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Jets, egos and all things tasteless

By Denrele Animashaun

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” — Thomas Jefferson

Pardon my ignorance; I really did not pay closer attention to the existence of Governor Chibuike Amaechi until the private jet situation. The River State governor,it must be said has a passion for the finer things of life. And I guess, he does feel his office demands the absolute respect wherever he goes in and out of his state. His ego must have taken a huge dent when he was told that his private jet cannot take off.

He must have been incandescent with rage that someone dared question his station. But aviation rules are rules and he was delayed at the Akure International airport until all the paperwork was verified. The spin doctors have been earning their keep as one conspiracy theory indicated that the governor had stepped on the president’s toes and that the incident was orchestrated by the president’s men.

So when the brand new jet came to light, his office was quick to defend him; that the purchase was given the assembly’s approval. Their defence was that they simply were concerned with the governor’s safety. I really can’t stand it when they try to justify the unjustifiable. The same old sound bite is “it’s not the government’s jet, it belongs to the state.

Really, do these people need a jet to travel? And what did other  current and previous governors do when they did not have a jet? Does sans jet make them less effective and would their tenure be better with a jet? What people want is that, their elected officials are accountable, transparent and answerable to the electors. Our elected officials should be trusted to deliver and work in the best interest of the people they  serve and not the other  way round.

The old jet was $6M and the new one is at the cost of $45M. So while their people scrap through living life on the breadline, the governor is living in the lap of ostentatious luxury. Seriously, there is something phenomenally wrong with our priorities. Why are we so preoccupied with the trappings of wealth that we have lost our humanity and compassion for one another?

We have become a ‘Me’ society and we cannot think beyond the quick buck and the abuse of power.

So the big FG has waded in, with a very public spat and the heat is on, for two egos to fight it out.  It is clear that Amaechi has crossed swords with GEJ, the president we are told, is ensuring that the governor knows who wears the trousers. In the meantime, the talk of impeachment goes on but the Rivers State Government has dismissed any threat of impeachment of Governor Chibuike Ameachi by five minority lawmakers in the State assembly. The governor’s office has assured the people of the state that Governor Amaechi “is fully incharge and in full control of the situation in the state.”

So roll on the court scribe, Abati to extol the emperor’s virtues. Abati has been waxing lyrical again, that “Jonathan was a democratically elected leader who runs a people-oriented, inclusive and progressive government. He believes that the ACN grandees are the cause of the mêlée. And he went on (pardon me but this is stuff of nonsense), that under GEJ’s watch, Nigeria’s democracy has been consolidated; the scope for human freedom has been further expanded and there is respect for due process and the rule of law. And that “ordinary Nigerians appreciate the fact that they have a president who is humane, disciplined and focused.”

What does he or his boss know about ordinary Nigerians? He is far removed from reality.You cannot make this up even, if you try. While the overblown egos are worried about the next election, other governors are busy getting on with improving the lives of ordinary Nigerians. About time Nigerians use their constitutional rights and do away with blind patriotism. Nigeria deserves better.

Whose says justice is blind?

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” — Elie Wiesel

The wheels of justice, they say, grinds slowly, but in Nigeria it has taken such a very long time to occur. The National Judicial Council has finally decided to put its house in order and suspended the Honourable Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the FCT High Court from office for a period of twelve months without pay. Pardon me,but they could have gone farther than that  and show this justice the door for bringing the  house and the profession into disrepute.

The Hon Justice Talba has been prolific in the way he judiciously  interpreted the law in favour of  high profile cases, one  such is  that of  Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf  who  fleeced the  Police Pension scheme. The lack of sentence was so incredulous that Nigerians were shocked that such crime got a judicial light slap on the wrist and a paltry sum instead of a lengthy custodial sentence that it in fact deserved.

The National Judicial Council concluded that Justice Abubakar Talba of the Abuja High Court allowed a former Deputy Director in the police pension office, John Yusuf to pay a paltry sum of N750.000 fine and walk away scot free after he was convicted of stealing N1.3 billion. He,in their esteemed judgement, has a case to answer. In their investigation, they indeed found out that there were indeed many “errors and disappearance of materials in the due process of the case.”

I am impressed that a lawyer, John Oloyede, stuck his head above the parapet and has described the recent suspension of Justice Yakubu Talba by the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) as “a middle line option” insisting that what the judiciary needs now is a complete overhaul. I cannot agree more.

Big thanks to my mum…..

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine — she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights. ~Terri Guillemets

By the time you read this, my birthday would have come and gone. I do not do much in terms of celebrating, I do have my moments of prayers with God to give thanks and relish my blessings. And I will be calling my mum, Modupeola Ayinke to thank her for being my mother. So I am thanking you mum, I owe so much to you and who I have become.


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