By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, I’m sure most of you are already overwhelmed by the endless deluge of bad news from Abuja. What makes it sadder is that for the first in a long while, President Muhammadu Buhari actually had what seemed a good international outing in Paris, France, where he was warmly received by President Emmanuel Macron, CEOs of major corporations and some Nigerians in diaspora. How I wished his overzealous acolytes had allowed the old man to savor the modicum of success he recorded on a trip that was nearly marred at the beginning by some controversy over whether the events would hold or not.
While the President and his team from the Foreign Affairs as well as the Trade Ministries were busy working frenetically and feverishly on making the best of this trip, unlike when he was nearly picketed in London sometime ago, some members of his kitchen cabinet were busy messing up back home. This time, the latest scandal was an acerbic interview granted by no less a personage than the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), a very handsome man who at age 54 has achieved so much for himself and his family. He’s one of the most powerful men in Nigeria today and he has had his fingers in many pies. His word is supposed to be the law that everyone must respect and obey, and he is expected to promote justice and equity for every Nigerian and not for a particular tribe or faith. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case as Malami chose to touch the tiger by the tail when he spewed some profanities on national television without considering the repercussions. Since then, he’s known no peace.
Had he known, Malami would have navigated himself away from saying some of the things he said on Channels Television that evening. He was even lucky that the anchor of the program, Mr Seun Okinbaloye, a perfect gentleman, was charitable enough to have granted him some soft landing by not probing him deeper and opening him up for public scrutiny and odium. Otherwise, he could have roasted him with some hotter follow up questions. The obviously irritated, and easily irritable man, made no visible effort to control his anger about the raging debate concerning the senseless and mind-boggling spate of killings all over Nigeria which has necessitated the usually squeamish Southern Governors to voice out their frustrations and the unanimous decision to ban open grazing in the Southern parts of Nigeria. Instead of Malami to sympathize with the victims of wanton killings, rape and stealing, he was busy comparing cattle rearing to a totally unrelated venture.
The Governors did not ban the Fulanis from doing their legitimate businesses. They were only restricted from wreaking further havoc on haplessly helpless Nigerians under the guise of traveling long distances with their cattle. Many of them have been confirmed to be some itinerant and incredibly violent Fulani nomads from other West African countries. They appear to have been emboldened by the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Rather than place the blame for the security conundrum where it rightly belongs, some Northern elites prefer to blame others for their spectacular failure despite spending some outlandish budgets on fighting insurgency.
One of the key reasons Nigerians supported Buhari in 2015 was the fact that they expected him to be hands on and much more better and stronger than his predecessors. Even though he was not expected to know much about other items, like the economy, requiring serious attention, the general consensus was that Buhari was the best to save Nigerians from banditry, not to compound it. Sadly, six years after getting power, Buhari seems definitely more confused than President Goodluck Jonathan that was called unprintable names. But patience is very good and ultimately rewarding. The ways of God are definitely not the ways of ordinary mortals. The Buhari that was apotheosized to the level of an omnipotent ruler has become a hawk that cannot even snatch ordinary chickens!
So you can now imagine how Minister Malami rubbed pepper on our festering wounds by spitting his vituperation without any justification for doing so. The Minister displayed no empathy but complete arrogance. Unfortunately, like all men of power, he forgot that there’s always a terminal date for all forms of tyranny when slaves will be forced to kick against the predators. Most leader hardly prepare for that auspicious moment. Tyrants always take delight in the weakness of their victims and they just assume they can never seek their freedom from servitude. This was Malami’s error of judgment and he’s paying dearly for it right now and the hullabaloo is not likely to go away soon.
Let’s thank Buhari for some favors he’s done for us. The most important one is that his government has pummeled us so much and trampled on us in the mud that he has now opened our eyes to the fact that “a man who’s down should fear no fall.” Nigerians are now used to anything they throw at us. Such is life. But many are now determined to reject the perennial insults. More and more people are now speaking up and I’m so proud of them. Some of our political leaders now understand the fact that new power blocks are emerging from the grassroots and throwing up the Nnamdi Kanus, Gani Adams and Sunday Igbohos at grassroots levels. These men wield incredible influence on their people.
Only if the Malamis of this world knew how angered and bitter most Nigerians are, he would never have dared pounce on them the way he did in that interview. Now, I can confirm that most Nigerians have lost hope in anything tangible coming out of Buhari’s government and they have decided to live and survive like orphans in the next two years. Malami thus misfired outlandishly when he compared the herdsmen to spare-parts dealers. He merely fell short of mentioning the Igbo traders who litter different parts of Nigeria. One could easily feel his, undisguised, deep seated anger against the Igbo, whose only “crime” was fighting to have their Biafra nation. They lost the battle eventually, lost millions of lives on both sides, lost their properties but never lost their pride and capacity for hard work. There is nowhere you go today in this wide world that you won’t find Igbo people doing great work and performing wonders. But the North in particular never got over the killings, or more appropriately, the genocide that took place across the divides. 40 years after the civil war ended, we are virtually back to square one because we’ve refused to learn any lesson about true reconciliation.
Malami, wittingly or inadvertently, reopened the old sores. This he did at a time most Nigerians in the South are sick and tired of the unbridled arrogance they’ve had to endure for decades from their Northern counterparts. If truth must be told, this master/servant relationship between the North and South has reached its final crescendo. It no longer matters to the people if the military continue to pursue defenseless citizens into their homes in the South East while studiously ignoring the main hooligans who have reduced a once great country to the level of Libya and Somalia with warlords in every part.
I’m sure the Malamis are misreading the situation in the South because of some Governors who have been joining the ruling party APC. Sadly, our politicians never learn from even our contemporary history. How can any reasonable soul jump into a party that has clearly divided Nigeria across ethnic and religious lines, pauperized the people more than ever, over-borrowed to fund government profligacy, and speedily leading us to avoidable war! Of what use is a Governor who jumped ship without majority of his people following him? Of what use is a party that is known and certified to use and dump its benefactors? By this time next year, Buhari himself would have become a lame duck and would have carried a burden heavier than elephant and all those jumping now would soon realize that they’ve jumped from frying pan into fire! There is no miracle left for Buhari’s government to perform in less than two years that he couldn’t do in six years. If all the PDP Governors like, let them jump into APC. We shall wait patiently to sing their requiem, sooner rather than later. It won’t take too long. I remember in the twilight days of Dr Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo State when he jumped out of the Labour Party that gave him his gubernatorial tickets twice into PDP. I wrote an article that got him and his Commissioner for Information angry. But he later told me that the pressure on him was much them but that I was indeed right and his wife had also cautioned him against the decision but it was too late then. Those who think they can be protected by Buhari and APC would soon realize that they are actually not the President’s priority. Anyone who has studied Buhari well would know he does not worry himself too much about others. APC has since locked out the Tinubus who gave their all to make him President. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole must still be wondering what hit him. Dr Orji Uzor Kalu has only escaped, so far, by the whiskers! But see how courageous people like former Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, are managing their lives and able to speak up their minds instead of being manacled inside a tyrannical party. Is it not better to serve in heaven than to reign in hell?
A good leader must know his onions. If Malami had hoped to bully the Southern Governors into submission, he missed his target. Instead, he got what he did not bargain for when Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Dr Mike Ozekhome, Chief Kayode Ajulo and others released a plethora of legal education and reorientation for his tutorials.
What the Malamis have succeeded in doing is to unite those who would never have worked together in the past. Unless the peoples of the South East, South South, South West and Middle belt have been spiritually sentenced to everlasting slavery, this is the best opportunity for them to work together. What can kill the union is the selfishness and egocentricity of some ambitious politicians who may refuse to join the search for consensus candidates. If they can overcome this by agreeing to step down for a very good and generally acceptable candidate, no matter where he or she comes from, the battle is over!
WHY THE IG OF POLICE MUST RESCUE LAGOS
Lagos State, the heartbeat of Nigeria, is under siege and it is terrible! The bandits have finally penetrated and ready inflict pain on the people who are already bearing so much under Buhari’s government. Most of the bandits themselves are complaining of lack of jobs.
I believe the solution lies in an urgent intervention from the top. Thousands of security personnel should be injected immediately into the system before insecurity destroys Lagos. It is not easy to maintain a mega city like Lagos. The security architecture should immediately include heavy presence of intelligence officers.
Lagos is too precious and strategic and should not be allowed to perish like many other Nigerian cities suffering from all manner of debilitating challenges…