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Gambo Jimeta’s home truth for NEF

By Ochereome Nnanna
MOHAMMED Gambo Jimeta, former Inspector General of Police, fired a surprising broadside at the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, last week.

For describing the Goodluck Jonathan regime as “worse than that of Obasanjo” in its perceived “anti-North” stance, Jimeta described the NEF as choosing the “cowardly path to create confusion and mistrust” among Nigerians.

He also reminded those of them who sit in judgement against the President that there are millions of Nigerian fingers pointing at them as the major cause of Nigeria’s problems.

He certainly did not pull punches because he even used the word “hypocritical” in describing their assessment of the regime.

Out of work former office holders

I find it very surprising because Gambo Jimeta has always struck the posture of being among the “Northern Elders”; the club of out-of-work, out-of-favour former office holders and beneficiaries of sectional northern domination of the country who gather from time to time to bleat for power to be returned to the North.

After a spell of silence they suddenly found their voices again following the recent public declaration by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, that he would run again for president in 2015. As if on cue, Atiku’s disgruntled personal oracles, Professor Ango Abdullahi and Alhaji Lawal Kaita, have been boasting – once more – that the North would snatch power by force from Jonathan in 2015 for fouling the zoning arrangement of the ruling party.

The political elite of this country have been exemplary in their singular collective lack of patriotism. Most of them who were produced in the early 1960’s and started working for the federal government as from then are now retired, idle and seriously dependent on government, since they have little or no business or professional acumen. They have drifted into these irritating regional and tribal attention-seeking “forums”, such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, South-South People’s Assembly, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum and Arewa Consultative Forum.

From there they make all manners of self-serving demands on the federal government. Usually, when you find some of them, like Alhaji Jimeta, coming out openly against the rest it is because they have secured a favourable spot with the reigning federal government. The moment they lose that spot they drift back to vicious the pack of prebendarians.

I must agree with Gambo Jimeta, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that northern elders have been the most irresponsible of the rest of their types. They dominated the affairs of this nation for over forty years, securing the lion’s share out of the oil resources of the Niger Delta, occupying choice positions in the armed forces, the state agencies and bureaucracy of the federation; calling the political shots, enthroning and toppling presidents, and still came out of it all leaving the nation in shambles and their native North in much greater shambles.

They inherited so much from the British colonialists and grabbed much more for themselves when they were in power and yet left the nation and their people with little to show for it other than desperate poverty and Jihadist terrorism. Their failure had nothing to do with their religion or culture, since Islam and Muslims are often progressive forces in many parts of the world, especially the United Arabs Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Western Nigeria. It was the anti-national born-to-rule mentality, and the delusion of conquest of the rest of the country that made all the unsavoury difference in Arewa leaders. They will never be satisfied with any Nigerian president unless he comes from their cultural zone, for then, they will be back on the gravy train of the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, or so they think.

They should wake up from their self-imposed slumber to the fact that Nigeria has changed. They should join hands with the rest of the country to build one united nation, where true justice and equity will reign. That is the New Nigeria that is unfolding and will endure.

Those still dreaming of a return to Old Nigeria will only die in frustration.

Ah, an ‘ethnic beer’!

I COULD not believe my eyes when I started seeing this new beer pandering to the political sensibilities of Igbo people. It is called Hero Lager.

It has on its logo the controversial Rising Sun of Biafra, and its promoters boldly advertise it with the greeting: Igbo kwe nu! This beer obviously portrays itself as a beer of Biafra-loving Igbo people; a lager honouring the late hero of Igbo struggle, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

On enquiry, I discovered that a South African company with a prominent Anambra politician as a major investor wants to use Hero Lager to muscle out another local lager, Life, which has recently been acquired by Nigerian Breweries PLC.

I see it as a huge gamble when a commercial product openly delves into politics, especially the politics of Ojukwu and Biafra, as well as the politics of ethnicity. There are other provincial lagers which, like Life, have weathered the storm of the business environment for over thirty years.

These include Trophy and “33 Export”, which are very strong in certain parts of the South West, and Champion in Akwa Ibom, yet they wisely avoided politics and self-circumscription in the market.

The projection that Hero’s marketers have chosen can alienate non-Igbos and anti-Biafrans. So, it had better be a good lager. To be sure, Igbo people will not drink a bad beer even though it greets Igbo kwe nu! and flashes the Biafran Sun.


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