BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
Nigeria: That Yar’adua phone call, and more shameful calls to Morocco
When I was a kid, phone calls were a premium commodity; only the very coolest kids had a phone line of their own, and long-distance phone calls were made after eleven, when the rates went down, unless you were flamboyant with your spending. Then phone calls became as cheap as dirt and as constant as rain, and I was on the phone all the time--Susan Orlean
In describing Nigeria recently I was told—“Big nation, Great people, but equally BIG problems”. Many times I would want to blank but clowns called leaders wont allow me blank, busy creating one unnecessary problem after another.
Let me take us back a little, in December 2009, a certain Mallam Tanimu Yakubu, and economic guru lied to an entire nation that the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua called key government officials, including then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, on phone and spoke for five minutes.
We are in March 2015, and after denials and counter denials by officials, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has said he is "highly embarrassed" that his officials said he had spoken to the Moroccan king when he had not.
Earlier last week, Morocco recalled its ambassador over the affair after the Nigerian foreign ministry insisted the two heads of state had spoken by phone.
Let me give us a brief-- President Jonathan did confess that he had been trying to speak to various African leaders to seek their support for Nigeria's candidate for the position of African Development Bank (AfDB) president.
The President's spokesperson Abati released a statement saying President Jonathan was "shocked, surprised and highly embarrassed by the controversy that has erupted" and that he had ordered the foreign affairs minister to find out how it had occurred.
"The regrettable furore that has developed over the matter is due entirely to misinformation as President Jonathan has neither spoken with King Mohammed or told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan monarch," the statement said.
The Nigerian foreign ministry had said "both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern".
Mr. Jonathan said he wanted the investigation "to identify all those who were responsible for the unacceptable act of official misinformation which has resulted in an unnecessary diplomatic row with another country and national embarrassment".
Announcing the withdrawal of its ambassador, Morocco had condemned Nigeria's "unethical practices" - saying the king had declined to talk to the Nigerian leader as it viewed the request to be part of the "internal electioneering".
In 2009, the Yardy call was coming after 44 days, of 'no speech', 'video call' or 'photograph' from Jeddah, where the President was hospitalized. It was yet another spin…in a long drawer of plenty spins during that era, including that staged BBC interview too.
In that period we witnessed the mysteriously signed budget, Nigeria on terror list, sackings in the banking sector, fuel crisis and a nation practically on autopilot.
It was in that mood that Tanimu told us that the president called xyz, it was the era, the president could govern from anywhere, when some kitchen cabinet or cabal clerks flew kilometers around the globe to have Yardy sign the supplementary budget.
Then some 'goons' just jet in and out to everywhere and anywhere and tell us they just came in from Jeddah. Nobody told us till date, how much Yar'adua's absence cost Nigerians. Travels, estacode, medical bills and the cost of all the lies.
Hear Yakubu… "He directed me to get the Attorney-General to intensify lobby for the passage of the anti-terrorism bill by the National Assembly which the President forwarded to the Senate and the Federal House of Representatives early October. He said that he would like it to be the first bill he assents to on his return to Nigeria."
Laughable cock and bull story, in 44 days, "Mr. President also told me that he spoke to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan twice in the last five days," he said. Errant nonsense, a nation as big as Nigeria, with all the problems, a president and vice has spoken twice in five days.
Yakubu was not specific on the date the President would return, because indeed he does not know, in the end, Yakubu added "In the last week, I have spoken to him on telephone countless number of times. Our conversations every time lasted more than five minutes". Yar’adua did return, but we know the rest of the story!
Every issue that is raised in respect to moving our nation forward is narrowed down to north south, Christian-Muslim, however when our leaders steal, it has no coloration. My take is that the leaders of the country are only united in looting the state treasury. And then we fight across our naïve idiosyncrasies, while they watch us.
Then it was, Yar'adua needs rest, he is recuperating, he will return soon, but he could sign a supplementary budget, despite his fragile health, he read the document, understood it and signed it.
Today, Jonathan wanted to call the Moroccan king, to do this and do that—and next thing he did not call after all, and then an investigation into nothing has been ordered.
It is a shame, a nation reduced to ridiculous low, if it is not one PDP documentary, it would be one outrageous APC accusation.
Why are we always looking for other countries approval, and acceptance, why are we a timid people, why are we never doing the right things at home.
It's our failure at home that has made U.S and Europe so relevant to us. We have to send our children there because the universities at home have failed. We have to look for jobs there because there are none at home. Some people even feel inferior to them and will rather live abroad at all cost- in their minds, by doing so, they've become superior human beings.
A great nation with wonderful people, some of the best brains in various spheres of life, yet governed by a few bunch of criminals. We keep allowing our leaders make the wrong call, for how long--Only time will tell.