By Dele Sobowale
“Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary” -Robert Lewis Stevenson, 1850-1894
“He knows nothing; he thinks he knows everything. That points to a political career” – George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950.
Nobody who seriously observes and listens to all our politicians can fail to tremble at the thought that these are actually the clowns who will govern us at Federal and State levels nationwide from 2023.
We should not really be surprised; because clones of the same crop led us from a situation in which we had less than 30 million people living in poverty in 1999; now we have 133 million. There were less than 5 million out of school then; we have 20 million now. Any farmer who died by gun shot, must have been accidentally killed by a hunter thinking it was an antelope.
Now, farmers get routinely murdered by Fulani herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers – knowing fully well who they were assassinating. Nigeria was not the poverty capital of the world in 1999; now we are. Youth unemployment was less than 15 per cent; it is now over 40 per cent.
To be quite candid, we are in the present mess because, if truth must be told, we have elected into offices individuals with diminishing senses of responsibility. Furthermore, we have failed to discipline our politicians. The gains of return to civilian politics have slipped through our hands.
But, for loss of fundamental human rights, we were in many respects better off under the military regimes. Even Abacha’s kleptomania was almost amateurish compared with what is going on right now as Buhari prepares to bow out and hand us to new jesters.
G5: A PLANE LOAD OF JOKERS
“What does corrupting time not diminish…” -Horace 65-8 BC
In January last year, abandonment of governance by the President and state Governors for politicking during 2022 was one of my predictions. While it turned out to be true for all the governors, five of them, the G-5, led by Wike of Rivers State, have taken this nonsense close to the fringe of utmost absurdity.
It is bad enough that they constitute a very small minority, within their party, insisting on a principle, within a political party, which had long parted ways with principles. The way they go about it is absolutely hilarious – if only these guys are not toying with Nigeria’s future.
Apparently, every one of their stunts must take place in London – while the 220 million Nigerians (mostly fools and 133 million extremely poor) they are addressing are suffering here in Nigeria; and are not amused. The British meanwhile are too busy with their floundering economy to notice the comedians in their midst. So much for impact.
Their last trip to London can only be fully explained by psychiatrists. Like a bunch of desperate spinsters, made lonely by their own pride, they went and offered themselves to another London campaigner; who has got so far in politics by having a nose for danger. Bola Tinubu did not get this far without possessing one of the keenest political noses in Nigeria.
Five jesters went to see him; but, he was astute enough to know that there was one voice and four echoes talking to him. That voice, belonging to Governor Wike, if taken on board will soon be demanding for shared command; while in Tinubu’s world equality of power does not exist. Predictably, the tourists have returned home almost empty-handed. That only shows how bereft of strategic thought the expensive trip was.
Two of them really have nothing to offer. Even Tinubu knows that nobody can deliver the South East to the APC; except the self-deluded Governors carrying Wike’s bag and tagging along in this political comedy show of the season. As far as I am concerned, they are stuck; with no place to go.
“You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest” – M Howe, 1871-1936, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ
In 1991, one of my classmates as an undergraduate in the USA, working for the World Bank was in Nigeria and we had several evenings together. By then, the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, was already reviving the economies of Asian countries – Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Viet Nam, Indonesia.
But, it was failing in Africa; especially Nigeria. Sean was involved in comparative studies of the impact of SAP on six countries – three African and three Asian. Not surprising; the Asian countries succeeded marvellously; all the African nations failed miserably. I was forced to ask him a question.
“If you have to name a reason for the disparities, what would that be?”
He looked at me and asked: “I hope you will not be offended if I told you?”
“No, why should I? Your answer might help Nigeria and Africa.”
Then he replied. “Africans are the only people who never show remorse if caught with clear cases of corruption or for embezzling funds placed in their care.”
It was like a punch to the jaw; but, I asked for it.
Just as we were coming to the end of 2022, the Director General, DG, of the Labour Party, Dr Doyin Okupe, was convicted by a Court in Abuja. As DG of the campaign, he might have been appointed a high profile Minister if Obi won the election; as he was appointed by Obasanjo and Jonathan. Granted, he has promised to appeal the verdict. But, what was his initial response?
“My detractors have tried and failed again”; or words to that effect. Can anybody detect any sense of remorse in that statement? I would have been contemplating suicide for failing my country, my family, my home town and Igbobi College. But, Doyin is not alone; and we condone great and small cases of misbehaviour – even if apparently comical. Masses welcome ex-Governors who robbed them!!!
The LP and Obi immediately got into another funny business. The new DG they appointed apparently is the Senatorial candidate of another party; according to INEC. That raises a serious question. Does Obi know the people closest to him and is this how he will appoint Ministers and Special Advisers if he wins?
NASS AND THE WORST SENATE PRESIDENT
“Government, at its best is a necessary evil; but, at its worst, an intolerable one” – Thomas Paine, 1737-1809
Nigerians, including me, should be blamed for electing Buhari as President in 2015. We handed him our entire economy. By 2019, even the village idiot knew we were in the wrong hands – especially with the way budgets were managed. We thought that with a PhD holder selected as Senate President, superior intelligence will correct the errors of the Executive branch when Lawan became the leader of the National Assembly, NASS.We were wrong; dead wrong. The combination of Buhari and Lawan has proved conclusively that two heads can sometimes be worse than one. So, I was not surprised by what happened to the 2023 Budget.
We can only thank God that the two of them are departing in May. As for Lawan, anybody who can lose his secured Senate seat, on account of a rumour by Senator Adamu, that he was Buhari’s chosen successor deserves his fate. Couldn’t he just have gone over to Buhari and confirm? Obviously, a man who can sabotage his own political future would not care what happens to us. How else do you explain N12 trillion deficit; to be financed mostly by borrowing?
“The total expenditure outlay in the budget is N27.594 billion; made up of N15.618 billion for recurrent and N11.976 billion capital expenditure.”
Federal Government Budget 1992.
That budget took care of 88 million Nigerians with little deficit or borrowing. Today the population is 220 million or 150% larger than in 1992. The budget is N21.83 trillion or 800 times larger than in 1992; yet we are poorer today than 30 years ago and have a debt burden that will take 40 years to repay. Twenty three and half of those years were under civilian governments. Where is the benefit?
COMPATRIOTS TO THE RESCUE
“To know/that which before us lies in daily life/is the prime wisdom/what is more is fume” – John Milton, 1608-1674, VBQ p 275.
January 1 last year, after warning about abandonment of governance, I also warned about the emergence of Muslim-Muslim, Mu-Mu ticket for the 2023 Election – just a few weeks away. How was it possible to be so accurate? Because, as an Evangelist, I pray all the time for revelations; with a promise to pass on the message to Fellow Nigerians – irrespective of how they are received. Prophecy has never been a popularity contest. The true prophet says exactly what has been revealed to him. He adds nothing; he subtracts nothing; and he damns the consequences.
Any objective observer of the mobs calling themselves political parties now must agree that irrespective of who wins, Nigeria will lose – unless we take more control of our lives. Frankly speaking, there are no parties in the traditional sense; just political adventurers. Most of them care only for themselves.
Take it from me; Nigeria will need the COMPATRIOTS in 2023. Join the re-builders; to rescue our Fatherland from the wreckers. Call me.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.