Jonathan's (National?) Conference And The Summer 'Patriots'!

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BGbenro Olajuyigbe
'The whole problem with the World is that Fools and Fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts'—Bertrand Russell.

As the complexification of the meaning of 'National Conference' by the President and his 'Federal Government' continue, i wish to remind MR. President and his government, in the words of Jimmy Carter, for a start, that in the race to address the challenges of our country 'the people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual' as exemplified by the Guidelines of the Federal Government's 'National Conference'! How national is a conference in which the President will nominate directly and/or indirectly over 100 of the 492 members? Can a conference that provides spaces for organised labour, technocrats, traditional and un-traditional rulers but shut door against multitude of poor persons and unorganised millions of unemployed Nigerians, who are often victims of maladministration, be a national conference? Can a conference, whose necessity was derived from humongous power imbalance tilted in favour of the federal government, yet has the President appointing the Conference Chairman, Secretary and  Deputy Chairman  be said to be a conference of the people positioned to solve the problem of 'Power – Over that continue to drive impunity and governmental lawlessness?' Who are the 'Elder Statesmen' the President will nominate and who conferred the status on them? Will a conference whose diminished duty, in the end, as in the guideline, is merely to advise the President on the Legal Framework to put in place to actualise its decisions be the type of conference Nigerians have been looking forward to ? In the end, could a conference whose outcome is not subjected to a referendum be said to have represented the desires and aspirations of Nigerians? Who is the conference about? Is it about Nigeria and Nigerians or about Nigeria and the President? What about the 'decree' that agreement should be reached through consensus or a valid decision by seventy – five percent (75%)? Is it possible to achieve a seventy-five percent (75%) majority if the President's 'stooges', sorry 'nominees do not agree to a resolution? Is that not a veto power through the back door?

Indeed, the Federal Government's Guideline on the convocation of the 'National' Conference confirmed my fear and removed the light doubt that enwrapped my previous article; 'National Conference Or Food is Ready?' widely published in the Media. As a 'Greek Gift' that was borne out of political confusion of a President whose political empire was collapsing, no thanks to the balkanization of the PDP by the erstwhile 'new PDP'  members, i envisaged this simplification of the  critical national problems and crises that are affecting our country. How can a conference whose members owe no allegiance to the people they purportedly represent build the basis for addressing citizenship question that has remained the bane of identity crisis in Nigeria? Who are the socio –cultural associations that will form the fulcrum of ethnic representation? For instance, who made Afenifere – Renewal or Un- Renewal the Judge over the Yorubas? Can Ohannenze adequately represent Ndi Igbo? Would Arewa Consultative Forum be a fair representative of the Hausa/Fulani/other groups within the North?

 More than before now, i believe, that thoughtlessness and political expediency were the basis for the national conference's agenda. Am tempted to believe that the President has come to impress us that he could also do what his political 'enemies' have been promising Nigerians for decades, even though he does not believe in it himself! For reasons best known to them, more often for survival, people say what they do not mean and do, even what they have no capacity to deliver competently on. We are warned by the Holy Bible to beware of Greek Gift; because 'the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel'( Proverb 12;10b)! I wish the President can play back the recorded tape of his broadcast, where while proposing the conference he promised that government will neither tamper with the outcome nor with the process. Abraham Lincoln was aptly correct when he declared that 'no man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar'. I know for sure, that in the season of 'Summer Patriots' we have apologists everywhere that are too blinded to see the end of this jaundiced conference even from the beginning. They are 'Summer Patriots' who can die for a serving ruler as long as largesse flows to them from the corridor of power!  Deceiving and being deceived. They are the President's 'Pauls'. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul will always have so many Pauls to clap for them. To them, tomorrow is too far. The thoughts for their children and children's children are not the issue now. Sentiment destroys common sense, wipe away logic and frustrate capacity for thoughts; leaving behind as ignorant victims those who wimp it and those who are trapped by it.  I sincerely sympathise with them. They are willing victims of gluttony. Just a matter of time, even this summer shall also pass away. They have a date and future with winter. They survive as pests of power holders. The spectacular indolence of Nigerians has emboldened them and the barbarous rulers. The rulers and the summer 'Patriots' are rejoicing in iniquities and their indolent 'subjects' keep on licking their wounds on Face book, Twitter, pages of papers and even on air! The reality of J.P Curran's assertion that 'it is the common fate of the indolent to have their rights become prey to the active' has found refuge in the apathy of Nigerians to the nation's affairs! Fools and Fanatics have indeed taken over Nigeria. The wise and true patriots are paying legitimate price. Yes, you deserve the price you are paying. In affairs of your nation, there is no sitting on the fence. The risk you take when you sit on the fence is having Fools rule over you!

For me, in the last two months, i have been playing with the idea of being a Grass cutter Farmer. I love to be and i have read some few papers on it and still searching for more. I need to read through the Thesis of my President. I mean President Goodluck Jonathan's PhD Thesis in Zoology. Still searching for it! Please, help me if you can lay your hands on it. I want to make success of my proposed experiment. I want to organise conference for Grass cutters. I want to test if animal value their liberty more than man. I want to test whether they understand more than man Woodrow Wilson's postulation, that; 'the history of liberty is a history of resistance, —- that history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it'; as in the Seven Billion Naira (7Billion Naira) teleguided conference of the selected; and for the ignored majority, who have lost the privilege to be heard and to  be free through an omnipotent Presidential fiat!

Written by -Gbenro Olajuyigbe
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