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Open letter to Mrs. Jonathan

By Dele Sobowale

“Men make history, but not just as they please”.
Karl Marx, 1818-1883.
“2011: Count me out – Acting President”.
NIGERIAN TRIBUNE, February 15, 2010, p. 1).

There are at least three reasons Jonathan will not be on the ballot in 2010; and if he forces himself on it disaster will follow. One reason, and one reason only, dictates this letter to Mrs Jonathan. She can ignore it if she likes. But, at least half a dozen people (Mustapha, Ekwueme, Obasanjo, El-Rufai, Ribadu, Soludo etc ) who were warned on this page and who ignored the warning are now licking their wounds –including her predecessor in office. I don’t want her to join them in “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. The choice however is hers.

To Karl Marx’s observation, which remains eternally relevant, another historian and foremost authority on 14th century Europe, Barbara Tuchmann, has added, “History never repeats itself; man does”. Now that Mrs Turai Yar’Adua is more or less out of Aso Rock, under circumstances she could hardly believe herself, but which were foretold on these pages, it is time to turn attention to the new occupants of the inner corridors of power in Aso Rock – Acting President and Mrs Jonathan. Power is irresistible; but for their sakes, and ours, it must be resisted. Millions of lives depend on it. Mark my words.

One only hopes the Acting President is not playing “smart” politics. In 1994, a former Head of State, called Sani Abacha, inaugurated the Constitutional Conference, tagged the Confab by the media, with these words. As you all know, we in the present government in Nigeria are committed to ensuring that there is speedy and unimpeded transition to a civil democratic rule in which we shall not be participants. (Emphasis mine).

That was on Monday June 27, 1994. The following Sunday, on these same pages, I wrote that “if you believe that, you will believe anything” I went further to state that not only would they want to be participants, but the speaker would not make it despite absolute power in his possession.

The rest is history. Truth is, the vast majority of our politicians are always so enamoured of transient power that they forget that, indeed, all power belongs to the Almighty. And they are frequently encouraged in their belief by the sycophants and praise singers who quickly gather around them and who prevent them from listening to genuine advice. Quite often, the number one sycophant is the darling wife like Mrs Turai Yar’Adua and Mrs Abacha before her.

So before the Halleluya Chorus gets busy, let me say my piece and hold my peace. Mrs Jonathan should not dissuade her husband from going home in 2011 and she should help him to resist all the self-seekers who will attempt to convince him to the contrary. Instead he should emulate Murtala Mohammed, except avoiding getting assassinated, and leave an enduring legacy which will last for ages in the 14 months allotted to him.
The question is how? Some of the answer is provided below.

..Is the Nigerian Petroleum Ministry the inheritance of the Rilwan Lukman family? Even if it is, at his age, he is supposed to have a son that can man that office instead of recycling him there with his attendant failures since the 70s. Sony Onyeka.

Eminent individuals have advised Jonathan to reduce the Seven Point Agenda. They are being polite. Diplomacy is not the characteristic of Area Boys; we would ask him to throw the damn thing into the dustbin. Instead, with only 15 months to go, he should reduce the programme to three – power supply, fuel availability and road construction. And in order to achieve any meaningful result, he needs to remove at least two Ministers for one reason, and one reason only. He needs to demonstrate to all of his new Ministers that failure will no longer be tolerated.

“Mr Talkative” is “my brother”, the Minister of Power, who throughout last year, up to December, promised 6000 MW and failed to deliver. His removal, oddly enough, is not in connection with his failure to deliver 6000 MW but his refusal to acknowledge all the evidence pointing to that outcome.

Perhaps Engineer Babalola does not realize the vast increase in Gross Domestic Product, GDP, which can accrued from steady supply of 6000 MW. He created expectations everywhere and did not even have the courtesy to apologise and resign. Once upon a time, a gentleman’s word was his bond. Are we supposed to assume that we no longer appoint gentlemen and ladies as Ministers?

“Alhaji Taciturn”, seldom speaks. He, like a former American President, believes in walking “quietly but carrying a big stick”. With his big stick, this man has whacked us into a coma with fuel price increases and scarcity –both at the same time. Dr Lukman has been around for so long young people might be forgiven for thinking he owns the Ministry of Petroleum.

The question our friend and “co-sufferhead”, Onyeka, asked is quite pertinent here. Have we not deliberately or inadvertently created an “indispensable man” here by recycling Lukman as if the nation’s oil sector must fold up if the man dies tomorrow? At any rate what has been the benefit of keeping the man in office to the rest of us?

“We saw Turai, we saw the Ambassador of Nigeria to Saudi, but we were not allowed to see the President. There were so many attempts to see him, but we were turned down. We were told they were trying to get clearance for us from the Saudi authorities, but it never materialized till we left for Nigeria. Members of the House of Representatives who went on the fools’ errand to Saudi.

For the sake of posterity let us list the names of the members of the House of Representatives, who embarked on that needless journey, with the blessings of the Speaker of the House, Mr Dimeji Bankole. They were, Agaie, the Minority Leader; Alhaji Mohammed Ndume; JibrilAdamu; Moruf Fatai, and Patrick Ikhariale –representing North Central, Northeast; Northwest; South West; and South South respectively.

The only zone which did not participate in this waste of scarce funds was the South East. If ever there is an outcome that could have been predicted, even by the village idiot, this was it. Long before the gang of five went, it was common knowledge that Mrs Turai Yar’Adua was not interested in anyone finding out the truth about her husband and she had resisted all efforts in that regard before and after that. Why the five Representatives thought they were special is a mystery which the Speaker and the House Leaders should unravel for us.


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