By EBELE ORAKPO
‘OH please spare us,” shouted a commuter by name, Frank in the Apapa-bound bus to no one in particular as he read a story in one of the national dailies. Other commuters in the bus were taken aback and looked questioningly at him. “Na Lai Mohammed, the APC spokesman.
He and his APC should just go and sleep. What on earth do they want Mr. President to do? Anything he does is an abomination as far as they are concerned. I hate non-constructive criticisms. The guy is doing his party more harm than good,” said Frank. “What has he done this time?” asked Bola.
Replied Frank: “Lai Mohammed here says the President erred in replying Obj’s letter openly, that he should have replied by SMS acknowledging receipt and telling him he will tackle the issues he raised. Isn’t that double standard? It was okay for Obj to write an open letter to a sitting president, making some weighty allegations and Nigerians were on his neck to reply so it would have been very unwise for him to give a private reply to an open letter. So I think he did the right thing given the circumstance.”
“Wetin they call the letter? Open letter abi? So the reply should be open reply,” joked John.
“But Alhaji Lai was correct in the sense that GEJ by openly replying Obj and even going personal was bad for the image of Nigeria. He should have simply replied quietly or ignored him,” said Mary. “Ok, so Obj’s open letter was good for the image of the country? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. He was even very polite in his reply from what I read,” said Frank. “Bros, e be like say you be PDP spokesman as Lai is APC spokesman because you don’t seem to see anything wrong with this government,” said Mary to Frank.
“I am not holding brief for the PDP or the presidency. I’m just being honest,” replied Frank. “May be I should become a spokesman for Panadol Party,” joked Emma which caused some laughter. He went on: “This country na wah! Obj said he installed Jonathan and Yar’Adua and we saw nothing wrong in that assertion.
In a saner clime, he would have been called in for questioning but not here. Some people are above the law. A so-called political godfather in this country once boasted that he single-handedly installed the entire members of a State House of Assembly and nothing was done to him.” Said Bola: “The truth is that we are never going to get a better deal in terms of leadership.
Each successive regime will be worse than the previous one. Just watch and see. After GEJ, the next president will be called all sorts of names and accused of so many things.” “No, no, no! I absolutely disagree with you. At least Abdulsalami Abubakar was better than Abacha and Obj was better than Abubakar,” countered Chris.
Reacting to Chris’ assertion, Bola said: “At the time Obj came up, people preferred the worst civilian president to the best military president because they needed a change. But after sometime, some people were actually saying that what Nigeria needed was a maximum ruler like Abacha.
They called Obj names, saying he behaved as if he was still in the army. When Yar’Adua came, a gentleman that wanted to do things properly, they named him Baba Go Slow, saying Obj was better. GEJ came and so far, he is the most abused president in Nigeria. They said Yar’Adua was better…”
“That is human beings for you, insatiable,” said Emma. “But why is GEJ not fighting corruption?” asked Mary. “According to Obj right? Simply because he is not setting EFCC loose on perceived enemies?” asked Frank. Countered Mary: “But he sent EFCC after the Kano State House of Assembly Speaker and some of his men.”
“When somebody is accused of corruption, you have to follow due process. Shebi we say a person is considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,” said Frank. “But some very glaring cases do not need the courts,” noted Mary. Said Frank:
“In that case, why didn’t Obj set the ball rolling during his tenure? Why did he not go after IBB? Was his case not glaring enough? When confronted with the IBB issue, he was quoted as saying that the people should provide evidence. He went after Abacha’s loot because Abacha was dead. So please, give me a break!”
“Power ultimately resides in us, the people, if only we will wake up from our slumber and stop being docile. Look at what happened during the fuel subsidy strike. People were mobilised to resist an unjust policy. For the first time, Nigerians put ethnicity, religion, class and gender behind them and spoke with one voice and the leaders were forced to listen. That is the power of the people. How can over 150 million people continue to allow a few people to take them for a ride?” asked John.