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57 years of Independence

By Denrele Animasaun

“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)” -Marcus Tullius Cicero

1st of October was a muted affair across the diaspora and in many households in Nigeria. It helps to be honest that, in the last couple of decades, there has been nothing of note to celebrate.  Yes, may be for few not for many. In PMB’s national speech: did strike a worthy note and tone:

“Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1st is always a day for celebrations.”

I don’t disagree much with PMB but with this, I don’t think October 1st is a day for celebration; we should celebrate when the citizens are thriving and not merely surviving. Frankly, am done with this freedom malaky; the day we got our freedom from colonial rule is wearing a bit thin.  We are not slaves and we need to stop acting like slaves. We are Nigerians and should by now realise that we hold our future and that of coming generations in our hands.  We cannot hold our future to colonial times, we as people exist before they came.

Buhari cutting the Nigerian anniversary cake in Maiduguri

Having said that, I believe that PMB gave good and objective account of the state of the nation. PMB; “We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999 – 2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule”. Yes, we have come a long way and sometimes we lose sight in how far we have come and the reminder helps put things into perspective.

He reminds us that oil boom has gone boom; “However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected. We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.” The gravy train has left the platform and of course, we know that many have squandered our commonwealth, in time these thieves in fine clothing will get their comeuppance and many are getting so uncomfortable that they want to blame everyone and create chaos. PMB seems to be their target but the man is unshakable and they should know that by now.

PMB reminded everyone that with freedom comes responsibilities; “In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political party at the centre losing elections of state governor, national assembly seat and even state assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. Added to these is complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse.” So those who  think he has lost his bite, the general is playing a waiting game and it is better to give people enough rope to hang themselves and they are doing a good job as it is. For those who take silence as inaction, they are in for a rude awakening and they better get used to it; this Sheriff ain’t leaving town.

To those who call for restructuring, PMB has this to say; “Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.” “As a young army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about two million lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering.

Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.” “I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.  I totally agree with PMB.  I wrote extensively about restructuring and my take is: some people are looking to make money on the back of the masses and in its place create more chaos and havoc across the nation. This has always been their stock in trade.

They do not have the best interest of Nigerians at heart.  They have always thought about what they can take from Nigeria and not what they can help to build for Nigeria for the better. Shame on them and their acolytes. The major progress has been the work of the armed forces in the reduction of insurgency and the displaced; on security, Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets. PMB mentioned; “Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have established mobile strike teams in the northeast. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram.

“In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized”. PMB delivered on some his election pledges to dismantle Boko Haaram and he is well on the way to rid them of all their hiding places. Crucially, it is clear that some  states are diversifying and growing food crops for its citizens and also to trade, this is really good news. With continuous  planning there is no reason why Nigeria cannot be one of the food basket of the continent for that PMB said :”Equally commendable are contributions of the governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau states for their support for the presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.”

I for one know that this speech will be scrutinised for years to come as a time Nigeria turned a corner. PMB left citizens with a feeling that collectively we can make a difference and why shouldn’t we? We are Nigerians after all; “I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. “The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels – federal, state and local governments. Change will then be real.”

This is the time many Nigerians have been wishing for, when Nigeria was getting better but it would get better without everyone pitching in. The psyche of Nigerians will change when they lift each other up, kicking corruption to the kerb, we should seek for excellence and not mediocrity. The choice is really ours to make.

but I know what I want to do.

That’s Not My Job!

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and everybody was sure that somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized that everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done.

57 and Still Counting …..

I understand that Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former minister of petroleum resources, is requesting to be brought back to face trial in Nigeria. That is not going to happen anytime soon if the Attorney General of Nigeria has anything to do with it. The Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, said Ms Madueke is already facing charges of money laundering in the United Kingdom, “it is important to face the charges there than for her to come as a mere witness in a case in Nigeria”.

This is not looking too good for Alison-Madueke who hot -footed it from Nigeria, as PMB took office as she caught wind that her past dealings were to be scrutinised and she would have to face the humiliation of the courts. She begged and wooed everyone she knew that could influence PMB but to no avail, so she left anyway in the guise that she was receiving treatment and then went on a shameless elaborate   ruse of playing the cancer victim. She was milking sympathy from the Nigerian populace, who many were quick to forgive her financial transgression because of supposedly terminal condition.

Oh, what deceitful web we weave when first try to deceive! Now the astonishing level of thievery is out in the open, the net is closing in, she thinks coming home means it’s better the devil you know, newsflash for Ms Madeuke; she better think again. Nigeria then is not Nigeria now. Yes, if you do the crime then you will do the time. Ms Madueke always thinks a couple of steps ahead of the game and that’s why it took a long time to cotton on to her ways. Now, so she has filed a suit at a high court in Abuja seeking to be joined in an on-going money laundering involving her associates.  She better think again. Ms Madueke wants to force the government to extradite her to Nigeria from the UK.

She is  definitely running scared as she knows that the  international authorities would unearth all her shady dealing and she will most definitely do time and a very long time too . She will also get a well-deserved worldwide coverage and she does not want that. That would be disgraceful for her and how dear Nigeria permits her to wash her dirty linen in public! She should know the boat have sailed on that one, the world and its cousin knows she siphoned a large amount of the nation’s commonwealth so, how delusional can this lady be? This is a lady who had callously pillaged and denied many people in the country a better standard of life and now she has the temerity of seeking refuge and sanctuary.

She and her brood were rolling in money and flying private jets at the drop of a hat as it is the common thing to do. She has no conscience and lacks insight. Possibly, she may be downright arrogant with some level of pathology  because she knew fully well that she can get away with it as she knows many people in high places in Nigeria most worryingly she may also hold some secret to many other monies held by others in past and present administration. Some people should be very afraid indeed. She tried but she should know by now that she is on her own and she can squeal as much as she wants, the same fate awaits her fellow hoodlums.

So where on earth are these civil liberty groups come from who are vocally supporting her extradition to Nigeria, it’s suspicious as it is usually the other way round.   It is laughable that anyone in their right mind would want to support or request that she is given trial in Nigeria? Who are these people and what are they on?

The Attorney General response to the media after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting; the federal government will not take any decision that will jeopardise what the UK government is doing. The truth of the matter is that the government is doing something especially on issues of corruption and litigation in Nigeria and outside the country, and it went on; “Considering the fact that there is an existing understanding between Nigeria and other countries especially United Kingdom on the recovery of stolen funds, you cannot say government is not doing anything. It does not have to prove a point, it should ensure that the lady receives the full weight of the law.

FEC concluded that if the government   feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to Nigeria to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that. Malami also dismissed suggestions that Ms Madueke  might not get fair hearing; “the issue is not about fair hearing now, we are talking about investigation first and it is not within Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke’s power to ask the federal government to bring her to testify in any case in Nigeria,”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am sure Ms Madueke has more tricks up her sleeve and she has got stupendous and offensive amount of capital at her disposal, and she is not afraid to use it. Some Nigerian lawyers are getting from her illegal proceeds. For the likes of Ms Madueke , times are indeed changing!

“The Nigerian situation is made worse by deep economic problems, itself a result of our political instability.  Good men are not coming forward. If this country dies and it will die if we don’t take care but I have not seen the salvation yet. And my heart bleeds for the deprived. We cannot go back to colonisation besides, I do not like being colonized by anyone anymore and it does not matter who- Kola Animasaun.

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