Monday, September 10, 2007

The Burden Of History

Is it just me, or has Baba been sounding more and more like a petulant child of recent? First of all, he whined on and on about being stuck in a Lagos traffic jam for three hours. If I were in his shoes, I would have been overjoyed to have gotten out of the traffic jam without being lynched by irate Nigerians, or falling victim to the numerous armed robbers who treat traffic jams the way lions treat herds of buffalo.

Next, Baba whined that he'd stopped reading Nigerian newspapers because the journalists were always criticising him. This coming from a man who once had (or still has) a sign outside Ota Farm saying, "Women, Dogs, and Journalists Not Welcome"!

Now, Baba has issued perhaps his most famous gaffe yet. He's said that he doesn't listen to those who criticise his tenure because "History" would judge him. I am not 100% certain, but I think the impact of his butt hitting terra firma must have scrambled the old man's brains.

In case his Special Advisers (whose advice he famously declared he didn't have to take, despite having so many of them) forgot to mention it, his tenure officially became historical material on May 29, 2007. Once he handed over to Yar'adua, any detractors of his were free to line up batteries of artillery and take as many shots at his reign as they desired. They can now call him a liar, thief, dictator, corrupt man, etc. for one simple reason - he no longer has the coercive power of the state to crush them. And they will revel in their new found freedom. In any event, whether it's 3 months, 3 years, 3 decades, or even 3 millenia from now, History will remember Baba's tenure for the following events:

1. Incessant fuel price hikes.
2. Inability to reform power sector despite several arrogant boasts, eventually blamed woes on "saboteurs".
3. Inability to restore refineries despite billions of naira spent.
4. Increase in militant activities, crippling foreign investment in Niger-Delta, and leading to the loss of billions of naira.
5. Rampant corruption at all levels of government.
6. Monumentally fraudulent elections in 2003.
7. Astronomically fraudulent elections in 2007.
8. Use of anti-corruption agencies to harrass and intimidate political opponents.
9. Kidnap of a sitting governor with no repercussions for perpetrators.
10. Rampant disregard for court orders.
11. Blatant theft of public parastatals by government officials (including Baba) through "privatisation" fire sales.
12. Introduced and sustained an enabling environment for the continued rape of Nigerians by GSM companies.
13. The Senate President Relay Race.
14. Incessant throat clearing.
15. Attempted and failed to amend constitution to give himself third term as President.

And this is by no means an exhaustive list.

So, in my capacity as an "amateur" historian, I would give Baba a pass mark for his tenure. Why, you wonder? Well, if only for the fact that all his other failures were outweighed by his failure to get a third term. That, at least, brought unbridled joy and happiness to Nigerians, and for giving us all the opportunity to point fingers and laugh (at him) he should be fondly remembered.


Oracle said...

Well, we can't deny the fact that he did all he could possibly do in his tenure.
But it another administration in Nigeria, so i think itz better we forget the past and focus on the present and the future.

Although the future cannot do without the past, let's do it in order of importance.

bighead said...

Did he really complain about the roads?

As for the publicity he's getting, I imagine how reading the papers must make him feel. Eyaa. he caused it

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