By Yinka Odumakin
WHILE in detention during the General Ibrahim Babangida regime, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti became so frail and collapsed in court. His brother, Olufela, would not take that lightly. He called those of us in the media who are his friends to his house for a briefing. As he was talking, he saw his brother, Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kudi on the front page of The Guardian chastising medical workers who were on strike at the time for not having enough regard for the lives of their patients.
Said Fela: “My brother too don dey talk like person we no well as him dey work with people wey no well. Doctor life no important to protect before him go protect patient?”
This came back powerfully to me last week when I got to the details of the fight my friend, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, was engaged with some lawmakers in Abuja. The junior minister for Labour and Productivity who was one the best screened for the job blew his top and issued a very angry statement after the encounter. I was even going to take his side until I got the messy details of the “Babi Allah“ project they were fighting over.
Very angry statement
I recall my discussion with the Ooni of Ife after the president announced the Prof. Doyin Salami Economic Advisory Council. The Arole Oodua surmised that he got that right. I agreed with Kabiyesi but added that I would have thumbed-up if those were our ministers and not just advisers. I doubt very much if the N20,000 per month job for the 774,000 was an advice from them or if they were asked their thought and what they said.
The N54 billion we are asking Keyamo to supervise “burning”, assisted by MC Olumo and others, is just one more evidence that there is no country here anymore and that if you give garri, water, stove and lighter to our Federal Government, they cannot successfully make eba. So, these are the kinds of inanities they discuss about our lives at the Federal Executive Council? There is nobody in that council with an idea that can get 20 per cent of that number permanently engaged and with serious value to the country?
The government of Gen Yakubu Gowon who exuberantly said Nigeria’s problem was not cash but how to spend it used £11m to build a Volkswagen plant. In today’s value that is just a little over what we want to burn in three months with no value added. In my corner of the country, it is said that a child lacks wisdom and the children are doing fasting and prayer for that child not to die as if anything kills faster than stupidity.
This government is busy borrowing money from anywhere loan is available around the world, but it is clear now it is bereft of any transformative idea that can give value to the country and improve the lives of our people. Its best ideas are rearing of cows in the crudest form that leads to intermittent loss of lives.
We should be on our knees for God to take us through the remaining three years of this government without fatality to the country so we can have the opportunity to start afresh with whatever is left of it.
I was on a visit to Abuja sometime ago and had something to do around the National Communications building. Only a Good Samaritan who was doing car hire around the area stopped my driver from falling victim of some young boys and girls in black and white working for FCT authorities.
They would put no notice on a section of the road but would remove plate numbers of vehicles and you will have to go and pay about N10,000 to retrieve same from their office.They had pounced on the cars of NCC officials that morning as they were said to have been locked out of the building they were parking across.
I shook my head that one low-intelligence being somewhere would be saying he had created jobs for these ones! And I shuddered at the kind of idiocy that designed the NCC building without a thought of enough spaces to park.The way I have always wondered why those who designed Abuja Airport thought that you will have to walk over one kilometre to get into your car.
These are people with no ideas of how to build a modern society. As for the Babi Allah project, it brings up again what we have been saying about not running this country as a unitary project. If N54 billion was not warehoused in Abuja and were available to the federating units, not all of them would decide to burn theirs. Nigeria has no single plane in the air today, but I fly Ibom Air to Abuja regularly until I swore not to fly even when they open the airspace tomorrow.
Harold Smith: The man who refused to die
HE died on January 3, 2011 but his interview with Ben TV that just went viral once again on the evils of British authorities in Nigeria recently shows a man of conscience like him will live forever. This is because he stones for the truth even when the British Government gave him the third world treatment a Sani Abacha would give a Gani Fawehinmi. His access to work was controlled; he wrote a book which he was not allowed to publish because the evil empire is still haunted by its crimes in Nigeria.
But I have just noticed that there are Nigerians of my generation who have not heard of this man who devoted his life to our cause. He was born in 1927, educated in Oxford and posted to colonial Nigeria in 1955 to be part of the colonial foundation that midwifed independent Nigeria In 1959. He was clear on why he decided to grant the interview: “I am in my 80s now; I have agreed but in the past they did not want me to say anything, but now I don’t want to go to my grave without telling the truth about the atrocities perpetrated in Africa by the colonialists.
“Our agenda was to completely exploit Africa. Nigeria was my duty post. When we assessed Nigeria, this was what we found in the southern region: strength, intelligence,determination to succeed, well established history, complex but focused life style, great hope and aspirations. The East is good in business and technology, the West is good in administration and commerce, law and medicine. But it was a pity we planned our agenda to give power ‘at all cost’ to the Northerners. They seemed to be submissive and silly of a kind. Our mission was accomplished by destroying the opposition at all fronts.
“The West led in the fight for … independence, and was punished for asking for freedom. They will not rule Nigeria! Harold Smith confessed that the Census results were announced before they were counted. Despite seeing vast land with no human but cattle in the North, we still gave the North 55 million instead of 32 million. This was to be used to maintain their majority votes and future power bid.”
He stated that the West without Lagos was the most populous in Nigeria at that “time but we ignored that”. The North was seriously encouraged to go into the military. According to him, they believe that the South may attend Western education, but future leaders will always come from military background. Their traditional rulers were to be made influential and super human. The Northerners were given accelerated promotions both in the military and civil service to justify their superiority over the South. Everything was to work against the South. We truncated their good plan for their future.
“I was very sorry for the AG; it was a great party too much for African standard. We planned to destroy Awolowo and Azikiwe well, the West and the East and sowed a seed of discord among them.We tricked Azikiwe into accepting to be president having known that Balewa will be the main-man with power. Awolowo has to go to jail to cripple his genius plans for a greater Nigeria.
“The British really let Nigeria down. When I see Nigerians being accused of fraud and from what I saw on the streets of Lagos, the British were worst fraudsters.”
According to him, Nigeria, a great nation was crippled not because of military juntas or corrupt leaders alone but by the British and American fear of Nigeria’s great future. He confessed: “The fear of the place that will be our ‘dumping ground’ really occupied our minds”.
He added that: “It was my duty to carry out all of the above and I was loyal to my country. Nigerians should try to be loyal to their country’s leaders and followers alike. Love your country. You have got the potentials to be great again and the whole world knows this. I am sorry for the above evil done to Nigeria. I can’t say sorry enough..”
Lest we foget. In the elections of 1954, there were 162 seats in the Nigerian National Assembly. Out of this, the South had 83 seats and the North had 79 seats since this was based on population. But because Ahmadu Bello was afraid that his corner would not be able to sustain the iniquity bestowed over the rest of the country and dominate it the way he envisaged, he refused to allow Nigeria to have independence.
After the West and the East received self governance, the British overlords, in order to assuage his fears and put Nigeria in his grip, created in 1959, 312 seats for the Nigerian National Assembly without any election or new census.
Out of this 312, the North was allocated 174 in the anticipation of the Parliamentary Political System being put in place for Nigeria’s independence. This effectively put political control of Nigeria in the hands of a section.
In 1962, the Balewa government organised another census “by headcount”. Preliminary results of that exercise gave the South a clear majority. A supplementary count was immediately taken in the Northern region. This turned up additional nine million persons reportedly missed in the first count. The questions are: How could such an exercise miss nine million persons? And how could there be supplementary headcount in one part of the country to the exclusion of the other?
Even as we speak, the British authorities continue the manipulation of Nigeria. We know of an M16 Bishop who deceives with the Bible to sustain iniquity in Nigeria. But there is a harvest time for the evil empire that has been rocked by Brexit for years. It may disintegrate if it failed to atone for its crimes. Good night, Harold Smith.