By Josef Omorotionmwan
THE press in Nigeria has been attacked for poking its big nose in the affairs of others. It lambasts public officials with impunity and it attacks any governmental action with the supreme benefit of hindsight; it formulates bold policies without having to take responsibility for their implementation.
On reading the Nigerian newspapers, one gets the impression that all the problems of Nigeria would disappear if only the President could appoint members of his cabinet solely from the editorial boards of the major newspapers.
This is how it is the world over. Empowered by the constitution, a proactive press adopts the attitude of monkey see, monkey do. The watch dog never sleeps. The press cannot remain quiet in the face of the evils going on in society.
As a negative response, government also adopts the attitude of the woodpecker – the headache is only for the person who is watching it. With time, government officials block their ears from what they regard as unnecessary noise from the press.
All the same, government must, of necessity, learn to tolerate part of the noise for as long as it relies on the same “noise makers” to propagate its affairs.
A proactive press must constantly point to the direction of things to come. It is not too early to have a glimpse into 2015, where the early signs are frightening.
For a start, could it be really by accident or by design that there is so much noise coming from the INEC leadership at this time? Whoever wants a good election must first seek to repair the electoral umpire’s home.
Corruption is the bane of our society. The compass to the future resides in the past. Absurdities shall never end. We are trying to be more benevolent than God. God is so merciful but he is careful not to answer every prayer the way we want it.
He who sees the end from the beginning will not answer a man’s prayer to give him a car if he knows that the man will drive himself to death with the car.
A governor would steal his state blind. In the season of accountability, the governor rushes to court to slap an injunction on the anti-graft agency not to investigate him. Is this the type of injunction we should be respecting in the name of rule of law? Whatever happened to the legal doctrine, which forbids a man from benefitting from his own iniquities? There are issues on which whoever wants to rule a country must take a bold stand.
Is it really necessary to remind us that in politics, what people intend is often different from what they bring about? We saw it coming. We must congratulate our President on his dexterity in the act of clinging to power.
Soon after he won the 2011 presidential race, he started the cling–to–power manouevre: first by seeking to increase the tenure of the President and governors to a single term of seven years; promising he will not benefit from the increase. What do we see now? Have the leaders of the South-South and to some extent those of the South East not started luring him “to show interest in contesting”?
Our concern here is not on whether the President has a right to contest or not, but that he is entering into our house through the back door and for the remaining part of his tenure, governance is on leave of absence! Governance for which we elected the President is suffering in the hands of politics.
We are still travelling the familiar route. General Muhammadu Buhari is out again. This time around, he speaks with a tone that suggests that he is the sole beneficiary of the emerging accord that is being forged between the so-called opposition parties.
This was how he destroyed a similar accord in 2010, even before that accord was born. When will these crass opportunists learn to know that they are no longer wanted? Buhari should have known that, particularly with his inflammatory speeches, the love for him has died. It is clear that he has failed because, all these years, he has been unable to groom a successor.
The truth is that if they still succeed in making it a straight fight between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians will still go for the less of two evils and vote Jonathan. Then we shall still remain in this big mess!
There is another man who must remain in the struggle till “thy kingdom come”. In recent history, he was virtually the owner of what has now metamorphosed into the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. In fact, he was already being treated as President-in-waiting.
Suddenly, he saw where the light was brighter. He jumped ship and returned to eat his own vomit. This was a manifest case of the inordinate ambition of a man who double-crossed himself. In this new home, he was beaten to his own selfish game. He has now been boxed to a tight corner.
And suddenly, too, he now remembers that the late Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua once had a formidable group, the People’s Democratic Movement, PDM, to which he belonged. But as the name suggests, that was a movement that is now kaput.
Nevertheless, there is now an invitation in the market place asking members of the dead movement to regroup so as to oust the present government from power in 2015. But where are the members of the PDM? We (oops, they) are totally fragmented. The pieces are to be found in all the 60 political parties in Nigeria. Who can fix the jig-saw?
Nigeria is today drifting towards Plato’s classic definition of a deteriorating society – a society that permits mediocrity to dominate the affairs of government. If we are not going to end up dumping mediocrity on ourselves come 2015, this is the time to start asking and answering the difficult questions. We must shine our eyes well, well.