ACTING FAST ON EDITORIAL OPINIONS
As we said here some months ago on the subject titled 'The President's enemies', President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is among the few Nigerians who need not subscribe to the saying that they are 'between the devil and the deep blue sea.' Being an Ijaw man with academic credentials in fisheries, it was suggested then that like his kinsmen all around the coastlines of West Africa and in the hinterlands, all he needed to do if and when irritated by the devil himself, is to summon 'Egbesu courage' by giving the devil a dirty slap and diving into the deep blue sea, re-surfacing at any convenient point not directly opposite the wicked devil's face.
Now, one must confess that an assumption underpinning the view expressed then is that the devil does not have the same swimming skills as anyone initiated into life by what some people can rightly describe as 'experimental drowning rites'. And that even if he does, he is so so busy attending to his millions (or is it billions) of clients around the globe, that he may not have enough time chasing one intrepid/rebellious man around in the murky waters of the coast, which the oil spills even make murkier, without any culprit being available for the President Barak Obama - sponsored New Mexico type of penalty.
That remains a model of what ought to happen unapologetically to polluters of the environment, any where, except perhaps here. Not just now, but since Ken Tsaro-Wiwa's days. While observing that we are still waiting for the Federal Government to publish the names of the 'Boko Haram' sponsors as threatened, current developments have made it abundantly clear that time has thrown up new engagements for the Government, one of which is the not unusual confrontations with Labour, over oil sale prices.
It is really sad and unfortunate that the main natural resource which became the country's chief foreign exchange earner the moment our leaders walked away from agricultural cash and food crops, has, since about 1991, become national bone of contention. Those crops, indeed, previously provided the wealth for growth in the former Western, Northern and Eastern Regions - cocoa, rubber, timber, cotton, groundnuts and palm oil, to mention but a few - most notably before the civil war in 1970, and at least up till 1977, when the marketing boards got subjected to paralysis and counter- productive manoeuvres, as visible at least from 'Cocoa House', Ibadan.
Understandably, the effects of war in the old East took attention away from agricultural pursuits, and researchers are yet to publish findings on how and why the groundnut pyramids and cotton production in the North stopped being of economic importance. However, these were not the major reasons for choosing this topic on the need to frequently (perhaps every quarter or six months), audit what media organization (mainly newspapers and newsmagazines) presented as editorials and opinion articles during those periods, so as to monitor degrees of responsiveness to their suggestions, especially by 'listening governments.'
For example, one stumbled on a number of editorial topics summarized for an editorial board meeting somewhere in Lagos, on May 26, 2010. It was impossible not to observe that one of the reasons people in power positions do not fulfil their promises within the stipulated deadlines (if at all), is their perceived belief that those outside the corridors of power have short memories; that they do not bother about 'matters arising' after their editorial outputs. And that as they are most likely to forget what they wrote or said last, inaction would be the wisest policy. These explain some of the ensuing industrial and social unrests in the land.
The bulletin had the following items, among others: 'FG to revisit Okigbo report', which intimidated that a committee had been set up to 'ascertain whether on the basis of the Okigbo report, a criminal charge can be sustained against former military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) over allegations of corruption and mismanagement of $12.4 billion oil windfall money in the dedicated and special accounts while he was in office. Government's move is based on a petition by a coalition of civil society groups requesting the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, to implement the recommendation of Okigbo Panel Report', based on a May 21, 2010, newspaper report.
Now, what is the 'matter arising' on the report? Is time not yet ripe to clear the air on the matter, or was the committee check-mated by the general? We should have resolved this matter by now. Or is this another example of the law here being a 'respecter of persons'?
Second, was the issue on 'Reopening of Siemens $10 million bribery scandal' in which we, the citizens, were briefed that : 'The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has reopened investigation into the $10 million Siemens bribery scandal involving some prominent Nigerians. The anti-graft agency has given its six-member team marching orders to carry out an all-encompassing investigation into the level of the alleged involvement of Nigerians in the sleaze within three weeks.'(That was based on a May 19, 2012, report)!
There are indications that the Halliburton and Wilcros bribe scandals might also be reopened. The renewed interest in these cases by the agency came following Jonathan's (President), pledge to the international community and Nigerians of his preparedness to tackle corruption.'
These two are all one has space for this very busy day.
You already know the matters above have not been been conclusively resolved in the public interest. Perhaps the people, including writers like me – as one Boko Haram caller last Monday told me at 9.45 a. m., after reading my 'Reflection on December 25 mayhems' column – 'panic too much', and need to stop doing that, to avoid elimination. We must thank God for our lives and pray that some individuals will repent and refrain from not delivering what were promised, and delivering what are not desired by the people. Or else,…..doom!!!