On the eve of Gov. Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha’s impeachment in Bayelsa State, something sinister was also taking place behind the scene. Some forces determined to stop his then deputy governor, Goodluck Jonathan, from taking over as governor were in hot pursuit of the Otuoke man. In his effort to escape death, he ran into the hands of Mike Aghiadomhe, a fellow deputy governor in Edo state. Jonathan was smuggled across the country, passed from one hand into another until the impeachment was concluded and he was sworn in as governor of Bayelsa state. Along the way, Jonathan got help from people like former Senate leader, Ibrahim Mantu.
I was told this story because I asked one simple question- how did Hassan Tukur become the private secretary of Goodluck Jonathan? I asked the question because if Hassan Tukur had not been the private secretary to Jonathan, if he had not wielded the kind of power he did under Jonathan’s administration, the story of the last seven years would have been different. But more importantly, there is a lesson to be learned from it by today’s Aso Rock occupants- Buhari and Osinbajo.
But first, let me start this story from the beginning. Recently, I spent two evenings with Dr. K, in New York City and Dr. D in Madison, Wisconsin. I am using the names Dr. K and Dr. D because they did not give me permission to share what transpired during our 10-hour meetings.
Just like most Nigerians, I have always suspected that things were worse than I thought, but I have no concrete proof in most cases. I know they are stealing money even as we complain about the stealing that people before them did, but I have never seen the money brought in Ghana-must-go bags and taken into the inner rooms. I know they are visiting shrines, partaking in occultism and shedding blood because when they act, speak or think, I could see that the humanity in them has receded to the remotest part of their brain. But I have not seen them in action, naked in front of statues muttering words devoid of reason.
But I have always known that there are people who have first hand information. Dr. K and Dr. D have.
There are people in Nigeria today who were at the table where the decision was made to annul the June 12, 1993 election. There were people there in Aso Rock when Abacha died and the decision was made about the direction in which to take the country. There were people who came around Abdulsalami Abubakar during the transition to democracy. What that group did, the unreported plunder of the treasure, were known to some.
Then, there were people with Obasanjo for those eight years when the Onyiukes, the Ibrus, the Ovias, the Elumelus, the Dangotes, the Otedolas, the Adenugas, the Danjumas, perfected the plan to share our commonwealth via Transcorp and other white elephant schemes. There were people who observed at close range the Yar’Adua cabals’ attempt to keep the sick president on life support while they milk the country dry. There were people who led Jonathan to the shrines of Marabouts across Africa even as the nation was being sucked dry by vampires in his government. There were people who acted as the intellectuals behind the Buhari presidency project who are now pushed aside and whose counsel are at the mercy of the last two people who talk with the president behind the curtain.
Dr. K. and Dr. D were there in all these situations. They knew what happened. In some cases they were inside the bedrooms of these leaders when some of these decisions were taken. So I found myself asking them all evening if it was true that so so so happened.
Increasingly, Nigerian government officials do not say much when you call them on the phone in Nigeria, even if you granted them anonymity. Apparently they are afraid that Lawal Musa Daura’s DSS is listening to their conversations. But when they come abroad, they open up.
Here are shocking things Dr. K and Dr. D. told me about Nigeria that shook my confidence in the possibility of its redemption.
1. The majority of the people who run the affairs of Nigeria, from the federal to the state, are hollow beings who have sold their souls to the devil and no longer have the things that make us human. They worship so many spirits that the human spirit that regulates things like right or wrong, greed and humility, has exited their bodies. The implication is that hoping to change them by appealing to their conscience is mere waste of time. We need new strategies.
2. The stealing going on in government is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Over 25% of money allotted to ministers and agencies of government are stolen upfront. The greatest thieves of all are permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies.
3. I was of the impression that most governors take an average of N200 million a month as security vote. Dr. K laughed at me and said it was more like a billion. He should know. He was almost a governor.
4. He said if care were not taken, Nigeria, currently on the road to Kigali, would get there faster than we think. That one is the scariest. The growing tensions from all the crises currently playing out from East to West and North to South have generated an undercurrent. The government has underestimated the activities of the raging Fulani herdsmen, but it is creating a tectonic shift that could cause an earthquake as well as a tsunami without any warning.
5. Like Aisha Buhari, Dr. D hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari will change the people around him, especially the last two people he talks to before he makes a decision. They render all the other conversations that the president had prior to that null and void. If that does not happen, the end result of the Buhari effort will not be far from the end result of the Jonathan’s effort.
The common trend now is for people who supported Buhari to apologize for doing so and declare him unfit to govern Nigeria. But that is not the point. Buhari has produced a result just like Jonathan did. The question is what should we do with the result?
The political class who picked Buhari and used him as a vehicle to remain in power are assiduously working to pick another, preferably one more darling for 2019. If we, the people, remain docile in the process, in a few months time we would be presented with two unpalatable alternatives. And like good citizens we will pick one.
The window is closing in on Nigeria. The accumulated iniquities of the past are threatening to overshadow any bright spots in our nation’s life. The people that will be stuck in the fray are the regular people. The ruling class knows this. In private they are preparing for the worst, even when in public they sound very optimistic. Dr. K and Dr. D have seen Nigeria on the edge several times before but they said there is something different this time. They see Nigeria unplugged if in five months time, Buhari’s government fails to reverse today’s narrative.