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They never listen; That is the problem(2)

By Dele Sobowale

All of a sudden, the language changes to suit the new situation. Fortunately, the matters involved are very simple and straightforward to people who are not shackled by demands of office.

Segun claims he has access to the President 24 hours everyday. But, he also admitted that the communication line was severed when the President was in Saudi. The interviewer should have asked (a) when the communication lines were restored between Segun and the president, before or after arriving in a crate at Abuja?; and (b) were all the announcements from the president and how were they delivered; by word of mouth (face to face), by memo, by telephone call, by text etc?

Furthermore, if the President wrote a letter to the NASS and Segun was aware of it, where lies his loyalty when the issue was still in doubt? Should his loyalty be to the President who wrote the letter, the country which needed to know if it was written or the faceless people who might have committed grave offence by hiding it”? That is the acid test of patriotism; it is who you side in a difficult situation, such as this, that defines who you are  — not a trope of fine words.

To the best of my knowledge, Segun has never been in the military. So he cannot assess the professionalism of officers. So all the praises he heaped on the officers served only to evade the issue of who gave them orders to move troops to the airport, seize the airport and intimidate civilians. And was Segun aware of or involved in the plot to take over the Nigerian air space clandestinely? This is vital and no amount of evasive statements will be acceptable.

While it is clear to me that Mr Adeniyi is anxious to exonerate himself, it is doubtful if he has not exposed more than he intended and has not inadvertently created more problems for himself and others than he thought. In his shoes, I would not have granted that interview. This is one time when silence is golden until one is taken before a court of law or the NASS or a tribunal.

I wish him well in his future endeavours because this one has ended in disaster.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882.

If this column doesn’t provoke an earthquake, nothing else would. But, before you take out your shot-gun and bazookas in search of Dele Sobowale to shoot, please read carefully and think through the issues that are raised here. To aid in the process of sharing ideas instead of dispensing insults, let me remind every reader that I was once in total agreement that Iwu must go as a matter of honour. I still think he should have left –two years ago. But, today a series of seemingly unrelated events have already combined to almost render Iwu indispensable for the 2010 elections.

I have never met the man face to face, but, if I do, there are one or two things I will impart to him which might make a difference in the outcome of the 2010 elections. At least there was a general agreement that the Anambra governor’s election was a noticeable improvement over previous elections – not perfect, but mostly acceptable except for the political parties which lost. But, then we expect that, Nigerian politicians, being sore losers, never accept defeat.

Time constitutes the first and inexorable reasons why Iwu is the right man to do the job. By the time this is published, only 14 months separate us from the next Presidential elections –assuming the Electoral Act is not amended to bring the date forward. Even, 150 million Nigerian, if we all wish, cannot add one second to the minute, one minute to the hour and one hour to the day. With party congresses to be held and supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; voters registration to be updated; party primaries to be held and winners ratified by INEC; election materials to be procured and made available in more than 250,000 communities nationwide, etc,etc, it can be safely argued that no genius has the human capacity to manage all the complexities if he is starting out today. And, that is what will happen if Iwu is replaced.

In 1999, when the late Chief Bola Ige shortly after becoming Minister of Power and Steel, announced that “power failure will be a thing of the past by December [of 1999], I went to see him because he was my eldest brother’s classmate at Ibadan Grammar School and they were close friends – our family was living in Zaria; his at Kaduna. I told Uncle Bola in plain language: “Sir, you will be embarrassed by this announcement because you have embarked on a mission impossible”. He asked me why, with a lot of anger in his voice.

I replied, ‘because by December you will not even have toured all the NEPA establishments under your portfolio, even if you do nothing else, and the hundreds of new equipment that would have to be ordered will take years to arrive and be installed to achieve uninterrupted power supply”. Then he said, “we will surprise you, Dele”. Nigerians are still waiting for the surprise.

The reader is probably wondering what this has got to do with INEC and Iwu. Let me quickly link then, so we can move on. Anybody appointed today as INEC will need the better part of the fourteen months available to us to understand the complexities of INEC.

In fact INEC covers more ground than NEPA in Nigeria and affects more people, directly, than the Power Holding Company will ever do. Despite his known short-comings, Iwu remains the best choice we have for the conduct of the 2010 elections. How to guard against his faults, real and imagined (because not all the character defects attributable to the man are real), should be our major concern – not removing him. That will amount to cutting 150 million noses just to spite Iwu’s face.

To be continued


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