GIVING ZIK FALSE MEMORY
For fourteen years, building a befitting monument for Great Zik's memory has been an issue for politics and can I also add, shady deals.
This week, some two months after President Goodluck Jonathan visited the state and promised that the mausoleum in his memory will be completed, news filters out that the contract has been awarded. But the amount involved is confounding. It is N185m contract worth. There is nothing surprising anyway about the amount in the contract, after all Zik deserves more than that all provided it will be executed. But so far, all things are not yet equal for such contract on Zik's memorial and the execution is not assured. I see it as yet another politics.
That makes me ask if Zik would have loved that while alive given the prevailing conditions. Nobody can remember the last time the federal expressway leading to the roundabout where the mausoleum is to be built from Enugu and down to Niger bridgehead was in good shape. The people Great Zik loved so much can't find a good access road to live in the nation he laboured to build. Pray, how would people access the mausoleum on completion with the nature of the road?
I can guess Great Zik would have loved the road the Nigerians he gave birth to use would be in good shape before such elaborate memorial for him.
I say it again that I have not seen people pointing at properties here and there all over Nigeria as belonging to Zik. I only know of a place called Ile Zik (Zik's house) bus stop in Lagos around Ikeja on the road to Abeokuta. I don't even know the building.
Zik was not the greedy materialist in life, so why does his memorial smell fraud and shady deal? Yes, I say fraud because the first contract on the same memorial was awarded for N350m in 1996. I know the tomb and the premises and I can't see what was done with the money. So, whom should we hold responsible for the failure – the contractor or the client? If the contract for that sum was not executed even one per cent 14 years ago, why is it cheaper today by almost half even with the nosedive in value of naira over the years? Is it all tidy with the project, or is it another politics by Jonathan? The one the minister announced last Monday is the third. Have we decided to turn Zik's image and honour to a gold mine, even the honour of a man known as clean? I don't want to sound pessimistic, but I can bet my little Toronto certificate from UNN, the citadel Great Zik built, that this latest is not going to be any difference.
In about 1989 or 1990, there were serious rumours that the IBB's regime had concluded plans to rename UNN after Zik, and take the name 'University of Nigeria' to the one they built in Abuja. Students had strong feelings there asked to vacate to effect that in their absence. We also heard on good authority that Great Zik got wind of this and called the people behind this to order arguing and asking IBB and his people why they felt it was an honour to rename an institution named after the nation in his (Zik's) honour. He was vehement that Nigeria was far greater than him and he should not be a preference to Nigeria.
I ask again, if Zik were there to speak for himself, would he have watched a memorial meant for his honour crash to an issue of shady politics and maybe fraud. Would he have preferred his people had no roads, while his memorial turns goldmine for the builders?
Atiku, please, watch your tongue
I don't know if the sounding of war drums is part of politics or democracy. I need to be clarified how war and the threat of war in any part of the world or polity has ever run on same course with the symbols of democracy.
It worries me that people called Nigerian leaders sound like threatening war on the nation they say they love and want to heal by their leadership.
It gave me concern to read former Vice President Atiku Abubakar tagging with Franz Fannon, the great revolutionary today. I knew Atiku from the days politics made him popular as a pro-establishment man who later embraced the trenches when his co-travellers ditched him. But the way Atiku has decided to lurk in the vibrant shadows of Fannon worries me, especially for his purpose.
He has found company in a man Nigerians hailed for putting a wedge in the ambition of one man to rule Nigeria forever in 2007. But today, that Ken Nnamani we all applauded has turned something else for the opposite identity.
By my judgment and understanding for Atiku to have sounded the way papers quoted him on the determinism of zoning is just unfortunate. The statement was not veiled. What he meant true and true is that if zoning which would favour his aspiration having been picked by Adamu Ciroma for the North fails, the other side of peace would take over. Would Atiku's statement not amount to declaration of war on Nigeria unless his ambition sails through? Should Atiku not be taken to task for that statement? It is war drums that Atiku has started sounding forgetting the basic truth that Nigeria has more than just PDP members as interested parties. If Atiku declares war the way he sounds, is the war on PDP or on Nigerians or both? He should really watch his words because if one person fails in his aspiration, it should not mean Nigeria should fail. Herbert Macaulay started the fight to push out the marauders. He didn't live to reap the fruits. Great Zik completed the struggle, and he accepted his fate, he was rigged out and in derision they called him ceremonial head. He never tore down the roof. Awo, in all his splendour, aspired greatly with great achievements for his people, which all saw and bore witness to. He didn't get it and the world never came to an end. Why should there be war and violence in Nigeria ala Atiku if zoning in PDP doesn't stand. Meanwhile, this is a man that cannot in any yardstick of measurement compare to these giants who affected the nation and the people.
Let Atiku be kind to tell us that great effort, resources, impact on the people and all he ever invested on the nation, its existence or even the PDP more than others that lost out in the past to his gain to the extent that if his aspiration of being the president via zoning fails all will go up in flames?
Unfortunately, Nnamani has found his voice in an irritating cacophony that North was so magnanimous to have even relinquished power to the South. That is the most uncharitable statement I ever heard from someone who parades himself as nationalist. Nnamani by that statement conferring omniscient powers to create, retain and transfer power on a zone was enough jaundiced epitaph on the tombstone of the South. He has nailed us to mere slaves in this nation, yes, himself inclusive. Nnamani's statement is at best beggarly and he is like an almajiri genuflecting at the altar of the North maybe for a compensatory running mate ticket. Nnamani, frankly speaking, if you ever get that, it would be valueless because the North will always remind you of this mendicant's witless allusions.
If zoning fails in PDP, Atiku should know that there are alternatives elsewhere. It is human beings that built PDP into a behemoth it is today. People can also ship out when PDP vessel hits bad waters to build another Noah's Ark, upstage PDP and the nation will be better for it. That is really democracy, after all nobody is too sympathetic of whatever silly value PDP has that the nation can't do without. If the contraption collapses, the better for Nigeria because PDP is Nigeria's headache.
Don't threaten us with war, Atiku and your man, Nnamani. If PDP turns sour, find pasture somewhere else, built it and people will all flock there to establish another zoning, possibly now at your behest. Democracy rolls smoothly with ideas, plots, opposition and horse-trading and not with cudgels.