Yar'Adua's Return and the Endgame

by Peter Claver Oparah

Everything happening in Nigeria today points to the fact that the end game is getting to its critical stage. This should be expected from a country with such convoluted and greatly scrambled space as Nigeria. The critical nature of the elite conspiracy to domicile power for its mundane value points to one certain direction; we are inching to ground zero where something must give. The consequences may not be easily fathomed now and the direction we are heading may task the greatest of seers. What however is certain is that all is not well with Nigeria and the present tempest could be likened to The Dialectics where the thesis and antithesis struggle to cancel each other and give birth to the synthesis. From the present deadly struggle for forts, methinks that something will give and free Nigerians from this mass prison we had been incarcerated in by roguish leaders and their subalterns.

We have heard that President Yar’Adua has returned to Nigeria though the facts of his return are still shrouded in such secrecy that would have made the Russian Politburo green with envy. That the long suffering president has returned should be a joyful tiding to Nigerians were they really connected with his leadership or that of his predecessors and were things going the way they should. As at the time of writing, Nigerians do not know whether their president is still straddled with infirmity of body, which occasioned his long health vacation in the first instance or he is freer and stronger to attend to the many problems of statehood that straddle it. Fact is that no known Nigeria had publicly acknowledged seeing Yar’Adua since December and the manner he was stolen into the country, like the Biblical thief in the night, still raises greater doubts about his state of health. Why Nigerians are curious of his state of health is that it is the certificate that clears him to sit over the affairs of the fabled 150 million Nigerians. But so far, this has been sealed off from Nigerians in a manner that suggests that some mischief shroud his home coming in the first instance. It looks like a quintessential, cold blooded power scheme, delivered in very cold cocktail but every self-destructive potent intact.

Now, the ambers are on and Nigerians are waiting with bathed breadth as the power tussle that follows Yar’Adua’s return unfurls. They don’t have an idea, which direction this battle will take and they don’t know what their fates will be as the combatants strategize and dig in. Right now, the country is at the edge, lip-reading and foot-reading what the empty men that sits at the helm do in the present circumstances. The dark crevices of the country are abuzz with meetings and shifts of the little minded men that have incredibly run roughshod over us, all aimed at taking advantage of an inchoate void created by the health conditions of their president. Since the return of Yar’Adua, there have been tremendous ground shifting, there have been recants and re-shifting of loyalties as is common with the nit wit that sit atop our fates and make a huge mess of it. Heads are about to roll, in tandem with the macabre politics of the stomach and self interest, which predominate our landscape. Whose heads rolls eventually depends on who gets the upper hand between the forces that see their temporary dominance doomed by the return of Yar’Adua and those that see theirs rejuvenated by this controversial return.

From all seeming indices and given the surreptitious manner it was handled, it is obvious that the smuggling in of Yar’Adua under a thick pall of darkness was driven by an acute and sinister intention to reclaim power. It was meant as an ace in the deadly battle for fortes that had characterized the primitive politics Nigeria has been noted for, especially in recent times. As at date, there is concrete evidence to prove that something else and not the arrival of Yar’Adua took place that very night he was said to have come home. There is no eye witness confirmation of the fact that what was reportedly wheeled into a waiting ambulance under the cover of pitch darkness was the man in whose hands the fate of over 150 million Nigerians is entrusted. There is yet no fool proof evidence to show that indeed, Yar’Adua is presently in the country and the evidence is his wife’s, and so far, his wife’s alone. This is not strong enough to dispel the curious pessimism of Nigerians about the state of health of their president. This now leaves us with the same conjectures and half guesses that have kept us company since he went to Saudi Arabia in November last year.

But these entire plots tailspin into a chilling power play involving Yar’Adua’s men and others who feel the country should move along the precepts of the law. It is widely speculated that Yar’Adua is not as quarter fit as a fiddle but was merely trudged into the country for the purpose of serving as a mute front for his core loyalists in their attempt to rebound from the kind of setback that saw his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, empowered as Acting President. The way his evacuation from an unknown Saudi hospice to Nigeria was executed gives credence to this speculation. There is no doubt that the members of his kitchen cabinet are at work presently and doing all in their power to navigate through the solid facts ranged against their permutation. On the other hand are those who rightly feel fed up about the degeneracy that are being sponsored as officialdom in Nigeria, especially in the last ten years. They want an end to the present parody, not because they are home with the alternative but because they feel the country must make a conscious effort to walk the ways of its laws and statutes- even in their proven shortfalls. If a little effort is made to toe the lines of the precepts of the land, we would have had an empowered and a more sure-footed Acting President in place now and he would have sourced a greater courage to deal with the multifarious strictures that assail and afflict statecraft in Nigeria at present. Those that share this view only aligned with the other side, not because they have stellar faith on this other side but because they align with the provisions of the law.

So on both sides of the spectrum are combatants, activists committed to very pristine interests who want to take advantage of Nigeria. The ordinary people are more of spectators to the charade going on at present. They can hardly place a finger on what is on it for them. They are only praying for the x-factor to settle it for them and free this country from the rampaging principalities that ogle for our collective souls.

There is no doubt that the arrival of Yar’Adua and his being screened off from public view is creating another buzz on its own and may indeed be the greatest factor against the permutations of his kitchen cabinet. Let’s face the fact, Yar’Adua cannot be president in hiding so one way or the other, he has to show face or else forget about either retrieving power for himself or securing it for his menservants. Also, the state under which he returned will play a critical role in advancing the power craving of his core loyalists. He has to be certified fit and healthy for him to perform the duties he is constitutionally vested with or he remains a patient and not the president of Nigeria. These are the letters of our laws and not my invention. How his confidants manage the challenges ahead will go a long way to decide which fate Nigeria, as a country, embraces in the foreseeable future.

But the main point in the unfolding drama that has reduced our country to a laughable cretin is where all the puerile play-acting is leading Nigeria to. The big issue is how a large, richly endowed and vibrant country had been successfully compressed into one big playground for scoundrels and pimps while a hapless and disempowered people mope helplessly. The poser is where the future of this bestially raped country lies and nothing to the effect is being proved by the high octane power struggle that is being unleashed over the health status of Yar’Adua.

It is also my healthy guess that the present squabble portends grave prospects for the gravely ill country and its famished citizens. However, I fear for the endgame this singular event will provoke. I fear for the precarious future of this country. I fear that the end is nigh and the few days ahead will work to fasten the process of looming national disaster. Yar’Adua’s return may well be the beginning of the end for Nigeria.

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