DAY I INCREASED MY RESPECT FOR TAM DAVID WEST
There are people of honor, and there are those born with honor just as there are people who grow into honor. So it is with the man called Tam David West. I have always had my misgivings on Tam David West ever since he had a brush with the IBB porous judicial system, and their frivolous wrist watch bribery accusation. However, during the fuel subsidy protests and the Jonagate response, the one man standing highest among those higher level Nigerians was Tam David West.
He came out and boldly condemned the whole thing as a scam, for there was never subsidy in the first place. Bluntly he invited the presidency to an open debate if the presidency felt he was telling lies and only out to incite the people. Rather than disprove him, the presidency and its apologists went into a campaign of calumny against an innocent man. Till date, no one has come to accept or decline his invitation.
I am not launching a public defense of Tam David West, he had already done that himself in the Sunday Sun newspaper of January 01, 2012. My respect for him increased when the subsidy probe report of the National Assembly leaked out. Professor Tam David West was right in the first place after all. There is no oil subsidy, it is a scam, a Jonagate fraud. Who is fooling who? Time will tell what we say and do.
West has stood above other Nigerians with three great qualities. First he is a man of truth and courage. He is very much consistent in his approach not minding his personal security, and is bold to speak truth to power. Second, he is a detribalized Nigeria. Both West and Jonathan are Ijaw lads. Third, he is a professor who is worth his salt. He speaks from facts and not fiction. The man speaks as a former minister of the petroleum sector so he has great ideas. Though they might not be mainstream ideas of what the government wants to hear, the court of public opinion is interested in them because the masses are suffering and he resonates with the sufferings of the masses.
Tam David West is a man of truth and rare courage in Nigerian political set up. Studies by Richard Rohr indicate that fear governs almost everything we do as humans so much so that even those who posses the truth cannot voice it out for fear of those benefits they might lose if they dare do so. As humans our first response to anyone calling us to truth is often anger with mixed anxiety, whether louder or subtle within us. We then try to dismiss, strike hard or shame those calling us out of our comfort zones to face the truth. I understand the orchestrated attempts directed at Tam David West ever since the fuel subsidy Jonagate started. Wait a minute! Is Tam David West telling the truth or a lie? Is Tam David West not vindicated with the House of Representatives findings so far?
Tam David West has proven that he is above ethnic and regional politics. Our politics is tainted with tribal sentiments so one would not have expected West, an Ijaw man like President Jonathan to have spoken truth to power, and a fellow tribal man. All along West has seen the fuel subsidy palaver as a national one, and refuses bringing ethnic sentiments into the discussion. I like it because, Jonathan is the Nigerian president and not the Ijaw president or on a wider scale, the Niger Delta president. The problem is that each time, we start talking about fuel subsidy some people are inclined to wipe up ethnic sentiments forgetting that the masses are suffering. Is the government not meant for the good of the people? Let us face the suffering of the masses who are the majority and not bring in ethnic sentiment to cut off other tribes from the president and cut him off from other nationalities in the country.
I like the Tam David West challenge. He has challenged the president, petroleum and finance ministers for a public debate but till date no one dare come out to debunk his claims. Rather the turn of events are vindicating him. Is it not the same petroleum that Yar' Adua in his immediate ascendancy to Aso Rock reversed Obasanjo's increment from N70 to N65? Was he not able to cater for the basic needs (at least) of the country and implement amnesty in the Niger Delta with proceeds.
Rev. fr. Asue writes from Miami, Florida in USA.