AS BUHARI PLAYS HIS LAST CARD [A REJOINDER]
As the general elections draw nearer, it is very important for every Nigerian to take a stand. Irrespective of our biases,our freedom of choice does not in anyway mean we should try to misinform the public especially about events that are already properly documented nor try to twist history in our favour.
Bashorun Dele Momodu has never hidden his sympathy for the opposition APC(and has in recent times used his weekly column to hype their activities). Blowing the trumpet of the party's presidential/vice-presidential candidates is entirely his prerogative. If he believes the Buhari/Osinbajo combination is the best he has seen since 1993 - only time will tell. However this response is necessitated by certain comments made in an article published on ThisDay newspaper of 20,December 2014 with the same title, excerpts of which I will reproduce below while countering same which I perceive as a misrepresentation of facts.
•“Contrary to doomsday prediction, Governor Amaechi gave his total blessing and agreed to lead the campaign. The bond between Buhari and Amaechi is like that of father and son.”.
I believe Bashorun Momodu is a politician and should understand that no matter how aggrieved Ameachi is, HE HAS NO WHERE TO GO. To save his face, he has to play to the gallery- even if that includes dancing around with Buhari all over the nation.
•“The Buhari of today is no longer the badly maligned man who contested against us in 2011. He is not the Buhari who lacked national spread. The Buhari of today has metamorphosed into a megastar bearing the image of a Rock legend.”
Bashorun Dele Momodu has by the above statement shown that either he is surrounded by political like minds or is not in tune with happenings on ground. To say Buhari is no longer badly maligned is akin to saying Abacha never stole Nigeria's money. Since history cannot be changed,what Buhari stands for is as constant in the hearts of many as the fact that President Jonathan has performed better than any Nigerian leader. All around Nigeria those who seek the prosperity of our nation know that Buhari does not represent any change but a return to the old order. In fact no one needs to malign Buhari, the truth about his character and his beliefs is just a click away.
•“His image-makers have worked hard to make him appear debonair and appealing to the young and old. His new swag is Presidential and takes attention away from his so-called old age.”
I wonder what swag is being referred to here, because I do not see any. If dressing in clothes representing various ethnic groups two months to election is the definition of swag and a signal of acceptance to both young and old, then our music and tv stars would all have won their party primaries a few weeks ago. The best the image makers of the General could have done, would have been to prevent him from embarrassing himself in a recent interview on channels television. That interview only showed clearly that the General is not in tune with the times. Since age is just a number I ask, would Dele Momodu be comfortable employing a 72 year old driver? The General hasn't entered the kitchen yet is already suffocating as a result of heat from the chimney - what a pity.
The PDP has spent 15 years in power no doubt, but the question remains has the Jonathan led government performed? Dele Momodu will be hypocritical if he answers in the negative. I wonder what he means by “lack of performance”. It would do his readers a lot of good if he were to enumerate sector by sector the accomplishments and failings of this governments stating what could have been done better, and compare his records with that of previous governments instead of a generalized statement not backed up with facts.
•“Democracy has never been a monarchy which rotates appointments amongst Royals”.
I wonder who he refers to in the above statement; because certainly he cannot be referring to the Niger-Delta people, whom his likes believe have been given undue advantage during Jonathan's term in office. I would also like to put it to Bashorun Momodu that 'democracy is not a system of government where power should remain the exclusive preserve of a few individuals who believe they are born to rule, neither does Nigeria belong to anybody's grandfather'.
•“This government made the fatal mistake of amplifying the religious confusion in Nigeria. Today Nigeria is more divided along religious lines than ever.”
In a long while I have not read such an insincere remark. Nigeria's religious difference has NEVER been hidden throughout history. As a matter of fact, most of those who want President Jonathan out do so solely on ethnic and religious grounds. So because the christians have now realized they have to stand up for themselves after years of marginalization, Bashorun Momodu has suddenly become uncomfortable? So because for once CAN has stood up for christians both in the North and South, the President and by extension christians are now responsible for Nigeria's religious division? Thank you sir. I would urge you to find out why Archbishop Jasper Akinola was refused a second term as CAN president in 2007. As one who is in the know of happenings in 1993, I would want you to answer sincerely if there would have been peace had any of the two political parties then considered a christian/christian ticket.
•“Muslims are likely to vote en masse against Jonathan while the Christians would be split down the line between the candidates.”
This statement betrays whatever political dexterity Dele Momodu lays claim to. So all muslims will sheepishly vote Buhari en mass, while most christians will foolishly vote against Jonathan - wonderful analysis. Well, assuming it turns out that way, who then will be dividing the country along religious lines sir?
•“Ethnicity is another source of worry. As soon as Jonathan got to power, his supporters developed the attitude of “it is our turn and we can misbehave as we like.” Insults were heaped on critics endlessly. Other ethnic groups were treated with disdain”.
Has ethnicity become a source of worry because an ijaw man is involved? The people who killed corp members in 2011, did they do so because they loved Nigeria or because a man from their 'born to rule' tribe lost election? Those who lived in Nigeria then know the answer. If you believe those who defend the president and 'insult' critics do so because he is from the south-south; wouldn't it also be correct to say that those who constantly abuse not only the president but his wife and family daily do so because he is not from their tribe? Anybody who criticizes the government from an unbiased standpoint with facts should not be afraid to have his points scrutinized.
•“We saw the emergence of new oil sheikhs and the proliferation of private jets”.
I still do not understand what Dele Momodu means by this. Is it a crime for a new generation of wealthy people to emerge through favourable economic policies of a sitting government? Is it an abomination if billionaires should emerge from the younger generations? If the old order (which Dele Momodu seeks to return) favoured others, what is the crime in new people being favoured by the present administration. Nigeria's wealth is not an exclusive property of the north nor a few persons, if it has seemed so in the past the tables have turned,sir - not necessarily because of President Jonathan's policies alone but because people are getting more enlightened. As regards private jets, is it save to assume you have an issue with people you don't know buying jets? Or is it reserved for those with generational wealth made from the proceeds meant for all? If more people can afford jets and are taxed heavily to feed those who can't afford, what is wrong with that? I would also want to know the untouchables you are referring to sir and their crimes, so your readers could be more enlightened instead of you leaving them in suspense. I am also aware that so many people in the party you profess love for ought to be locked away forever in countries with(possibly) a better judicial system.
•“To make matters worse, insecurity became a permanent feature in our daily lives. A chunky part of Northern Nigeria has practically been donated to terrorists with no hope in sight”.
Sir, are you be this statement saying that Mr President is responsible for the death of his people? Or that he is doing absolutely nothing about the issue. As it is said “the internet never forgets”, we know those who made (pre/post 2011) and are still making inflammatory statements till date. The army we are told has not been equipped for decades, is that also the fault of President Jonathan? You are also aware of those who were against the proscription of Boko Haram as a terrorist organization as well the refusal of certain countries to sell arms to Nigeria. In spite of all these challenges and limitations, the Jonathan administration cannot not be said to have abandoned its people in the face of danger. We are well aware of efforts being made by this administration to equip our military and improve their capacity to challenge this fundamentalist who dress in plain clothes like any other citizen and cannot be identified by the merely looking into their eyes. Our military is rising up to the challenge as recent victories have shown.
•“As if we've not suffered enough; our economy is receiving its own battering so mercilessly. The price of oil has collapsed and Armageddon has arrived. While government is trying to paint a picture of all is well, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have landed in big trouble”.
Sir, are you in anyway blaming the president and his team for the falling price of crude oil? Or are you saying the government should tell its citizens that they are all gonna die because of the drop in oil prices? Furthermore are you blaming the government for the failures of successive governments(Buhari's inclusive) to diversify our economy? If the revolution currently witnessed in the agricultural and automotive industry was done by previous governments as a means of shifting focus from oil to other sectors we would not be afraid of the effects of drop in oil prices neither would you be predicting doomsday. The responsibility of government (amongst other things) is to assure citizens that though rough days are ahead, the nation will pull through the difficult times; and that's exactly what this government is doing.
Nigerians are getting wiser and can distinguish between change and backwardness. No one government anywhere in the world has been able to fix all the problems of a nation, what governments do however is to set foundations, for which successive governments can build on. Change in life is constant, but any change that would return Nigeria to the dark days is no change.
Enenim Ubon is on twitter @enenimubon.