When Rimi Hit the Bull's Eye!

by SOC Okenwa

Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Rimi, former Kano State Governor and Minister of Communications is one good pragmatic politician that I admire. I admire him less for his handsomeness and more for his forthrightness, outspokenness and fearlessness. He means what he says and says what he means! Though people had criticised him for taking some opportunistic decisions in the past his integrity and credibility remains largely intact.

During his reign as Governor of Kano State Rimi picked battles with the powerful Emir of Kano whose influence in Kano and over muslims in general was intimidating. Rimi’s brinksmanship, consistency and relevance cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. He’s one politician who knows the terrain and how to survive the vicissitudes associated with politics, the Nigerian version of which requires extra-ordinary resilience and skills.

Abubakar Rimi suffered state terror in the recent past when his wife was murdered and justice is still crying to be done to the soul of the woman by finding and fixing the assailants but the Nigerian Police Force under Sunday Ehindero, we now know better, were busy hiding away huge sums of money inside water tanks, TV sets and refrigerators! Tackling and fighting crime was least in their minds, that was why the killers of the Abuja mobile police force boss were not found. Ehindero was busy strategising and fine-tuning plans and strategies for the April heist they call general elections.

The Yar’Adua carrot of Government of National Unity is a Nigerian political disease which has refused to be cured over time. Those in the opposition parties in the past who tried to wine and dine with the devil that is the ruling party has had various stories to tell and some unfortunate ones were simply permanently rested and their experiences sharing power with the political foes died with them!

Politics in Nigeria is without principles and ideologies. It is rather a cash-and-carry business-as-usual thing ‘initiating’ and incorporating new members and perpetuating others all year round. The spirit of service or patriotism is found elsewhere outside the Nigerian political world. That is why those who have since outlived their usefulness are allowed to continue or at best re-cycled to continue in the jamboree.

The Yar’Adua ministerial list includes those useless old-breed crooks who have nothing more to offer the polity but made to still wallow in the belief that they are indispensable due to their participation in various stages of our national ruination. Political expediency or loyalty to a political party is made to supercede service to fatherland. The politico-social perculiarities with Nigeria as a nation of diverse ethnic nationalities cannot be counted as a point in any society desirous of a rapid societal advancement.

That is why I commend the Action Congress members for rejecting the Yar’Adua invitation to the ING nonsense. By throwing up the ING idea President Yar’Adua and his handlers must have thought it wise seeking means to legitimise his presidency tainted by a ‘do-or-die’ election in which former President Obasanjo wore his military fatigue and ordered militocrats like Ahmadu Ali to join him as they bloodied the bloody civillians. With low characters and masters of intrigue like Lamidi Adedibu, Tony Anenih, Bode George, Ojo Maduekwe, Sunday Ehindero and Maurice Iwu Obasanjo ‘waged’ an electoral war on April 14th and 21st.

As it stands today the only credible opposition parties now in Nigeria are the AC and PPA. ANPP has decided to team up with the beneficiaries of political subterfuge, an election they are challenging in the Tribunal. If this’s not absurdity then nothing qualifies for one. That is politics for you in Nigeria though, one defined by gain and nothing else. What one stands to gain other that integrity constitutes the essential principle of the average politician.

In this kind of situation quality leadership suffers and a nation gropes in the dark! With rudderless, ill-focused politicians (some of whom operating with fake certificates or cupboards full of skeletons) rigmaroling and squabbling among themselves over who gets what and the larger share of the proverbial national cake the atmosphere cannot be conducive for progressive exploits.

That is why I was elated when I read over the weekend in the Sun newspaper where Alhaji Rimi was warning President Yar’Adua to beware of Obasanjo and his many stooges still shamelessly parading the corridors of power. For Rimi: “(Ex-President) Olusegun Obasanjo is not a democrat. He is a dictator, a very bad politician, a bad influence and he is not good for our country’s democracy.” He hit the bull’s eye there if you ask me! Whoever thinks OBJ is a democrat or a patriot must have his/her head examined.

And continuing Rimi declared that the AC opted out of the GNU because it has been discovered that with Obasanjo as the PDP BOT life Chairman then no meaningful reform can ever be possible. The AC Vice Chairman made it clear that the legal challenge of Yar’Adua’s illegitimate mandate will most definitely continue at the Election Tribunal because “We are talking about issues of the sanctity of the ballot as a factor in the democratic process. Where the president (Umar Yar ‘Adua) comes from, whether he is a northerner or not, but it is about the fundamental rights of Nigerians and the survival of democracy in the country. The Nigerian people need and deserve a flawless democratic process.”

Reading correctly the mind of the former Katsina Governor is a difficult exercise because he has so far failed to rise above the Obasanjo standard, a much-deprecated standard not good enough for the interest of majority of Nigerians. A radical change will do us much good. Nigeria remains a mystery: a country of two extremes – stupendous wealth in the custody of less than 1000 Nigerians, and extreme poverty and hopelessness to the rest of the people, 200-million strong!

In the words of James Madison: “in framing a government, the great difficulty lies in first enabling the government to control the governed, and then obliging the government to control itself” Yar’Adua’s government is not only unable to control the governed (who know how he got there) and control itself (with the Ota monster-farmer hovering all over).

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