Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Examination of the Yaradua’s Regime as an Extension of the Second Republic

I have often wonder why successive Nigerian government makes their inept predecessors look like professional saints? It is as if something is inherently wrong with our politicians way beyond comprehension. They all come to power with high hopes, vowing to right entrenched wrongs in our polity. Sadly, they ended up making a big mess than their predecessors ever imagined. Don’t get me wrong I am not writing off the present regime in Abuja, but to tell the truth, they are wearing thin my patience.

I recently have a friend over and we started talking. He found my utter disdain for the politicians in Abuja quite astonishing giving my strong avowed belief in one Nigeria, irrespective of who is in Abuja. Without sounding pedantic, I explained to him that the same love I have for Nigeria drives my desire to have a strong committed government in Abuja that dearly cares for the downtrodden masses in our dear land.

When the present government came into power, I was willing to give them a chance, even when their legitimacy is in question. The much I know about Yar’adua give me hope that he will at least guide the ship of our nation out of the troubled waters his predecessors had plunged us into.

Imagine my horrors, when he inaugurated his cabinet and lard them with political jobbers and lackeys who are more interested in filthy lucre than the good of the country! From a foreign minister whose first act in office is to hire a United States Republican party lobbying firm, even when everything points to the fact that the Republican party will be losing the congress that year.
Next, is an attorney general whose loyalty to his previous clients-corrupt ex-governors is never in doubt. And now, we have a Finance Minister, who thinks of his administration as “mallams admin”

What is going on with this madness in Abuja? I had initially thought the initial vendetta against anything “Obj” will soon come to an end and Yaradua will get back to business. I was wrong! The mindless probe continues and at the end of each probe you can bank on the fact that they will end up apologizing to the previous regime because they know they owe their position to Mr. Aremu Obasanjo. All I ask is enough of this probe insanity get on with the job!The regime’s explanation for the ridiculous “go-slow” approach to governance is not only pathetic but dangerous to boot. And to hear the minister of Finance played the ethnic card to the hilt is quite baffling. Listen to him earlier this week, he made reference to an inane rumor about some Nigerians alleging that this regime is full of “Mallams who have come to steal and destroy the gains of the last 8 years?”
First of why descend to that gutter level? Why does he need to answer rumors that can potentially give fire to those who want to dismember Nigeria? The most astounding part of the minister’s press conference is that he actually believes the rumor. He clearly bought into the argument, as if only Mallams are making decisions for this if only Mallams voted in their fraudulent selections!My fears are that we have seen this before; this is second republic being played out before our very eyes. Look check out all the characters in the infamous second republic, they are all stalking the land in Abuja.Exhibit One= A docile head of government and president, who do nothing other than attend political party meetings (then NPN, now PDP). Then it was Shehu Shagari, now Umar Musa Yarduah albeit with a little bit of education. For more than 3 years after inauguration the Shagari’s regime did nothing other than parade the streets of Lagos in siren. And now we have a president in Abuja, who gained more press coverage when he traveled to Germany for medical check up. You cannot point to a single policy thrust this administration has embraced and vigorously campaigned for our country to embrace. They are busy pulling down the structures put in place by their predecessors whilst they have no plans for theirs.

Exhibit Two: A comatose National Assembly more interested in accouterments of offices and perks than passing legislation. Check it out: Iyabo's and other honorables trip to Ghana can readily be equated with Saraki and others trip to France for the Fourgeroulle’s affairs.Exhibit Three: A well educated policy wonk but innately timid vice president who is hardly seen in public making any decisions. Except for occasional hosting of traditional rulers and stakeholders coming for visits, you hardly see our current vice president address any intellectual gathering. You can’t see him asking rigorous questions and demanding answers from the bureaucrats who are the conveyors for the fraud in Abuja. Compare Goodluck and Ekwueme, birds of the same feathers? It is as if they were both installed so they won't rock the boat, mere figure head?Exhibit Four: Installed and carefully selected federal parliamentary leaders who aligned with the oligarchic few of government. Current speaker is son of a second republic power player who used party loyalty to climb the levers of power and wealth. Bankole is no different from Edwin Ume Ezeoke, except that with the latter you know his stand with regards to Federalism in Nigeria, but Bankole's loyalty is first and foremost to the Danjuma/Arewa consultative forum clique that installed him at the helms of the House.We know Ezeoke could do the talk and debate issues, Bankole may have that asset, but we don’t know. He is too busy paying back those who installed him as speaker. Nigeria's problem in the early '80s is acute food shortage whilst millions of foreign currencies were being spent on Green Revolution; our current problem is power shortage. It was not that the food shortage problem went away; it is that the press are no longer interested in reporting it. At least in the '80s we get reporters talking to Ezeoke and other, now our press waits for crumbs from PDP conventions.Exhibits Five: An "Out of touch" Senate: who could forget the days of Wayas, Saraki and Barkin Zuwo. Unfortunately our current senate, are giving them a run for their money. With the richest Nigerian in charge of our senate, you might as well forget about democracy for the people. Our present senate president once said telephone is not for the masses, he was proved wrong! Why? Because he never knew poverty in his life and never had to campaign for votes from the masses to know what it feels to be a poor Nigerian. His was a life that started as a “militrican”. He owns the largest golf course in the Carribean, it was once reported that he walked to the Vatican with over 100, 000 dollars in cash as gift for the pope after a private mass.Where did he get his money? Not from any inheritance, not from any successful business. In actual fact he had never had any job other than as public servant. He made his money as minister of communication under the infamous IBB regime. The loot he made then is what he used to grease his way to the senate upper echelon, in an election that still remains an issue of "causa celebra" at the Court of Appeal.You can readily compare David Mark to Saraki and Wayas, two people who never owned a business until they got into government and then smile to banks (and even owned them) whilst Nigerian dies in poverty. Our today senate like the ones in the 1980s, sees every attempt to probe them as an affront on democracy. They will remove any anti-corruption agency that stood in their way to continue the looting. Imagine the petulant way Iyabo Obasanjo justified the looting of the Ministry of health in the name of conference in Ghana. A conference, the Ghanaian government and press had no memory of.Exhibit Six: The Presidency, so aloof from the suffering of Nigerians that nothing moves them. There was a report late in 1983, of President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, reading and circling an article by Punch Newspapers, where Alhaji Dikko proclaimed that Nigerian are not suffering since no one is eating from the dusting bin yet. Shagari was heard to have exclaimed that "insha Allah" the press will get rid of his government.You can imagine the mindset; his first recourse is not to summon the minister, but to blame the press for reporting a verity. In today's Aso rock, our minister of finance considers this regime a "mallam" reign. He blames the 'go-slow' stance of the government on rumors. As if there was any reform in the last 8 years that did not have input from Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and Al-Rufai. It is as if the problem Nigerian are going through matters little compare to the endless probe of Obj, the Arewa Consultative forums are targeting, all in a bid to get back the oil blocks from their southwest elite counterparts.Exhibits Seven: Democracy made in Nigeria, for PDP executives, for the benefits of PDP leaders. This is the same democracy that produced Akinloye's champagne. Everything is being done in Abuja to "purportedly right the wrong." i.e Pay back Ahmadu Alli's millions of Naira for property built illegally, even whilst many other Nigerian whose houses were destroyed are left to live as tenants. The intent of this regime is to settle, settle and settle everyone with grievance. If you are a Danjuma that lost a prized Oil blocks, you will get something more than that back in return as long as you have party executives installed in PDP that will do your biddings.Here is the saddest part of it all, no quality opposition party in Nigeria today. In the Second republic, at least you can count on the likes of Aminu Kano, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Azikiwe to stand for the truth and speak truth to power. Today, the so called CNPP-Conference of Nigeria Political Party, exist only on the pages of newspapers. They are reactive, rather than pro-active. Their stated goal is to get rid of Obasanjo and once baba-cracy leaves they ran out of ideas. They themselves are mired in "settlement syndrome" Compare the readiness of Azikiwe's NPP to accept to serve in NPN government without any preconditions, to the same readiness exhibited by some sections of ANPP, who could not even wait for the Court of Appeal decisions before they threw their candidate (Buhari) under the bus, so they could share in the loot going on in Aso rock.

We need to start asking Yar’adua to produce the dividends of democracy, and come up with policies that will address the problem of the incessant power outage that has rendered our economy comatose. Someone need to tell this government that we are do not care who the mallams in Abuja is, provided they addressed our problems they will get our support. The problems of Abuja is not too many “mallams” in power, but corruption! Corrupt politicians and directionless leaders knew no boundaries.

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