December, 20th, 2009
I have watched, with tremendous trepidation
and wildest disappointment, how some very selfish Nigerians
of various social classes and status, including the upper
legislative house members and Governors, argue in favor of
not disallowing our sick president to bow out of power in
order to be able to take a good care of his failing health.
And I think these praise singers and hangers on do not mean
well for Mr. President. They are only not certain of what
will become of their position in the event that there is a
significant change in the status quo.
Their fear derives from the fact that they are aware that
Nigeria is a land where the constitution and rule of law is
not respected. And since they know how they came into power
- through shoddy elections - they fear that anything can
happen in the next election.
Each time, what comes to my mind is that Nigeria and
Nigerians have not gotten the ruling class they deserve and
I vehemently refuse to identify with those who say that a
people only get what they deserve.
My thinking is that God would not have massed up these
resources in Nigeria, both human and material, only to
punish them or subject them to a very inordinate and
irresponsible leadership when there are very many places
with very inquisitive and creative leaders looking for how
to harness God’s gift for the benefit of mankind.
One common thing is that at every point in time, the leaders
or rulers are in unison against the wishes of the led or
ruled. And this is because most of them got to power through
one dubious means or the other and to that extent they do
not owe any form of allegiance to the electorate rather they
are always favoring the ruler who awarded them their
position. And this is why it has become very imperative -
more than anything else - that the much touted about
electoral reforms should be pursued vigorously by all well
meaning Nigerians. If our leaders emerge as a result of our
votes for them, they will be more likely to gyrate towards
our wishes in critical situations.
And here again we may be helpless as the very reckless and
very irresponsible ruling class will be deciding what should
be given to Nigerians as it relates to the electoral reform
and the already comatose Freedom Of Information Bill.
My sense is that we have got more than a civil war to deal
with if we must get the rogues in power to allow the
electoral reform to come to fruition as enunciated in
Justice Uwaise report. When you see most of these national
assembly men and women argue about any national issue, and
you try to compare their porous argument, on anything,
against their counterparts in other parts of the world, you
will only become more and more astonished as to what manner
of people they are. If only they will attach the kind of
importance and vigor in other issues that decide our faith
as they recently did in the case of the venue of the joint
budget presentation, Nigeria would have been a heavenly
place to live in. They become very astute and determined in
interpreting the constitution when it comes to very minute
and senseless things.
Recently, Speaker Bankole was defending their exorbitant
overseas trips expenses and you would see a very defiant and
arrogant man prattling over how this period alone Nigeria
has become head or chairman of this – one of which he
bragged that he is - or permanent member of that. And
according to him, we should try to weigh expenses against
achievement. His posturing was even more offensive than his
baseless argument. It’s only in Nigeria that miscreant
leaders come down talking tough whenever they are reminded
of their directionless and wasteful exercises.
When our nation is almost at the precinct of total energy
collapse, a youthful speaker is prattling over what he calls
achievement as if his being the Chairman of Conference of
African body of Speakers is what we want and need to achieve
the MDGs and become a major player in an industrialized 21st
And if you saw how subdued and humbled – some even stepping
aside - most British MPs were when their claims excesses
were mirrored in their media some four months ago, you would
be forced to think that we are still being ruled by people
with less intelligence than that of monkeys.
For eight years – 1999 to 2007 – Chief Obasanjo lived in Aso
Rock prattling with one joke or the other while the nation
was drifting into abyss. And some hoodlums clapped for him.
He even nearly roasted all of us alive when he embarked in
one madness called third term. Every body that was on the
way to his third term agenda turned instant villain.
Eventually when his plot could not materialize, he then
bequeathed us one Musa Yar’ Dua whose health was then in
There is nothing wrong with a human being falling sick once
in a while. So our President’s illness should not have been
an issue that will warrant people calling for his
resignation. But we all remember how it all started and how
it has been since the campaign days in 2007 to this point.
The president is really sick. This country is difficult to
be ruled by even a healthy bull but here we are with a
president that cannot stay two clear months without being
rushed to a hospital abroad. So the seven point agenda he
came with which included health, etc has not provided any
answer to his sickness locally.
I cannot remember now what has happened to Ariel Sharon of
Israel but I remember those weeks upon weeks when the best
medics in the land kept teasing us with his stabilizing
health until his Lihkud party replaced him with his deputy,
Olmert Huid - who acted on his behalf - in an election. So
its not new any more to begin to say one thing while another
thing is happening. We remember the ebullient former Katsina
governor, who was hand picked by our then powerful president
who also admitted that nothing embarrassed him, was rumored
to be not very sound, health wise, to have been considered
being laden with the Nigerian political load. We all wished
then that it should just stop at rumor and never be true.
If Israeli or American president’s deteriorating health
condition is pruned down or completely hidden from the
public, it is well understood. The Palestinians will be
wishing an Israeli president dead while Iranian leaders will
be wishing American President dead. But who will be wishing
a Nigerian President dead. Is it the Cameroonians who do not
need our President dead before they take over Bakassi
Peninsular or Ghana that has been celebrating 50 years of
power stability or South Africa that could be regarded as
the un announced petit giant of Africa?
If anybody is wishing a Nigerian President dead, and I do
not think so, it should still be fellow poor Nigerians who
would always wish for a catastrophe to see whether the
turmoil that will follow will be able to spark of a
revolution that will usher in much awaited reforms. Whereas
Americans can celebrate such things as Tiger Woods
extramarital activities or President Clinton’s inappropriate
sex, they will never pray for calamity to befall America.
But here, people are so much frustrated because of factors
ranging from poverty, corruption, injustice, etc that they
are always looking for an alternative avenue to bring about
reforms and if that will mean not caring about the health of
their leaders, so be it. It is an unconscious reaction to a
very hopeless situation.
But what is important here is that, there is no magic we
expect from the President which another person cannot offer.
The life of over a Hundred and Fifty Million Nigerians are
always put on the balance each time we speculate about the
President’s health and from all indication, we do not see
this stopping very soon unless there is miracle from God
which is not impossible though, but Nigerian already
impoverished children and aged men and women should be
spared further suffering before this miracle. So why must
children, old, young suffer before our President decides
himself that the burden of leadership and state functions
may even exacerbate his problem. And if the constitution has
taken care of this kind of situation why are we not taking
the option. This is another glaring case of our leaders
using constitution as a mere document that has no hand in
the orderly running of a state.
Most people will quickly reason, from the title of this
piece, that sickness is only physical as in the case of our
president but, as far as I am concerned, I have seen
sickness in the mentality of most of our rulers from 1999
when Chief Obasanjo emerged the president of Nigeria till
today. A nation becomes sick – in my opinion – when her
rulers or leaders are bereft of ideas that will create
atmosphere for industrial revolution which will ultimately
engender meaningful existence - in terms of healthy living,
good infrastructure, constant energy supply, etc - to a
majority of her citizenry.
And this inability to usher in a fertile ground for
development has been seen in the quality of people ruling
this country since the beginning of the third republic. When
other nations are looking for water in the moon, we are here
grappling with unstable power supply for domestic
consumption and the venue for joint assembly presidential
budget presentation. All these are because our country is
saddled with sick leaders, from the executive through the
legislature to the judiciary. But I must single out the
judiciary here as the only arm of government that has, once
in a while, risen up to their constitutional roles of
checking the excesses of individuals and groups within the
polity. But for the judiciary’s occasional palliatives, the
Nigerian project would have been a forgotten venture a very
long time ago.
While we pray for quick recovery for our president, we
should also be praying for quick recovery of all other
mentally sick leaders or rulers within the system. We should
also pray so that our sick rulers or leaders will see reason
in adopting the Justice Uwaise electoral reform report -
wholesome - which will give rise to fewer bunches of sick
leaders in the future.