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When silence is golden

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By Chioma Gabriel
Nigerians have a way of killing ideas whenever any is suggesed. Anytime any government comes up with ideas, opposition will equally take a pessimistic disposition to kill whatever idea and even when government means well, that is largely misinterpreted or misjudged. The pessimists always go to any length to destroy whatever is being suggested.

It is becoming apparent that many critics of government talk just for the sake of talking. They try to kill ideas before it germinates even when such ideas will be in the interest of all.

Naturally, what  has been going on since  President Jonathan came up with the idea is to be expected. The utterances for and against  national dialogue is turning the whole  thing  into a theatre of the absurd.  As far as opposition is concerned, the idea is either to cause distraction or an avenue to siphon money for 2015 elections or for other things that have nothing to do with the good of Nigeria.

So, it was not a surprise when a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference Col.Tony Nyiam (rtd),  had a shouting match with Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole at the committee’s sitting in Benin, which led to his resignation from the committee. Since  that incident,the critics of national dialogue have taken the centre stage  in support of Oshiomhole and  the perceived infringement on  freedom of expression.

Col Tony Nyiam (rtd),   shouing at Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Col Tony Nyiam (rtd), shouing at Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Opposition went as far as declaring Col Nyiam a persona non grata in Edo State and Oshiomhole’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, saw  the disruption of  Oshiomhole’s presentation before  the committee as a  vindication the party’s decision  not to participate in the proposed conference.

You see  what I mean!

Before this time, a  large  number of APC members who were members of Alliance for Democracy which later became Action Congress and then Action Congress of Nigeria before it merged with three other parties to become All Progressives Congress, APC, were shouting themselves hoarse over the necessity for national dialogue and now, when they are about to have it, their signature tune has changed again. One  is beginning to wonder whether being in oppostion simply means to be against any idea being suggested by the government in power whether good or bad!

Col Nyiam reportedly heckled Oshiomhole while he was making his presentation which eventually prevented the governor from continuing with his perceived  “sarcastic remarks” against the proposed National Dialogue.

But those who know Oshiomhole also know his background. He is a man who would never keep silent in the face of perceived tyranny by any power or  force . He is also a man who could blow hot or cold depending on the situation. He is known to have supported  government on certain issues to the atmost shock of many like he did during the  nationwide strike that crippled the nation two years ago. Oshiomhole came out openly to make a case for government  and took  many by surprise which is  uncharacteristic of him.  Now, the same Oshiomhole turned against the idea of  national dialogue and made ‘sarcastic remarks’ but since he didn’t finish what he wanted to say before he was shouted down, one wouldn’t be sure whether his speech would have ended up in support of national dialogue.

But come to think of it, would anybody really blame anybody for speaking against this  issue? He wasn’t  the only one.

History is fertile with such confabs  which outcome amounted to nothing and which suggestions were thrown into the dustbin.

It has happened severally and both past and present regimes were guilty of starting something and after wasting national resources on such, the outcome or the white paper  from such proceedings ended up in the dustbin of  history.

There was so much hype when Justice Chukwudifu Oputa was appointed to investigate abuses during 15 years of  military rule  at the instance of  General Abacha; which ended when President Obasanjo took office as elected president on 29 May 2007. The Oputa panel  examined  human rights abuses when President Obasanjo was in power previously as a military ruler from 1976 to 1979. The panel investigated rights abuses in Nigeria since independence.

But what was the outcome? Nothing!

The Oputa public sitting was perceived by many as  a major national dialogue that brought some recommendations. If that panel report was taken seriously,doubts if there would be  need for another dialogue.

Secondly, it’s been eighteen years since General Abacha’s  National Constitutional Conference but the Federal Government never considered  its report.

In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan raised a 22-member committee headed by the retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, to review the recommendations of that confab.

Jonathan set up the Belgore Committee then due to what he termed months of careful assessment of the political situation in the country by the government and the desire  to create more avenues to promote peace, greater understanding, unity and good governance in the  country.

Senator Udoma Udo Udo
ma was the Deputy
Chairman of the committee, while Mr. Ferdinand Agu in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, served as the Secretary of the committee. That committee also paraded names of who is who in different facets of life but instead of implementing suggestions of  past confabs, we are today faced with a new proposal and based on that, one shouldn’t blame the likes of Oshiomhole or others who don’t believe anything good will come out of another confab.

All the same, talking down on people who constitute the current committee shouldn’t have been as their job is  strictly to meet with the people and sell government’s position  and solicit their advice.

Oshiomhole should have avoided a situation where governors are seen as having penchant for insulting the President or making sarcastic remarks against the sense of judgment of  the President since the committee’s role is merely advisory. If he has anything against the idea, he would have spoken to President Jonathan one-on-one.

Governor Mimiko of Ondo state may not believe in national dialogue but wisdom on his part made him to remain silent when the committee visited Ondo state. Maybe, Oshiomhole should have done same! But of course, the dialogue committee should have known the position of APC, the party Oshiomhole belongs to before engaging  him in any diatribe. The All Progressives Congress (APC)  from the onset, swore not to be  part of  the proposed conference, accusing  government of lacking sincerity of  purpose and purporting to use the conference to  distract the attention of Nigerians from the total absence of  governance and sense of direction by the Jonathan Administration.

But I think Jonathan deserves to be allowed to land before crucifying him. We should desist from throwing away the baby with the bath water!

Posers for a first lady

Marriages are celebrated everyday and the dream of every woman in life is to find love and happiness. But what a lot of people   don’t seem to understand is why some who are already married  are desperate to get out while those who have never been there are desperate to get in.

In spite of the experiences of those who loved and lost, many are aspiring to experience love. The holy book did say that;  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Many advocates of marriage  believe it is better to love and lost than not to love at all and it makes sense. The biggest catch any woman can get is the money man and the Nigerian politician especially one occupying an elected office is  the best  catch! But when someone occupying  an envious position of first lasy begins to cry over marital affairs, it becomes worrisome.

Why do fools fall in love? Why shouldn’t one  enjoy whatever a relationship has to offer for as long as it lasts and move on? Why would one woman have the ring and another have the man? Why do people marry for the wrong reasons?

When a first lady begins to cry out to an ordinary man  about the prison yard she got herself into called marriage, it nags the mind. Had love ever existed in such a relationship before it became marriage or was it a marriage of convenience as politicians are known to dabble into? What was the lure in the very beginning? Love or lust? Is  the lucre of office as first lady not enough to sustain a loveless  relationship?

It is often said, head or tail, the woman loses. Were things properly put in their right perspective before getting into the big venture? What was the place of maturity and readiness at the time the big deal marriage was contracted?

“Till death do you part.” That was a death sentence signed many years ago and do ordinary citizens have the right to wade into a private matter which they were not invited to five years ago! Do people often understand the implication of ‘for better, for worse’ or do they think marriage is a tea party where they would just waltz in and waltz out at will?

Does a woman have to learn from the school of hard knocks that in marriage, one has to look for sacred values,moral integrity and someone who has demonstrated a lifestyle of commitment,not one who charmed his way into the heart of a woman and then breaks  it! Isn’t true love  an unconditional love to an imperfect person?

Now, would the human rights groups be the ones to put asunder what God joined together  through vows that sentenced the couple to part by death?

When you see a woman who enjoys the LOVE of her husband, you do not need to be told! She glows and exudes great confidence!.

Well, Nigerians are learning  by the day. The people have witnessed state burials, state marriages and state christenings and now, they are getting  prepared to witness a state divorce and who knows , the celebration of the divorce would be merrier than the marriage witnessed five years ago.

But what then happened to the love, the grandiose celebration, the glamour, the glitz; the pomp and pageantry that accompanied the marriage?

And who says the next woman is not waiting by the corner  to jump in irrespective of whatever and enjoy the state marriage and the glamour of the first ladyship to the fullest?

People sometimes make nonsense of things when they rush in where angels fear to tread! It’s always advisable that women should always surround themselves with  people who make them happy; people who make them laugh; who help them  when they are in need; people who will never take advantage of them  and people who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in their lives because everyone else is just passing through!

Women  should keep people in life that truly love them, motivate them, encourage them, inspire them, enhance them and make them happy. Any other person should be allowed to go.When you fully trust a person without any doubt, one of two things would come out of it: a person for life or a lesson for life!

The woman comes from a man’s ribs to be loved; not from his feet, to be walked on; nor from his head to be superior but from the side to be equal; under the arm to be protected and next to the heart to be loved!

But before deleting the doted lines, a first lady should know if she really complied with the rules and regulations of : giving him space; being loyal; patient; not asking for things her father couldn’t afford; not  nagging; not stalking him; as far as he doesn’t cheat to her  face; not complaining and managing it because the next man she meets might be worse! A woman should be proud of her beau, be faithful and pray for him! Nothing good comes easy! There is no relationship made in heaven. So, what will the human rights groups do? Separate a state  marriage?  Only time will tell!

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