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Obasanjo and his many thieves

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By Joesf Omorotionmwan
THE Christian religion encourages us to confess positive because the power of the tongue is so strong that whatever you confess easily becomes your portion. But if all you see around you is an aura of pessimism, it also behoves you to tell the bitter truth and continue to pray for change.

How does anyone really begin an essay on a nation in the mood of celebration on a sad note? The truth still remains that way passed the half-century mark after its nominal independence, and 13 full years after its uninterrupted democratic rule, so- called, this fat man is still a toddler, unable to develop mentally.

It is a tragedy that after all these years, Nigeria is still groping in the dark, totally rudderless. Leadership of the country still emerges by default and sometimes, by sheer luck. In the main, the country is still for the highest bidder. The bids are in cash or kind.

The first attribute is your ability to cleverly conceal your interest. It is a hide and seek game in which the would-be president must first say he is unwilling to contest. Meanwhile, he has carefully stationed the professional canvassers who are normally bountifully mobilised with our oil money to begin to plead with him to show interest in the position. The pretence process reminds one of the case of that man who refuses to eat his wife’s food because of certain infractions. Meanwhile the man hides in one corner of the house, whistling.

This hide and seek approach to the presidency occurs all the time but President Goodluck Jonathan is seemingly taking it to the point of absurdity. Could we have forgotten so soon how long this man kept the entire nation on its knees, begging him to show interest in the 2011 presidential election? It is not so annoying that these people get what they want through the back door. After all, the end still justifies the means. But the most annoying aspect of it all is that in the process, they insult the rest of us and push through with impunity. After all these years, should we still be getting our leaders by the game of dabbling through?

This time around, the ink on Jonathan’s inauguration papers had hardly dried before the manoeuvres started; when he submitted a bill to the National Assembly seeking to amend the Constitution from two four-year tenures to single seven-year tenure for the President. He quickly informed us that he was not going to benefit from the amendment. We saw it coming and we demanded at that time why the President would not want to benefit from a good provision in the Constitution, if he is, indeed, not allergic to good things. Clearly, it was a booby-trap.

Still in the theatre of the absurd, the issue of Jonathan’s intention has been fully commercialised. It is now a money spinner for some. We invite to the witness box, Mr. Syracuse Njoku, a member of the PDP (Zuba Ward, Abuja Municipal Area Council, with membership card number 1622735). In spite of all the pretensions of the President and his men, as soon as Njoku smelt a rat that Jonathan was going to contest the 2015 presidential election, he dragged President Jonathan, the PDP and the INEC to court, seeking to stop Jonathan from the contest.

Suddenly, Njoku is making a complete somersault. On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, an Abuja High Court granted him leave to explore modalities for out of court settlement. Hear him: “I have been approached by some powerful elements in PDP for an out of court settlement” (The Nigerian Observer, Thursday, 19 April 2012, p.2). We see justice being hawked for sale in the open market. If only these people knew that corporate Nigeria has invested so much on this case (who has been paying the judges and other court workers for the wasted man hour?), they would not resort to burying a public issue by private treaty.

In a more civilized society, the PDP     should be biting its fingers by now for openly avowing that it will rig the 2015 elections. General Mohammadu Buhari flew a kite and the PDP fell flat. Apparently, at the mention of the White man, the white ant shivers. Buhari perhaps spoke the minds of many when he asserted that there will be bloodshed if the 2015 elections are not free and fair. For that, the PDP is asking for his head, which means that this “largest party in the world” is bent on doing evil. If someone is recommending that election riggers will henceforth be beheaded, how would that bother those who are not intent on rigging elections?

When some of us were thinking that we should talk less about the forest and more of what we did with the woods, we did not reckon that there comes a point in the life of a big man when he must have some noise around him. Suddenly, Obasanjo remembers that there is a bunch of thieves at the National Assembly. What a crude reminder that he is still licking his wounds over the third term debacle! Obasanjo hardly shifts grounds. The time spent in asking him to name the thieves is akin to that spent in sleeping with the barren.

To some of the decent legislators, it must be painful to be bundled among “Ali Baba and the 40 thieves” but this is a hazard of the occupation. In any case, of what use would naming the numerous thieves be? What have you done with the myriad of other suspects there – the Boko Haramists, the money guzzlers, the EFCC clientele and the rest?

This unserious level of discourse only leads back to where we started – it is hardly a way to deepen any democracy. Sad, sad indeed!


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