AN ALOOF KING AND HIS MISFIT KNIGHTS


The trendiest aftermath phrase after every failed adventure in Africa’s most populous nation is ‘getting back to the drawing board’. From Nigeria’s national soccer team- the super eagles, to the recently failed and ambitious space project- NIGCOMSAT1, everyone’s got a T-square plotting straight and crooked tangents on an already overcrowded national drawing board, perhaps the most crammed up board in existence. But who’s fooling who? The country’s national development rolling plans have been abandoned for nearly 3 decades but even then where at best subterfuges-white elephant projects moving in an unending cycle of pretentious motion. My concern today isn’t with the amorphous board of carpenters acting as ministers or hairdresser s and cosmetologists teaching us about the dynamics of the crude oil market or democratic governance. It is unfortunately about an ailing schizophrenic Nigerian leader who is lost in touch with the Nigerian reality. True he may not possess the charm, guile and evil mien of military despots like Babaginda and Abacha, but even the crudest of the ilk; Olusegun Obasanjo at his worst –like when he feigned ignorance that a bottle of cooking oil was more expensive than a litre of fuel or when he publicly whipped a security operative for assaulting an overzealous political enthusiast -would win a popularity contest by a landslide when pitched against Umaru. Nigeria’s Leader President Yar ‘Adua more than a year in office still can’t find his voice in the conscience of Nigerians. Sometimes I think he is surprised at the sound of his voice, flabbergasted at the insincerity of his dreams. His press parleys if they ever happened are best described as stifling and lack-lustre. This pervasive immobility runs thick through the President’s cabinet; twenty ministers dropped meant twenty new-fangled ministers to thinker Yar’ Adua’s vision 2020 but the list of ministerial nominees after it took more than an eternity to materialize left sawdust in the mouths of not a few political watchers. What does Rilwan Lukman for example have to offer after more than 40 years in Government?

Last weekend another nauseating event played out, I watched in stupefaction the NIPSS graduation. The story however was the missing former Anti-corruption tsar, Nuhu Ribadu from the ceremony, though he had met the requirements necessary for his graduation, the Institute preferred to play the hard ball. No certificates and no explanations; and like has become the norm, mum is the word. This stultifying aloofness is redolent of the Abacha years of ‘NO COMMENT’ –for the President has suddenly found it economical to keep silent on all issues. The truth lies in this; this president doesn’t score. His pallid look and bogus babariga wearing knights have failed to inspire confidence in a very impatient electorate. Before the bubble burst on high crude oil prices-Nigeria’s external foreign reserves is near $70 billion-there was never a trickledown effect on its impoverished populace-inadequate infrastructure and social services, unemployment are still rife. The Government isn’t talking because it is caught in a vicious cycle of inactivity; this government is slumbering and is snoring shamefully loud. Ribadu was a good man, during an interview last year he’d told me that there were bad people threatening to scupper all he’d done. Brutus considered Caesar’s goodwill ambitious and Dante remarked the road to hell is laden with good intentions consequently Ribadu was exiled to Kuru, but then this woolly Government performed a ‘Usain Bolt’ rebuttal denying any vindictiveness in Ribadu’s removal. Its silence so far is a pointer to the mendacious diabolical political system that has and continues to hoodwink this nation’s quest toward greatness

aghogho, CONNECTAFRICA

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