Vanguard News

Caveat Emptor: Bad bonds around!

By Josef Omorotionmwan
WE are not stock brokers but we have a duty to advise our readers on any issue, based on the lessons of history.

In 1945, the world had just emerged from World War II, totally bruised. The German Reich was virtually bankrupt following the heavy expenses accruing from the war. What should a country do if it was broke?

For the Germans, the answer was simple: Overnight, they just rolled out their printing machines and reeled out the Deutch Mark in their billions and money was everywhere.

Money became so surplus that every German who could count his millions was no longer a millionaire.

What followed was a quick reminder of the case of that man who said he did not want any trouble from his fellow villagers and the best thing was not have anything to do with any of them.

His mother died in the night and he single-handedly buried her before dawn. When people asked after his mother by morning, he told them that the old woman died during the night and he had buried her.

That was the beginning of trouble for the man because he had to pay a fine of ekpetin vbe odegbe (that’s the Benin expression for a carton of beer and a she goat) to appease the gods for the abomination; to enable him ask for permission to exhume the mother’s corpse so that burial arrangements could start.

In the particular case of the Germans, hyper-inflation quickly set in to the extent that the Deutch Mark was no longer worth the paper on which it was printed. There is a Museum in Downtown Munich where they have a letter to a neighbouring village, which was mailed with one million Deutch Mark.

After postage stamps had been pasted on every available space on the envelope, the post master completed the balance of some 999,900+ DM in long hand. That was how useless the country’s currency had become.

Talking of the rumble in the jungle, we are reminded that on Monday, September 6, 2010, there was a coup in the Ogun State House of Assembly in which nine of the 24-member House brazenly ousted the remaining 15 members without recourse to any law, the Constitution or even the rules of that House.

In the telling paragraphs of the 1999 Constitution, we are told: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.

How are the people of Ogun State now being governed? We are not unaware that trouble has been simmering in that State for some 24 months but for now, let us restrict ourselves to the immediate problems. We shall leave the remote causes for another day.

Meanwhile, Governor Gbenga Daniel is enjoying it all. The Group of Nine (G-9) may have now given him approval to proceed with the issuance of the N100 billion bond, which the House had denied him all along. We see a complete re-enactment of the German situation.

We wonder how many people would be prepared to invest in bonds that were still-born, dead stock, as it were. We are consoled, though, that our readers have been sufficiently warned.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly is watching as the theatricals unfold, perhaps oblivious of the fact that what is good for the State Assembly goose could also be very good for the National Assembly gander.

Some opposition rascals there could also wake up one morning and announce the ouster of the PDP majority and provided these rascals quickly walk across to Aso Rock to assure our President that they will support his nomination bid for the 2011 presidential race, what else matters? After all, is that not exactly what the G-9 in Ogun State is doing?

All the same, our President has a date with history. Why is it that every time he is faced with a situation that demands making the tough decision, he seems to develop cold feet?

If he must get his politics right, there is no reason why the Ogun State imbroglio should go into a second week and perhaps, longer. Yes, it requires determination and firmness and these are the very stuff of which good presidents are made.

Evidently, we are still very far in the woods. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Those who subvert its provisions are, indeed, the worst corruptors because the subversion of the Constitution is a direct invitation to catastrophe. That’s where we are.

You cannot be romancing with sweet words on electoral reform on the one hand and be condoning direct rape on our Constitution on the other. How is this regime really different from its forebears?

On the issue of the so-called impeachment, which has been hopelessly bastardized all over, from Bayelsa to Oyo; from Oyo to Ekiti; from Ekiti to Plateau; from Plateau to Anambra; and from Anambra to Ogun, our Constitution has been raped incrementally.

During the Bayelsa saga, the legislators were locked up somewhere in Victoria Island, Lagos and made to sign the impeachment papers under duress; in Oyo, the members were satisfied with the contrived mathematics of 18 members constituting two-thirds of a 32-member House; and in Ekiti, anyone who dared raise a voice against the illegality was seen as an enemy and was crushed.

That’s how the authentic Chief Judge was fired and they quickly appointed the one who was prepared to do their bidding, all this in utter defiance of the very Constitution, which they swore to uphold.

As we progressed on the incremental journey, we soon arrived in Plateau State, where in their inverted mathematics, eight became two-thirds of 24. They didn’t stop there.

The 14 honourable members who were on the side of the law were quickly rounded up and put under lock and key for 40 days and 40 nights, just long enough to declare their seats vacant.

And in the particular case of Ogun State, we hear that the G-9 simply broke into the Assembly under the tight protection of Government House security and did their business, undeterred.

In all, we know one man who has nothing to gain, but everything to lose, in the Ogun State imbroglio if it persists further. He is President Goodluck Jonathan. First, the situation provides an acid test of his firmness as a leader.

He must be reminded that he has a moral and constitutional obligation to Nigeria; not just to Governor Daniel and his PDP.

He must not be caught napping in dealing with any form of lawlessness. Essentially, he cannot afford to be seen negotiating with those who respect the law and those who break it; or those who uphold the Constitution and those who subvert it.

Our President must quickly use his powers to deal decisively with the law breakers and provide adequate security for the G-15 who are on the side of the law, so that they can go about their business peacefully. It can’t be done otherwise. There is no time for further vacillation.

Latest News

Top Stories

Trending