Salvation in Africa

Who will bell the cat? Who will bring salvation to the nation and succour to the people? Who really cares? The rate of inequality is widening still. But today we present Mr Eddy Adivwri who is screaming shrill.

President Goodluck Jonathan

By Eddy Adivwri
Many a times I would exercise some hope, believing that Nigeria will indeed get better. Not so much that I believe in the so-called Transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, but i just hope things will improve someday, perhaps not in my life time. But the more I see how things run, the more my hope level drops. The ethnic faults are deepening and even widening. And I wonder if anything will ever really change in Nigeria.
I have watched the verbiages that have attended the controversial state pardon granted former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by President Jonathan, purportedly on the advice of the Council of States. While many have noted that the President has the right to grant such pardon to whomever he deems fit, the point remains that it is an odious and morally disabled case, that was treated with undue haste and inauspiciousness.

No doubt, President Jonathan may have been persuaded by the urge to do something significant for his former boss. But many Nigerians believe that there are many other ways by which he could have refurbished and “settled” his former boss without dragging both his office and the entire country into utter disrepute. The backlash has been befuddling.

I believe that even more than the uproar that greeted the 2012 fuel price increase, the wide and wild condemnations that followed the said pardon are even more troubling. I wonder whether Alamieyeseigha was not happier with the label of an ex-convict, than the odium that has re-awakened the anger of the people against his rougish past.

But perhaps even sadder is the vain defence that have been advanced largely by people from Jonathan and Alamieyeseigha’s regional base. While the whole world condemns the pardon, only a select pack from the Niger Delta like Professor Itse Sagay (Alamieyeseigha’s defence counsel in 2005) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN) have seen nothing wrong in the pardon. They are clearly acting on base regional sentiment.
The argument that Alams has promoted peace in the Niger Delta region is as wonky as it is mendacious. What peace are they talking about? Peace at what cost? Do such persons know how much the government is spending on the Amnesty scheme? And pray, in what age and time have we ever had as much petroleum product theft as we have now? Didn’t Shell just shut down its operation in Nembe are, Bayesa State because of excessive theft of petroleum products? And all of these are happening after the huge sum of $40 million every year is being paid to ex militants to “secure” the oil pipelines. Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo alone nets $22.9 million annually for the so-called protection of oil pipelines. Yet the volume of theft of the same products being protected has simply more than increased geometrically. And we continue to pay.

Everybody tries to play politics with the nation’s survival and future. The claims of pursuit of national interest are just what they are: claims! Imagine the Jama’├ítu Nasri lslam (JNI)and alleging that the Kano bomb attacks on luxury buses are ploys to plunge the north into chaos. Is the north not already in enough chaos? And why is JNI shying from the truth? Why can’t the organization come out clearly to condemn the Boko Haram menace that is ravaging the country? Why are they skirting round the issue? Does the JNI not know that the violence in the north is being perpetrated by the Boko Haram and its new sibling: Ansaru?

It should speak out in condemnation of the ravaging and senseless violence. Everybody protects his own out of sheer sentiment.
During the week too, a court ruled that the deregulation in the oil sector is unconstitutional. What that means is that the government may withdraw whatever is left of the petrol subsidy. Government is already flashing the sign. Surely, it is an act that will stage the people against the Jonathan government again. Oil marketers have fed extremely fat from the fraud that had continued to go on in the petroleum product importation miasma. There was once a plan to import from Senegal. Yes, Senegal! Cry beloved country!

It pays some people in government for the importation regime to remain endless. Were it not so, why does government not deploy the huge sum used for fuel subsidy to build more refineries, even if such refineries are eventually sold or privatised? But because as soon as the refineries are built and fuel importation is stopped, then the fraud career of some people would have ended; therefore fuel importation must continue ad infinitum.

Everybody in the oppression chain is mainly interested in self and self alone. Nobody thinks for the hapless kids under the bridge or the very poor who do not even see N5000 in a month.
Go to Lekki in Lagos and see the class and shape of houses on parade, and you would know of the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.

People have talked about revolution as the only way to achieve a radical rebirth of the nation, but neither they nor their sons will ever hit the streets for a even a peaceful protest. They love life. They are epicureans. But they want a change. Who will bell the cat?

People hate the truth. We all pretend and skirt around the main issues. Why, for instance, can Chief E.K Clarke not tell President Jonathan, his Ijaw brother (whom he calls son) that he (Jonathan) has not done well in certain areas? If not for tribal affinity and primordial sentiments, why will Clark always defend whatever Jonathan does, right or wrong? Why are they too scared to tell the truth? Does telling the truth amount to disloyalty and lack of support? I do not know if there are behind-the-scene counsels. But I hardly can see the effect. Recently, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has been on the firing line, all because he dared to complain about the negligence of the East West Road which has claimed many lives. His remarks have been deliberately twisted to suggest that he is disrespectful of Mr President. I do not understand how such persons reason.

Malcolm X once wondered why otherwise wise men become foolish when they join government. Mr President is largely surrounded by sycophants. They tell him what he likes to hear, so they too can get some perks in return. They show him the wrong picture and give him the wrong impressions. I recall how, as a younger person, I used to read how late Gen Murtala Mohammed, as Head of State, would disguise and go to the streets, sometimes, into Tejuosho market in Lagos, and try to gauge how Nigerians are feeling, what they are saying and as modern diction would say, what is trending. That was then. Our dear Jonathan is deeply ensconced in the unassailable walls of Aso Rocks, the seat of power, relying only on the well-dressed one-sided stories of his aides. I do not know if Mr President reads the National dailies.
There is hardly a sign he does. Nigeria is not moving forward, despite the many motions. Our problems are increasing. Yesterday we were battling with just underdevelopment and corruption. Today, we are beset with issues of safety, terrorism, poverty and unimaginable wickedness.
Now, gunmen can drive into a school and shoot hapless and helpless teachers and pupils and drive back. Those killers have eaten their souls. Travelers can just be killed right at the bus terminals. Nobody is sure of returning home from work, especially in the north. Northern Nigeria is gradually becoming like northern Mali.
But rather than search deep into solution options, there is a full attention on politicking. Politics everywhere. 2015 has become a dateline of determination and desperation, for which all sheaves must collapse. Who will save Nigeria? How long shall we remain in the wilderness?


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