By Dele Sobowale
“The more you read and observe about politics, you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks best”. Will Rogers, 1879-1935.
SUNDAY PUNCH of August 11, 2013, on pages 70 and 71 provided the names and pictures of people it called “Opposition Power brokers: The Strongmen of APC”. It reads to me like pictures of WANTED men at a Police Station. For a start, the list had no single woman – that tells us a lot about the gender discrimination in the new political organization. It is doubtful if this new “progressive” political contraption is what will take us to the promised land.
I have always been free of the deliberate self-deception of commentators who write for print media owned by politicians. My colleagues who write for such papers pretend to objectivity which their papers would not allow to be published. It is my great fortune that the publisher of VANGUARD, like me, does not carry a party card. So our freedom as columnists on this paper is total in that regard.
Because the All Progressive Congress aspires to rule Nigeria, it will be subjected to the most stringent test of its suitability for that role. I regard myself as a progressive, but that does not mean I am prepared to swallow all the falsehoods which political parties dish out routinely. I read, more for amusement than for anything else, all the daily exchanges between Lai Mohammed and his counterparts in the Presidency. Lai, Reuben and Doyin, could form a comedy team. Their utterances on serious matters of state, though not informative, will be hilarious.
Let me now return to the list because it summarises all my fears about APC. I searched in vain for the faces of Governors Fayemi of Ekiti, Amosun of Ogun and Ajimobi of Oyo States. Perhaps, they were ably represented by Fashola and Aregbesola. On the other hand, as economists often say, they might not want their mug shots on the wall with the other “SUSPECTS”.
But, that is a minor matter. If ever there was a marriage of strange bed-fellows, APC is it. Unlike the PDP which started with the G-34, a group of courageous and largely principled men, Dr Alex Ekwueme; Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Chief Bola Ige, Professor Ango Abdulahi, Obong Victor B.
Attah and others (see the list in my book, PDP:CORRUPTION INCORPORATED pp 65-66), and grew into a broad-based national party and a constitution, the APC started with political parties each virtually owned by one individual and which might disintegrate if anything happens to the “owner” of the franchise. That is not a solid foundation in my opinion.
Granted, the PDP had since abandoned its original principles and embraced opportunism, it still has a blue-print for organization and governance to which it can return if only men of goodwill prevail. By contrast, the APC, as presently constituted, consists of elements which should not ordinarily be seen dining at the same table – unless everybody comes to the dinner with ten-foot long spoons!!!…
GOVERNORS ALSO LIE
“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all”. Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1809-1894. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 130).
“Egbon, if the Ibos don’t like Lagos, they can return to their states”, Isale-Eko Boy.
The matter of deportation of Igbos from Lagos had been so thoroughly thrashed, perhaps, there is no need to continue with it. However, two reasons compel a revisit.
First, I am happy that the ethnic conflict which the original outcry started (see Isale Eko Boy’s reaction) is gradually giving way to more reflection on the larger issue. Second, we run the risk of allowing that matter, deportation, or the treatment of the destitute or beggars, wherever they may be, to be swept under the rug.
For the record, it is a fact that spokespersons for the Lagos State government, at first denied knowing anything about the people dumped in Onitsha.
That was a colossal lie. By the time they later admitted that they were active participants in the atrocity, the explanations offered by Governor Fashola were contrived and unconvincing. He still failed to address the question: why should any Nigerian citizen be forcefully removed from one place and taken to another place. That amounts to kidnapping by government.
Meanwhile, Governor Obi of Anambra was playing dishonest games of his own. His letter to the President suggested that his government was not aware of the planned deportation of Igbo to Onitsha. That was, until Obi was reminded by Fashola about the exchange of letters between the two governments. If Obi wanted to enforce the fundamental rights of his people, he should have bluntly refused to accept the human cargo and should have gone public before, not after, the evacuation, which posed a political challenge to him. While most of the attention was riveted on the Lagos atrocity, Obi was again reminded that his own government had also deported people to Akwa Ibom from his state. To the best of my knowledge, no Ibibio, Anang or indigene of Oron made an issue out of it. Perhaps, they are not Nigerians!!!
Let me for now conclude this piece by summarizing, as best as I can, the story of deportation from Lagos. The first two batches, each consisting of 1,000-plus individuals, male, female and children, were sent to the North by train. Although some disembarked on the way (Jebba, Bida, Kaduna, Zaria), Kano was the final destination. This was followed by deportations to Abeokuta, Ibadan and Osogbo (Ogun, Oyo and Osun States respectively).
At least the governor of Osun had announced that his state was the recipient of the victims of forced movement from Lagos. The northern human cargo included people from over fifty ethnic groups, but they were all dumped in Kano or on the way there. At least over sixty ethnic groups had been involved. So, the matter of Igbo hatred does not arise.
The truth is, there is no state in Nigeria which is home to as many ethnic groups as Lagos; so the state is the victim of influx of all sorts of people – seeking jobs and houses that don’t exist. To me, what has happened is a blessing in disguise. It has provided the opportunity for all Nigerians to address the problem of the increasing inflow of people into Lagos – which has probably exceeded its carrying capacity.
It is self-deception of the worst kind for “Civil Rights activists” like lawyer Bamidele Aturu to assume that Lagos State, or any state for that matter, can continue to welcome over 10,000 new people daily from other states and be able to provide for them.
Let those who now, without offering an alternative solution, ask anyone who lives on a street where there is an uncompleted building, which had been invaded by homeless and jobless people, irrespective of ethnicity, about the experience of the neighbours, and the limits of the constitution will be apparent. Are the neighbours, according to the constitution, not entitled to safety, clean environment etc – all of which the invaders trample upon? We need a national conference on this matter.
SHORT AND SHARP, OBASANJO LIED
“Alabi [Isama], however, was right in one thing, that the war had already ended before …Obasanjo came into the picture. And he came on the scene after I allowed Akinrinade to make a call to him”. Col Joe Achuzia, THE NATION, August 11, 2013.
At last we know the truth from the man who was at the receiving end of the Nigerian fore-power during the Civil War. Colonels Adekunle, Akinrinade and Isama had already won the war before Obasanjo, using “Owu wuruwuru”, took credit for the victory. “Coward”, now “liar”. Will a duel still take place?
POWER GENERATION DROPS TO 2,628MW
“The total amount of power generated in Nigeria as at 6am on Saturday was 2628.6 megawatts. SUNDAY PUNCH, August 11, 2013, p 7).
Last time I wrote that the Minister of (Mis)Information was telling a lie by stating that the average Nigeria enjoys 18 hours of interrupted power supply, some “yam heads” (as our Latin teacher at Igbobi College called dullards) wrote back to say that they enjoy 24/7 power supply. How 4000MW can provide 24/7 power supply to 160 million is left to them. Now its 2628MW, and Lagos supply is down by 67%.