By Sunny Ikhioya
WHILE the whole country is praising God for the safe landing of all occupants, including the Vice President, on board the ill-fated Caverton helicopter that crash-landed in Kaba, Kogi State, many are still pondering on what would have been, if the accident had been otherwise. This is a man who has given his best to shore up the image of a government that has apparently fallen short on its promises, in all ramifications except in the area of propaganda.
He was able to calm the restless Niger Delta youths for the brief period he held sway as Acting President while his principal was away. This accounts for the peace that the whole country enjoys today. There is no trouble spot in the country that he has not found time to personally visit, to calm frayed nerves. It is a thing of joy to note that in a government generally perceived as being inert, there is still one shining star. The problem is that the tainted ones are so manyand have refused to allow the only credible one to properly manifest.
That is the reason why it has been very difficult to situate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in a badly run government. And with the election campaigns in full swing, Osinbajo has once again been thrust to the forefront while the hawks and cabals running the government have taken a backseat. We are not seeing or hearing from them throughout the campaign for Buhari’s reelection.
The question is, after the whole brouhaha of election campaigning, will history repeat itself? We all saw how the Vice President intelligently answered all the questions in the TV encounter with Khariat Ahmed, with the President looking on as a spectator. Will the next time be a situation of the monkey doing the working and the baboon going home with the spoils? Are people taking note of the on going campaigns, that those spearheading it are from the South; underscoring their intellectual and mobilisation capacity? Why is this not reflected when it comes to assigning key positions to individuals? Let me put it another way.
In the next few weeks the elections would have come and gone but will it be on record as a free and fair? That will be left for posterity to be the judge. But those of us voicing out our fears are not doing so because we want the opposition to win; we want it on record that we did say so, like we did in year 2015 and to which fault those in government now are attributing to the past governments, instead of taking responsibility.
Indeed, the electioneering campaigns on and I can see all my Southern brothers at the forefront, vigorously canvassing for votes. The question to ask now is: Where are all those who have appropriated this government to themselves these past four years? Is there going to be a repeat of the 2015 scenario if Buhari succeeds in his re-election bid? In the heat of our passion and sentiments, we have not been able to situate the true cause of the APC failure in government apart from attributing things to previous governments and corruption. Any government that cannot progressively move a nation forward in four years is a failure.
Analyzing the cause of Buhari’s failure in this past four years, we will discover that the chief culprit is the one facing the mirror and looking to find another image elsewhere. We have the human capacity. And like I have pointed out previously, Osinbajo demonstrated this during the brief period he acted on behalf of the President. But each time the President returned, all previous gains are consigned to the trash bin. It took six months to constitute a cabinet in 2015. What did the various committees set up by the president to run things do?
They were busy scrambling for the spoils and ensuring that their cronies, siblings and ethnic descendants are put in place of authority, irrespective of their qualifications, experience and ability to do the job. Even when the ministers eventually took over, the damage had already been done; in some cases the civil servants were not even subordinated to the ministers in charge, they went straight to the Presidency.
That is why NNPC still operates the same way today as it was eight years ago; that is why we have not seen significant progress in our insurgency battles; that is why the general populace is not motivated and why the economy is stagnant. There are people who can turn things around positively in this country but the President must be ready to give them the position and authority to help him do it. Will he allow Osinbajo to have more relevance as he did in the TV discussions with Khariat Ahmed where he answered most of the relevant questions? Will Buhari allow the progressives in his party to lead him this time, especially with the economy?
Will Buhari and his cabal allow a proper representation across geo-political lines? Because you cannot say what you have now is a coincidence. I must re-emphasise the fact that apart from Osinbajo, there are many other capable hands in this country; but the President must be ready to allow them to help him. If he fails to do this, this government will go down as the worst administered in the history of this country. All we have had are successions of the same politicians since the military left the scene. Someone drew my attention to the fact that in one Kogi State senatorial district, it has always been a contest between Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi.
If Dino is in PDP, Smart will be in APC and when Smart goes to APC, Dino moves to PDP. No party ideology considered, no principles, no policy. All are same. Then you are forced to ask the question: who is the fool here? My brothers in the South-South have been busy abusing themselves, setting the populace against themselves. I have seen the North relatively restrained and going about their campaigning with decorum. Again we wonder, what is it that makes those of us in the South so noisy and with all the noise we get so little when it comes to sharing of the so-called national cake.
I have watched Professor Itse Sagay put all his integrity, as a foremost human rights activist, on the line for the Buhari project, even when it appears that his voice is falling on deaf ears. The same thing goes for Festus Keyamo, shouting his himself hoarse, defending the indefensible, while the ones with power are doing something else.
Oshiomhole has virtually turned himself into a gadfly to some of his fellow Southern APC governors. And they all have no qualms exposing their linen in public.
Meanwhile, the real power holders are on the sideline, pretending as if nothing is going on.
Again you ask the question: who is fooling who here? After the 2015 elections, with the new APC government in power, it was assumed that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will play a very prominent role in the direction the government will take, but this did not happen, instead he was used and dumped. I watched his wife Senator Remi Tinubu on national television lamenting and emphatically stating how the husband was rubbished. This is another election time and they are back to where they started in 2015, trying to take advantage of the political capital of Tinubu and he has obliged them by jumping into the Buhari bandwagon. But will this time be different? We wait and see.