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OPINION: Stars in their own movies [2]



OPINION: Buhari’s presidency at Nigeria’s expense [1]

IT would appear that because of the All Progressives Congress [APC] regime, Nigerians have been led to make a pact with troubles. And the troubles come in quick succession. Truth be told, the troubles with our country are not the exclusive makings of the ruling party. No. This country has been a victim of missed opportunities, visionless leaderships, thieving political and governing elite, power mongers, cynical followership and now creeping state capture. All these features have been apparent since 1960.

The problem, however, is that in less than seven years, the President, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, have contrived to make all these troubling features which have been besetting Nigeria even worse. Before our eyes we have seen promises broken by the regime without batting an eyelid; appointments made without regards to our diversity; a people, the Igbo, repeatedly profiled by the sitting President of the country; the full force of the armed forces unleashed on the Igbo to contain their ‘rebellion’; virtually allowed lethally armed non state actors, read Fulani Militia who have been ‘deodorized’ with the name of Fulani herdsmen, to roam the land, occupy forests, seize our highways, rape our mothers, sisters and daughters and murder our fathers, brothers and sons and take us as hostages for ransom; told to cede our ancestral lands to the invaders if we desire peace; and to treat certified killers as good neighbours and brothers. Never in the chequered history of Nigeria have things been this bad. Yet those in charge tell us at every turn that we are fortunate that they are ruling us.

The spokespersons of this regime wont stop telling us that we would only appreciate how much Buhari has done for Nigeria when he leaves office in 2023. Ironically, the man at the top, in rare moments of sober reflection and candour, confesses that he fears that history and Nigerians would be harsh on him in the fullness of time. The judgement of history is inescapable especially in the face of the many promises of this regime in 2014 and 2015, and its underwhelming deliveries. Almost everything APC inherited in 2015, it has made worse in under seven years. And there is no indication yet that things would get better in 2023, the expected terminal date of the Buhari regime. Insecurity was bad in 2015, it is worse in 2022 and may yet deteriorate further in 2023. National unity was tentative in 2015, it has for all intents and purposes, broken down almost irretrievably. In 2015, the armed forces were deployed for active duty in about half of the states of the country but in 2022 troops are in active combat or aggressive pacification duties in virtually all the states of the country orchestrating Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Smile and the like. For much of 2021, the military checkpoint in Ihiala, Anambra state which is a boundary town with Mgbidi in Imo state shuts down the economy of the Igbo nation. In the course of that year, probably up till now, the soldiers routinely made sure that passengers disembarked from vehicles approaching that checkpoint, walked across on foot while raising their hands in surrender. Even the aged and the physically challenged and the infirm were not exempted. The driver would pick up the passengers on the other side of the checkpoint to continue the journey. The traffic snarl this causes is better imagined than experienced. But the more troubling issue was that that checkpoint was completely shut to vehicular and human traffic reportedly from 8PM – 5AM every day. Vehicles, particularly trucks laden with goods, would line up from Ihiala back to Okija and beyond and from that same notorious checkpoint to Uli and towards Mgbidi. So for about 10 hours every day, the economy of Ndigbo and indeed of other Nigerians would be at standstill. I may be wrong but I do not think that there is any other part of Nigeria including places where terrorists are having free reign and occupying territories and hoisting their Islamist flags and collecting taxes, where this scotch earth operation is being practiced. The military checkpoint in Ihiala is a constant reminder, if any genuine Igbo needs to be reminded, that the Biafra-Nigeria civil war which started in 1967 did not actually end in 1970. The abuse, the trauma, the humiliation and sometimes the brutalization for alleged infractions of the draconian rules of the military men and women should be left to the imagination.

While evil was being perpetrated in the East, the reels were rolling in the rest of the country with poster boys of the APC having fun. The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo is a teacher, a professor emeritus, a lawyer with silk and a pastor. He only gets a place under the sun in this regime whenever he is sent on an errand to hand out miserly cash to traders in the name of market moni and trader moni. Then you will see the nimble Prof come alive strutting selected markets handing out cash supposedly to empower traders. I do not, however, recall seeing the vice president in Onitsha market in Anambra state or Ogbete market in Enugu or Oil Mill market in Rivers state handing out that same empowerment cash to traders in those parts of Nigeria. And the Igbo are touted as the bonafide traders in Nigeria. I suspect that Osinbajo found joy and comfort in that chore that borders on humiliation. At least whatever he did handing out cash was not reversed. Elsewhere, while Buhari was on medical leave, each and every one of the decisions and actions taken by Osinbajo as acting president was reversed. He appointed an acting head for the secret police. His appointee was removed before the blink of an eyelid. Osinbajo appointed an acting chief justice of Nigeria.

Read also: OPINION: Femi Adesina’s callous commentary on “Buhari” and the “NDDC”

Something was also found to be wrong with the appointee. He too was yanked off the seat ignominiously. So, Osinbajo made two significant appointments as acting president. The appointments were reversed when his principal returned from his medical tourism. A loyal deputy he was, so Osinbajo swallowed his spittle. But the test of loyalty will soon unravel. It is curious and instructive that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi was recently turbaned as the trusted one of Daura Emirate in Katsina state, the homestead of Buhari. Soon after the well publicised turbaning, the Governor of Borno state Mohammed Zulum declared that Buhari would anoint who would succeed him on the platform of the APC. I will not read much into this coincidence since Amaechi has not publicly declared his intention to run for president. Within the next two weeks, the gladiators made up of contenders and pretenders and their godfathers would be compelled to show their hands. And we will know where the pendulum swings. Expect a deluge of stories of betrayal.

Meanwhile, the reels are still rolling in the movies depicting the sad reality of a people taken hostage by their rulers. The case of Ibrahim Magu who was arrested in the streets of Abuja, allegedly tried and found guilty by a presidential panel, is still hanging. Unfinished. And may not be concluded. The dance and song and drama of the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] have died down. The loud vow to punish those who looted the agency is gradually slipping into a voicemail. The Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU] is at the verge of shutting down our universities again over failure by successive administrations to honour agreements reached more than one decade ago. As I write, the regime and its relevant agencies are still struggling to identify who imported toxic petrol that has done enormous damage to vehicles and caused crippling fuel scarcity. It has been a succession of horror movies but can we stop watching.


Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.

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