Monday, August 11, 2008

The Last Laugh

In the dying embers of Baba’s tenure-elongation scheme, he decided to do something to Nigerians for which he would never be forgotten.

It is well known that Baba does not forgive any slight, real or perceived, and the collective refusal of Nigerians to allow him turn himself into a life President was a major slap on his person. Afterall, was he not our (self-proclaimed) Messiah? Hadn’t he led us single-handed out of the dark era of military dictatorship? So, for us to disregard all that and proceed to tell him to leave when his 8 years were up proved we Nigerians were indeed a most ungrateful bunch of people. And our “elected” representatives were no better. Ken Nnamani, who he made Senate President over the objections of his colleagues turned round to stab him in the back by refusing to banish the television cameras of AIT from the Senate Chambers during the 3rd Term Debates. This act, allowing the debates to be broadcast live to all Nigerians, forced some of his most vociferous private supporters to become public detractors for fear of their family and property. And then, there were the utter bastards who took his bribes of cash, bought their official quarters at rates which make “knock-down” look like “mark-up” and then stood up and denounced his tenure elongation plan. Of course, they knew his hands were tied – he couldn’t ruddy well come out and accuse them of corruption and hand them over to the EFCC, he’d have to arrest himself too! Perish the thought. And then of course, there were the ordinary Nigerians, the ingrates who popped beer and jubilated at his failure. They were deserving of his most special ire. After all he had done for them, they couldn’t even allow him rule them for life. Surely the furies were watching his travails and would support him in his next course of action.

So, Baba declared that winning the 2007 Elections was a do-or-die affair. He then proceeded to orchestrate the most shambolic elections in the history of elections in the history of the world. International observers even said they were worse than when he gave himself a second term in office, and previously, Nigerians had considered those elections to be the height of farce. Baba showed us how completely wrong we were. As the utterly unacceptable results poured out of INEC, it seemed that surely there would be some unrest across the country.

However, Nigerians seemed wise to the fact that unrest would be a great excuse for Baba to declare a national state of emergency and use that as an excuse to remain in power. So we all kept quiet and allowed him do what he wanted.
However, his best parting shot was the man he chose to replace him in power. Having scoured the length and breadth of the country searching for a suitable replacement, he chose Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. And what a replacement he has been.

On taking office, he vowed to provide Nigerians with real leadership, and promised us a government that would respect the rule of law. He was even reported to have told off the leadership of the PDP when they argued against his planned government of national unity. For a few weeks, it looked like Nigerians would ultimately thank Baba for something afterall.
But we were wrong again. Baba had chosen his man well, a good-intentioned fellow who also happened to lack the cojones to see through any planned reforms to the system.

Little by little Yar’Adua succumbed to the pressures mounted on him from without to preserve the status quo. The Teachers’ Strike which he allowed to occur, and run for 5 weeks without check was straight out of Baba’s playbook. And when he intervened in the impeachment of the Adamawa State governor, it was clear that he had finally turned his government over to the dark side.
His foot-dragging on implementing the budget 8 months into the year can only be described as callous. He has also earned himself several unflattering nicknames such as “President Go-Slow”, “Yawn’Adua”, and “Umoru” which is the name Baba gave him while calling him during the “campaign” to ascertain whether he was alive or dead.

Now, Nigerians are seeing a truly rare phenomenon here – a lame-duck first-term President. We get bombarded daily by "7 Point Agenda" adverts on NTA, with little or no action on ground to back it up. Government has virtually stagnated, capital projects haven't taken off even though the year is all but gone. And to make things even worse for Yawn'Adua, some have begun grumbling that at least Baba's government had purpose (however misguided) and was visibly active (however pointless). Yawn'Adua's government appears totally comatose by comparison.

Nigerians expected positive action, and so far all we've gotten are a bunch of pointless probes, where the probers are so utterly terrified of pointing fingers in the proper direction that they would rather gloss over serious issues to chase shadows. For instance, the Power Probe found that Baba waived due process and ordered companies that didn't even exist paid in full. When they spoke of inviting him to appear, all he did was send them the huffiest letter imaginable, and they turned tail and ran. Next we heard they were recommending that the "companies" refund the money, but saying nothing about the man who made it possible for them to get it in the first place.

It looks for all the world like Baba is being treated as a sacred cow. Or chicken...


Anonymous said...

My big fear for this period of Yar'Adua presidency, which will probably run for 8 years, is that our economy will be stalled. That angers me a lot. Obj, no matter how misguided started to steer Nigeria in the right direction, the momentum was buiding up with diasporeans returning to pitch in, loftly ideas hurtling down the pipeline and it almost seems UMA is out to mess up that process.

It defeats me.

The other way of looking at it however is that democracy is still in its infancy in Nigeria and hence very fragile. I still don't trust the military which is mainly headed by northerners. Perhaps Yar'Adua is just a buffer, a time waster really whilst the military weakens. Who knows? It's still hard for me to envisage a free and fair equal opportunity election in Nigeria.

Oh well.

Jobs in Nigeria said...

I think Yar'aduas tenure would be ok..
the man is doing his best..

and we all must support him.

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