and finally did? So now that he is keeping quiet while his closest associates are campaigning I am supposed to keep quiet? Anyway, I have determined I am not going to stop talking about this issue until the Lord of Otta and his conniving lieutenant completely perish the thoughts of turning Nigeria to a banana republic. I have decided not to join those that have decided to bury their heads in sand like ostriches for in this game with a high flying General like Obasanjo; only a foolish man will buy silence as refusal in this instance. I understand the game- plant couple of stories in the media, test public acceptance and then decide. I have decided to join those that will make such decision a little bit easier – go home sirs! In doing so, I shall examine some of the lies of his compatriots all highlighted for your reading pleasure.
Lie One: “OBJ should complete is reform”: Iro la niyen (na big lie be dat). Government is a continuous process and as Chief Gani rightly pointed out – “no human possess the sperm of life to outlive government”. In fact, reform is a continuous process and seeing reform as some kind of event is in itself a failure of Nigerian leadership over the years. Any guarantee OBJ will live to see May 2007? May be he will require fourth term at the end of this. Kuku make him President for life, so his reform might last. His failure to produce a capable leadership to succeed him is a veritable argument to move on and conscript his presidency to the dustbin of history. A good quality of great leaders is that they groom great followers that are capable of taking over from them. FDR gave the world Truman and Mandela gave us Mbeki; Awo gave us Bola Ige and Sharon spurned Olmert. On the other hand, OBJ has perfected the art of rubbishing all possible successors thereby making him indispensable- he has proven to be an incapable leader.
Lie number two: “There is no alternative to baba- name any good presidential material”: That is an insult to Nigerians. OBJ has 35 million alternatives to him. The people that make this statement always talk in terms of the corrupt leadership that has lorded over Nigeria. What about thinking outside the box? Is a man like Senator Ibru not of presidential material? Though belonging to the political class, he has proven himself to be a good steward of the people’s vote spearheading the Pensions Reform Bill in the inept senate and advising the government on the current civil service reforms- giving it a human face is no mean feat. What about Pat Utomi and Gamaliel Onosode – are these eminent Nigerians of the non-political class unworthy of the highest office in the land? The people that say OBJ has no alternative are the same thugs that said none existed for Abacha before the long arms of death snatched him away before he plundered our nation.
me other mischievous individuals will talk about clout- saying they doubt if any other living Nigerian can equal the clout OBJ has. Please! OBJ has no clout (and please quote me) – he is not charismatic but has managed to cow Nigerians to submission by power of the Almighty Law Enforcement Agencies. Is that what we call clout? Then Abacha has clout too! Abacha got nominated by five parties, remember? Hell- he probably has clout too. By nature, Nigerians are sycophantic; often fooled and toadying up to so called “big men” – if OBJ drops dead today there will be more people on the street rejoicing than those crying – take it or leave it.
Lie number three: “OBJ is fundamental to Nigeria’s unity”. Lie, Lie, Lie. In fact, he is the problem. Everyone agrees that the structure of our nation is fundamentally flawed but the only person that disagrees sits at the highest echelon. OBJ sees nothing wrong with Nigeria as it is currently arranged because he is the greatest beneficiary- I mean it is not easy to be President thrice and seek a fourth round. A Nigeria where the Hausa man distrusts the Ibo, and the Ibo the Yoruba will continue to produce the likes of OBJ. Men not answerable to their immediate constituency, are mad dogs let loose on us all at the national level. OBJ loves us in disunity, because it provided the very excuse for his likes – the “disowned elites” to continue to plunder our political mandate at their own pleasure. It is telling that at the only opportunity he had to help remake the structure of this nation- OBJ turned it to a third term campaign- haba! History have shown us that a centrally controlled mechanism of state is inefficient at least in Nigeria- it is only a truly federal Nigeria, where all the energies of the constituent parts are unleashed in competition while striving towards a common goal will Nigeria achieve true greatness. Tell OBJ that and he will scoff at the very idea of a federation, he likes it only in name – he loathes everything that says power and authority should not flow from Abuja.
For those that sees the third term as a Yoruba agenda I have a word for them: “OBJ is a making of yours not ours”. The first and second “moon slides” of 1999 and 2003 were perfected in the Niger Delta (he won almost 100% of votes allocated in Rivers State – haba!). Today, Ohaneze, Niger Delta Governors and certain Eastern Gominas all support third term, yet they roam their streets and make noise about resource control. Have they forgotten the president they seek to elect for a third term is the greatest enemy of their resource control agenda? Anyway, it is hardly surprising they learn nothing; they are all in for their stomach. And just as an aside, may I add that maybe I am opposing this third term agenda all the way because I really like Mr. President. Somehow, I like him better as ex-president, statesman and grandfather than President. I can’t get past the idea of going back to Otta to visit an old sage on the farm to listen to some words of wisdom – that is the type of retirement a good old reformer like Mr. President deserves…can anyone tell him? Can anyone cut through the noise from his enemies? Can the King remember the story of the Elephant? Ao merin jo’oba – ereku ewele!
“At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols”Aldous Huxley