The cabal chooses ‘bad’ from bad, worse, worst; not good enough for Nigeria! – Tola Adenle

Millions of Nigerians, especially in the South understand the Boko Haram and other religious problems in Nigeria as drums of war for who would be the next president even as the last rigged elections are yet to produce a government that has started on an agenda of “transformation” the citizens were promised. 

To understand why so much blood-letting that has now placed Nigeria fir mly in the ranks of countries with terrorism as big threats to herself and others, people around the world must understand the kind of “federalism” operated in a country of multi-ethnic and plural culturalism the country really is: a winner-takes-it-all system where impunity reigns, and nary any attention is paid to federal character.

It is a country that now ranks after a few Western countries like the USA as having the most private jets in the world even while the country, a major crude producer looks to indulgent Western donors for GRANTS as little as less-than a million dollars.

The section that produces the president – mostly the North,  a widely-Muslim region – REIGNS.  

With the raging Boko Haram onslaught on Christians continued spread,  the intimidation of the South is on, full throttle and the religious strife would end when the North which has sizable Christian populations in several parts, especially the Northeastern states of Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, etcetera – gets a president who can deliver Nigeria to the world as a Northern Nigerian-type Muslim country because the South is not Muslim with millions of the Muslim faith who do not adhere to the Boko Haram way.

Of course President Jonathan is not a Muslim but he has not proved he can – or is able – to fight the scourge but he is already in the haunt for another term.

Forget poverty; forget religious disharmony for its sake.  Boko Haram and other religious skirmishes around the country are the handiwork of politicians.  TOLA ADENLE, Ibadan, Nigeria.  November 1, 2012.

The cabal chooses ‘bad’ from bad, worse, worst; not good enough for Nigeria!

Here are my unsolicited opinions on the candidates of the “Northern elders”, hereafter referred to as “cabal” as they represent merely a section of the North.

The thought of Kwara’s Dr. Bukola Saraki (BS, pardon the happenstance) ruling Nigeria must send shivers down the spine of Savannah Bank depositors left carrying empty bags while the Sarakis, including BS, smiled all the way to other banks, pardon the mangled cliché.  BS parlayed his father’s grip on feudal Ilorin into political power, and a sister “won” a seat to the Senate.  All of Kwara – most had never been in the Sarakis’ conservative political boat – found themselves unwitting foot soldiers to the burgeoning Nigerian reactionary political class.

As governor, BS has surprisingly wowed a few for his “Zimbabwe farmers” project but I’ve wondered aloud here if this group would not in future breed racial problems.  They may be “marrying local women” today as has been breathlessly reported but a racial problem may be inevitable. If BS had invested the same amount of state resources AND commitment to encourage local farmers, the long-term gain for Kwara – and Nigeria would have been tremendous.  BS was never a contender as everybody knew but I’ve gone to this length to dismiss this non-candidate to show the shallowness of the pool anchored on the cabal’s selfishness and divisiveness.  He was playing the now-familiar political game: run for governor to become a commissioner or, at least, get on the ladder of Nigeria, Inc.  BS ran for president to become chief of staff as the rumor-mill went.  He may still become Nigeria’s president one day but that ‘Nigeria’ would not be the same as the present one.

As for retd. Generals Gusau and Babangida, I have few words on their chances if the cabal had chosen either.  My opinions of Gusau are contained in a non-excellence award some years ago, recently recycled here.  He is as desperate as Atiku but the most desperate of the lot is Babangida who, in spite of NOI (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) abracadabra polls that found only 2 percent of its sampled size thinks he should not run because of June 12 , is the most hated Nigerian ruler, ever.  Nigerians’ Babangida hatred has many roots: Gulf Oil windfall; Dele Giwa, etcetera but June 12 ranks highest in the Southwest, and ranks high among other Nigerians’ reasons for ‘never-again’ to Babangida.  

By the way, how can a man who wants to re-rule Nigeria thumb his nose at others’ religious norms?  At Oyinlola’s logic-defying “thanksgiving” at a “church”, Babangida reportedly refused to remove his cap inside the church even when asked to do so.  The Queen of England, Anglicans’ head, covered her hat with a scarf inside a Gulf State mosque recently.   This insult to Christians should have made Oyinlola weep rather than complain about Fayose’s “insult” to retd. General Obasanjo (rGO).

Atiku has chosen the pithy “Ire de!” (Happy days are here!) slogan for Yorubaland which is as real as a shipper’s expectation that N60,000 or so government surcharge on a tractor shipment to Tin Can Port plus a few extra port charges would get his equipment out.  Well, with JUST a million naira spent, that importer can say Ire de!  The amiable Titi cannot garner 1% of Yoruba votes for the former Customs boss and it would not be because she has already lost “first ladyism” chance to Jennifer Douglas or whatever name the former NTA reporter now reportedly uses.

As Vice President, Atiku [he was top brass at Customs, dear blog readers] has enough baggage to fill a 20-foot shipping container but there are two I must touch:

Is it true he sold many of the privatized state’s holdings to himself when he headed privatization?  Two, I’ve read that a $40 million laundering charge hangs over Atiku and Jennifer’s heads in the USA.

Nigeria and Nigerians are smeared by the Ibori matter.  Dubai, one of the new destinations for hiding looted Nigerian funds, has rejected Ibori’s appeal not to be extradited.  Would it not be better for Atiku to clear his name to save Nigeria and her citizens’ possible future embarrassment if he’s elected?  There are reports that the Potomac house near Washington is up for sale and that Jennifer has already moved to Dubai. Alhaji, please speak out.

IF he becomes PDP candidate, Atiku would fail woefully in the Southwest not only because one heavy baggage, the PDP, is no longer welcome in the region but his political yo-yo will not sell. One day, he’s reactionary PDP; the next he’s fighting rGO’s [former president, retired General Obasanjo] evil ‘third term’ before moving to AC as presidential candidate but before you could spell p-r-o-s-t-i-t-u-t-e, he has groveled his way back to his natural habitat.

Alhaji, we in Southwest Nigeria are sick and tired of Nigeria as presently run but we will go into this election with others in this malformed union but won’t vote for a sectional leader nor for someone with a sense of self-entitlement.

On April 25, I submitted “2011: AP Jonathan’s ‘defining moment’” which followed a blog I had submitted on the web: “Okay, Good Doctor, I was never a fan because of the way your principal walked on a carpet of blood to Aso Rock but …  on your laps have been thrust an unusual opportunity: to remake Nigeria … You have nothing to lose … go down as a great hero. Seize the time; ignore the so-called “governors’ forum” … Tell yourself … that you will not run come next year but give Nigerians a good electoral reform and work on power … This is your time. No godfather put you there but Nigerians’ determined will … Do not worry about any political future because yours is now.”

And here’s part of a Bible passage sent to me by a reader who read above web posting; I used it in the ‘defining moment’ essay:  “Our defining moments … define who we are … why you’re leading … You’ll never be the same person after a defining moment … Defining moments are like intersections – they give us an opportunity to change direction, and seek a new destination. They present options and opportunities. In these moments, we must choose. And the choice we make will define us!”

Now that Dr. Jonathan has shunned that golden opportunity to midwife a new Nigeria and thus become a whole that would have been more than the sum of its parts – pardon me – he can still go down in history as the first sitting Nigerian president to conduct a free and fair election.  From his words, we should already be dancing in the streets but even if he can get out of the shark-infested PDP primaries, he has amassed heavy baggage by giving more than winks and nods to the machinations at the National Assembly.  Samples:  sale of residences to Bankole, Mark & deputies; implied agreement of ‘safe passages’ to the Senate, etcetera through reported “deals”. I’ve more than wondered how he can sell himself to Nigerians as a credible candidate if he indeed believes that “Obasanjo as the best leader Nigeria ever had.”  How about the gubernatorial rerun in Delta that will feature Ovie Omoagege standing even though as a PDPer, he was not a candidate in the election of 2007?  Isn’t this a back door to smuggle back the PDP?

Nigerians are saying ‘no’ to PDP, Good Doctor.  Listen to your inner voice which is the voice of the majority.  It would help you choose right even if you must remain tied to PDP’s evil umbilical cord.  In the end, people matter, not political parties.

CORRECTION: The Sarakis’ bank was Societe General, NOT Savannah. Error regretted. TOLA

The Nation on Sunday, December 19, 2010.

[This essay preceded “A Letters to my niece: The writing life and saying goodbye”, my goodbye essay to my newspaper fans on December 26, 2010.  You can check it out here:

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