Image: The author, Sunny Chris Okenwa
Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian literary legend, has just released his latest book in which he dealt with many lies and liars that inhabit the geographical entity called Nigeria. Entitled “InterInventions… The Republic Of Liars”…the Nobel Laureate took on the executive reprobates like the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Governor of Ogun State Gbenga Daniel, the former Governor of Osun State Olagunsoye Oyinlola and others in a red-hot book he described as his ‘nastiest’ thus far — one deliberately intended to ‘draw blood’ from the perfidious system and settle certain scores in all veracity.
Knowing ‘Kongi’ for whom he is (an intrepid social crusader), one in his prolific literary best who fought the incontinental kleptocratic dictators like Ibrahim Babangida and the late Sani Abacha during their combined military years of the Locust it, is not surprising, therefore, to see him still standing tall, even as an indefatigable Octogenarian, tearing down the walls of half-truths and outright mendacity in a country where perjury, lies, impunity and corruption are generally seen as a way of life.
The spirit behind “InterInventions” could be said to have motivated this intervention. In the republic of liars as ours, a Lugardian geographical space where more than 300 million souls of diverse ethnic and cultural heritage co-habit uneasily with many living in a ‘cage’ like glorified animals nonsense must not be allowed to prevail over sense! Our daily struggle should be to make Nigeria better, for her to be united and for peace to reign among her wonderful people.
Let us, ladies and gentlemen, for purposes of emphasis and reverence, nominate ‘Baba’ OBJ as the de-facto head of this republic brimming with politicians and dealers who are lovers of money and haters of the motherland — mischief-makers who mostly thrive in an environment of politico-economic chaos. Here is a man who but for the military institution and the modest education it offered should have ended up becoming a back-street auto mechanic or better still, a motor-park tout somewhere in Ota or Abeokuta. A man blessed by providence twice to provide leadership as Head of state. But sadly in him one finds traces of mischief, mendacity, and crooked politics as ingredients of statecraft.
It took the brutal killing of Gen. Murtala Mohammed in the 70’s for Obasanjo to keep a great date with his destiny by becoming a reluctant Head of state. In 1979 he handed over power to an ill prepared Shagari under whom reprobates like Umaru Dikko criminally prospered and became fugitives. Again it took the apple-eating demise of Gen Abacha in the late 90’s for the Owu Chief to keep another epochal date with history. After tasting the Abacha gulag he came out emaciated, financially broke and physically and psychologically broken. But the beckoning greatness was abused by the Ota farmer blinded by greed, graft, grandstanding and vindictiveness. Alas the destined statesmanship was jettisoned for petty politics, mischief and personality cult.
Goodluck Jonathan was made presidentially by Obasanjo’s crafty manipulative tendencies in power. But upon reaching the highest office in the land the Ijaw-man soon found himself marooned by forces he could not control. And faced with the complex presidential responsibility GEJ was found wanting on many fronts: incompetent, aloof and corruption-friendly. Under his watch corruption flourished beyond control as mistresses like Diezani Allison-Madueke bled the economy dry by siphoning billions of dollars with other criminal elements in Niger Delta engaging in mind-boggling oil bunkering and outright sabotaging of the oil and gas sector. In a connubial presidency as it were the ex-Petroleum Resources Minister under GEJ was untouchable even against the groundswell of public opinion asking for her removal from the ministry. She held forte enriching herself and her cronies to the detriment of the nation. And Jonathan kept quiet refusing every call for her ouster from the system.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan failed woefully as a President because he wrongly thought his name had brought him good fortunes. Again his presidency was muddled up because he was not sufficiently prepared for the task that was obviously beyond his comprehension. Many around him exploited the system because the head was not good enough! His perceived weakness stemmed from his humble background and lack of experience in the murky Nigerian political circles. He failed because he probably thought that God was for him alone! And that whatever he asked of Him would be granted on a platter of gold as exemplified by his sudden rise to the pinnacle of power following the demise of Umaru Yar’Adua. But the truth is that God answers prayers of a Buhari as He does to that of a Jonathan or any other person as the case may be. Being an indiscriminate Omnipotent immortal He dispenses justice and fairness to all and sundry without bias!
Welcome, folks, to the republic of reprobates. A republic where the likes of ‘Governor’ Ayo Fayose is running his mouth even against the background of ‘Ekitigate’! How can a decent nation allow an alleged murderer, a looter and executive thug in the first instance to contest another gubernatorial election when we all know how Fayose finished his last mandate under OBJ? Now that it has been established that the PDP rigging machinery was at work during the Ekiti guber polls leading to the inglorious ‘defeat’ of Dr Kayode Fayemi why has the new APC federal order not done anything to correct the electoral anomaly? With people like Fayose parading themselves as governors under stolen mandates Nigeria is bound to regress democratically! Fayose’s bravado in Ado Ekiti must be subjected to certain democratic test by the opposition if only to remind him that Nigeria is not a kingdom or his fiefdom.
Welcome to the republic of reprobates where a guber poll is scheduled to take place in Bayelsa state early December. It is a straight fight between the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson and the APC flagbearer former Governor Timipre Sylva. How did Sylva, an alleged drug addict whose tenure was dogged with multiple controversies and fiscal embezzlement find his way back to reckoning as a candidate again in the forthcoming election? This megalomaniac ought not to have been cleared to vie for the same office he had abused in the recent past. I mean, someone whose graft case is still running its course in court should have been excused from the exercise in accordance with the new dispensation. The ruling party made a terrible mistake by not disqualifying Sylva and in the event of him winning the election, another round of looting might set in.
Welcome to the republic of reprobates, the so-called giant of Africa where the Senate President is standing trial in the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false (fraudulent) declaration of assets. Bukola Saraki, the former Governor of Kwara state was stoned weeks back in Ilorin during the ‘Sallah’ festivities on the prayer ground by Kwarans who saw him as an embodiment of corruption and the chief oppressor responsible for their misery. It would be recalled that Saraki infamously ‘smuggled’ himself in as the senate president in a spectacular power-grab scheme. Pray, how on earth could the APC have allowed itself to be outsmarted by a PDP stooge planted to truncate the corruption drive of the present administration? Saraki as the senate president, going by his inglorious antecedents, constitutes a huge embarrassment for the new Nigeria we are all envisaging. The sooner this high-profile impostor was humbled out of the scandalous position he currently occupies the better for the anti-graft regime we are all clamouring for.
Welcome to the republic of reprobates where the likes of Nyesom Wike, the deposed Governor of Rivers State could say through his image-maker the other day following the annulment of his ‘election’ as Governor that the APC was planning to ‘steal’ his mandate! He went further to say that it must be Wike or no one else in Rivers state in a demonstration of crass self-delusion. If Wike was very sure of himself he would welcome any other opportunity as ordered by the Tribunal for another guber election in the state to trounce once again his opponent. He ‘won’ before so why not now? Why is he afraid of losing if there is another exercise tomorrow? Or he now realises that her godmother Patience Jonathan is no longer calling the shots from Aso Rock? Or that the militants who terrorised the state during the last poll are no longer willing to be used? In a free and fair election in Rivers State, Nyesom Wike will not win and he knows it hence the wailing and gnashing of teeth!
Welcome to the republic of reprobates, the richest country in Africa where poverty still hold millions ‘prisoners’, a nation where the opposition party, the PDP, through its publicity secretary Olisa Metuh could be issuing press releases to become relevant again. Metuh was attacking Buhari the other day over his statement about the state of the economy and corruption. He said the president was “demarketing” Nigeria by saying the truth about the situation of things. Pray, when did telling the truth to the very people that elected you into office become a crime? Or Metuh would rather have Buhari imitate their vanquished administration that was heavily involved in financial malfeasance and reeling off imaginary figures about the health of the economy? Between Buhari and Jonathan there is a world of difference in style, culture, appreciation of values and degree of patriotism.
The republic of reprobates established in Nigeria by Obasanjo in his second coming (‘watching and preying’) and fostered by Goodluck Jonathan must be dismantled for Nigeria to rise to the top of her immense potentials as a great nation. President Buhari, in whom a lot of hope is invested, must get cracking and clean up the ubiquitous rot left behind by the PDP establishment. We, patriotic Nigerians, home and abroad, young and old, are solidly behind him in the huge challenging task ahead.
La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons! (The fatherland or death we shall prevail!)
SOC Okenwa; firstname.lastname@example.org
(NB: After two years sabbatical this writer is indeed glad to be back with some more pungent views. Please keep a date every weekend.)