Pendulum By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, I’m sure you are already wondering what this title is all about. I will explain in a minute, and you will understand in a jiffy. If you are a lover of Literature like me, you must be familiar with the name, NgugiwaThiong’O, the famous Kenyan writer and author of the stupendously popular ‘Weep Not, Child’. This article has nothing to do with any of his books, and I’ve read so many of them, but about certain IRONIC developments close to its theme. I have therefore decided to borrow the title of one of his novels, ‘Devil on the Cross’ to encapsulate this piece.
In Biblical history, it was the Devils that used to be crucified and nailed to the Cross until wicked people decided to give Jesus Christ the nail treatment, ostensibly, to fulfil the prophesies in the books of Psalms, Isaiah and Zechariah. Since then mankind has never been able to distinguish between good and bad. The characters and the scenario I’m about to depictmay not totally fill our notions and views of the Biblical demons and Saints but their stories do have some resemblance. Perhaps, what is happening to one of the dramatis personae in this melodrama is to fulfil a particular prophecy in the chequered life of Nigeria. When the end is near crazy things begin to happen. The manner the PDP top shots are tearing at each other’s’ throats is emblematic of the end times.
What makes this saga very notorious, but divine, is the fact that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which clearly separates the devolution of power between the States and the Federal Government is being openly desecrated and carelessly debased. We are being shown that the Federalism that we claim to practice has been nothing but a sham in our archetypical fashion of capsizing logic, willy-nilly, at the altar of convenience and expediency.
The war of dangerous attrition going on within the PDP is what has led to my sermon on this page today. It is not that it is new. The People’s Democratic Party has a long history and a robust tradition of ‘fighting to finish’ under the flimsiest excuses. I will refresh your memory by elucidating this assertion with a few glaring examples.
Step forward, President Matthew Olusegun Okikiolakan Aremu Obasanjo, and take a bow as the World Heavyweight Champion. Baba Iyabo, as we all love to call him, is universally advertised as a power house with a very short fuse. It does not take much time for him to blow up. And this could be triggered by the slimmest of needles and a casual pinch. The balloon would instantly burst.
President Obasanjo makes no bones of being the one that laid the foundation of the vindictiveness that is currently ravaging the People’s Democratic Party to its marrow. It all started with the obsession to stop his then Vice President, AlhajiAtikuAbubakar from becoming President after his tenure. Baba had boasted openly that even if he did not know those who would succeed him he knew those who wouldn’t. That was the beginning of a deliberate and determined annihilation of anyone perceived to be AtikuAbubakar’s friend or associate.
Enter Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, as the Casualty Number One. He was the Governor of Bayelsa State and the anointed Governor-General of the Ijaw nation. He and President Obasanjo were bosom friends and their families were extremely close. But that did not stop the President from going after his jugular when it was rumoured he was going to support Atiku’smission and ambition. All it took was a mere rumour and Alams, as he is called, would live to regret the day his name was tied to Atiku’s like an umbilical-cord. He never had the chance to cut off the placenta before he was hit by thunderbolt.
Alams had travelled to Germany to undergo a cosmetic surgery. The wound on his flesh was still as fresh as that of a sliced cow in an abattoir when he was pounced upon at a London airport. If he thought he was in a bad dream, his nightmare soon becamestark reality. The British agents led him to his home, somewhere off Edgware Road in West London, ripped the whole house apart and carted off whatever cash they found in the apartment. One thing led to the other and Alams vamoosed into rarefied air and eventually found his way back to Yenagoa. He momentarily returned to power before the rampagingforces of Obasanjocame like bullets and ‘impeached’ him Israeli-fashion and pushed his visibly shaken Deputy, Dr GoodluckEbeleJonathan to the front burner.The rest is history.
Those were the giddy old days when the EFFC under Ribadu wielded superlative powers. Corrupt politicians were hounded down with total grit even if many believed they pursued only perceived enemies of President Obasanjo. It was under that climate that Governor Peter Ayo Fayose was ‘impeached’ in Ekiti State. It is noteworthy that the same Fayose is likely to become the next PDP gubernatorial candidate in the next election, after hobnobbing with the opposition. Nothing is too difficult to try by PDP.
Chief Joshua Chibi Dariye former Governor of Plateau State was another victim of the ‘impeachment’ formula prescribed by Obasanjo and perfected in the EFCC laboratory in Abuja. It did not matter that the Constitution was being crudely assaulted to accomplish these monumental feats; the end simply justified the means for President Obasanjo and those who supported extra-judicial prosecution for corrupt leaders.
It is remarkable that these same ‘devils’ are now back in action. If Fayose is an aspiring Governor, how about the case of Dariye and Alhaji Ibrahim SaminuTuraki who are now both distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? To confound us further, Alamswas recently pardoned thus paving the way for his bid to be elevated to the sanctified Chambers of our ‘Distinguished’ Senate. What therefore was the entire hullabaloo about?
Some other Governors listed for extermination are still strutting around. They includeAlhajiBoniHaruna of Adamawa State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos and Chief Orji UzorKalu of Abia. Lagos suffered immense degradation as its statutory allocation was hijacked by the Federal Government while Kalu’s mother was endlessly harassed. Let’s give one more example that I consider very bizarre.
It is time to claim your title, Otunba Johnson Oyewole Fashawe, as the most intimidated First Friend in the history of Nigeria. Chief Fashawe’s case was a total misnomer. He was the de facto Vice President, and actually lived in the highly fortified Flagstaff House. Everything was going swimmingly well between the President and his look-alike friend before the tale-bearers regaledObasanjo with the story of how Fashawe was secretly fraternising with Atiku. Like a jealous betrayed lover, Obasanjo fumed, reacted irately and kicked against Fashawe. Pronto, the friend who was untouchable was publicly humiliated and hauled into jail by security agents who accused him of shady deals in form of some loans gone bad. In all, Obasanjo succeeded in stopping Atiku, and his other enemies, who nursed presidential ambition. He did not stop there he also blocked any of his own Princes from being King.
But how time flies! The year 2007 flew in too quickly, the Third Term misadventure had collapsed like a house built with spittle, and Obasanjo was desperate to package his own brand of successor for an already punch-drunk Nigeria. Two unlikely candidates emerged out of the concoction and utter conundrum that only an Obasanjo could have brewed. They were the Governors of Katsina and Bayelsa, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan. It will forever remain a mystery by what permutation Obasanjo arrived at his queer decision.
Since then, Nigeria has witnessed one crisis after the other. While we can say most of the problems were already there ahead of Jonathan, we must still hold him responsible for not being able to solve most of them if any at all. Profligacy has become the order of the day while corruption has gone totally viral. And instead of settling down to find lasting solutions to the myriad of conflicts plaguing Nigeria, the leadership of the ruling party has abdicated governance and is busy playing god instead of seeking how to alleviate widespread poverty. Jonathan who seems to have graduated from the Obasanjo School of Politics has continued the tradition of elbowing opponents in a merciless manner.
Particularly worrisome is the sheer energy and resources being wasted on trying to kill the rumoured ambition of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. It is ironic that a President whose only equity was acquired from a gentle and humble disposition has suddenly become an aspiring dictator who must fight dirty to remain in power. We have suddenly returned to those gory days preceding 2007.
The President must know Nigerians are very familiar with these tactics of seeking to whip recalcitrant Governors into line. No one buys the allegations levelled against Amaechi even if they were true. We all know that in our ‘Animal Farm’, a few pigs are always bigger than all others. If Amaechi was still friends with Jonathan, the aviation people would have turned a blind eye even if his plane was able to fly on one engine instead of two.
But I have some useful tips for Mr President again, totally free of charge. One, please leave Amaechi to run Rivers State as he deems fit. I don’t think he’s your enemy even it appears so to your galaxy of garrison commanders. If you don’t want Amaechi to return as Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, what to do is simple, mobilise his colleagues against him through persuasion and not coercion.
Sir, please call that rambunctious Chairman of PDP in Rivers to order. He may ignite fire and cause an unprecedented conflagration the way he’s been spewing out threats against your so-called foes who were constitutionally elected like you. His brazen disrespect of the Constitution and the place of duly elected representatives of the people are alarming. He has unilaterally suspended members of the State Assembly from your party. He wants to suspend and dreamily hopes to impeach the Governor.
Allowing your acolytes to carry on so recklessly is also a big slight on the National Chairman of your party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, as well as your BOT Chairman, Chief Anthony Anenih, who had both worked assiduously to achieve peace in Port Harcourt and keep the Governor in the fold. The rascality displayed by the warmongers is likely to abort those efforts by your own leaders.
Your aides have been acquiring enemies on your behalf in places you can hardly afford. The number four citizen of Nigeria, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, suffered collateral damage when he was left stranded at Akure Airport because of Amaechi. I always say there is no wisdom in setting fire to a whole villagebecause we want to catch a rat. That’s what the overzealous officials at the Aviation Ministry did no matter the justification for their action. The plane brouhaha was not a matter of life and death that could not be resolved at a later date. It was going to land eventually in Abuja or Port Harcourt where it could still have been impounded if necessary at all. Attempting to detain the Speaker and Governor simultaneously in Akure was nothing but unnecessary braggadocio.
I’ve just read an interview granted by Dr Doyin Okupe where he actually mentioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives by name as a potential candidate of the opposition and I sensed that the Presidency has become jittery. Despite the Tambuwal speculation, partly started by me on this page, there’s no concrete evidence yet that WaziriAminuTambuwal,Governor SuleLamido, Governor BabangidaAliyuand Governor RotimiAmaechi have firmly decided to jump ship. Why is their current political party making strenuous efforts to push them into the sea?
I sincerely plead with you; these gentlemen are not your enemies. They are amongst the finest materials PDP can at least be proud of. Your biggest enemies are your aides who think they can take on anyone and everyone and win all battles to keep you and themselves in power whether you perform or not. Your best ammunition against losing the next election is to truly transform Nigeria. Unfortunately, the time has become too short to do a lot. Three years have already sped by since you came to power as President and Commander-in-Chief. You need every second of blistering and frenetic hard work to manage anything tangible before the campaigns start at the end of next year, if you manage to obtain your party ticket.
My suspicion is that you’re not likely to heed this wise counsel because the prophecy of the end time must be fulfilled.
May God’s will be done.