DEALING WITH THE MUBARAKS AMONG US
Suddenly, there is restlessness among North African States first the Middle East and the rest of the world. Life, no matter how long or how short, ought to be well spent. The deed of kindness, helping others giving comforting words etc will always be remembered even when we would have been long forgotten. We daily provide others the opportunity to write what people will remember us for tomorrow when the obvious happen. That is the lot of North African leaders who just lost their office in people's revolt recently. It started in December 2010 in Tunisia. A protest which ousted President Ben Ali from office and power, and then he ran into exile in Saudi Arabia. Ben Ali ruled for 23 years. The world was yet to settle from the rude shock which was mixed up with the Christian feast of Christmas and the New Year euphoria when Egyptthe seat of civilisation erupted. First it was thought to be an act of a few miscreants but as the days progressed, with it assuming more serious dimensions, deaths were recorded as the Police were called to maintain the peace. Things almost got out of hand, but the Military which was drafted to join in the crowd control joined in the action only ensuring that no protester were injured in the ensuring drama. President Hosein Mubarak could not believe what has heat him. It is not easy for any man from such a rosy height to think that the last moments had arrived. He was left in the cold and now in exile, the rest we all know is now history. Naturally, the people were taken largely for granted, and given the effective military control of military president Mubarak, it was easy for him to act as such. But that was the beginning of the fall of the great Egyptian Empire, the cradle of modern civilization. As l write now, wherever he is, one thing is clear, he is rightly imagining thing and assuming all that he would have done right and all that went wrong. That is how it usually is with a fallen dictator who is lucky to escape the people with their lives.
Sometime last year, l wrote “Where is Nigeriain the new world political Order.” Then, l pointed out that this revolution began with the visit of former president Nixon of United States to the Iron curtain country of then USSR in 1978. The revolution produced the balkanization of the country into pocket of what is now called Herzegovina, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan among other smaller republics. Then suddenly, East Germany fell; then Nelson Mandela gained freedom and South Africa was released from the hands of the stubborn goats of then Rhodesia- South Africa was born. In Nigeria, rather than the revolution bringing us positive dividends in Oil wealth, we received greedy administrators who paved the way to the destruction which now steer us in the face if we fail to manage what is left in the mind of those anxious to call us one Nigeria.
Time flies. It is looking like only yesterday when the incident which brought Mubarak to office occurred. General Anwan Sadat had been in the throne and all went well with him until he led the Middle East to meddle with the Americas yielding to the sweet talks of former president Jimmy Cater and signing the Camp David treaty. That day was the beginning of the end of Sadat which climaxed on his glorious day in office that sunny afternoon. I still can visualize how it happened because l watched the military parade on screen. Sadat was regaled at his best, with his special friends, presidents and heads of states in the comity of nations and members of the military commands of several formations around the world were there. Our dear Sadat was standing at attention receiving salute; first from the Air Force with acrobatic display, then the soldiers match past and finally when the Armory which former president George Bush christened Weapons of Mass Destruction “WMD” took turn, the man became history because the calculated one bullet from one of the Armored cars sent the message and Sadat fell. Within days Hosein Mubarak became a consensus candidate and was sworn in as the next president in 1981. Now, given the success of Egypt, the entire Middle East is unsettled. There is revolution song everywhere and which direction it goes next has become easily discernible. Yemen whose leader has been there for 23 years is already in the toe, Saudi Arabia is on the line and so is Libya whose Gadafi has been there 42years. The ominous signs are all over the places and they are quite overwhelming indeed.
What does these signs portend for Nigeria and other African states? Reactions have been pouring in from all quarters and writers are awash with views, but none have been complimentary. What would have been expected for a man who remained glued to the seat of power watching his colleagues and associates in and out of office in democratic settings every year? Were his thoughts that his fellow country men and women were fools, morons, or zombies? But fools die. Taking a look at the speed with which event unfolded, it is easy to confirm that most world leaders themselves have been very worried. Mubarak had hardly left office when his account in Switzerland was frozen. Then the military is probing his activities for 30 years! Naturally, the next step is to be expected. The man is unwell! Would these have been his lot were he to have clanged to power to date? The wind of change is in the air and worse hit are the seat tight presidents and monarchs who think that leadership of their country is their birth right. Now they are all cursing the day they chose to allow their nationals take on western education which has ushered in democratic sense of belonging. Can anyone see why Boko Haram is still on the rise among us? Our own Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi admitted to have certain document or Memorandum of Understanding where it was agreed that northerners should not be given western education hence most of them have remained dumb to date. Can some one see why and how it has been so much of an uphill task for Nigeria to move forward?
We once had what anyone would call vibrant people oriented movement in pro democracy groups. But what has become of them? What has happened to the camps left behind by Gani Fawehinmi? Beko Ransome Kuti, Prof Awojobi and Tai Solarin all of blessed memory? What about the present Femi Falanas, the Obes, the Festus Keyamos to mention only a few? Have they all been settled or Nigeria has reached the Promised Land?
So much for stories from other lands. Here in Nigeria, focus has been shifted to the successful Electoral Registration Exercise, the party congresses and now the electioneering campaign and so on. But that has not placed any seal on the series of activities going on in the country. A revolution is beaconing on almost every sector of the economy and general protest seem the only way to say no to deaf and dumb leaders. Thank God it is election year and easy option is readily available now people protest over any election maneuvering or total rejection of none performing governor or legislator.
We need to Mubarak (protest against) the minister/commissioners for Education who have not only received jumbo budgetary allocation in addition to education and other miscellaneous taxes yet young graduates cannot write simple paragraph of English language nor is any of our universities among the best 1000 in the world. We need to Mubarak the NNPC leadership which continues to promise better service delivery in the economy through the increased pump price of petroleum product only to revise them annually with treat of subsidy removal. We need to Mubarak all those who in the name of Police Equipment Fund dupe Nigerian commuters and drivers yet donate the hard earned cash to the establishment and the rest to their pockets. Mubarak is needed in the state and national assemblies where in addition to their regular AWUF (Free money), pocket constituency project funds and never get any site for the collected funds. What about the Mubarak on the Ore axis of the Benin Sagamu express way? Don't we need same in the power sector and commodity prices, what about the health sector? I mean don't we know that Peck Milk has never had uniform price any where in Nigeria courtesy of the irregular pricing system in the country? the list is almost longer than the distance from BNorth to South poles. Oh yes we need a revolution in the polity and no time is better than now.
The seats are all very hot now. In the past, the likes of Babangida would use the Police, Military, tear gas and all form of force to drum their will through our throat. That did cause deaths, maiming and other forms of suffrage for innocent citizens. Now, the man should be thankful to God that he lost out in the Northern candidate drama because some of the antics he would have used are the structures packing up everywhere. The import of this is that neither the military nor politicians can apply matching order again against the people. But should they consider such option, then the government need not build prison walls but grave yards. Given the current situation, our police and military are learning fast. They will not need to level towns and villages as they did at Zaki Ibiam, Odi, Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu and so on.
It is election year in Nigeria and Professor Attahiru Jega so far seem to have introduced sufficient huddles for those who usually take the nation for granted and most are leaking their wounds. Party stalwarts are learning through bitter experience that working within time frame is essential to beating expiry dates. In all the political party jittery is the word, no one is at ease. While the war of ascertaining which list was submitted or accepted ito INEC s still on, fall guys are already lined up in the persons of Chief Omisore of Osun state and Chief Folarin of Oyo state to mention just two of them.
Now, to the pro democracy groups, unity is needed for all to be well. We need all hands on deck to ensure proper monitoring of the elections. Protest may be necessary but not directionless to avert senseless killing. No result can be falsified without the input from INEC. We will send the wrong candidates to early exit so, because we desire to fix Nigeria without guns. The Egypt experience has succeeded and the process is still on. Let wisdom be our guide.
Mike O. Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt
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