By Donu Kogbara
WHEN Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank Governor, decided to join the crowd of aspirants who are jostling to replace President Buhari next year, we were told that his expression of interest form (going price N100 million) was bought from the APC Secretariat by grateful rice farmers who benefitted from his allegedly marvellous policies.
We were then informed that the African Development chief, Akinwumi Adesina was invited to contest by “a coalition of 28 groups comprising women bodies, youths and the physically challenged” who purchased the ridiculously expensive entry form for him.
There are many other examples of politicians thinking that we are daft enough to believe that impoverished citizens who can barely feed themselves are willing and able to raise vast sums to support the ambitions of individuals who are much richer than they are.
Adesina charmingly declined the kind invitation and wasn’t responsible for the tall tale by moonlight about the origin of the funds that were spent on his behalf. So I’m certainly not blaming him at all for his fans’ attempt to deceive the general public.
But I blame Emefiele, who fully cooperated with the rice farmer claptrap and only pulled out of the race because he was forced to choose between his CBN job and his political dream…at which point he concluded that a bird in the hand is worth two birds in the bush.
Thus was Nigeria saved from repeated exposure to “Meffy”, the immensely irritating Guy Name he adopted for electoral purposes! Anyway, back to the point: Given that the EFCC occasionally decides to do its job and humiliate grand larcenists, I understand why government officials who want to participate in elections don’t want to admit that they are rich enough for pay for their own forms. But can’t they just say that their wealthy business cronies helped out, instead of insulting our intelligence with pretentious crowdfunding stories that nobody in their right mind will believe for one second?
BRAVO, MR PRESIDENT!
Let me seize this opportunity to salute President Buhari for doing the right thing and insisting that appointees who are vying for the APC nomination must resign. Bravo, Mr President! I was pleasantly surprised.
Some of us voted for you (in 2015 at least) because we regarded your military background as an asset and thought that you were an uncompromising disciplinarian who would regularly crack down on all types of misbehaviour and absolutely refuse to tolerate criminality, even when the culprits happened to be people you were fond of.
But I’ve not seen much of the firmness I expected from you. And I wish you would adopt a no-nonsense stance more often. Like every day. For Nigeria’s sake. Please, Sir. Things are falling apart.
So much has already been said about the gruesome murder of poor Deborah Samuel by her Sokoto College Of Education classmates. I doubt I can add much value to the ongoing commentary at this stage, so I’ll keep my contribution to it fairly brief and say: That I am completely shocked a) by the fact that so many Muslim lawyers (34 at the last count) – educated members of polite society! – are willing to defend the homicidal psychopaths who assassinated Deborah; b) by the fact that most presidential aspirants (including those who are normally recklessly feisty and loquacious in the extreme) have not publicly condemned Deborah’s killers.
We all know why this shifty silence is reigning: It is driven by an abject fear of offending voters who think that Islam gives them a licence to commit heinous acts. When Atiku Abubakar’s handlers issued a condemnation of Deborah’s tragic fate via Twitter, the hostile responses from fanatics scared Atiku into quickly retracting the statement. What is going on? Are leaders not supposed to be as courageous as lions, no matter the risk?
If they cave in to bullies, there will be many more Deborahs. If a Muslim kid had been slaughtered by Christians, I would expect an outcry from leaders of all religious persuasions. And it’s sad that the same respect is not being accorded to Deborah posthumously. I have watched several videos in which Islamic scholars and Imams have categorically stated that the Prophet and Koran do not condone jungle justice, even in cases where blasphemy can be proved.
I have listened to an impressive speech by the eloquent Muslim Vice President of Ghana in which he points out the positive things that Muslims and Christians have in common. This country is full of dangerous characters who block their ears to facts and reason – and search for excuses to hate, maim and murder. Let’s hope they don’t destroy the little fragile unity we still have.
I have yet to encounter a single Niger Deltan who was happy about rumours that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was thinking about joining APC and trying to retrieve the throne he lost to Buhari. Even those who are APC supporters found the whole thing embarrassing. It is unheard of for a whole head of state to abandon the party he once led, especially if the party he wants to join has comprehensively abused him for years.
He could have used the time since he lost the election to play a strong role within the PDP…and help PDP become an effective opposition party. I don’t know what possessed Jonathan to allow such lurid speculations to tarnish his image. He should have shut them down from Day One, instead of pussyfooting around.
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