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Amnesty offer: Waving the flag of surrender

By Dele Sobowale
Some act and think later, and they think more of excuses than consequences. Others think neither before nor after…—Professor John Kenneth Galbraith. Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, 1964, Vanguard Book of Quotations

WEEKS ago one of the readers of this page sent a text informing me that he disagreed with me on the Niger Delta and he supported Yar’Adua’s decision to send the Joint Task Force.

I was not annoyed. In fact, his text was one of the reasons for undertaking my trip to the area. Difficult situations generally produce bad advice and solutions.

To be quite candid, I don’t profess to have an instant solution to the problem. But, I tried to explain the reasons a military solution was not ideal – however, successful it might be in the short term.

Thank God, it has not taken the government long to realize the futility of the military solution. The consequences of military intervention are now staring us in the face because the action preceded thinking. Now Yar’Adua is waving the flag of surrender in the form of amnesty and only minor war lords are responding.

The question is: why?

Let me hazard a guess by recalling the words of Professor Arthur Burns, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the US (their own CBN) under President Nixon. According to Burns: “Let a bad situation persist for too long, and all of a sudden there are no good and painless solutions.”

Too many of us are searching for painless clues. Yet, the first step in the right direction, which is by no means without difficulties is starring us in the face –50 per cent derivation or resource control.

Attah/Akpabio: Time for mediation

Blessed are the peacemakers —Holy Bible.

THE last sentence on amnesty brings me to a matter concerning the father of resource control and the quarrel with his successor; which is not in the interest of the state. I met Obong Attah; and I went to Uyo hoping to see Governor Akpabio without success. I have since sent two messages to Uyo requesting audience; again without luck. I have heard Attah’s side of the story.

But, if you think because he is my brother and friend I will immediately launch an attack on Akpabio, you will be mistaken. I will hold judgment until I meet the governor. I went as far as his commissioner for information who now has a copy of the Vanguard Book of Quotations given to him free of charge.

I mentioned that in order to underline my belief in the legal principle of let the other party be heard. In addition, I have read everything I could find in the media written by a lot of people who have commented on the matter without bothering to find out the facts for themselves.

Most did not talk to Attah or Akpabio. Almost without exception, they are political jobbers in search of bread. Otherwise, they would have seen that the issues in dispute are technical matters about which truths can be substantially established.

The traditional rulers did not surprise me. Governors “have their peckers in the pocket” (as President Lyndon Johnson of the United States said about an appointee when asked what the fellow would say about a controversial issue).

From Abia, through, Akwa Ibom all the way to Zamfara, traditional rulers would always side with an incumbent governor because he is their main life-line.

Similarly, the “honourables” (at home or Abuja), especially those wanting to be re-elected, must tow the governor’s line – whether they believe it or not. So I was merely amused when I read the advertorials duly signed by all of them. Attah was the recipient of such “support” in the past and Akpabio will not be the last.

Political jobbers know who holds “the yam and the knife”.
Then there are the faceless groups which spring up overnight to fish in the pool of discord. They go by several self-pretentious names like Patriotic Front, Leaders of Thought, Professionals, Coalition, etc.

Their standard stock in trade is to publish one-sided advertorials fully laden with calumny against one party or the other and providing a false address.

I will not waste my time with them because they are also after money and the person holding the purse strings now is Akpabio; so to him all the “chop-I-chop” elements express “solidarity.” Akpabio would be grossly mistaken if he believes for one moment that they are sincere.

Fortunately, a few sane heads have called for reconciliation because they recognize that this is what Akwa Ibom needs; not only now but always. An incumbent governor and his predecessor, in every state, should work together to build the state; and where disagreements occur (as they must in human affairs) there should be mediation.

However, having made the point that the dispute is largely technical and minimally personal, let me set out the objective facts at my disposal after visiting Uyo.

High Chief Bayo Akinola turns 75

ON Sunday July 19, 2009, High Chief Bayo Akinnola, NPMA, MFR, along with 25 other worthy Nigerians, including Sir Segun George, ICOBA 58-62, was invested with the knighthood of John Wesley by the Methodist Church of Nigeria at a ceremony performed by the Prelate himself.

But, it is a season of celebrations for “tear rubber” Sir Akinnola, who will turn 75 on August 1, 2009. Among the events to mark the memorable occasion is the commemoration of a chapel Sir Akinnola had donated to the Methodist Church to serve as a memoriam for his late mother coming up on Thursday, July 30, 2009.

Friends and well-wishers are hereby invited to grace the celebrations at Ondo in the last week-end of the month. Old boys of Ibadan Grammar School , where he was a Head Boy and teacher, please take note and tell others. As for me, I consider it a privilege to have known this venture philanthropist.

Next week: We return to unfinished agenda – Banks and Attah/Akpabio. Sorry for the break, but Uncle Akinnola is too close to let it pass unmentioned at the right time.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.