Obasanjo Frankly Speaking the Truth (Independence Speech)
Prince Charles Dickson
Jos Plateau Nigeria
Liars and cheats occasionally win a war but seldom win a battle.
October 1st 2005 has come and gone, Nigerians have mourned their National day. Social critics, commentators, writers have made comments and observations. Sycophants and praise singers have also made noise buying airtime and newspaper space to as usual say sweet nothings. However, the emphatic truth still remains that we are toddlers refusing to grow basking in the euphoria of a baby friendly feeding pattern, when our contemporaries have since gone far.
Most people were spared the agony of the Independent Day speech because as usual the new Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) former NEPA held on to power. Off course not that many were looking forward to the empty speech. It is a pitiable situation that in Nigeria the voice of the people is not God’s voice and bad enough we do not have any proven opinion poll or survey system because by now the President and his team should know that the mere mention of his name, demons and angels run for cover at his treatment to fellow countryman which is nothing but sheer wickedness.
Before I loose my point, let me at this bus stop emphasis that I do not have anything against the person of the President, however I, and over 120 million Nigerians have a score to settle with the President and we will not stop until the last is heard of this self proclaiming messiah.
After his regular pleasantries, the President for once in his life started by being truthful even to a fault. I am sure he did not take time to reflect on the speech (Do you blame him?). The speechwriter has done his own so what the heck? The Presido told the whole nation “over the years our country has been through a lot of contradictions, challenges, conflicts and temptations. We have seen trust betrayed and opportunities mortgaged we have seen hopes dashed and steady steps to progress compromised”
Contradictions, since 1999 the PDP and Obasanjo government has been an epitome of contradiction, a classical case study of how not to be foolish. Its glad to note that Obasanjo has accepted in his speech that his government is a contradiction with no sense of focus and direction. Churning out juicy yet pathetic story lines for journalist due to continuous contradictive policies. Both President and his vice playing swear games in one second and the next exchanging pleasantries in public after we are told that the President does not want his vice Atiku, to succeed him (that is if the Owu man wants to leave the seat) and Atiku has insisted he must, much as I believe the man Atiku is part of the collective failure of this regime (pardon government). One bushman says the whole 6-3-3-4 educational system is a total aberration and no longer tenable, after donkey years of u sing the same system. The next day the Professor says he was misquoted, misread, mispresented and mis that and mis this. This man is a mistake, what palpable contradiction. Former House of Representative Speaker, Salisu Buhari that forged a certificate and next day he is compensated, Chairman of an educational research board. And that is not contradiction. Foreign goods have been banned, however a visit to Aso Rock you ask what exactly was banned. From foreign lace cloths for big mama (Stella) to imported spring water for the corrupt virus free headmaster (Obj).
Challenges, my brother, it must be challenging for the Presido, to be king of over 120 million Nigerians is challenging and if that is not bad enough he doubles as the lord and master of the Ministry of Petroleum in which his boys are having a field day and he has kept facing the challenges of the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC, the Civil Societies CS and the flat Opposition. It must be challenging for a President whose son buys a block of flats worth close to 78 million Naira in the USA to still lay claim to being corrupt free. It has been very challenging for the President who since 1999 was given a list of corrupt leaders who ‘wacked’ money. Approximately $220 billion Pounds stolen, the only one being pursued is the Abachas loot (because the man is dead).
The President has challenged anybody with fact, figures, data and what not, to present them. Who is fooling who, tell me! Tell me it is not challenging to members of the Federal representative to exchange fisticuffs on National Television.
Conflict, I wish I did not have to touch this area. A government that is embedded and encapsulated in all kinds and forms of conflicts. Nigerians in the last six years has witnessed all form and manner of conflicts, ranging from ethnic, religious, and political ones. From Jos to Odi, Kano to Anambra, Oyo to Kaduna. There is hardly anywhere this government has not planted conflicts.
With all these conflicts the President has only been jumping from Togo, Sudan, Mauritania to Ivory Coast and his backyard is left to suffer. The Nigerian Police has shown how to quench conflicts in Congo through their sexual escapades continually furnishing our already tarnished battered record.
Temptation, leads us not into temptation. Nigeria herself is a temptation tempting Nigerians. We now eat when we see food formerly the meals used to come in 1-0-1, 0-0-1, 1-0-0, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now it is 0-0-0-0, the one is when it arrives. It is no longer temptation when churches are robbed. Policemen tempt soldiers and they unleash terror on themselves and the I.G says it was a result of trivial matters, graduates turn to the gun profession because of temptation of no job, no money for business.
Betrayal of trust, whether the President swore by the constitution, the Bible, Koran or Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things fall apart’ the trust Nigerians had in Obj and the government has been betrayed. Judas Ischariot did not go this far in betraying Jesus Christ. The forces (Army, Navy, Air force, Police) are betraying the same people whose tax bought them guns. They shoot Nigerians for no reasons other than from refusal to give N20 bribe to not liking your face. The ballot robbery of 2003 was a betrayal of trust. Generations unborn have been told lies before their birth by this government.
Opportunities mortgaged, regarding this, Obj is an expert in mortgaging opportunities, even as military head of state he did not do better, the operation feed the nation ended in Ota Farms. It simply shocks me how one man can ‘juju’ an entire nation. As a child of God the President should have changed but does the Leopard change its skin and spots. The President and his vice have universities for their likes where they charge over 800,000 Naira a session. Today you talk autonomy, privatisation, and liberalization, by tomorrow it is another word. Our sovereignty mortgaged, Nigerians are leaving for Europe, Asia, and Latin America for second phase slavery. Ni gerian youths are seeing options in Togo, Benin Republic as alternatives for better education.
The President continued truthfully “the burning desire to build a nation where no one is oppressed …” A lot of us have seen that burning desire on a hell fire burning proportion. We have come to see a nation oppressed by poverty, lack and unbearable human living standard. There used to exist a class system made up of the lower, middle and upper class. Now it is non-existent, what we have is leaders (thieves) and the led (oppressed). The list is endless, Harry Marshall, Bola Ige, Dokubo and many more, no justice, it has been a case of the police playing riddle and joke with their investigation. Igbos are oppressed, Yorubas claim to be oppressed, so also the Hausas are oppressed. Obj is oppressing Atiku, Obj is being oppressed by corruption, the tummy tuck master of Baylesa is oppressed because he is Ijaw, Orji Kalu and most of the high and mighty claim oppression. Th e masses then are doomed to suppression.
Our President said, “It is true that the reforms process has precipated pains…” what a discovery! So the President knows his evil deeds in the name of reform, “oil reform” as someone calls is killing people on daily basis. True talk, the pains are such that parents now pray for their children to fail JAMB because they cannot afford tuition for quality education. Pain, when workers trek to the office, when simple malaria kills thousands and the government talk reforms, saying the benefits would soon come. I hope the living would benefit not the dead.
“Today have we zero tolerance for waste, corruption indolence and social rascality” the President’s speechwriter is good, he is very good. Zero tolerance with close to thirty-something thieving state CEO’s, an ‘impressive’ 56% corruption rate in the Presidency alone. Alarm had to blow for Alamieyesegha before his rascality with funds was checked. Tolerance when government officials are acquiring posh cars for luxury, mansions for domestic staffs to live in, wives to caress their cosmetic faces, titles like the (Oba Jeun-jeun of Oshodi) chop-chop king of Oshodi, degrees like the military fsc (failed school certificate, and pets like lion all on tax payers monies.
When billions of Naira go down the drain on ‘hospitality and entertainment’ inside the nation’s budget. The 600 million Naira for the brand Nigeria project has been chopped and mouth cleaned by the choppers, just like one former Minister of Roads and Works built his own roads in heaven, (the reason why Nigerians cannot see the road) and he was rewarded BOT chairman of his party.
The President did not stop, he continued “…our country is much a better place today…once again with our improved image Nigeria has become a preferred investor destination”. At this point I feel nothing but anger and disdain, what is better about Nigeria now, is it MASSOB, OPC, APA, CCC, and all sorts of militia groups masquerading as ethnic groups or the ethnic paropoitic nature of Nigeria today, is it the restiveness in the Niger Delta, religious intolerance, political thuggery and gangsterism by a more confused political class, increase in extra judicial killings, poor human rights records, high inflation rate, poor health care with a high infant mortality rate and yet the President talks of image, is it the image of knife and dagger swerving House of Representative members or Governors whose a achievement are only in the State controlled newspapers where their shiny bedroom walls are snapped and the shots displayed as achievements on the pages of such papers and the failed musicians that compose their praises and bore the ear with them on State broadcast houses.
Investor destination for mosquitoes-malaria, sex-HIV/AIDS, unemployment-social vices/deviant attitudes and let one borrow the speechwriter’s phase, a destination point for social rascals. The truth is bitter.
Our beloved headmaster does not like rascal students so he is happy “peaceful rallies are replacing strikes and violent demonstration” that is why the Chima Ubani’s of this world had to die because the airport in Maidugiri which ordinarily he would have flow from was closed for repairs. The road he passed was ridden with potholes and no special road ambulance, so he died with photojournalist and comrade Tunji Oyeleru and the President calls it “welcome development and an indication that our democracy is maturing.” Tragedies that could have been averted are welcome development, the death of democrats is termed maturing democracy. The fuel rally has come and is going and the government is unperturbed.
Instead the usual ‘dogo turanche’ (big English) “…government has directed PPRA, NNPC and other stakeholders to work out, the modulator mechanism that will maintain and sustain current pump price level until 2006…” If I read and understand properly, that means no fuel increase till 2006 after which it would be welcome to another price increase.
The President also justified his frolicking journey outside the country by saying that “At the international level Nigeria has made excellent progress.” At whose expense, penny-wise pound-foolish, spending billions on the Commonwealth, COJA, CHOGOM, NEPAD and all sorts, from one end of the earth to another with no tangible good on the table of the average Nigerian.
Our messiah did not stop, he continued, this time obviously referring to the opposition, to journalists and critics. He said “A lot of perceptions that the world has about us as a country are provided by Nigerians, at times in their unguarded statement, tendency to exaggerate issues, dissemination of half-truths and untruths, denigration of our time honoured values and refusal to stand and speak for the country”. To this I say without fear of contradiction is a crime that the present political class has committed without remorse, day in and day out, whether under the PDP, ANPP, PPP or any P. That the President rates economic success by the numbers of cars he has sees from the top of the plane when looking down, if that is not exaggeration than only God can tell me convincingly what exaggeration is.
The President in his arrogance has many times desecrated the same time honoured values, we do not relish what we write as columnist or journalist, and most often our stories bring tears to our eyes. We write the truth, but since this government was founded on lies, can you blame them for asking for blind patriotism.
It is interesting that I end this piece by stating that by the time the President ended his truthful speech, he used 12 complex sentences to say nothing in his conclusion. The entire speech had 124 of such sentences, with an average of 20 words per sentence. Sarcastically the first sentence was 32 words, second 16, the third 8 words. No substance, with phrases such as “loud noises made by minority in certain quarters” yet he still claimed the government is a listening and caring government.
No price is to great to be paid for peace and national unity, I honestly ask everyday if Nigeria is worth fainting for, much more dying when everyone we call a leader are drinking, eating and sucking away the nation. What kind of price do they want again?
If Abiola, Kudirat, Bala Usman, Chima Ubani, Aka Bashroun are not enough prices then who else and what else should be the price tag. May the truth we know set us free.