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IBB has picked a fight with the Nigerian youths


No sooner had IBB declared his intention to run for the highest political office in the land than frenzied reactions began to bellow from all corners: the electronic and print media, bloggers, activists, student groups, celebrities, journalists and even religious leaders all

 weighed into the matter. Everyone had something to say about the gap-toothed General's ambition.

One of the first things I said to myself was ' What the hell does IBB want in office? What is it that he desperately wants to do for Nigerians in 2011, that he could not accomplish during his last tenure?'

IBB is known to be very conscious about how he would be remembered by history. For example, he attempted to negotiate a peace plan between warring Sudanese factions in 1992 not for altruistic reasons but with the Nobel Peace price in mind. Some have argued, that having recognized how lowly he is rated by Nigerians among past leaders, IBB is seeking a second chance to 'redeem his image'. If true, then this would be a classic example of a pure, unadulterated delusional disorder.

What bothers me most is not even the fact that the near-septuagenarian appears to be deluded about his place in Nigerian history. Or else why would he want to rule a country he systematically destroyed for eight good (bad?) years? I am bothered by the fact that in a country like Nigeria, it is indeed possible for IBB to be the next president.

In the more-established democracies of the world, prior to declaring intent to contest for office, politicians would often constitute a committee to test the 'political waters' and gauge 'public opinion'.

Nigeria is obviously different. Our murky political waters are infested with hungry patronage-sharks who would yield the party flag to the highest bidder.

IBB is well aware of this 'settlement' culture which became a glorified tool of covert government suppression during the locust years of his gross misrule. Public opinion, though vibrant in Nigeria, almost never matters because once chosen by the party sharks, becoming president is simply a matter of ratification by the Inept National (S)election Commission (INEC).

Navigating shark-infested waters should be a treacherous adventure under normal circumstances, but not where a 'genius' like IBB is involved - a self-described evil genius for that matter. Add to that, the rumored American interest in an IBB presidency; his corruptly-enriched personal coffers; his much-touted 'Maradona' skills and the chances of another 'Iwuruwuru' as the officiating electoral referee.

On paper, it would therefore appear that the path is (almost) set for IBB to become Nigeria's next president. The thought of it is not only nauseating but extremely scary. The imp in me would actually love to see a free-and-fair election with IBB as the winner, get annulled, for no other reason than to pay him back in his own coin. However, that is plain wishful thinking because IBB cannot and will not win a truly free national election.

But again, this is Nigeria, where by definition, anything can happen. Hopefully, not this time.

As IBB continues to wallow in his self-originating messianic delusions, here are 3 bullet points, directly addressed at the General, why he would not rule Nigeria again.

'The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.' …William Shakespeare in 'Julius Caesar'

There is no good whatsoever to inter with your dry bones when the time comes. The evils however, we can count. You may have forgotten the ills you perpetuated against Nigeria and Nigerians while you misruled. If you remembered, you would not be seeking to misgovern us again. Perhaps its no fault of yours that you do not remember. There is a condition called senility, that affects the aging brain. At an advanced age like yours, it is not totally unexpected. Its not an excuse though and Nigerians would not mind if I refreshed your failing memory.

Nigerians will never forget how you perpetuated one of the worst human rights abuses in our nation's history, nor will we forget the numerous unresolved political assassinations, most notably that of eminent magazine editor Dele Giwa, who was vocally critical of your government. Your failure to appear before the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa's Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission made these abuses even more unforgettable.

How could we forget the economic havoc you wrecked on the nation through your failed 'Austerity Measures' and 'Structural Adjustment Program' economic policies? - made worse by your government's institutionalization of corruption and massive pillage of the commonwealth, including the massive windfalls from crude oil exports during the first gulf war. The loot has all but ensured that you and your 50th generation descendants will live in grand opulence while majority of Nigerians wallow in perpetual penury.

Your surreptitious and deceitful betrayal of the nation by smuggling us into the OIC exemplified your total ignorance of what it means to truly lead a nation, while your perpetual and never-ending transition-to-civil-rule program stood you out as a scheming fox, never to be trusted again.

The young shall grow and have indeed grown.
The young shall grow. That is a popular saying in Nigeria. How true that is! More than 60 per cent of the Nigerian population are young and active, many of them below the age of 35. At the time you forcefully took power in 1985, many of them were at most 11 years old. Economically deprived as a result of your disastrous policies, many are now professionals in their respective fields; engineers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, social entrepreneurs, leaders of industry, bankers etc.

In full bloom, tired of not having a say in the affairs of Nigeria and emboldened by a new awakening, they are taking maximum advantage of the new information economy. They will 'tweet' a thousand phrases before you can utter the words 'Fellow Nigerians'. With the internet at their disposal, they will exchange tons of emails and instant messages and mobilize on the social networks before you can let a sigh through your gapped dentition.

Having been let down by the older generation, they are now as vocal as ever and will fearlessly organize and demonstrate to bring down the walls of Jericho. By proclaiming that the Nigerian youth is incapable of leading, you have made a very big mistake IBB .

'This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.'…Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As Nigerians, we live in difficult yet interesting times. I have an unflinching belief that Nigerians will get it right this time. Part of getting is right is ensuring that you do not walk the corridors of the presidential villa ever again. Anyone but you IBB. We would rather dine with the devil than have you as president. What is the difference anyway?

We are well on the way to achieving that. A website has dedicated all of its resources to chronicling your misdeeds and stopping you in whatever way they can.

Youth groups and civil society are mobilizing. The petitions have begun in earnest. Students (God bless them) are mobilizing in groups. On the web, Nigerians are mobilizing on the social networks, in readiness for you IBB. If Acting President Goodluck Jonathan lives up to his promise to deliver free elections and Nigerians are successfully mobilized to turn out and vote, chances are that, if your name is on the ballot, you will be sent to the cleaners.

It's payback time General. At a time, when you should be singing lullabies to your great-grandchildren and honoring the memory of your late wife, while enjoying the remnants of your massive loot, you are seeking elective office and doing that by picking a fight with the younger generation. That same younger generation, children that you betrayed, will end up being your waterloo. Mark my word IBB. YOU WILL NOT RULE US AGAIN!

By Uche Ofoma