In the last 9 months, the shadowy world of Nigeria’s politics has gone from a very dark grey to a shade of black that makes coal look like a dazzling white. From the time a comatose President Yar’Adua (PUYA) signed a supplementary budget in December 2009, it was obvious to any discerning observer that the hell-spawn politicians who are in charge of the country’s finances had upped the ante on corruption. With this brazen move, the stakes, where power and looting are concerned in Nigeria, were forever altered.
The subsequent death of President Yar’Adua a few months later only added another dimension to this macabre tale that started on October 1 1960. The field was ostensibly thrown open for all comers to join the presidential electoral race. The beauty of presidential democracy is that anyone (within the guidelines provided by law) is allowed to contest; so one has seen the comic, the inspiring, the tragic and the dangerous. This essay is about the dangerous.
Like most things Nigerian, where a peverted joke of the Fates throws up the worst characters to be at the pinnacle of our national identity, the race is shaping up to be a choice to be made from the worst that the nation can breed. Put bluntly, a candidate that is perceived to be the least repugnant is likely to turn into an electoral icon.
Purely from anecdotal evidence, the accidental presidency of President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) is one of the most ruinous events that has occured in the history of Nigerian democracy. After 6 months of his presidency, there is neither a coherent implementation of any inherited policies nor a discernible policy thrust. To be fair to him, he holds the distinction of being the most educated Nigerian to occupy the office; bar this achievement, his administration has been a concentrate of corruption and ineptitude.
The government’s stance on corruption can be easily deduced from the restoration of the convicted felon – DSP Alams – into the favour of the presidency. Lest some simpleton is inclined to see this as a one-off instance of blind loyalty, other colourful characters are emerging from the woodworks into positions of prominence in GEJ’s organisational chart; so names like Anenih and Otedola are looking like compund surnames of GEJ nowadays. In the interim, nothing has been heard of the cases brought against the bank chiefs by CBN / EFCC.
Fiscal illiteracy is turning out to be one of the principal features of the GEJ presidency, with a totally depleted excess crude reserve, (alleged to have been shared out in a bid to curry the support of perceived antagonists) and a country running without a budget being one of the legacies he is bound to leave in the minds of many Nigerians. To rub grit in an already festering sore, the esrtwhile minister of state for finance “accidentally” made it known that the country’s petroleum company was actually running on empty – nay, make that running on exhaust fumes.
If these were not enough, some self-destructive spinelessness seems to be propelling the man in a fedora to some destination that is left to more imaginative minds to figure out. In the nocturnal return of the late PUYA to Abuja, someone ordered troops to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, in a barely veiled contempt of GEJ’s position as the de-facto C-in-C of the Nigerian Armed Forces. To date, no news of a court-martial or a reprimand has been heard regarding these audacious individual(s) who organised this troop movement. The day these same troops are arrayed in assault on GEJ’s place of abode, one prays his incompetence is not rewarded in the same manner as the late Major-General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi.
It is this epitome of ineptitude that now surreptisiously wants to rule Nigeria. heaven help us all.
The Gap-Toothed Mephistopheles
For many Nigerians under 30 years, IBB is a name they have only heard, but not experienced. For any well-reasoning man or woman over 30 years old, the man who bears this name is one whom many would love to thrust down the precipice of existence to the depth of Hades. Sadly, between hunger and depravity, many Nigerians have been deprived of any form of reasoning, talk less of a rational thought process.
So the soldiers from whose ranks this spawn of hell rose to prominence and who should turn their bayonets on him, would rahter shout “ranka dede”. The bloody civilian governors who should be aggrieved are lining up behind him, trying to claim their share of the famous Gulf War I plunder. And the unfortunate and benighted press, having conferred on him the title of a genuis, are already smiling to the banks, sated by sullied brown envelopes; from the lowly editors to the high chief from Aghenebode, it seems no journalist is immune to the corrupting influence of the Nupe general.
This man, under whose watch corruption became an acceptable career, and under whom some of the most reprehensible murders took place in the country (including the death of an entire generation of military officers) is aspiring once more to rule – this time via legitimate means. His ambitions are not hurt at all by the seemingly inexhaustible pot of looted funds which he has. One of the many Nigerian discussion boards ran a story of how a N500 billion (about $4 billion) shady defence contract was awarded this man recently; if true, with that quantum of funds at one’s disposal, one might call the election a fait-accompli for IBB.
To his credit, he is facing a rather bland incumbent, who has failed to impress nor prove himself to be street-smart. If push comes to shove, there are no guesses where the guns that welcomed PUYA’s comatose body to Nigeria will be aligned.
These are the obnoxious men who seek to rule. If these are the best any country can throw up, one can only imagine the fate of such a nation. If these are not the best Nigeria can offer, then it is the responsibility of everyone reading this to spread the awareness – these charlatans must be stopped.