Lonimi Seun Babatunde
At a time in the early days of this PMB/APC administration, when things started taking the shape they are now, and when people (both opposition and the nonpartisan ones) started making complaints on the waythings were going, both APC followers and some acclaimed nonpartisan people(especially the so called educated ones) went for the former set, calling them WAILERS. I am a Bob Marley fan, but I've never been a member of his music group, the wailers. So, at a point I decided I was going to give this administration the benefit of doubt and allow time show us what would be, hoping things would turn around for good.
However, rather than turn around for good, things have become worse, and that's in every aspect of the Nigerian life. The details are there for all to see, even if some people choose to live in denial. Relative progress was made, or so it appeared, in the fight against the terrorist boko-haram sect, but that progress has been rubbished by the equally deadly herdsmen who have been reported to have killed more in three years than anyone in recent history. Of course once in a while boko-haram has popped up in different places, prominent among which is Dapchi where over a hundred school girls were kidnapped, some of whom were killed and others released after the government paid their ransom, and unfortunately one of whom still remains in captivity for allegedly refusing to renounce her Christian faith. The exact state of wellbeing of Leah Sharibu is not known, it is even not known if she still lives, but her country seems to have forgotten about her. On the killer herdsmen, there has been several contradiction on the part of the government which has further increased suspicion on the alleged support of government for these killers. First the president asked that the victims accommodate their killers as brothers, then the government alleged that it was the late Muammar Gaddafi and Libya that brought the killers to Nigeria, later the government said some opposition politicians were behind the killings. Many have argued that were the government not involved in this evil, it would have tackled the problem with the swift and effective approach it used on the activities of the non-violent indigenous people of Biafra,IPOB. Two things to note here is that one, this government as usual has continually shift blame and two, it has literally looked the other way and refused to bring the perpetrators to book. Recently we again saw the priorities of the government in the way it handled the Ekiti governorship election where 30,000 police officers and 4,300 soldiers were reported deployed, not to necessarily to ensure peace but to intimidate the opposition and the greatest enemy of apc, governor Peter Ayodele Fayose. A relatively peaceful Ekiti was government’s priority because of politics, while killers continued their evil acts in the north and middlebelt of the country. The unpleasant activities of the security operatives in Ekiti were seen by all, thanks to social media.
Now, the craziest of this tragedy is not the inability of the current administration to deliver on its campaign promises, but its choice to RULE instead of GOVERN. It is natural and ubiquitous for views and interests to differ, especially in politics and government, even among members of the same unit. The beauty of politics and governance is in the management of these various and contradicting views and interests. I have not seen where people celebrate an administration that is intolerant of opposing views, even if such are harmless and especially when the same views were held by members of the intolerant administration while it was yet to be inaugurated and was the opposition. The harassment by government of the opposition has not been limited to the core opposition party, pdp but even members of the apc who have in one way or the other been seen to be critical of the president’s and executive arm of government actions/inactions, have not been spared. It does not matter if the criticism was based on obvious failings or not, president Buhari and his men simply cannot tolerate dissent or criticism. At a point, minister Kachikwu seemed to care about Nigeria than the office he occupies and spoke out about irregularities going on in the country’s oil company, NNPC, but he was shown his place and relative irrelevance by his ogas at the top and has since gone silent. A similar experience was that of the minister for health, professor Isaac Adewole, when he also spoke out about alleged irregularities involving the NHIS boss, Yusuf. Senator Dino Melaye and the senate president, Bukola Saraki, have both had their share of this harassment and intimidation from the executive arm of government. There is no denying that these people could have cases to answer truly, but it is mischievous and says so much of a government that continually feeds on the claimed, but non-existent integrity of the president if these people’s sins are exposed only after they appear to be in disagreement with the president’s interest or position on issues.
The latest victim of this hypocritical and irresponsible politics and government is the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom. The governor had at different times spoken out about the actions/inactions of the police and other security agencies on the killings in his state, saying there have been occasions when there was intelligence about intending killings and the security agencies were intimated about such, but unfortunately the invaders visit and kill and go free without no response from the security agencies. This has over time made many people to argue that the security agencies are in the know on these killings, and even backing the killers for reasons yet to be known. In recent times however, it became obvious that governor Ortom was no longer comfortable in his party, the apc. There were speculations of his intended defection from the party, the presidency and the party’s new national chairman, Adams Oshiomole, made efforts to stop him from defecting. Meetings were held, especially after it was first reported that Ortom had defected last week, and after the meetings governor Ortom came out and said he was still a member of apc. Then in the same week, it was reported that the same Ortom had finally defected, having been stopped by his people(who were reported to have told him that he must leave the apc immediately, and he gave in to his people’s demand, so we were told) on his way to Abuja where he was supposed to attend another meeting with the party officials and the presidency. Again, what many predicted and anticipated started coming up. The apc chairman was the first to accuse Ortom of corruption and mismanagement of Benue resources, which has caused him to owe Benue civil servants several months of salary. He was also reported to have said that in three years, there has not been commissioning of any project in Benue under Ortom. Also and curiously, Ortom’s aides have been reported to be the sponsors of some of the killings in Benue. Now, it is only right to condemn and prosecute anyone who has been found to be involved directly or indirectly in crime, but it is a shame that Adams Oshiomole, the presidency and the apc had to wait until after Ortom’s defection from their party before they came out to make all these allegations against the governor. This further confirms the reservation many have for the pmb government that it is crime ONLY when the perpetrator is not on the president’s side.
I, and many others, have absolutely nothing against PMB, but I do not buy the manner in which his administration has ruled Nigeria since May 2015. Forget about its unpleasant performance, asking for the head of anyone who does not agree with you is what I find unacceptable. APC did worse as an opposition, than what it cannot tolerate today. What baffles me most is how it has veiled, not just the eyes of many, but even their minds, especially the acclaimed educated ones. I can only imagine how that general (who is regarded as the hardest and most dictatorial in Nigeria's history) would feel if he saw what APC has done to Nigeria in the last three years. He would realize he was only a learner, and would probably ask that we apologize to him for painting him in the worst of colors when there was someone else worse than him. The president’s supporters do not want us to speak about his glaring failures and deliberate actions/inactions, they call us names and some even go so low to the extent of raining curses on the president’s critics. All these and more would not stop us from speaking out against the irresponsibility and wickedness of government. The president and his men have always been swift on issues bothering on 2019 politics, especially the recent decamp of some senators and members of the federal house of representatives from the apc to other parties. Emergency meetings were held, several efforts were made to stop the defection, but all to no avail. It is unfortunate that such serious attention is not seen on the issue of insecurity that is ravaging the country.
A song titled BLOWING IN THE WIND by Peter, Paul and Mary perfectly describes the current situation in the country. I share some parts of the lyrics here to conclude this piece. ’’how many years shall a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea? How many ears shall a man have before he can hear people cry? How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind’’.
As the year 2019 approaches, there are many questions to ask, but unfortunately with a government like the current one in Abuja, the answers to these questions are blowing in the wind.
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