Monday, 17 March 2008

Yar'Adua memorial gathers the wreckers of Nigeria

The Preamble

Sometimes the simple reporting of news of an event contains a bit more than what people observe for their entertainment, so ThisDay reported this event.

One such event took place recently at a memorial lecture in honour of the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, the elder brother of the current President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

I must note that there is a Nigerian parlance used to describe sibling relationships where senior is used instead of the more correct elder and junior is used instead of younger – so as the report states, Shehu was Umaru’s senior brother.

One could almost say someone was out to cause mischief by inviting certain friends of the late Shehu, Tafidan Katsina (traditional title) to that commemoration.

Because that crowd included the erstwhile President General Olusegun Obasanjo, his vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih – that post is now occupied by Obasanjo.

What brings these men together is the fact that Shehu Yar’Adua was in period between 1976 and 1979 the military deputy of Obasanjo and when the seeds of political governance were being sown during the military era, Shehu Yar’Adua was the leader of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) the precursor to the currently ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Shehu Yar’Adua met an untimely death in jail having been incarcerated by the despotic Sani Abacha regime for insisting the military regime restore democratic institutions.

That gathering was to honour this man and reflect on “The challenges of Nation Building” with the guest of honour being President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

Barbs of speech

Whoever created the programme of events was really courting mischief because first of all there was the opening prayer, a staple for any Nigerian gathering which called Anenih to the fore whose prayer included words to the effect – “Thank God for the President we have now. We pray that God will give you the courage, wisdom and political will to clear the rot you inherited from the previous administration.” - The head of the previous administration that held office for 8 years was Obasanjo.

Obasanjo then stepped forward to give a welcome address and said, “Some people stood by the late Tafida in his hour-of-need, while some chose to abandon him.”, referring to times when an Anenih clique clamoured for the despotic regime of Sami Abacha to continue amidst the suffering of Nigerians.

He went on to say, “Yar’Adua unites Nigerians even in death, because here today, there are people who, ordinarily, would not like to sit together,” and “If not for Yar’Adua, those seated here would not be here to talk of corrupting themselves or self aggrandisement.” - Signifying the relationship breakdown between all the men for which each man would have been culpable; the anti-graft agency had set its sights on some of them and none can really show transparently and honestly audited sources of their great wealth.

Then Abubakar had his turn to talk and said, “The late Tafidan Katsina would not use power to terrorise any body”, no doubt a reference to Obasanjo.

Conduct and decorum

In any polite gathering and society, one would expect that when people congregate to honour someone, especially, one who is dead at a memorial lecture, common courtesy would allow for the proceedings to concentrate on honouring the man.

One is ashamed that people who at one time held the reins of power in Great Nigeria and who should have progressed to the status of elder statesmen worthy of their calling and conducting themselves with dignity resorted to intemperate barbs, venting their enmity in public and consumed in malice, spite, rancour, pride and dissimulation.

However, this meeting clearly shows the problems that have plagued Nigeria for decades and they are not off the horizon of pulling Nigerian down into the dregs.

Partnership and loyalty

The first issue that comes to mind is the fact that too many leaders have started projects together for leading Nigeria to some Utopian goal.

Along the line, selfish and vested interests, self-preservation and an unprincipled goal of raping Nigeria and its resources rather than governing Nigeria to a place of world prosperity and power has beclouded the false ideals that brought the people together in the first place.

Loyalty only comes out of corrupting influence, patronage and nepotism, where these are absent there is no unity of purpose, because the core unity of purpose was to gain power and then abuse it.

Obasanjo as much as acknowledged the issue of loyalty, Abubakar highlighted the abuse of partnership and Anenih showed there were great divisions in that project they were all involved in.

Corruption

That is a topic that is already overworked but note the rot that Anenih indicates the government he was part of created, and Obasanjo’s acknowledgement of the malaise of corruption and the gall of people to show up as saintly politicians is no so much a revelation but the way things are.

Power tripping

The abuse of power is no better demonstrated than when some obese buffoon with unaudited sources of wealth bellows at someone else saying, “Do you know who I am?”

By inference, it indicates that the person is willing to terrorise, would employ the means of menace having an army of hoodlums who fall in line to his caprices to take the law into their hands and get away scot free.

They have abridged legal process, appropriated law enforcement and given themselves to the use of litigation to gain undue advantage with legalese that makes Nigeria a fierce jungle of big dog eat small dog, every time - the little man simply has no one to run to for justice, fairness and probity - all the avenues for redress have been clogged up by these power trippers.

These self-same rotten politicians have used every bad rule to retain power, frustrate process, disenfranchise the electorate and allocate Nigerian resources to their own selfish intents. If they fall into areas of leadership that demand the separation of powers, they undermine the other institutions that are supposed to give governance balance and hold each sector of power in check.

There could not have been a worse but also glaringly representative gathering of people who having no maturity should really be in line for Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO) beyond which they should be committed to trial for the way they have raped Nigerian and refused to let Nigeria free from their rotten grips so that the country can progress.

Respect

The lack of respect for peers, the lack of manners in formal settings, the lack of respect for authority and the lack of respect for the dead are just some of the atrocious attitudes these horrible men displayed.

To crown it all, when the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria came to address the gathering Obasanjo refused to honour the President by keeping seated.

Someone should have gone to him, pulled him up and thrown him out of the gathering. There is only one President and Commander-in-Chief in Nigeria and all powers or potentates, no matter their previous office must defer to that authority.

It simply shows how Obasanjo handled his office with levity and does not understand the judicious use of power and authority to the greater good, it beggars belief that this man was once in the army because he would not have gotten away with such insurbordination to his military superiors.

Such pride consumes the whole body polity of Nigeria, people cannot defer, they cannot give way, they have to be heard, they have to be melodramatic and they cannot arrive at consensus for the good of the many.

Each has to create their own clique, each has to rival the other for ascendancy and it is all a fight to the finish or the death in many cases.

Expressing disappointment in Obasanjo cannot begin to illustrate my disgust, but that meeting just showed how the challenge of nation building would never be achieved in the lifetimes of these kind of people – It is all a shame, it is.

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