Why Buhari must listen to these dangerous echos

By Editor on 26/10/2015

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In the morning of April 16, 2000, each of the Senators at the National Assembly, had come to their offices to find a letter stuck in their personal pigeonholes. It came from one of their colleagues, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, representing Imo West Senatorial Zone of Imo State.

Couched with a dose of wittiness, like everything Nzeribe, the letter had one request – the Senators, were being enjoined to commence immediate impeachment of President Olusegun Obasanjo, then a month less from celebrating his first anniversary in office.

He had given a chain of reasons, most of which were captured in just one expression – impunity. As if to pre-empt his colleagues, Nzeribe, had laced his demand with a caveat: “Ignore the messenger, but accept the message.”    

But, as it turned out, a completely nonplussed populace practically descended on the Orlu Senator and tore him to shreds. Disregarding the appeal that his person should be ignored in dealing with the issue on ground, they never listened to the message, but concentrated on the messenger.

But would anyone blame them? How could anyone not see danger in such a sudden proposal of one, who believed to have singularly, almost caused the permanent mutilation of Nigeria, through the activities of his in(famous) Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), just less than a year after democracy returned to the country?

Was it not the same ABN that saw to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election – reputed to be the freest and fairest election in the history of the country, and thus, truncated what would have been the nation’s real and true march to democracy?

Even then, was it not a fatal error, in retrospection today to have toed that line of quick reaction? With the benefit of hindsight of the Obasanjo years as President, would Nigerians not have reacted differently to those early warning signals as captured by Nzeribe, given what eventually turned out to be an almost disastrous era? Is it not a miracle that the nation was practically saved from the iniquitous sit-tight syndrome of African leaders, like exists in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Paul Biya’s cameroun and now Denis Nguesso’s Congo, which would have been its lot, had the third term agenda of that government succeeded?

That is the danger in dismissing all issues carelessly with the wave of the hand because of the person involved – a case of concentrating on the messenger instead of the message. Of course Obasanjo, whose famous I dey kampe reply to the Senator, was obviously buoyed by the overwhelming support of Nigerians, did not succeed with his dangerous bid for a third term. But it did not remove the fact that he almost did because several acts of hero-worshipping by many Nigerians must have led him to believe that anything was possible.

With the chasing away of Governors Depreiye Alamieyeseigha, Ayo Fayose, Joshua Dariye, Rasheed Ladoja from their various states in the manner he did and with his personal truncation of the ambitions of the likes of Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Anambra, Ifeanyi Ararume, Imo, among others in addition to other conducts, which virtually gave him the toga of a god, it was easy for him to single-handed create the Umaru Yar’Adua-Goodluck era, which has just ended with a verdict that is not only quite pervasive, but totally resounding.

 

Buhari

Painfully, the nation seems back to another era of early warnings. This time, it is also coming from someone with an interesting antecedent, just like Nzeribe. Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, has succeeded in driving himself to Nigeria’s national consciousness with his wits and mannerisms like Nzeribe. How this is appreciated, is however a function of individual interpretation.

Since May 29, 2015, Fayose has assumed the function of the biblical lone voice crying in the wilderness on the issues of how President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC), government have been running Nigeria. One of the areas he has been pointing most fervently, is that the President has proved himself a clannish leader by the nature and manner he continues to appoint of kinsmen as aides and other principal officers in disregard of the sensitivity and sensibilities of Nigerians.

Of course, he is not alone in this position. But, in his own case, his position is read more from his being a virulent critic of the President, dating as far back as when the President was just a candidate of the APC. In this context, everything else he says seems to be viewed along this line, no matter how germane.

But can Nigerians afford to toe this line, with what they know now, given that the best advice could come from a worst adversary? Just last week, Fayose, cried out once again that it was improper and completely insensitive for the President to appoint Professor Mahmud Yakubu, a fellow northerner as the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Now, this is the same Fayose, who had seriously condemned the President for the choice of Amina Zakari, who Yakubu succeeded as the Acting Chairman of the commission. Naturally, the reasonable reading of this scenario, is that the governor, sees nothing good in the President.

Perhaps. Yes. Fayose may be stoking primordial sentiments or latching on them to fight his perceived “enemy,” as it were. But there is a flipside. Is it not true that in the history of Nigeria, no President or Head of State, has appointed an electoral umpire from his tribe to oversee an election? Of course, the argument is being made that Yakubu and his predecessors, Zakari and before her, Professor Attahiru Jega, were the only northerners to occupy the position. But, that in itself was a function of northerners being at the head of government, more than any other reason.

Whirlwindnews.com, cannot, but view the issues Fayose is raising in this context quite seriously. The din of the Ekiti governor’s advocacy has become loud enough that we might ignore them at our collective peril as a country. We therefore advise the President to tarry a little to look into them, no matter how seducing the contrary argument.

Surely, there are many people, even from Ekiti or other places where the echoes of marginalisation are reverberating, who would be egging the President on with the contrary arguments. But if he wants to continue to superintendent over a united entity with a people whose fate ought to be tied together, there is every reason not assume the toga of infallibility or stress the argument of competence too far as he seems to be doing now.

There are ample reason for the nation to cure the nagging issue of perception always, because leaving it to flourish could be quite dangerous. For instance, the bitterest experience Nigeria has had as a country, the civil war, many have argued, was a function of perception.

Had the coup of January 15, not been perceived as an ethnic enterprise, perhaps, the counter-coup in July would not have been necessary and would not have likely become so devastating following the massive killings, leading to the ultimate need for a section of the country to feel so insecure to wish to secede.

The need to douse the thinking of people like Fayose, has become even more compelling now that echoes of ethnic consciousness and secession are becoming quite rampant across the country. That many people are indeed silent at this time to such threats from Afenifere to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), when they ought to have spoken, is not absence of support, but may even be a silent way of goading this new mantra.

The President is celebrated and known in some quarters to be a quiet, silent and stoic character. But this attitude, positive previously, may prove quite unhelpful at this time. The time for him to act is NOW.   

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on October, 26 2015

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