This Adedibu Must Not Die

If the black race is going to make progress at all, it will be spearheaded by Nigeria. And Nigeria will never make progress when we are ruled by shameless politicians who are less interested in the common good, whose god is their bellies.” – Simon Kolawole

Are Black People Less Intelligent?

“At this rate Nigeria is going nowhere”. – Me

Seeing a House of Reps proceedings

Nigeria in the immediate past decades has contended with various Adedibu-manifestations. Thuggish-Adedibu, anarchic-Adedibu, political buffoonery-Adedibu, and such others have been the presentations of the persona.

Recently, the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili in a publicly declared protest described her agency as reaching “a critical point concerning its activities in Oyo State”, where “if the obstructive tendencies of Chief Adedibu continue, we are going to close down the NAFDAC office in Ibadan and leave you people to the mercy of drug and products fakers”.

Adedibu

For this NAFDAC-Adedibu, Nigeria stands at a crossroads of life or death. If this particular Adedibu is allowed to die, Nigeria heads nowhere but to certain death.

The foregoing prompts a question that we must answer. Can one possibly establish or indeed justify a nexus for one person and the fate of a nation: for Lamidi Adedibu and certification of a disastrous destiny for Nigeria? The answer is a yes. But for ‘due process’, let us look at it all the same. Let us look at three of many things.

One, Akunyili made her case public, and at that, she spoke of critical stage. Point; Dora took her case to the people (her principal concern) because she had exhausted ‘due process’ over a period so long that it reached critical stage. She must have petitioned Obasanjo fruitlessly, and on sensing the same trend with Yar’adua, she shouted out.

Two, last week two events occurred. A number of opinion pieces across national dailies dwelt on NAFDAC-Adedibu. Across a divide, a number of paid newspaper adverts popped up. While Reuben Abati, Kayode Komolafe, Kola Animasaun, and Bimbo Amole led the op-eds contributors, Olusegun Obasanjo, Kolapo Ishola, Olabode George, and (tragic, for me) Oluwole Awolowo signed the sponsors’ lines of the adverts group.

For the contributors on the one hand, the titling of their write-ups suffices the substance of their positions: “NAFDAC and The Adedibu Menace”, “Time for Inquest in Oyo”, “This Adedibu will be the death of us, if…”, and “There Is Something about Adedibu”.

On the other hand are the effusions of Obasanjo, Ishola, Bode George, and Awolowo (!): “Why for God’s sake must we seek to change a good product.” “He became excellent in the art of mobilization, de-mobilization, and coercion.” “…I know, that even angels in heaven will blow the trumpet and sing a special song,” “your kindness to humanity is exemplary and your leadership quality unparalleled”, etc.

Point: The Obasanjo-led judgment followed that of the Abati’s, even smack in the heat of media and public outcry over a personality Obasanjo describes as ranking foremost among Nigerian statesmen. Now (inevitably) Adedibu and Akunyili will take instruction from the picture; he is energized, and Dora, she has already threatened to remove NAFDAC from the State.

Three, is the vox populi. Nigerians, home and abroad spoke. The sheer volume and instantaneity of their contributions in web logs, opinion articles, letters-to-editor, SMS, and so on had a sobering effect. Please share a few.

“Yes we can bear Adedibu’s political stupidity, it won’t last. But when it comes to food and drugs, no way, it’s about poisoning; it could be anyone, even the family of the police (government) protecting him. Please lets not bring politics into this, Etteh’s case has brought the country to a stand still. This one will kill the country! Akunyili cannot be wrong about Adedibu.”

“Adedibu is like a tortoise. He is always in the story and never in a good story. He may have been a product of bad parentage; probably an area boy as a youth and that culture has sustained him up to where he is now. But as an old man now, one expects a change from him. It is most certain these vices are what he is handing over to his children and followers. Expect many of this type of Adedibus in future. Government, please call this old man to order.”

“The worst politics have always been in Ibadan. One day, we the citizens of Ibadan will get rid of Adedibu and his clan, his entire family shall be outwitted and dealt with. The Adedibu clan had shed so much blood; there is not a single family in the west that has not lost a relative traced to Adedibu’s henchmen. What is Adedibu’s illiterate son doing in the senate for God’ sake? How did he get there?”

“I plead with young men of good conscience of Oyo to rise up against Adedibu and put him where he belongs knowing that he is trampling on their future, their children, and the progress of Oyo State. They should wave their culture of respect for elders and threat him as a fool that he is.”

“What manner of man is this that is always linked with all the bad things happening around Oyo State? It’s high time he be put to where he belongs. OBJ let him be because of whatever they had in common but he should know that every day is not sallah.”

There! The constituents, citing violent human losses traced to Adedibu, an imminent trample on their future, and readiness as citizens of the war zone, are, while calling for all the help they can get, proposing that the able-bodied rise to constitute a militant-force in a bid to outwit and get rid of Adedibu, his entire family (!), and his clan. They also prophesy a future with many of this type of Adedibus if we do not stem NAFDAC-Adedibu.

We must note the unenthusiastic pitch in the people’s call for government’s intervention against their readiness for self-determination vis-à-vis the state of things in the Niger Delta region and its recent threatened overspill to Lagos and Abuja. In this, the seriousness of this issue would be a matter of opinion, -only in Nigeria.

At any rate, what must we do, generally, to what end in view of what possible challenges? Firstly, let us join Dr. Abati in appealing to Professor Akunyili not to shut down NAFDAC operations in Oyo. Akunyili has reasons for exploring that extreme alternative. One of which I constantly imagine, would be her encounter with President Yar’adua’s now renowned incomprehensible immobilization upon confrontation with issues of momentous significance.

Secondly and of no less degree, let us implore proponents to exclude militant-considerations as solution. And this is not that it cannot be; it is only because there are other more effective options. A vigilante operation may be; as Chief Awolowo (not our advert Awolowo) likes to quote, when they “make peaceful change impossible”.

So, which way forward? There’s the government option. Sadly however, in view of the status quo, it appears there’s very little to that platform. Even then, and if only for due process, Professor Akunyili should effect a petition to the Presidency and copy the Police IG and relevant committees of the bicameral legislature. Importantantly, NAFDAC should ensure that copies are made available to news media nationally.


Akunyili

Formal advocacy is an additional yet strong accompaniment. One direction of many; Akunyili has in the past three years received close to three hundred awards. And these are not from flimsy conferrers. The majority was identifiable local and international professional bodies, corporations, educational institutions, and even from faith-based groups.

In view of the nature of this particular battle, NAFDAC may solicit the support of her awarders to help activate participation from bodies which include the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Nigerian Medical Association, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Bar Association, Mass Media, Standards Organization of Nigeria, Organized Labour, Consumer Association of Nigeria, and Civil Rights Groups.

These bodies, and many NAFDAC international partners such as The World Health Organization, The United Nations Drug Control Program, The Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute, The United Nations Children’s Fund, and others, in their varied capacities could help in their own ways, compel action from the Nigerian government.

Then there is us. We should supply strategic support. We must commit a little our time to make sure this matter gets the right relevance. We must continue talking and writing about it. We must make sure everyone around us know that this is one battle we must not lose.

A recent UN report put Nigeria second-worst globally in health issues. An index of those kinds of rating is mortality. High death-rates have strong links with consumption of fake, adulterated, and substandard foods. For this NAFDAC onslaught, Adedibu ceases to be an Ibadan problem; he becomes a problem of the black race, epitomizing why Nigeria may remain a charade.

A charade recently personified by Nigeria’s immediate past president, where, in a supreme display of contempt for the people, insensitively sponsors a campaign in support of a person who ordinarily should be answering the law. If we allow them take this particular battle, Nigeria may never make progress. They must not win this war.

We must tell others that we have been provided an excellent opportunity to rid ourselves of specific decelerators of our nation’s progress and inhibitors of a potentially wonderful future. They must not win this war.

We must let everyone know that Nigeria will never make progress when we are ruled by shameless politicians who are less interested in the common good, whose god is their bellies. And that if we allow this Adedibu matter to die, they win. And if they win this one; Nigeria is going nowhere. They must not win this war.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.