The Saturday ALTERNATIVE
With Deji Omokore
With Ayo withough enough of drops
Recently, I had a conversation with Mohammed Ali Ndume, the senator representing Borno South senatorial zone and who was recently suspended by the Senate.
Because of Senator Mohammed Ali Ndumeâ€™s notorious history, I must confess that my mind was a bit biased against him and so when on Sunday the 8th of July 2017, he complained that Boko Haram had upped the ante of their attacks, I was a bit irritated by him because he was one of the many All Progressives Congress politicians who had praised President Muhammadu Buhari for â€˜defeatingâ€™ Boko Haram.
I was outraged enough to release the following statement on facebook:
In todayâ€™s paper, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume who once praised President Muhammadu Buhari for â€˜defeatingâ€™ Boko Haram now says he is worried about the â€˜worrisomeâ€™ dimensions of Boko Haram attacks! In fact, Ndume says he is â€˜disturbedâ€™! I am also disturbed too. My disturbance is based on this: How can people who have been â€˜defeatedâ€™ now increase the tempo of their attacks to â€˜worrisomeâ€™ and â€˜disturbingâ€™ levels senator? You see sir, lies have an expiry date and the lies you told against Goodluck Jonathan will continue to â€˜worryâ€™ and â€˜disturbâ€™ you!
Even though I tagged Senator Ndume in the post, I never expected that he would respond, but respond he did as follows:
I really thought of not responding to your comments but the fact that you remain one of the few beneficiaries of GEJ admin that still stand by him. He was an innocent weak President that most of the people around him exploited for their personal interest. Even though the response above is not completely positive, it was however not the type of response I would have expected from Ndume.
I have had a number of exchanges with many an APC politician and all too often these exchanges have been filled with vitriol coming from them and so this was a â€˜breath of fresh airâ€™ (if I may be excused that play on words).
And so I responded to him as follows:
Mohammed Ali Ndume, what you said about Goodluck Jonathan may or may not be true, but what I said about you IS true. You praised Muhammadu Buhari for defeating Boko Haram. I can give you the date when you said it. And in todayâ€™s papers you are lamenting about Boko Haram attacks. So senator, let us stick with these facts. If I have lied, please feel free to expose me. To which the suspended senator in turn responded as follows:
What you said my brother Reno is true. I praised and still praise PMB for defeating BH and my concern for the recent development is not out of place. GEJ misused the opportunity given to Nigerian minorities which I am one. This is a fact that nobody can deny.
I was so disarmed by the senatorâ€™s conviviality (to me, if not to former President Jonathan) even though I disagreed with his conclusions on my former boss that I went on to say the following:
Mohammed Ali Ndume, I praise you for telling the truth. I respect you for that and there is no need for us to go at each other. Obviously, Boko Haram was not defeated when President Muhammadu Buhari said it was. We pray that the deaths of your innocent constituents will end soon. Forgive me if I have wronged you.
To which Senator Ndume responded thus:
Reno Omokri, I respect you for standing by GEJ. So many beneficiaries have since abandoned him. I urge you to continue doing that. Because that is a rare quality of a good man. May Allah bring peace, equity, unity and good governance to our beloved country.
At this point, all I could respond with was an â€˜Aminâ€™ (amen in Arabic)! I must say that my interaction with Senator Ndume so touched me and it made me go from dealing with him from a position of cynicism to developing almost a soft spot for him.
a soft spot? Because most Nigerian politicians are not humble enough to admit when and where they are wrong and for the senator to do that shows a level of maturity that I find endearing. I daresay that others may also find it endearing as I did.
There are many uses for politics, but to my mind, the very best use of the vocation is to turn oneâ€™s enemies into oneâ€™s friends and whatever may be said about Senator Ndume, he does have that ability.
Now that we have identified one person who had this quality in the APC, I must appeal to him to teach it to President Muhammadu Buhari because the greatest threat to the continued existence of Nigeria as one united indivisible country is not Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB, rather it is the 97% versus 5% mentality of the President.
Not only does that mentality prove that our President could never have passed mathematics (that is even if he truly has the certificate that we have only heard about but not seen), it only shows that the President is a ruler and not a leader.
Let me explain the difference between a ruler and a leader. A ruler is a person in authority because of an office he/she holds and who maintains himself in that office by catering to the needs of his/her loyalists.
A leader on the other hand is a person in authority because of his or her character traits which others find attractive and thus follow him as a result and who continues to expand his or her influence and authority by catering to the needs of everyone in his or her team or sphere of influence.
President Buhari fits into the former which is why he would use a sectional language to address a national holiday. It is also the reason why he was not able to bring himself to pay a state visit to those states where he lost in the 2015 elections.
Ask yourself which state President Muhammadu Buhari has visited in the South-east and South-south since he assumed office as President on May 29, 2015.
The answer is nought, nil, nada, nothing, zero, zilch and zip. The same President Muhammadu Buhari who has visited multiple foreign countries has not found it within himself to even visit these opposition states!
In fact, those states could be forgiven if they thought they were the â€˜Dogs and Baboonsâ€™ famously referenced by the President in 2012 because since Buhari rose to power, they have been soaked in blood by Fulani herdsmen with little or nothing done for them by the same President who once complained that the fight against Boko Haram was anti-North (his words not mine).
The husband talks of Dog and Baboon, the wife talks of Hyenas and Jackals. Are we sure these people still see Nigerians as human beings?
I have been praying for President Muhammadu Buhari. I have asked nothing from him, neither do I need anything from the First Family. What I do want from them is to address us as human beings not as sundry wild animals that rank low on the food chain!
Nigeria is facing unprecedented floods with no solution, secession threats, quit notices, hyperinflation, Naira losing value and at this critical time the First Family chooses to reference us with Animal innuendo!
How did we go from â€˜my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerianâ€™ to being called Dogs, Baboons, Hyenas and Jackals? How did this happen?
It is now I believe that Fela Kuti was a prophet of sorts (God can speak through anybody). Twenty-eight years ago he warned us by singing, â€˜Many leaders as you see them, na different disguise them dey o, animal in human skin!â€™
And what a damp squib acting President Yemi Osinbajoâ€™s visit to London to see his boss turned out to be. We were expecting some direction from that visit, some inkling of a solution to the many pressing domestic problems that this administration has inflicted on us, but the long-suffering and well-meaning acting President could only mouth at the usual platitudes to us about the president â€˜recovering fastâ€™ and is expected to â€˜return soonâ€™!
Can you blame the good man? Hedged in as he is by the â€˜cabalâ€™ and their lap dogs who have been flying a kite that â€˜the next in line is not always the next kingâ€™!
If the President is indeed â€˜recovering fastâ€™ how come the acting President could not pose for pictures with his boss for the benefit of Nigerians? And how come the Presidencyâ€™s outlets released old pictures of the First Lady and Kayode Fayemi in winter wears with the President to try and fool the Nigerian public?
I just came back from a two-week working visit to London and Aberdeen and the weather in the U.K. does not support the type of outfits we saw in those pictures!
I pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, but do you know how many poor and sick Nigerians can be treated with the thousands of pounds it cost to keep his Presidential jet at London Stansted Airport in the U.K. daily?
Today, hundreds of poor Nigerians will starve to death. They could have been rescued with a fraction of that money. Today hundreds of women will die in child birth. They could have gone to a clinic and their lives saved with a fraction of that money. Today, hundreds of infants will die of malnutrition. Only a percentage of that money could have saved them. My question to you is, who is praying for them?
So in conclusion, my advice to the President is the same advice that former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave to the nation on Wednesday January 20, 2010.
On that day, former President Obasanjo said:
â€œIf you take up an appointment, or a job, elected, appointed or whatever and then your health starts failing you, and you will not be able to satisfy yourself and the people you are supposed to serve, then, there is a part of honour and a part of morality and if you donâ€™t do that, I do not need to say more than that.â€
What more can I add to that than to say who the cap fits, let him wear it!
And let me end by saying that it is so disappointing that Tony Blair would agree to go to a Kaduna State where at least 347 Shiite men, women, children and infants were slaughtered without anyone being held liable!
I know Tony Blair professes to be a Christian. How Christian is it to affirm a government in whose sphere this mass murder happened? This is not counting the killings that were ongoing in Southern Kaduna earlier this year.
Apparently, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume has another pupil in Mr. Blair.
You eat three times a day in order to be physically healthy. Wonâ€™t it make sense to also have three streams of income so you can be financially healthy? And if men who did not graduate university founded Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, you have no excuse for failure as a graduate. Finally, if youâ€™re lazy and like to sleep a lot, then make sure you have a business that still makes you money even when you are sleeping. Between the time you slept and woke up, Mark Zuckerberg made over two million dollars #RenosNuggets.