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Nigerians our own worst enemies

By Dele Sobowale

“We have met the enemy; and they are ours [our leaders]”. Oliver Hazard Perry, 1785-1819; after battle of Lake Erie. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 48).

I voted for Jonathan not for PDP”. The chorus of Nigerian dupes after the 2011 presidential election.

Two friends, Professors, intelligent but not wise, were among several millions who proclaimed that they voted for GEJ but not PDP last year. One, a top ASUU executive, repented early when Jonathan failed to redeem the pledge he made to them before the election.

The second waited until his alma mater, UNILAG, was renamed MAU – without an Act of the National Assembly – before grasping what Unijankara academics were trying to teach to “Our Fellow Countrymen” before the elections. And, the message was simple. There is no distinction between the PDP and GEJ; just as any primary two pupil can tell anyone that six and half a dozen are the same.

Since last year, the following indisputable facts have become part of our history. First, the Minimum Wage, which the mugus of the Nigeria Labor Congress thought they had secured, had been set aside in several states of Nigeria.

Second, pensioners, who were promised a fairer deal, have discovered that billions of naira are lodged in the private pockets of “card-carrying-members” of the ruling party while they continue to die on queues for the pittance paid to them.

Third, GEJ and his Ministers, after vowing that “there is no going back on subsidy removal”, have been exposed for their collaboration with fraudulent people to turn what we now know was a scam into a subsidy for which Nigerians must pay.

Fourth, every probe organized by the PDP-dominated National Assembly, NASS, has ended up being inconclusive; billions of dollars are stolen from Nigerians while members of the probe panels smile all the way to their banks. Between the PDP-owned Executive branch and the PDP-dominated legislature, Nigerians have bee

n robbed, impoverished and heartlessly driven to the brink of desperation.

Today, just as last year, the greatest enemy of the Nigerian people is not Boko Haram, which kills twenty or thirty at a time, but government which grinds millions into the dust every day, every minute, every second. Name it; there is no part of government – defined in a democracy as the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary – which is not so corrupt as to have constituted itself into an enemy of the people.

And, this is true irrespective of the party affiliations or what tier of government is under consideration. Surprisingly, when former President Obasanjo characterized the members of the NASS as armed robbers and rogues, it was interesting to note that none of them took him up personally by offering to  declare his true assets and inviting anybody to prove that they were not honestly acquired. Obasanjo has thus made his point –until someone is willing to dispute it.

However, Obasanjo, as usual, was being clever by half. Many of those “armed robbers and rogues”, members of the PDP, had been in the NASS since 1999. They received their second and third term tickets when Baba Iyabo was in control of the party and could have stopped the robbers and rogues from continuing in office.

Are we to assume that he was unpatriotic enough as to allow such corrupt politicians to continue to hold to their offices? Or, are we to believe they became robbers and rogues after Obasanjo lost control? More to the point, Obasanjo is a member of the PDP; there is no reason to believe that he will engage in defamation of the character of his party members unless he has proof. Why has he not presented the facts to the police or EFCC – if he wants to help Nigeria to get out of the cesspool of corruption in which we find ourselves?

The foregoing is only a preamble to the main essay which addresses the question of probes organized by the PDP-led National Assembly. To begin with, it must be obvious now, to even the village idiot, that both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are leading Nigeria’s two most prominent houses of ill-repute.

From the sleaze associated with the Third Term episode till the latest regarding subsidy scandal, none of the two chambers had discharged its responsibilities with integrity. Chief Audu Ogbeh, a former Chairman of the PDP, once asked the question: “What became of honour?” with respect to another episode involving the ruling party.

That question remains just as pertinent today as then and it should be addressed to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Specifically, are they satisfied with the conduct of the elected members they now lead? Are they proud to be associated with their members, many of who left honour at home when coming to Abuja to be sworn in? How many truly “Honourable” legislators do we really have?

Yet, many of these lawbreakers are the same people who collect ransoms from us to serve as lawmakers. Already, two Chairmen, heading two major probes, are under investigation with possibility of being prosecuted. Certainly, many more will soon be revealed to have soiled their hands with filthy lucre.

Surely, our “Fellow Countrymen” know that we cannot ever expect the dividends of democracy to accrue to us as long as we have outlaws making our laws and conducting oversight functions. A lawmaker subverting the laws is by definition a saboteur.

When almost an entire legislative branch is involved, then the question to ask ourselves is: why bother to have elections? The second edition of PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED will have nothing less than three chapters devoted to the malfeasance of lawbreakers at the state and federal levels.

Nigerians will be amazed to know how often they have gone, like sheep, to the polling booths to vote for their own enemies. For instance, N50 million was paid to each willing member of the House of Representatives to vote in favour of the Third Term. Till today, nobody knows the source of the funds; but it is a safe bet that it came out of the slush funds routinely diverted from the Federation Account…

OPEN LETTER TO MD BANK OF INDUSTRY

Dear Madam,

RE: 1.3 million jobs created by BOI

I read last week an announcement by the Federal Ministry for Investments alleging that the Federal Government of Nigeria created 1.4 million jobs since May 2011 and out of that number, the Bank of Industry, BOI, alone accounted for 1.3 million jobs.

Can you kindly confirm if this is true and let me have the full list of jobs created and where for verification.

Before this letter gets published on the pages of the newspaper, I would have had a copy delivered to your office and another copy sent by courier. So, there will be no denial about receiving it.

I need not hide from you why the Minister’s word cannot be accepted as gospel. Governments in Nigeria have lied to the people so often, only a fool will believe them.

Sincerely yours

P.S. Rest assured that the outcome of this inquiry will be published here. But, don’t keep Nigerians waiting. We are in a hurry to know the truth.


Disclaimer

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