ByÂ Richard Tosanwumi
NIGERIA, our country was frontally assaulted by two major events at the close of the year 2009, which have greatly dented the collective hegemony of the Nigerian people, and bruised their international ego and reckoning among the comity of nations.
These events were the serious down-turn in the health of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, and the attempted bombing of a plane carrying about 300 persons travelling from Amsterdam to Detroit by a 23-year old, Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Together, these occurrences have generated intense discussions and untoward unexpected repercussions both in and outside our country for the Nigerian people. And one wonders whether they were designed to open our eyes to the abysmal level of decadence plaguing us in every sector of our national life.
Ironically, these events have also dealt a near-mortal blow on the efforts of the Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyiliâ€™s re-branding programme in which she told the world that Nigerians are good people and the country a great nation.
However, it is becoming apparent that the two events earlier mentioned have put severe knocks on Akunyiliâ€™s declaration that Nigerians are good people. Why has our President refused to carry out the provisions of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution by handing over power to Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan? Is it not frightening that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Assembly have kept mute over Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s violation of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution? Why are the generality of Nigerians condoning this wrong-headed action capable of landing their country in severe crisis? Many questions remain unanswered, as tension continues to mount across the land over this singular issue.
Second, how come that a young man born to Nigerian parents and lacked nothing through their aristocratic status got sucked into what clearly amounts to terrorism by all measures? What was his business with Al-quaedaâ€™s quarrel with the United States of America, USA? Of what use was his action going to be to the Nigerian people?
The crux of this piece is not the gravity of these absurdities on our hands but the apparent misguided attempts by some members of the Nigerian elite class to dishonestly explain away such gravity under the guise of protecting the integrity and pride of the nation. Yes, it is the undiluted duty of all supposedly good people of Nigeria to demonstrate absolute loyalty to their country and defend its honour at all times but this should be done within the boundaries of accepted moral and political values, that include the pursuit of justice, truth, fair-play, righteous-ness and conduct of national and international matters in accor-dance with acceptable human rights laws, constitu-tional govern-ance, and respect for the rule of law.
President Obama of the USA has come out clearly to acknowledge the failure of the security community in his countryâ€™s fight against terrorism, and efforts are now being made to plug the worrisome loop holes. He did not hide under any cover to protect national pride and honour, but told Americans and, indeed, the world the truth. Were it to be in Nigeria, several versions of what happened would have been fed the citizens in order to hide ineptitude of officials. Truth seems to be a very scarce commodity in the governance of our country. We seem not to recognise that truth exalts a nation and sets its people free.
While listening to Information Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili, many Nigerians rightly or wrongly often times get the impression that her zeal to project Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s administration in good light, inadvertently compromises a clear-cut factual presentation that is anticipated by the people. To have told the nation that the Federal Executive Council, FEC believes that President Yarâ€™Adua is currently capable of performing his duties from a Saudi-Arabia hospital bed amounted to turning logic on its head. Certainly that does not tally with the profile of a good people.
Prof. Dora Akunyili has also accused the USA of being unfair to Nigerians over the harsh measures they will face while travelling to that country. The fact of the matter is that one young Nigerian has brought this unfortunate situation by his hitherto unimaginable escapades.
Similarly, Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa has been putting of a lot of spin on his jaundiced interpretation of several sections of the 1999 Constitution to satisfy the whims and caprices of the ruling PDP cabal, obviously to the immense displeasure of knowledgeable Nigerians. To add salt to injury, the AGF is defending the unprecedented act of the in-coming CJN being sworn-in by the out-going CJN, breaking a 50- year old tradition. What an absurd way to treat the sensibilities of the citizens!
Rather than encouraging ailing President Yarâ€™Adua to hand over power to Vice-President,Â Jonathan temporarily as stipulated in Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, the AGF is aiding and abetting the violation of that section by Mr. President.
What else could it be but extreme absurdity for the Chief Law officer of the Federation to be always seems and misinforming and misleading his country on legal maters. Something must have gone amiss somewhere.
Evidently, Michael Aondoakaa has now taken over the governance of our country in absence of President Yarâ€™Adua, pushing aside helpless Vice-President, Goodluck Jonathan, exposing the weakness of Southern politicians.
Amazingly some top flight Nigerians, both in and out of Government are tacitly playing down the attempt by Farouk Abdulmutallab to bomb a U.S. plane, quarreling with the Obama administrationâ€™s decision placing our country on the list of countries under terrorism watch. Can you blame the Americans after what happened over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1993, when Libya sponsored such a terrorist act? Can we imagine what would have occurred if Farouk Abdulmutallab succeeded on his Christmas Day 2009 adventure? Nigerians must â€œRonuâ€ as the Yorubaâ€™s would say.
In our quest to defend the integrity and pride of our nation, we must not succumb to embarrassing obvious absurdities confronting us. We must accept our wrong-doings and go on to find remedies for their honestly.
Our leaders are yet to understand that governance must be conducted on firm moral grounds and unflinching righteousness. There are very many good Nigerians, but the few who have held the reigns of power have always exhibited greed, avarice, dishonestly and unrighteousness, putting in jeopardy Akunyiliâ€™s declaration that Nigerians are good people.
We are still a long way to truly converting Nigeria to a great nation, and this cannot be done unless, we show abhorrence for absurdities in the governance of the country. It is indefensible for Yarâ€™Adua not to hand over to Goodluck Jonathan, and also the attempted bombing of a U.S. plane by Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Dr. Tosanwumi, writes from Warri, Delta State.