“It is unthinkable that wisdom should ever be popular” – Johann Goethe, 1749-1832, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 275.

Dele Sobowale

A sick and dying lion is a pathetic animal to behold. I was in Kenya in 1983, and went to the reservations. We came upon a sick lion, lying on its side, unable to move. It was surrounded by hyenas, wild dogs and vultures – all waiting for the poor king of animals to die. Some would occasionally venture near; they would withdraw once it raised its head and roared. Our guide said we should move on and return in about four hours to see what would happen. We returned on schedule; the king had died. There was jungle chaos in progress. Groups of hyenas and wild dogs, vultures, as well as other scavengers were fighting over the carcass. Apart from the dead lion, there were several severely wounded animals lying about as a result of the chaos which followed the death of the lion.

Read Also: Nigeria’s insecurity: One impeachment not enough

I learnt a valuable lesson. A monarch, in any kingdom – animal or human – should be given a decent rites of passage. Otherwise, the aftermath might be more unpleasant than before. Human beings are actually the most stupid beings God (or was it the Devil) created. We create great problems for ourselves out of selfishness; and proceed to solve them in the most unimaginative way possible.

Even a popular outgoing President suffers embarrassments. As power drips from his hands every minute, more people find the courage to defy him. Hecklers multiply by the hour. Former praise singers join critics in his condemnation. It is worse if problems beyond his control have cropped up. As the adversities mount, his support groups melt, and his antagonists increase.

DISREGARD OF HISTORY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana, 1863-1952, VBQ p 93

I pity Buhari even as a critic since 2015. He started on the wrong feet; and he never changed course. Nigeria moved inexorably in the direction he led the country until we arrived at this point in our history. Failure to control about 500, 000 armed herdsmen was a blunder. That error of judgment created an army larger than the Nigerian Army. And, although he was their Life Patron, he was never in control of their activities. Two armies resulted from that grave mistake – which are tormenting Nigerians including the legitimate armed forces in Abuja and Aso Rock today.

If only Buhari had bothered to find out, he would have discovered that militancy in the Niger Delta in the early 2000s started with selfish politicians arming thugs in order to win the 2003 elections. With the elections over, the hoodlums disbanded turned their arms on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Billionaires were made from that tragic blunder arising from selfish political interest. The people of Agatu (Benue), Nemo (Enugu), Wukari (Taraba), Okeho (Oyo), Ughelli (Delta) and Wushihi (Niger), to name a few, never invaded any Fulani state or territory. Yet, today, Fulani herdsmen are in all the 36 states destroying farms, killing people, kidnapping, raping and occupying other peoples land – with impunity – and the FG is aware of these atrocities. What the security officers don’t know is what is causing most of the problems at the moment. Appetite grows with eating. The hoodlums allowed to ravage southern farms have not limited their atrocities to the South. They are now all over Nigeria; and that is why we are in deep trouble. Buhari fumbled. But, does that mean we should impeach him?

WRONG MEASURE, WRONG  REASON, WRONG TIME

“You burn the house to roast the pig. It was the only way mankind always roasted pig” – Saul Bellow, 1915-2005, VBQ p 219.

The Federal Government of Nigeria, including the National Assembly, NASS, and the Judiciary, were all grossly negligent in the discharge of their duties. NASS members, in particular, turned blind eyes and deaf ears to the rising flashes and sounds of gunfire snuffing lives out of Nigerians from 2015 till today. The Senate Presidents and Speakers preferred to be loyal to Buhari than to uphold the Constitution and summon the President as the security of Nigeria deteriorated under Jonathan and Buhari. They chose to be loyal party leaders instead of patriotic Nigerians. To them should go the worst maledictions and curses for letting us down. Had they acted as legislators elsewhere, we would not be asking what happened to the $16 billion spent on arms.

If we must sack officials, we must start now with Senate President Lawan and Speaker Gbajabiamila – the two leaders of NASS. They have demonstrated such dereliction of duty as to imperil the nation. In fact, if we don’t sack those two, all efforts to remove Buhari will be in vain.

The plan to impeach Buhari is also faulty. Failure to contain insurgency has never been a reason to remove a President. Yes, he is the Commander-in-Chief, C-I-C, of the Armed Forces. But, he is not the field commander. It is the military establishment which must win the war – otherwise the commanders will be relieved of their command. Finally, with only ten months before Buhari returns to bandit-controlled Katsina, any move for impeachment will only create turmoil in Abuja and make the take-over of Abuja by ISWAP easier. It will not be easy to get two-thirds of the Senate to vote for it – not as long as Lawan is there. It will distract everybody’s attention from the real enemies – the hoodlums. We should manage Buhari until May 29, 2023; and wish him best of luck in Daura – if things remain as bad as they are.

LAWYERS AND JOURNALISTS IN BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT – 1

I know there is partiality involved in picking lawyers first as the two most prominent professionals in Buhari’s government whose roles we should probe as the administration winds down to a dreadful end. After reading scores of books and magazines on government and spending over 30 years as a columnist, I have arrived at the conclusion that, in Nigeria, a government is often defined by the lawyers and journalists working for the regime. Lawyers influence the laws passed; and “journalists” justify everything – including often defending the indefensible. Since this is only an opening salvo, I will only touch briefly on the subject now. Rest assured, I will return to it later on a broader scale.

“The first thing we do; let’s kill all the lawyers” – William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 123.

“And whether you’re an honest man or whether you’re a thief depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief” – Sir William Gilbert, 1836-1911, VBQ p 123.

Long after Buhari has departed office, Nigerians will learn how badly they have been served by the lawyers in his cabinet, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. In addition to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, there are, at least five other good lawyers among Buhari’s Ministers. Yet, when this government leaves office next year, it will hand over a potentially damaging judgment for its successor. Granted, the Buhari government inherited the problem from an irresponsible Jonathan administration, it has made the situation worse for Nigeria.

P&ID $9.6bn judgment against Nigeria remains pending in a court in London. Mr Malami has failed to get the judgment reversed since 2019. It is unlikely he will settle the matter before leaving. The amount was N1.72bn in 2019; it is now N6.82tn or about 35 per cent of this year’s budget. No lawyer in Buhari’s cabinet has raised an alarm about this impending calamity. More on that later…

“Journalists say a thing they know isn’t true; in the hope that if they keep on saying it long enough, it will be true” – Julien Benda, 1857-1952, VBQ p 109.

I reluctantly included that entry in the book when it came to my attention. It was my friend, Cohen, Financial Columnist with BOSTON GLOBE in the early 1970s, who insisted it should be included – for intellectual honesty. All along, I was operating under the impression that for all journalists “facts are sacred”.

Nigerian journalists in government, especially federal, opened my eyes to the truth. Most of my colleagues care as little for facts as lawyers — whose stock-in-trade is dissembling. Presidency of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, in the Fourth Estate of the Realm is akin to being the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the Third Estate. Take a poll among Nigerians and ask what they think of the two former Presidents of the NGE in Aso Rock. You will be shocked by the impression people have about people who spent years pursuing facts and truth. Remember, it was the senior who declared on national television that Buhari administration has delivered 250 times more power than was inherited – at a time when the average daily distribution was 3,200MW. “If gold rusts, what then will iron do?” – Geoffrey Chaucer, 1342-1400.

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