Which Way Are We Going?

by Jude Arijaje

How many days ago was our new President, Umaru Yar’adua sworn in? Five? Six? Ok less than a week. I woke up this morning and scoured the news for something new about Nigeria and the new president. There was nothing new.

This has been my lifestyle for years. I read Nigerian newspapers everyday and something new is always happening. At least with Obasanjo you know that something is bound to happen. And yes, it indeed happened. From the amazing to the preposterous. At least, this was the pattern during the last 720 or so days of Obasanjo. At a point, we all knew that there was no longer any form of government in place. What we had was a market place of OBJ, El Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu, the EFCC guy, who were all hell bent on perpetuating all kinds of stupidity in the name of stopping Abubakar Atiku, the former Vice president, from being president.

All that, I guess, is history. Today, we have Yar’adua and it doesn’t seem to be like there is still any form of government in place. For one, there has been nothing to cheer about Yar’adua. Or am I blind and deaf? He got sworn in and he went into hibernation. He is saying nothing, we the people of Nigeria are not hearing anything and OBJ is making all kinds of noise, from wherever he is, Ota? Abeokuta. Are we going anywhere with Yar’adua? Did we know him before electing him? Now that he has been elected, is he setting the tone? The answer is definitely a no.

His first few days have been very tentative. May be outright ludicrous. He appointed Baba Gana Kingibe as secretary to the government. In my opinion, this is a wrong person, wrong time. The new president has shown us that the past would continue to be our future. Kingibe’s antecedents are well known. He was the vice presidential candidate to MKO Abiola who dropped the mandate like a hot potato for a ministerial position under the tyrant Sani Abacha. Why do we have to bring him back to remind us of the sorry past?

The new president retained the former president’s Chief of Staff. This again appears to me as another wrong move. One, the chief of staff is 74 years old. No, age does not have anything to do with it. In fact, age coupled with experience can be a good thing, but in this case, retaining the chief of staff passes a message that we have a president who is not his own man.

The first few days of OBJ, he retired all those tyrants in the armed forces and people cheered. At least he gave us something to cheer about in the beginning. Maybe Yar’adua is still thinking of what to do with us as a nation but did he actually have a plan before becoming president? Was there a blueprint of ideas?

There are more several troubling stories coming from Aso Rock. Appointing an Inspector general of police became a problem, with pressure groups saying one is too independent minded than the other. The new president cannot announce a Chief Press Secretary because a top publisher is insisting on one of his editors for the position. The removed chairman of the Federal Road Safety Corps is refusing to handover to the new chairman. The stories are endless.

So which way are we going? Anarchy? No it’s definitely not that bad, but if the new president continues like this, we are obviously going nowhere and before we know it we would all be clamoring for OBJ to come back. God forbid.

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Toyin June 18, 2007 - 6:37 pm

Awesome work. While I share your sentiments, I have to say that everytime I read an article like this I go back and listen to Fela's lyrics again. Men, who are we and why do we settle for mediocrity ? Give the man a chance ? He has a chance and what he does with the awesome opportunity he has is what's at stake. Nigeria is a blessed nation with immature group of incompetent leaders. God help us (It's a prayer)

Bola June 9, 2007 - 6:20 am

Give the man sometime to settle down. Ruling Nigeria is like juggling burning hot potatoe with bare hands…if you drop it youre done for…catch it your done for too! The problems of Naija….. one needs to focus properly before just shooting from the hips.

julius June 7, 2007 - 12:53 pm

Well, lets hope the President is taking his time to give us the best leadership that we've lacked for the past 47yrs. In case you want news about Nigeria, I just got to know that one of us Chimamanda Adichie just won the Orange Broadband Price for fiction. Thank God for Ms Adichie.

Michael June 6, 2007 - 12:32 pm

Sometimes the silent ones are the most efficient ones.

Remember the saying: "It is best to keep quiet and look stupid than to open one's mouth and prove that one is really stupid".

Give the man a chance!

Adebisi (London June 6, 2007 - 11:13 am

Paddy – Paddy government is what Nigeria has. All these people who run the system as if it was a club or some form of occult group that only certain or specific groups of people can handle. If you trace the history and pattern of those who have governed and messed up Nigeria, they have always been the same old people.

Unless our people take a stand and demand an end, unless we collectively decide to give true democracy a chance, where anyone and everyone with the right set of qualifications, credibility, patriotism, discipline, and nationalistic credential is given the chance to turn the fate of Nigeria on the right course, I would not be surprised if next time it is Babangida's son, Abacha's cousin and the likes of them who will once again reign over Nigeria.


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