Rich Thief, Poor Thieves and A Burglary By Emmanuel Ugwu

In recent past, the Igbos had a way of denouncing a steward or guard who committed the treachery of stealing the very thing he was hired to manage or secure. They called him the proverbial dog that ate the bone hung around its neck.

That barbed censure fits the policemen that burgled the Gwarinpa home of President Goodluck Jonathan. They stole the very goods they were charged to protect. They vandalized the property left in their care, emptying it of all transferable valuables.

Police authorities have dismissed four of the six culpable officers following the guilty verdict of an orderly room trial. Sgt Musa Musa, Sgt John Nanpak, Sgt Ogah Audu, and Sgt Gabriel Ugah lost their job for coveting ‘’furniture sets, beds, electronics, toilet and electrical fittings, doors, and frames’’.  

In true Nigerian fashion, the two most senior officers involved in the crime, Inspectors Lengs Satlakau and Usman Wuduki , were not shunted out of their job with same dispatch. The Police say the proceedings of their orderly room trial had been forwarded up the ladder ”for further action”.

Nevertheless, I am shocked that the case of burglary and stealing made it to the public domain. I would never have imagined Jonathan would run to the police to complain that he was robbed. As the head of the government of Nigeria, he seemed to be constitutionally indifferent to stealing.

Jonathan was defiantly apathetic when his kleptomaniac cronies were looting the House of Lugard, under his watch. A sense of outrage appeared to be alien to his nature. It’s ironic that he felt offended when his private house was sacked.

Going by his statement, the looted house was a ‘’modest four-bedroom duplex.’’ It contained small creature comforts.  Not the ‘’36 Plasma television sets and about 25 refrigerators’’ as speculated.  

It’s hard to figure out why he chose to make the trivial evisceration of his house a national headline? Why did he raise hell…like a pauper rendered weightless, in a crowded bus terminal, by a pickpocket?

Ordinarily, President Jonathan should be one of the last Nigerians to cry about being robbed. He ran a crazy kleptocracy. He presided over a stealing orgy whose intensity and reach anti-graft accountants have been unable to ascertain even after two years of labor. He licensed his aides to loot with impunity as though the overarching objective of his administration was to bankrupt Nigeria.

Ex-President Goodluck JonathanWhen Jonathan’s attitude to corruption was interrogated, he answered that he could not stop the plague. He whipped out a dispiriting Barn Theory to rationalize and legitimize the hollowing out of the national treasury by his sidekicks. He postulated that if you put a barn full of yams in the custody of a goat, the goat would violate duty and obey instinct.

Under Jonathan’s watch, $20 billion of Nigerian oil revenue went missing. The Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi, raised the issue with the president. Jonathan fired Sanusi …for daring to blow the whistle.

Under Jonathan’s watch, his Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, stole $6 billion. She bought multimillion dollar properties all over Nigeria and the world. She collected enough jewelry to mold the Golden Calf all over again.

In recognition of her high stealing quotient, Jonathan appointed her the head of the finance committee of his second term bid declaration event.

The lady would later go on to attempt to buy the election. She organized a widespread bribery operation that compromised electoral officials and obligated them to inflate the ballot figures of candidate Jonathan and rig him to victory.

Jonathan made the office of the National Security Adviser an annex of the Peoples Democratic Party. He permitted the funds earmarked for resourcing the fight against Boko Haram to be funneled to his political campaign. This caused the well-armed terrorists to take over a significant part of Nigerian territory and hundreds of Nigerian soldiers to die in the unequal war.

By the end of the election, Jonathan and his gang had raped the economy into a crisis.

After he departed office, his wife, Patience Jonathan, was found to have salted away $15 million in her bank accounts. She claimed that the money was savings dedicated to her medical treatment. The fortune couldn’t be reasonably explained by her inheritance or work history…or a jackpot she has never won.

Further moves by state agencies to understand Mrs. Jonathan’s other curious assets saw her complain of being witch-hunted. She recently petitioned the House of Representatives, alleging ‘’persistent, consistent, unwarranted personal and physical attacks” on her by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other agencies of the federal government. She thought that the security agencies should have left her in peace because she rejoiced in the nickname, ‘’Mama Peace.’’

Her henpecked husband obviously copied her alarmist whining. Goodluck saw the break-in and looting of his house as an opportunity to whip up public sympathy. His ‘leak’ of the burglary to the press was about narcissist victimhood and pity party.

Truth be told, the Jonathan who looted the Nigeria he was elected to govern had no moral right to protest that his private home was spoiled by the policemen assigned to guard it. The policemen merely micro-mirrored the plunder Jonathan perpetrated against Nigeria. He should have been grateful to be served a gracious dose of karma. Those ‘’modest’’ trivia stolen from his home is nothing compared to the staggering portion of the Nigerian patrimony he and his band of looters expropriated.

The policemen who sacked Jonathan’s house are petty thieves. If he felt outraged that they were so unscrupulous as to strip bare a house they were assigned to safeguard, that’s gross self-righteousness. He has no reason to indict people for the same wrongdoing he did on a monumental scale: he looted the treasury the Nigerian people mandated him to administer.

The policemen who abused their trust have been punished with a job loss: it follows that Jonathan, who committed the heinous crime of weaponizing the Nigerian presidency for treasury banditry, should receive a judicial recompense commensurate with his high treason.

Jonathan lived his early life without shoes. He is now a man of wealth. He has many houses. He can replace the stuff stolen from his Gwarinpa address with ease.

Many Nigerians live in reduced circumstances. Jonathan robbed them. He pushed them further below the poverty line.

The poor policemen robbed one rich man. The rich Jonathan robbed one hundred million poor Nigerians. He is the greater thief.

He was relieved of an infinitesimal fragment of his excess possessions. Yet, he was so pained by the loss that he forgot ‘pardon’. The kind he bestowed on the rich thief, his role model, Alamieyeseigha!

Nigerian justice system is rigged against the poor. That’s why the dismissal of the low-ranked rogue policemen was ”immediate” and that of the senior policemen is imminent.

And the punishment of Jonathan will forever be impossible.

 immaugwu@gmail.com

@EmmaUgwuTheMan 

Jonathan And The Uniformed Burglars By SOC Okenwa

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ), remains a big man with multiple problems and scandals. Ever since his historic defeat at the presidential election of 2015 he has been in the news for (mostly) bad reasons. For one, his stewardship in power for close to six giddy years was nothing to write home about. For another, when one considers ‘Dasukigate’ and ‘Diezanigate’ we come to the conclusion that GEJ did more damage to the system than one could have ever imagined. The incarcerated Sambo Dasuki, his ex-National Security Adviser (NSA) had distributed millions of Dollars criminally (funds meant to procure arms and ammunitions for the army waging war against Boko Haram) to cronies and political leeches — whoever was engaged or involved in the ill-fated GEJ re-election bid was handsomely rewarded by the generous son of the late deposed ex-Sultan of Sokoto. Alas after throwing millions of Dollars and billions of Naira into the presidential project it was lost soundly as the APC opposition coalition triumphed in grand style producing the ailing President Muhammadu Buhari.

The fugitive Jezebel, Diezani Allison-Madueke, the former Petroleum Resources super-Minister, had the ears of the failed President having conquered his libido! She became untouchable and stole billions of Dollars with GEJ incapable of calling her to order. Diezani was monumentally corrupt both morally and sexually and GEJ was found to be under her amorous ‘spell’! Regrettably, the scarce resources of the state that should have served other developmental purposes were diverted and squandered ‘servicing’ executive sexual indulgences. What a connubial presidency!

Today, Jonathan is one ex-President whose inability to account for his stewardship is as comparable as asking the late Idi Amin of Uganda how he managed to turn the east African ‘Musevenied’ country into a jungle where anything went. Or the late Mobutu Sese-Seko of how he became richer than the entire former Zaire and now DRC Or better still, the late bloody dictator, Gnassingbe Eyadema, of how Lome became a developing town during his decades in power, a glorified city where the importation and selling of ‘Tokunbo’ vehicles became the only viable economic venture that yielded revenue to the state!

Goodluck Jonathan is a Nigerian presidential tragedy. His cluelessness is as broadly defined as his aloofness, his mediocrity! But the Aremu of Ota, the erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo, bears certain responsibility for pushing GEJ indirectly to Aso Villa. The Ota veteran farmer must have had his reasons for doing what he did but the Nigerian national interest was not served by such imposition devoid of class. In any nation where merit or competence is sacrificed on the altar of godfatherism then such society is bound to experience developmental retardation akin to ours.

Recent reports online had it that the Abuja home of the former President Jonathan was burgled with everything stolen! But the burglary was reported to be a ‘special’ operation involving insiders, the mobile policemen stationed there and charged with providing security for the imposing property. The uniformed thieves simply went inside the house and helped themselves raking in millions of Naira in the process. The theft began since last year according to the report culminating in the ‘cleaning’ of whatever valuable a property that was found within. These included scores of plasma televisions, expensive suits with name of GEJ imprinted on them, traditional Ijaw clothes, exorbitant women wrappers, executive furniture, fridges, air-conditioners etc. 

Those behind the theft were arrested after an alarm went out and GEJ himself came calling and discovering the systematic dispossession of what could probably be said to have been gift items donated to him by political contractors during his tragic reign as President. He reportedly informed the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris and the top cop immediately ordered his boys to fish out the culprits. The three or four security men attached to the house were promptly arrested and detained. The ‘kparawos’ are still cooling their heels in a police detention facility awaiting a date with a judge. Breaking news had it that they have been dismissed from the force after a trial that found them guilty.

But the question raised by this bizarre incident and the swift action of the police in apprehending the uniformed burglars is this: If the Abuja property were to have been owned by an ordinary Nigerian without police connections would Idris have swung into action in record time and speed? The major problem with policing in Nigeria is that a whole lot of crooks abound within and abuse the system by abusing their uniforms and/or commissions. They treat ordinary Nigerians with disdain and produce poor performance professionally. Many are content with abusing motorists and taking bribes in broad daylight. 

For others still, their meagre salaries are inadequate leading inexorably to the abuse of the corrupt system with impunity. Some frustrated ones among them aid and abet crimes by hiring out their uniforms or even guns to criminals! Others never saw anything wrong engaging in armed robbery, oil bunkering or even terrorism. Abubakar Shekau is audacious and boastfully arrogant because he must have had some informants in the system supplying him with classified information and even ammunitions! That is probably why today Shekau and his gang of marauders continue to torment villages and towns up north meeting little or no resistance. 

They violently rob, rape, kill, burn down houses and abduct anyone at will! The much-vaunted claim by the federal government that Boko Haram had been defeated “technically” has somewhat become mendaciously obsolete. As long as Shekau (the green snake living dangerously) is not caged with his head bruised or better still chopped off the battle against the terrorist organization he leads would be a military (mis)adventure without end. 

Following the celebrated capture of the notorious kidnapping kingpin, Evans, in Lagos a few months ago it was revealed that his military collaborator, one Victor Chukwunonso, had been apprehended and was helping the police with their investigations. The bad egg in the system made huge fortunes providing cover, information and even personally assisting Evans in his nefarious activity. And when the late Lawrence Anini alias the Law, the dare-devil Oliver Twist-like armed robber, was nabbed and charged to court many years ago in Benin City he had shocked not a few by naming one George Iyamu, a senior police officer, as his point-man, nay hitman, in the police. The late convicted Iyamu gave out vital pieces of information, arms and ammunitions to Anini and his gang as they went about town terrorising banks and citizens!

IGP Idris has a huge task ahead of him given the rot in the system. That the police central command he heads is in dire need of a radical reform is an understatement. There are a lot of criminals inside the force daily denting the image of the police, an image that was at best dented already over time. Idris cannot, in good conscience, claim ignorant of this odious fact. Therefore, he urgently needs to get cracking by undertaking a holistic overhaul, nay restructuring, of the police in tune with the best standard global practices. Otherwise, the situation would remain ever hopeless!

The uniformed burglars that broke into GEJ’s compound in Abuja (that they ordinarily should be protecting) were just exhibiting the typical Nigerian malady of cupidity and indiscipline. They must have felt that by gaining access into the edifice perhaps they would stumble on ‘abandoned’ safe box filled to the brim with foreign currencies. They knew that the EFCC had not too long ago stormed a residential apartment in Ikoyi Lagos and serendipitously discovered staggering millions of Dollars! They must have read in the newspapers or read online about the millions and billions in some bank accounts the EFCC and Dame Patience Jonathan are still fighting over! They must have heard about how politicians now hide their loots in pit latrines, ceilings, water tanks and elsewhere in their grandmother’s homes! They knew, for sure, about the two ‘gates’ that chiefly defined GEJism in terms of heist.

Corruption has effortlessly affected every sector in Nigeria. Stealing whatever is found belonging to the public has since become a hobby for workers and government functionaries at state and federal levels of government. The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was right when he recently declared that when it came to stealing the resources of state the divisive issues of the region, religion or tribe did not always matter. He had said this while delivering a lecture. According to him:”There is complete unity in this business of stealing”. Can anyone afford to disagree with him?

 

SOC Okenwa
soco_abj_2006_rci@hotmail.fr

What is wrong with our president? By Umar Sa’ad Hassan

The rumour mill has been agog with stories that President Buhari could be returning to the country any time soon. This is coming shortly after photos of him with some visiting governors were greeted with wild excitement by his supporters. On the other hand, there couldn’t be a more rueful time for the patriotic Nigerian who places the nation first. That Nigerian is more concerned with the unanswered question: What exactly is President Buhari suffering from? Over the last week, that Nigerian has had to contend with imbecilic comments about how Buhari is overcoming death and how those who have dared to ask questions will die in his place.

We already know his medical costs are expensive enough to be tagged a “matter of national security” by Lai Mohammed, the minister of information. The same Lai Mohammed who demanded daily updates on the late President Yar’Adua’s health from the ministry of information when he was receiving treatment abroad. The country reportedly pays as much as £4,000 daily for the presidential plane parked in London while £1,000 per day is been bandied around as the official sum and even at that rate, we have spent over N43 million on just having a plane ready for him alone.

While the nature of the President’s ailment is serious enough to be kept secret, it bothers the true Nigerian with the best interests of his nation at heart whether he is coming back to stay indoors, sit out FEC meetings and take pictures with files in his office in an attempt to hoodwink us before heading back to his doctors or if he is coming back to face the rigorous job we voted him to do.

His performance while on seat has been lacklustre at best and it baffles me why anyone would overlook the extra burden we have had to contend with. The man simply isn’t fit to be in office.

I still can’t seem to get my head around how a man would plunge his people into hunger,run the country to the brink of disintegration, have them cover his medical expenses and yet return home to a thunderous ovation.

Our number one priority when and If he does get back is to have him disclose to us what he is suffering from. If he conveniently justified his incessant trips abroad in the early days of his administration with claims that he was courting foreign aid and investments, then it is important to know not only if he is going to be around, but also strong enough to do things as “important” as that.

If the federal government thinks medical costs are “matters of national security”, then it would be sheer madness to classify the nature of Buhari’s ailment as such. We need to know in emphatic terms, not only if he is capable of carrying out his duties but also exactly what we are spending our money on. No one expects him to resign any more like he once said he would if he fell very ill because of the luxury of having to treat himself with taxpayers money.

A medical report surfaced online before the 2015 presidential election indicating President Buhari was battling prostrate cancer and some of his photos, especially ones taken since his last return have shown vivid signs of a man undergoing chemotherapy. But all these have stayed in the realm of speculation, we need to be told unequivocally exactly what our ailing president is suffering from.

Follow us on twitter @thecableng

​President is Holding The Country To Ransom By Samson Toromade

President Buhari has been out of work for 115 days out of the 191 days in 2017 alone.

If I was away from work for 64 days, I’d most probably be unemployed.

The duly elected president of the country, Muhammadu Buhari , has been away from the country since May 7, after departing to London for his second medical leave of the year.

Nobody knows what is wrong with the president. Nobody knows where the president really is. Or if he’ll ever be fit enough to resume his duties.

A conspiracy of silence has been woven around the president’s state of health that it’s hard to ignore rumours that it is a dire one.

Recently, Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose , never one to shy away from unguarded remarks, declared that the president has been on a life support machine since June 6.

This spurious claim is just another in a long line of unsubstantiated narratives surrounding the president’s actual state of health.

At some point, the rumour mill was spinning tales about how the president was already dead.

It’s hard to knock out these claims because, with its deafening silence, the president’s team has created a blank canvas for anyone to paint any story.

Ever since the president of the country has holed up in London, he’s had a single direct interaction with the ‘Nigerian’ people: an audio recording that addressed the

Eid-el Fitr celebration by the country’s Muslim population.

This was a problem for a whole lot of reasons.

Only days prior to the emergence of that tape, Sahara Reporters had claimed that the president had suffered from a speech impairment.

If we pretend for a second that this is a nation that doesn’t function abnormally, this is clearly a claim that, if true, could constitutionally render Buhari incompetent to ever resume his duties as president.

So when an audio recording of the president emerged only days later, it was clearly desperately exploiting the occasion to indirectly redirect the discourse, which it did, albeit, poorly.

The dubiousness of the tape aside, Buhari addressed the country on the theme of unity while he spoke exclusively in Hausa, a language that automatically alienates half of the country’s population that isn’t the president’s kin.

This was another powder keg that set tongues wagging at the president’s insensitivity to the Nigerian population, and it is surprising that the tape went through more than one person on the president’s team without a single one saying, “Hey guys, maybe we should take a minute to talk about this.”

The woeful execution of that tape is just another in the president’s long history of throwing distractions into the wind since he was sworn in.

It was recently claimed that the presidential aircraft parked in London to serve the ‘ailing’ president was raking up an outrageous bill for the country’s pocket and constituted wasteful spending on the president’s part.

Just the next day, the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu , released a statement saying it only cost a fraction of the figure being bandied about and asked that rumour mongers stop being mischievous with the truth.

This writer understands how (some) presidential protocols work and agrees that no matter what it costs, the commander in chief of any country commands that sort privilege for very obvious reasons. That’s not the problem here.

What’s worrisome here is that Buhari’s team decided to reply to this, at best, social media distraction above many other significant issues. This is the same as the audio being a response to claims of the president suffering from speech impairment.

The president’s team can’t seem to be able to allow accusations against the president’s integrity or his health status lie.

However, they have questionably dodged the most important issue of all; what is up with the president’s health.

Buhari’s team has doused every fire that’s come near him since May 7, it stands out that the only one they have neglected to answer is the one that informs the Nigerian people about what exactly is wrong with the president.

Will they be triggered enough to respond to allegations of the president’s perceived wastefulness? Yes.

Will they craftily, and poorly, respond to allegations of the president losing his ability to speak properly? Yes.

But will they be bothered enough to provide a proper insight into what is the actual problem with the president? LOL.

It appears the reason behind this refusal is they believe since Buhari temporarily transferred power to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo , his campaign promise of transparency is suddenly on pause.

When Buhari was elected President of the country, it wasn’t because he was the best person this country could produce to drive it away from Goodluck Jonathan ‘s chaotic administration; Buhari was elected because he was the most realistic candidate to exploit the country’s ethnically-tainted climate and defeat the incumbent at the time.

This is why, when the opposition came around with claims about Buhari’s poor health, nobody listened.

Not because we didn’t believe it or already know it ourselves, but because we were hopeful and ready to gamble on him anyway because the electorate needed to send a clear message at the time.

That our gamble hasn’t paid off is not necessarily something to regret, but it’s hurtful that Buhari’s team is deliberately sidestepping history here and making the same mistakes over and again.

This ill absent president situation undoubtedly draws parallel to late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua ‘s very similar situation that ended in tragedy only seven years ago.

And what makes this particular one even more duplicitous and hypocritical is that President Buhari was one of the most vocal critics at the time, demanding that Yar’adua make his health issues public or vacate the presidency. Life comes at you fast.

The president is 72, no one realistically expected him to be the paragon of complete health; but honesty on his condition would be a nice gesture, if not a presidential protocol.

Even though the handling of this situation, especially with the transfer of power, has been better than Yar’adua’s situation was, it is still not a good spot for the country to be trapped in.

The president has been out of work for 115 days out of the 191 days in 2017. That’s an attendance record no school student will show their parents at home without expecting to be spanked.

The truth is, despite the impressive work that Osinbajo has done in his stint as Acting President, the looming shadow of Buhari is a dark cloud hanging over the progress of the country.

And while the Senate busies itself with idle talks and petty squabbling with the presidency over what power it wields, the average Nigerian wants to log out of this unbearably docile matrix.

The next time, if ever, the president is thinking about recording a voice note, he might want to update us on what the state of his health is.

And this time, maybe do it in a language we all understand.

​President is Holding The Country To Ransom By Samson Toromade

President Buhari has been out of work for 115 days out of the 191 days in 2017 alone.

If I was away from work for 64 days, I’d most probably be unemployed.

The duly elected president of the country, Muhammadu Buhari , has been away from the country since May 7, after departing to London for his second medical leave of the year.

Nobody knows what is wrong with the president. Nobody knows where the president really is. Or if he’ll ever be fit enough to resume his duties.

A conspiracy of silence has been woven around the president’s state of health that it’s hard to ignore rumours that it is a dire one.

Recently, Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose , never one to shy away from unguarded remarks, declared that the president has been on a life support machine since June 6.

This spurious claim is just another in a long line of unsubstantiated narratives surrounding the president’s actual state of health.

At some point, the rumour mill was spinning tales about how the president was already dead.

It’s hard to knock out these claims because, with its deafening silence, the president’s team has created a blank canvas for anyone to paint any story.

Ever since the president of the country has holed up in London, he’s had a single direct interaction with the ‘Nigerian’ people: an audio recording that addressed the

Eid-el Fitr celebration by the country’s Muslim population.

This was a problem for a whole lot of reasons.

Only days prior to the emergence of that tape, Sahara Reporters had claimed that the president had suffered from a speech impairment.

If we pretend for a second that this is a nation that doesn’t function abnormally, this is clearly a claim that, if true, could constitutionally render Buhari incompetent to ever resume his duties as president.

So when an audio recording of the president emerged only days later, it was clearly desperately exploiting the occasion to indirectly redirect the discourse, which it did, albeit, poorly.

The dubiousness of the tape aside, Buhari addressed the country on the theme of unity while he spoke exclusively in Hausa, a language that automatically alienates half of the country’s population that isn’t the president’s kin.

This was another powder keg that set tongues wagging at the president’s insensitivity to the Nigerian population, and it is surprising that the tape went through more than one person on the president’s team without a single one saying, “Hey guys, maybe we should take a minute to talk about this.”

The woeful execution of that tape is just another in the president’s long history of throwing distractions into the wind since he was sworn in.

It was recently claimed that the presidential aircraft parked in London to serve the ‘ailing’ president was raking up an outrageous bill for the country’s pocket and constituted wasteful spending on the president’s part.

Just the next day, the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu , released a statement saying it only cost a fraction of the figure being bandied about and asked that rumour mongers stop being mischievous with the truth.

This writer understands how (some) presidential protocols work and agrees that no matter what it costs, the commander in chief of any country commands that sort privilege for very obvious reasons. That’s not the problem here.

What’s worrisome here is that Buhari’s team decided to reply to this, at best, social media distraction above many other significant issues. This is the same as the audio being a response to claims of the president suffering from speech impairment.

The president’s team can’t seem to be able to allow accusations against the president’s integrity or his health status lie.

However, they have questionably dodged the most important issue of all; what is up with the president’s health.

Buhari’s team has doused every fire that’s come near him since May 7, it stands out that the only one they have neglected to answer is the one that informs the Nigerian people about what exactly is wrong with the president.

Will they be triggered enough to respond to allegations of the president’s perceived wastefulness? Yes.

Will they craftily, and poorly, respond to allegations of the president losing his ability to speak properly? Yes.

But will they be bothered enough to provide a proper insight into what is the actual problem with the president? LOL.

It appears the reason behind this refusal is they believe since Buhari temporarily transferred power to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo , his campaign promise of transparency is suddenly on pause.

When Buhari was elected President of the country, it wasn’t because he was the best person this country could produce to drive it away from Goodluck Jonathan ‘s chaotic administration; Buhari was elected because he was the most realistic candidate to exploit the country’s ethnically-tainted climate and defeat the incumbent at the time.

This is why, when the opposition came around with claims about Buhari’s poor health, nobody listened.

Not because we didn’t believe it or already know it ourselves, but because we were hopeful and ready to gamble on him anyway because the electorate needed to send a clear message at the time.

That our gamble hasn’t paid off is not necessarily something to regret, but it’s hurtful that Buhari’s team is deliberately sidestepping history here and making the same mistakes over and again.

This ill absent president situation undoubtedly draws parallel to late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua ‘s very similar situation that ended in tragedy only seven years ago.

And what makes this particular one even more duplicitous and hypocritical is that President Buhari was one of the most vocal critics at the time, demanding that Yar’adua make his health issues public or vacate the presidency. Life comes at you fast.

The president is 72, no one realistically expected him to be the paragon of complete health; but honesty on his condition would be a nice gesture, if not a presidential protocol.

Even though the handling of this situation, especially with the transfer of power, has been better than Yar’adua’s situation was, it is still not a good spot for the country to be trapped in.

The president has been out of work for 115 days out of the 191 days in 2017. That’s an attendance record no school student will show their parents at home without expecting to be spanked.

The truth is, despite the impressive work that Osinbajo has done in his stint as Acting President, the looming shadow of Buhari is a dark cloud hanging over the progress of the country.

And while the Senate busies itself with idle talks and petty squabbling with the presidency over what power it wields, the average Nigerian wants to log out of this unbearably docile matrix.

The next time, if ever, the president is thinking about recording a voice note, he might want to update us on what the state of his health is.

And this time, maybe do it in a language we all understand.

​(In) Justice In Our Penal System: Evans Vs Corrupt Public Servants By Abiodun Ladepo

Without one of those spoilt, narcissistic Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) who specialize in advocating for white-collar criminals standing by him, Chukwudumeje George Onwuamadike, also known as the celebrity kidnapper Evans, narrated to the media how he kidnapped people. We got to know the entire modus operandi. I bet you, given enough time, he will tell us more…everything from how he selected his targets, to how he studied their lifestyles, how he selected the dates and times for the kidnap operations, reconnoitering and selecting the intended routes, recruiting the right accomplices for the operations, deciding what types of weapons, modes of transportation and signs and signals he shared with his crew for whether to proceed with or abort operations.

Given enough time, Evans will tell us what post-operation meetings (After-Action Review?) looked like. Did they burn vehicles used in the operations? Did they shut off or throw away all the phones they had with them? Did anybody get wounded? Did anybody die? What were the health conditions of the victims? How much were the victims really worth? How were the ransoms collected? What were the sharing formulas? And how were the monies kept or spent without triggering suspicion in the community?

Evans would tell you all these not because he has suddenly been overwhelmed by a sense of contrition, or that the Holy Ghost has taken control of his dark heart and lodged there to cleanse it, or simply out of the goodness of his heart. He has been singing like a canary and will continue to sing like that because he has undergone (and is probably still undergoing) some of the most “creative” interrogation techniques in the whole world. No, I do not know for sure if that went on, or is going on. I just know, by taking a close look at his face, seeing his bloodshot eyes, his swollen red face and overall countenance, that he has faced the kind of interrogation techniques that Musiliu Obanikoro, for instance, did not face while being questioned for alleged corruption.

You probably know a thing or two about “creative” interrogation techniques…those that violate some of the articles of the Geneva Convention to which Nigeria has long been a signatory; those that could cause a country to be seen as a pariah by the rest of the civilized world, and bring the government official violators before the International Court of Justice at The Hague for human rights violations. The “good” thing about those kinds of interrogation techniques is that they make you confess fast and deep. You may even confess to crimes you did not commit!

Now, let me state without any equivocation that I do not think Evans has confessed to crimes he did not commit. In fact, he has confessed and given us proof of his sadistic crimes. There is no question Evans is one of the most depraved and despicable entities to have walked the face of this earth. There is no question he put innocent people through untold anguish by depriving wives of their husbands, children of their fathers; siblings of their siblings and friends of their friends. There is no doubt he robbed people of their hard-earned incomes and stripped them of their dignities in the most heartless and brutal ways, killing some in the process of snatching them against their will. And there is no question the man belongs in a fiery furnace, thrown in there while still alive, and left to immolate until his ashes are completely burnt too.

But just as Evans represents the worst kinds of human beings, so do some of our public servants represent the dregs of our society. The difference though is that rather than vilify the white-collar criminals like we are doing to Evans now, we celebrate them. We rankadede them when they show up in our communities in their bedecked clothes and accouterments. We trot after their sleek SUVs. We hold them in awe, drooling with admiration when their private jets land at our airports. We troop to their mansions to eat the crumbs off their tables. We never challenge them for the crimes they have committed against us…crimes with far more devastating and lasting consequences on us as a nation and as individuals. We can’t challenge them because we can never know with the kind of clarity, lucidity, and forthrightness (albeit forced) that Evans confessed to his sins. We can never know because we will never subject them to “creative” interrogation techniques.

Or will we ever strip Bukola Saraki naked; slap tight handcuffs on his hands, clasp leg-chains on him, and deny him sunlight, food, water, shelter from cold, shelter from heat, shelter from mosquitos? Will we ever subject him to marathon questioning where we get to change interrogators to give them a break but not give him any break in order to sustain weeks-long sessions and any time he dozes off, we beat the living crap out of him? Will we ever introduce a flaming rod to his private part? Will we ever introduce a hammer to his fingers and toes? Will we ever simulate drowning him? Will we ever do any of the above to him while questioning him about the allegations he faces?

When you took a look at Sambo Dasuki’s face, did you see any evidence of “creative” investigation techniques? What about that of Rabiu Kwankwaso? What about Alex Badeh’s face? What about Femi Fani-Kayode’s face? What about Stella Oduah’s face? What about Patience Jonathan’s? What about Adesola Amosu’s? And these are people against whom some of the most “fantastic” corruption allegations in the history of Nigeria have been made. Some of them have never even been arrested, let alone interrogated. Some of them have admitted to stealing (way more than Evans has stolen violently) and have started to return their loot to a government. But we don’t see them as terrible people in the same way we see Evans, even though they may have hurt our very beings beyond repair if some of the crimes against them are ever proven to be true.

Hundreds of women die monthly during childbirth because hospitals do not have the equipment to monitor their and their babies conditions, with funds meant for equipping the hospitals having been embezzled by public servants. We don’t see that as worse than what Evans did because we have not subjected the public servants to the process of atonement, the kind that Evans faced. Boko Haram successfully carved out a “country” for itself in Nigeria’s northeast, butchering thousands of innocent and poor civilians, kidnapping and raping hundreds of young school girls and Nigeria’s military could not defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity because some eminent Nigerians diverted to their pockets funds meant to arm the military. We don’t see that as a crime worthy of the kind of burn-in-a-ferocious-furnace punishment that I recommend above for Evans?

What about those death traps we call roads? What about those coffins we fly as aircraft…with funds for their maintenance having been cornered by the politicians we eulogize? What about our children’s future being taken from them when tertiary education has been priced out of their reaches?

The list is endless. We see and feel every day the litany of crimes committed against our humanity by the people we revere, trust and respect. But we have inoculated ourselves against the sense of justice, proportion and fairness in apportioning punishment to the point that we lynch a hungry man who steals a loaf of bread while saluting the public servant who steals our billions. We subject to public opprobrium and humiliation the common criminal while 50-plus Senators, 100-plus SANs, shameless media advisers, pliant prosecutors who intentionally sabotage their own cases and morally debased judges all conspire to free the highly-placed criminals. The war against corruption will fail unless we have a level playing field…the kind of field on which we played Evans; the kind of playing field that will serve as deterrence for our super-corrupt public servants.

Abiodun Ladepo

Ibadan, Oyo State

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

​2019 And The Legend Of Buhari On A Wheelchair By Emmanuel Ugwu

Considering President Muhammadu Buhari’s struggle an unremitting debilitating disease which has kept him out of his office and country indefinitely, should the 74-year -old be on the ballot in 2019?

In an ideal world, this is a non-question. The proposition carries the unmistakable undertones of callousness and mischief. For the obvious reason that President Buhari has been in a protracted state of incapacitation, it is inhuman to speculate in his electability as if he were some blue chip stock.

A certain ‘supporter’ of the president, however, responded as if the question was about a larger-than-life cult figure in a banana republic. Yes, Buhari must run for a second term. The North wants him to run ‘’even on the wheelchair.’’

The doctrinaire Buharist borrowed his response from Mrs. Grace Mugabe. Asked whether her nonagenarian husband would seek to extend his 30-year-old rule over the-food-basket-of-Africa-turned-basket-case-of-the-continent in the next presidential election, the first lady of Zimbabwe replied that her husband, Robert Mugabe, would run by all means, even if he was wheelchair-bound. (The vixen would later venture to promise that if he happened to die before the elections, he would be fielded as a ghost candidate!)

Now, it must be noted that ableism is absolutely unjustifiable. It violates the basic decencies of a civilized society. Physical disability does not diminish a man’s personhood and the physically challenged among us are entitled to the same rights, respect and opportunities enjoyed by all law-abiding members of society.

But Buhari’s re-election candidacy should be out of the question. And this has nothing to do with ableism. It has everything to do with his readiness and fitness to execute the office. So far, the unnamed ailment he suffers from has overwhelmed him to the point of being his preoccupation. The survivalist quest for recovery has rendered him unavailable to lead. Therefore, it goes without saying that he cannot be re-elected to carry on as a foreign-based, absentee president.

It is within the realm of possibility that Buhari can make a stunning health comeback. But he is no spring chicken. The reality of his age and the seriousness of his condition mean that the odds are stacked against him.

With the best medical treatment in the world and the blank check of a compassionate leave, he is still unable to bounce back in quick time. This fact suggests that his recovery is in the lap of the gods and that it is safe to regard him as a will-o’-the-wisp.

Wisdom acknowledges a present truth and constructively adapts to it. The truth of the moment, which only an ostrich’s playmate can miss, is that Buhari cannot be trusted to provide leadership at the highest level in Nigeria. Wisdom whispers that it is foolishness to plan the future around a sick, aging man with an uncertain prospect of recovery.

Let’s face it: Buhari has had his day. At the best of times, he was unable to stamp his interpretation on the role of the president. He dissipated his head of steam on hesitancy and squandered the goodwill he needed to push his agenda. With the best of will in the world, he cannot make a more effective leader out of himself now or in the future.

His sickness has tremendously weakened him as the head of the government of Nigeria and as a person. His ill-health has created the dynamic of codependency between him and his inner circle. He uses them as fig leaf for his privacy and they exploit their proximity to him to prosper as the dead hand of a privileged cabal.

In his absence, ‘Acting President’ Yemi Osinbajo has found himself working to earn brownie points for loyalty. Osinbajo flinches from taking assertive steps. He acts timid to stave off charges of ambition, instead opting to play the underling who ‘regrets’ having to hold down the fort.

He would travel to Katsina and introduce himself to the president’s kinsmen as Buhari’s son. He would not sign the budget until the cabal in London telegraphed permission in the name of the boss. He cannot inaugurate newly confirmed ministers. He cannot deal with the rampaging headhunters. He cannot move against the demented Northern youths threatening to destroy 44 trillion naira Igbo investment in the North. He cannot go beyond the brief to ‘coordinate the affairs of the nation.’

The absent president/acting president arrangement is an awkward and inconvenient theatre. It offshored power and left a well behaved figure head to maintain semblance of constitutional order. The entire administration has, however, shrunk to Osibanjo trying to impress with his loyalty to his principal. Aisha returned from London the other day to thank him for dimming his light while the master was away!

This state of affairs is not what the presidency is for. Sadly, it is most likely to persist in a second Buhari term. President Buhari has to admit that he has had his day. If he manages to weather this tenure, he should be grateful enough to retire. He needs to relieve his frame of the crushing burden of the presidency and to release the nation to progress beyond his infirmity. He needs to experience as much of the lightness of insouciance as the earth can allow.

Buhari needs to head home, whether he winds up on ‘Mugabe’s wheelchair’ or walks on his two legs before 2019. He should not contest in the 2019 elections. He lacks what it takes to run a viable presidential campaign, and more importantly, what it takes to run a country.

Subjecting himself to another campaign is a high risk bet. The rigors of another campaign will exhaust him, drain him and put his very fragile health at the mercy of chance.

I recognize that the shrine of power is never empty of sycophants. Every head of state we have had had an (un)critical mass of flatterers that took on the mission of spreading the gospel that the man of the moment was the only citizen competent to rule Nigeria. Abacha’s people said it of him. Obasanjo’s people said it of him. Jonathan’s people said it of him. And Buhari’s people are saying it of him.

The chairman of All Progressive Congress, John Odigie Oyegun, says the presidential ticket of the party is already spoken for. Buhari will have an automatic ticket. There will be no contest for presidential candidacy.

The president’s spokesman boasts that Buhari’s second term is a foregone conclusion. He has won in advance. He is invincible.

All of this sounds familiar. It is the sort of prideful thinking and arrogant talk that prefaced Jonathan’s doom. Buhari will experience a similar ruin if he permits himself to be suckered into buying the lie of his own invincibility.

He might be well thought of in the North. But the South is not as enamored of him. The wider electorate will not embrace him again without demur.

Buhari’s supporters often wheel out the degradation of Boko Haram and the fight against corruption as his notable achievements that qualify him for re-election. But whatever reduction in bloodshed that was achieved by the diminishing of the capacity of the terrorists to kill and hold territory in the North is being overcompensated for by the bloodsport of the ‘Fulani herdsmen’ in other parts of Nigeria. He has declined to apply state force against them because blood is thicker than water.

His fight against corruption has been discredited by the corruption of his closest aides and his hypocritical intervention as their human shield. He ‘cleared’ Tukur Buratai when the Dubai properties of the modest-salaried Chief of Army Staff were exposed. Buhari also wrote to clear Babachir Lawal after the SGF’s grass-cutting scam blew open. The enlightened demographic notes the double standard of in lavishing deodorant on your corrupt friends and spraying pesticide on your corrupt foes.

The economic recession, caused by a combination of the legacy of greed of the Jonathan administration and the chaotic mismanagement of the fundamentals of the economy by the Buhari administration, has caused countless job losses, spiked hunger and spread misery all over Nigeria. Many Nigerians are worse off today than they were before he took office. And their next vote will reflect their discontent.

The 2019 elections will be a referendum on Buhari and the ‘Change’ mantra of the APC. He is almost certain to lose if he stands. Any Trumpian character that taps into the anger in the land will defeat him.

The idea that the worst of Buhari is better than the best of anyone else is ridiculous. This country of 175 million people has a sprinkling of younger, visionary individuals who can do governance infinitely better than Buhari. Nigeria is not so poor in humanity that only a frail Buhari is qualified to be president.

The last thing Nigeria needs is a president that cannot function. We need an energetic president. A virile president with smart ideas.

And the North needs that kind of president even more. The North is the backwater of Nigeria and seems fated to remain so for the foreseeable future. All that Northerners have benefited from the long rule of their ‘brothers’ is the vicarious feeling of being in power, worsening poverty and burgeoning out-of-school-kids population.

The North may want ‘Buhari on the wheelchair’. But they need a strong president. They need a stronger president more than the other half of the country.

You can reach Emmanuel at immaugwu@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EmmaUgwuTheMan