When our president promised to investigate the fuel subsidy imbroglio and prosecute those involved after the revelations of titanic corruption that bedevils the oil sector, I wasn’t too impressed. When I stated my beliefs on why I wasn’t impressed, some labeled me a pessimist; most especially, those of the Niger Delta extraction.
Sadly however, I have been proven right time and time again. Just like I told all who cared to listen last year that voting on the basis of ethnic sentiments rather than by proven track record and strong antecedents would lead to another vicious circle of poor leadership. Today, not a few Nigerians who chanted all sorts of slogans and even sang songs to boost the popularity of this previously unknown man from Otuoke, Bayelsa State to enthrone him in Aso Rock are biting their nails in regret.
A look at the remarkable ascension of our previously-much-loved-number-one-citizen-turned-public-enemy-number-one to the top office in Nigeria shows a completely unremarkable political career that often makes me wonder how he ascended to that top spot. Not many who fought tooth and nail to attain that top spot despite strings of political accomplishments actually arrived there. In Goodluck Jonathan, we found the epitome of political good luck and he will go down in history as one of the luckiest politicians in Nigeria ever to have held that top spot . You all know his story (especially the no shoes part) and his subsequent elevation to the highly coveted post of C-in-C. Nigerians thought the good luck that he was named after would transfer to the nation. How wrong they were!
I do not claim to be overly informed on the many happenings in our political terrain but I remember distinctly that after the Alamiesiegha saga and his subsequent impeachment, his deputy took over. I stand corrected but I do not think there was anything worthy of note in his administration as governor but by miracle, he appeared as running mate to the immediate past president, the late Musa Yar’Adua (God rest his soul). But again, I wasn’t surprised. The political events that occur in Nigeria defy all common sense and logic.
My first danger sign of the kind of man he was came to the fore when he initially refused to declare his assets even when his boss did so. If a man’s hands are clean and all he has acquired in life are via honest means, then he has nothing to fear, right? Well, after much pressure and a specific instruction from “oga” himself, he finally complied. This was a sign; a testament to how he probably illegally enriched himself as governor of Bayelsa State but nobody thought seriously about it.
The second sign, was when he came out to blatantly deny the PDP zoning arrangement that brought him in as Vice President. It was at this point that my opinion of the man was cemented; that he was not to be trusted. After a taste of power as Acting-President, like Oliver Twist, he wanted more. Even if it meant denying the existence of an unwritten zoning arrangement of which he was a beneficiary. He played it sharp and swerved everybody. But I wasn’t bothered much as there is no honor amongst thieves.
The third sign and the deal breaker; first few months after being sworn as president, he sent a bill to the National Assembly for an amendment of the constitutional provision on the tenure of the president to six years single tenure rather than the usual four year double tenure. My danger bells chimed as loud as Big Ben! This was the priority of a president whose election was marred by a wake of massive post-election violence that destroyed the lives of many serving corpers and other innocent victims!
Fourth sign: Mind-boggling corruption. We all have to admit that this current administration despite its propaganda to engage corruption head-on, has redefined corruption and has taken it to new heights. The spate of embezzlements, the brazeness of public officials in stealing hefty sums and the frequency of tales of theft these days leaves my mind in constant daze. How can a permanent secretary steal N2b cash belonging to others and pile it up in his apartment?! How can people heartlessly loot the pension, the hope of earnest and hard working Nigerians?! How can the proceeds of oil which is the birth-right of every Nigerian be shared amongst the so called “CABALS”?! Yet, the president saw it fit to heap the burden of corruption and the inefficiency of its agencies on the impoverished masses by removing subsidy on PMS; the only thing enjoyed by the masses with failure in every sector of infrastructure, notably power.
Finally, sign number five. Security. Over a thousand people have lost their lives in the most gruesome fashion to attacks by the radical islamic sect, Boko Haram since the advent of this administration a year ago. Attacks have become so rampant that there’s almost a bomb blast every sunday. And after each devastation, yours truly comes on to “condemn the attacks”, “promise to fish out the perpetrators”, declare that “we are winning the war against terrorism” and even more recently, threaten to expose Boko Haram sponsors in his administration. In YOUR administration?! Why haven’t you exposed them already? The lackadaisical attitude of the president to the continuous loss of life by this clear and present danger of Boko Haram leaves me speechless! Perhaps, if his beloved Dame was a casualty, wouldn’t he be spurred into action to deal with this threat decisively? Our lives are not worth much in his sight obviously. The list of woes goes on and on.
What is most baffling, amazing and annoying at the same time is Mr President’s abject lack of finesse; his dictatorial style of government. The way he dishes out policies as if in a whim. The way he makes empty and unrealistic promises; breath of fresh air while he chokes the living day light out of Nigerians…
This current subsidy probe is to me, the greatest hoax of all. It was just another scripted plot to pacify Nigerians after the fuel subsidy removal. It is well known that the culprits of the subsidy sham were and are still the most generous donors to the president’s campaign coffers even as he eyes a second tenure. Little wonder why he refused to suspend Madam Dieziani, Minister of Petroleum and chairman of NNPC and PPRA; agencies that have been indicted as strange bedfellows in this water bed of corruption in the oil industry. It is a trite principle of equity that no man should be a judge in his own case. How an unbiased report is supposed to be arrived at while Madam continually sits pretty in glittering gold with the power to hamper a proper investigation remains to be seen.
More disturbing is the recent allegations of bribery that have rocked the legislature; the people saddled with the duty of all investigations into such allegations of corruption. From Herman Hembe to Farouk Lawan. The next thing will be for Jonathan to disregard the recommendation of the legislative committee investigating the fuel subsidy scam as “lacking merit” or as having been “compromised” and the “Squealer” of this Animal Farm plot, Reuben Abati will bring one obnoxious explanation or the other to defend his liege. Come to think of it, George Orwell was a visionary. The question is whether he had a vision of Nigeria today when he wrote Animal Farm many years ago.
Nigerians are a great people. Its such a shame, a travesty that the corrupt minority dictates what our image is to be before the international community. But what do we expect when we allow mediocrity to become the elephant in the room? Edmund Burke in his memoirs once wrote;
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for a few good men to do nothing.”
Recently, I read an American article that chronologically tabulated the failures of Jonathan as a president. It is no longer a secret. The world knows that Jonathan has failed. It now behooves us all, the masses, the commoners, the poverty-stricken, the downtrodden, the mourners, the jobless youths, the few good men to rise up and ensure that come 2015, we redefine the meaning of a landslide victory. Victory over an oppressive government; victory over corruption. The time is now!
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