Since my phone interview with some Newspapers was published on the 8th of June, I have been inundated with calls and visitations from concerned family members, friends, colleagues, and numerous others.
Many have stood in solidarity with me. A few has requested I do a disclaimer or retract the story. One of my Eastern brothers called to say that I should be careful because I am an Igboman, and that Mr. President hates Igbos. To him I replied; that that is no news to anyone anymore. I also asked him: “But who does this our President like,”
As the national chairman of a political party, and someone who was close to Gen. Buhari I should know. But I don’t. Even in Daura, the party ADC has registered many more members since Obasanjo announced the stakeholders’ decision to adopt ADC as the party for the national collaboration one month ago.
I have also received threats. I do not intend to offend anyone, but as a patriot, I still stand by all I said concerning the threat to former President Obasanjo.
Luckily, Mr. President has just made June 12 Democracy Day. June 12th represents a watershed in our democratic struggle. This, therefore, should embolden all Nigerians the more to speak truth to power and take action against undemocratic and draconian tendencies of elected officials, including the number one citizen.
Standing on that protocol, I wish to tell Mr. President and the security chiefs that they serve at the behest of the people, and that Nigeria belongs to the people of Nigeria. The National Assembly and Presidential lodge or Aso Rock villa belong to the people. The same applies to the state government houses and House of Assemblies. This implies that any and all Nigerians must be treated with dignity for your service to make meaning.
The present occupants of Aso Rock, the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, promised Nigerians Change (not deaths, jails, hardship or intimidation), a concept that was stolen from the African Democratic Congress.
They chronicled a myriad of things to do within a given time for Nigerians. Unfortunately, they have delivered on none; rather, they have made things worse. For a government intent on Change, they spent the first six months of the administration doing nothing, and for one year they allowed cobwebs, dandruff, roaches, rodents, and even snakes to overrun the Villa and most of the government ministries and parastatals.
They isolated and denigrated people. Our president who promised to develop our healthcare facilities to be at par with the bests in the world spent a greater part of another year in foreign hospitals. Even the First Lady who had protested of the husband’s faulty handling of governance had to cry out that the Villa clinic does not have mere syringes and was grossly ill-equipped. The basic rudiments of Leading change; clear vision, building trust and deliberate coalition of stakeholders, and sense of urgency were absent.
Bench-marked against all his predecessors since Nigeria’s independence, the APC leader has under-performed. Nigeria has gone from an emerging economy in the global space to an irrelevant state under President Buhari’s watch. The supposed corruption fight by the APC government has made nonsense of the good thoughts and prayers of the people who voted for him.
The government has made the nation’s corruption struggle worse and reckless; they have politicized it, and corruption now has discriminatory meaning and undertone in Nigeria. In my own state, Anambra government has made a disguised mega-contribution for APC’s presidential campaign.
Anambra is not an APC state; we can best imagine what governments of APC states must have been billed. I wonder what this means. Anyone who joins or does deals with APC is excluded from their corruption war. Our children and international friends mock us because even at our lowest point we make nonsense of very fundamental and serious matters that concern the good health of us all, and our country.
For a viable constitutional democracy, the tenure of office ultimately runs out. The people have to revalidate the ‘servant-hood’ of their ‘political public servants’; yes that is what it is. It is election time in Nigeria and time for accountability for politicians that seek reelection.
The chickens have come home to roost. When I visited Lagos last week, I overheard the ADC Ajegunle chairman and his Mushin counterpart who drove with me to see some of our new chieftains teasing themselves “which lie will Lai lie again to deceive Nigerians.”
The APC’s report card has no passing grade. Consequently, they seem to have re-jigged their strategy this time to unleash a draconian and cruel agenda as a basis for its presidential reelection campaign. Nigerians may not want to be reminded of the gruesome frequency of mass burials in Benue state, or the Adamawa, Zamfara, and Kaduna massacres.
In Abia state there were secretive mass burials by state operatives at various times. Killings and destruction of property in Taraba got to the point where the usually calm and deeply reflective General TY Danjuma, lost his patience and lambasted the government of complicity.
No one needs a Prophet, Alfa, or Imam to tell that poverty, unemployment, and hunger ravage our people as never before. That the economy and leadership in place is excruciatingly in an abysmal state is an understatement. The major role of any government is to provide security and create prosperity for the people. If not real and full blown prosperity, families should not go to sleep every night hungry and be dying of minor sicknesses. The verdict is clear, Buhari just go and let the country heal and move on.
With poverty of ideas, and poor leadership, the tactics to hold onto power is dangerous. You cannot suppress all voices of reason, and the draconian tactics now in place of the lies, empty promises and propaganda styles of 2004/5 will fail. The party in power now tells the world at the twilight of the President’s first tenure that the Senate President and leaders of the National Assembly are armed robbers, and killers.
A president that refused to subject some political appointees to the constitutional requirement of screening, that allows persons who did not pass the needed scrutiny to serve full term, now feels he can play tricks with the Democracy Day gamble to earn himself champion of democracy.
Buhari truncated the Shagari’s democratically elected government in 1993. I have read articles and commentaries by some Villa rented crews, that Buhari has become champion of democracy and that the Yoruba’s should be grateful to him. They forget that it was the Nigeria people who made June 12, 1993 possible, left to Buhari the reality of June 12 will not be. He neither voted Abiola nor played any role to see that the people’s mandate materialized.
Finally, the APC reelection agenda have zoomed on the former President Dr. Obasanjo as an albatross. This time they plan not to woo him for support, but to mow him down. The reasons are simple, Obasanjo put their horrible report card in the public space, and in addition, he has built a national stakeholders community of patriotic elders and youths.
On May 10th of this year he made a major pronouncement endorsing ADC against the President’s APC. Now, like with the Senate President, the government is playing a heavy hand. The people have waited patiently to decide this regime’s faith through the ballot box, but if our government resorts to cruelty, the people have various other legitimate options to sack the government, from impeachment to mass action. This should be a lesson to all who seek political office; the villa belongs to the people and they have inalienable rights over the occupants. The chicken will always come home to roost.
I seize this opportunity to say Happy Democracy Day to all Nigerians including our elected public servants. I salute the Abiola’s family for their sacrifices and the Presidential Award. I commend Obasanjo and the National Stakeholders community for their tireless struggles, passion and commitment to rescue the Nigerian project.
“We shall overcome.”
Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu is National Chairman, ADC