By Donu Kogbara

LAST week, I complained about the “dangerous docility” that the average Nigerian displays in the face of the never-ending problems our leaders foist on us. My view was that if the majority refuses to tolerate bad governance, leaders who serve us badly will either be compelled to up their games or be booted out. 

But no matter how hard the hardship is and no matter how provocative the provocation is, most Nigerians will shrug and suffer in silence; and even sometimes smile while suffering.

Tony Elumelu, the well-known entrepreneur, economist, banker and philanthropist, appears to share at least some of my concerns. I haven’t spoken to him, so I’m certainly not assuming that he and I are on the same page on every single issue. 

But I came across some tweets he posted a few days ago and I heartily agree with him: “This morning, I am listening to my colleagues at the office bemoan the very pressing issues that they face every day in this country, and how things have been getting worse and worse – no electricity for five days, hikes in the price of diesel, frightening food inflation, etc.

“How can a country so rich in natural resources have 90 per cent of its citizens living in hardship and poverty? I have often said that access to electricity is critical for our development, alleviation of poverty and hardship. And speaking of security,  people are afraid!

“Businesses are suffering. How can we be losing over 95 per cent of oil production to thieves? Look at the Bonny Terminal that should be receiving over 200k barrels of crude oil daily, instead it receives less than 3,000 barrels leading the operator at Shell to declare force majeure.

“Why are we paying taxes if our security agencies can’t stop this? It is clear that the reason Nigeria is unable to meet its OPEC production quota is not because of low investment but because of theft, pure and simple!

“Meanwhile, oil producing countries are smiling as their foreign reserves are rising. What is Nigeria’s problem? We need to hold our leaders more accountable! Elections are coming – security and resources need to be everyone’s agenda. Let’s be vocal for nation’s priority.

“Evil prevails when good people are silent. We need to be vocal about 2023. Let’s focus on Nigeria. Demand and advocate for leaders that deliver. In 2023, Nigeria must be on a strong trajectory for progress and development”.

Tomorrow, the All Progressives Congress, APC, – a messy, toxic hotbed of multiple conflicts and factions that claims to be a credible political party – will hold its convention.

Many people think that APC stalwarts are all useless and so busy fighting each other that there is little or no chance that they will deliver anything nearing satisfactory governance anytime soon.

I say that though APC as a whole is a huge disappointment, it contains some very competent and polished individuals – Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Governors’ Forum Chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and Science/Technology/Innovation Minister, Dr.  Ogbonnaya Onu, for example – who are internationally respected and capable of transforming this country into the shining citadel at the pinnacle of the entire Black World that it can and should be.

But Nigeria has become so tragically warped and self-destructive that those who are very talented, good-mannered and more ethical than most within the context of the sewer that is Naija Politrix are rarely given opportunities to wield power at the highest possible level.

But while some are praying that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will rise from the doldrums and rescue us in 2023, let me remind those who have forgotten that it is precisely because the PDP was performing so unimpressively that it was toppled by the APC in 2015.

And at the rate it is going with its endless nonsensical in-house quarrels and its leading lights constantly humiliating themselves and each other in public fora, the PDP will not be able to regain the throne next year unless it offers us a super-duper presidential candidate to vote for. And this is not looking very likely.

Right now, the horizon is looking pretty bleak with an inept ruling party that doesn’t currently deserve to win on one side of the fence and the most feeble opposition party imaginable on the other side of the fence. The situation is depressing, to put it mildly.

Fingers crossed that APC and/or PDP redeem themselves and pleasantly surprise me by delivering decent candidates, thereby improving our chances of eventually getting better leadership.

What a week!

I ALMOST feel sorry for Willie Obiano, the ex-governor of Anambra State.

First, his wahala wife triggered off a ruckus – and earned herself a hot slap from the sharp hand of Bianca Ojukwu – during the ceremony at which he was handing over to his successor, Soludo. Then, almost as soon as he had lost his gubernatorial immunity, he was arrested at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, as he was preparing to board a flight to America.

Mr. Obiano, who had been on the EFCC’s watchlist for some time, was arrested over corruption allegations. “Obiano was arrested for alleged misappropriation of public funds, including N5 billion Sure-P and N37 billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash. Part of the funds was also allegedly diverted to finance political activities in the state,” according to EFCC’s spokesperson, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.  Obiano has now been released on bail.

Looks like 2022 is not going to be his favourite year. But I must salute him for one thing: In Soludo, he chose a brilliant successor he knows will definitely outshine him. That takes humility and courage. And I hope that Soludo will remember the considerable assistance he received and help to minimise the trouble Obiano is in.


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