He never wants anything but what’s right and fair; only when you come to settle what’s right and fair, it’s everything that he wants and nothing that you want. And that’s his idea of a compromise. Give me the Brown compromise when I’m on his side.
- Thomas Hughes (1822 – 1896) British writer.
It is quite terrifying and petrifying that a mere warning comment by a Retired General could scare the hell out of mighty Presidency and so called largest bad for nothing party. It shows how hollow and shallow the ranting assurances and reassurances by the government is on its intention to conduct credible election in 2015. It is said that “If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.” General Buhari stuck his neck out for a good cause. In trying to pin a case on the head of Buhari that will be used against him in the event that he contests 2015 Presidential election, I have read some arrogant columnists twisting and turning facts on its head like an improbable creature, a human giraffe, sniffing down his nostril at mortals beneath his gaze.
For a second, put yourself in the position of General Muhammadu Buhari as someone whose property has been stolen by identified election robber. This mysterious thief stole your valuable property in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Because you are afraid that the same barawo may rob you again in 2015, you now decide to issue a stark warning that whoever is intending to steal your property in 2015 should desist, otherwise something will happen. What is wrong in issuing warnings? Why is PDP jittery? Why is the rigger afraid to be dealt with honestly?
At a younger age, when our traditional festival has not been bastardized beyond redemption, masquerades become sources of entertainment and spiritual unification. For any of us then, the fear of masquerade is a manifestation of its unquestionable ability to identify witches and evil doers; his supernatural power to curtail their evil machination. General Buhari seems to be the ONLY democracy masquerade in Nigeria. Is election rigging part of democracy? Does looting the treasury form the cardinal pillar of democracy? Is there no room for freedom of opinion in democracy? The President had earlier publicly stated that there is Boko Haram in his government. The National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi, who knows more than anyone else about security situation in the country, admitted that Boko Haram is a grandson of PDP. Do we now expect the peoples General to be different in opinion from the President? Nigerians should begin to address the message rather than focusing undue attention on the messenger.
Winding up his campaign in 2011, General Muhammadu Buhari openly shed tears. He saw what lies ahead. Today, less than a year after the cry of a General, our sense of judgment that we sold for a penny is manifesting in the form of Bombs, bloods and mindless looting of treasury. It is quite ironic that the same PDP and their egg heads who kept mute when former president Olusegun Obasanjo said 2007 election was a do or die affair are now crying hoax. When will Nigerian Media grow up? Why are we destroying what we labour hard to build? There are things money cannot buy and one of such is truth. Lies can be purchased at any price, but you cannot buy truth with billions. We need to acknowledge the fact that there is no way Nigeria will move forward if we continue to do things the same way. The result of half a dozen multiplied by two will give you a dozen no matter how you frame the arithmetic.
The hypocrisy of Nigerians constitutes the fundamental challenge to peace and development in our quest to build a viable nation. We allowed our mind to deceive us without listening to the conscious and sub-conscious mind. How can peace and development evolve in an atmosphere of religious and ethnic induced hatred? We condemned corruption and agreed that all the evils that bedeviled the country today are as a result of corruption, yet we eagerly queue behind corrupt leaders to hang the incorruptible ones. In Nigeria today, identify a single living public office holder that can equal General Buhari in terms of transparency and honesty. You can accuse General Buhari of being too rigid (whatever that means), you may call him religious fanatic (Any Muslim that identifies with his religious belief publicly in the present world order is a fanatic). He remains the ONLY former Head of State, one time oil Minister, former Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund that has not been dragged before the witch-hunting barking dogs of ICPC and EFCC. We are all living in a cockroach world of promise.
Christian terrorists or Christian Boko Haram?
The cock has crowed, the wind of truth is blowing gradually and the empty shell of tortoise is being exposed. Who is actually BOKO Haram? Is John Akpabu a Muslim? Is Effiong a Northerner? Why is Pastor Oritsejafor, the vocal CAN president keeping quiet? These are interesting times indeed; a moment where adulterated facts give way to silent truth. The problem we are facing in Nigeria is not confined to criminal activities of bad elements within us whether Muslims or Christians. The biggest challenge is those who play politics with the lives of Nigerians. Predictably, the arrest of John Akpabu exposes many things. First, the suspect was arrested by Nigeria Police Force with Grenades, Ak 47, live ammunition heading straight to Radio House where Ministerial Briefing wass taking place. For the first time since, he was allowed to be interrogated in the open by press men. He stated that he was on his way to hand over grenade and live ammunition left behind by his late brother to police. The question he has no answer to is why he came to Radio House. Is Radio House Louis Edet House?
Curiously, SSS spokeswoman came on air to insult our collective intelligence. She said that what the suspect was holding at the time of his arrest were teargas canisters. What is her interest in defending a suspected bomber? Why was she speaking for a suspect that is in custody of police? How can SSS speak for a suspect under interrogation by the police detectives? When Kaduna bomber was arrested by Kaduna State police command, it was the same SSS Spokesperson that went on air to release the identity of the bomber few minutes after the Commissioner of police in the state said he will not reveal his state of origin. I am afraid that her action is giving credence to some perception that some security agencies are in connivance with murderers in our midst. If John Akpabu were to be Abdullahi Muhammed or any other Muslim name, different scenario could have played out. Nigerians must rise in unison to demand for end to this glaring incompetence from our security agencies. Other countries are watching how the so called Giant of Africa is messing up a simple issue of arresting and interrogating a suspected bomber.
To the self acclaimed Chief Servant, his followers and supporters have given him a pass mark; they believe he has done enormous and well and he therefore deserves commendation. They believe having spent five years in office; they have recorded groundbreaking achievements that are unprecedented in the history of the state. These achievements include payment of arrears of gratuity and pension and since then he has made prompt payment and settlement of emolument an article of faith. From Agriculture through Education to Works and Infrastructural development, this administration has got a lot of arsenals to go to war with. The state has done wonderfully well in the areas of education. Establishment of 2,825 new primary schools, 438 new secondary schools and 62 junior neighbourhood secondary schools. And 1,990 beneficiaries of the state’s Graduates Employment Scheme were presented letters of permanent and pensionable employment, in addition to about 4,000 that were earlier engaged through the same programme. Other achievements include the ward development projects initiative which has introduced new impetus to grassroots participatory development. Under this initiative, each of the 274 wards in the state received N1m on monthly basis with which it funds development projects agreed upon by stakeholders after community dialogue.
In the health sector, the state government said it has constructed three 110-bed General Hospitals in Sabon Wuse, Nasko and Gulu. Seven rural hospitals have been upgraded across the state. The state has renovated and equipped all the General Hospitals in the State. It has also completed and commissioned the M.I Wushishi Housing Estate and Talba Housing Estate is at delivery stage.
However many have given him knocks as they believe he is answering chief servant on lips and nothing has come out of it, as they believe that, in the last years, Gov. Aliyu was challenged in two fronts – the challenge of transforming the rural State and the challenge of sustaining and projecting a delusion called servant-leadership. The government became allergic to debate and hostile to any constructive opinion. It opened-up many fronts of antagonism – despising former leaders, and traditional rulers. The composition of a numberless Economic Team and the convocation of Jama’a Forum were real distractions from the material issues. Is Governor Aliyu not aware of the problems of Nigerlites before becoming governor? The problems of Nigerlites are obvious and do not requires any Peoples’ Forum. The problem is not with the people but with the government. Since independence, the common problem has always been lack of water, roads, healthcare, education, food, poverty, etc. It was a pity that the government of hope has turned out to be that of great lust for carnivals, owanbes, unwarranted events and social parties rather than good governance. The State Government has hosted more events than projects it has commissioned.
The truth is that the expectations of Nigerlites have not been met. The Government of the Chief Servant derailed and fumbled. In the last years, Nigerlites were presented with a blank hope and bogus dreams by a mistaken messiah. There was, in all, a disconnection between the wants of the public and the priority of the government. It is a government of tourism trophies. It operates like a stock market where speculators have a field day. If not, what happens to the conquering of Zuma Rock? What about the Gurara waterfall lamentations. What about the Cargo Airport obsession? What about the Minna –Abuja rail lines and the Housing Projects? What about the Minna Public Private Partnership Hospital, etc. The quality of education has not improved and this is evident from the NECO and WAEC results of the last years. The government has mistaken paying examination fees for improvement in the quality of education. Minna is still without adequate water supply. Every town and community has been left to the mercy of water vendors. The dualised roads inside Minna were too few to be paraded as an achievement in four years. Outside the State Capital, rural areas have been abandoned. It is unfortunate that the State government was unable to construct 10kms of road in each of the LG headquarters despite the huge resources that accrues to them in the last four years. The Local Government Joint Account has remained joint for a very few. What has been prominent and consistent in the last four years has been “hawan durba” and so called tourism development which has become a source of serious wastage of government resources. There is no way tourism can be developed or patronized amidst abject poverty. There is no way a hungry family will go to Gurara waterfalls or visit a graveyard of certain people that killed our fore-fathers in Zungeru to relax while a much needed non-functional Fertilizer Company is just close by. How can a Park amuse a people shrouded by hopeless scarceness?
To Governor Ibrahim Shema of Kastina, many of his ardents believe he has achieved a lot, to them he has taken Katsina State into the provision of infrastructural facilities and other developmental strategies. They believe he has completed and constructed new roads and bridges. They also alleged that he has upgraded Katsina airport (now Umaru Musa Yar’adua airport), Katsina township roads phase IV, Funtua township roads phase III and Umaru Musa Yar’adua University roads, among others to the tune of more than N10bn. Other roads which they also claim he has touched includes the new six-lane Katsina township road phases VI and VII (Ring road) and Daura, Mani, Kankia, Ingawa, Dutsin-ma, and Malumfashi township roads dualisation, as well as the Funtua bye-pass project and many Inter-Local Government roads. Countless number of arterial (rural- feeder) roads have also been executed to help rural communities ease their transportation difficulties.
In the area of housing, the Government his supporters and followere believe he has completed the 500 Housing Units at Barhin in the state capital and allocated same to civil servants and other beneficiaries at 35% subsidised prices. Other houses completed according to them includes sets of 252 houses have been completed at Makera on Katsina-Daura road and modalities are in the offing for their sales at the 35% subsidy of the cost to the prospective beneficiaries. The Shema appologists aslo believe he has done well in the transport sector, he committed about N460m to revitalise the operations of Katsina State Transport Authority (KTSTA). The money was used in the purchase of various brands of vehicles (Marcopolo for long distance journeys; Marcopolo MBU 1721 and Toyota Coaster for students’ transport scheme in Katsina, Daura and Funtua; and Toyota mini buses for hire, city services and inter-state and intra-state operations; as well as Kia saloon cars for car hire service.
It has also kept faith with the civil servants and retired senior citizens through the prompt payment of their salaries, allowances and pensions. For health workers, and academics and non academic staff of Umaru Musa Yar’adua University and other tertiary institutions in the State, the government has also implemented various salary packages for them.
While many are of the view that Shema has not done anything of impact on the lives of Kastina people, to his critics they also believe that he never shown any zeal to leverage the state. For instance they believe that state government under Shema has appropriated the powers and functions of a local government and they have made election into local government a nonsense, inconsequential and of no effect. In fact, it is even better to head a department, rather than a local government. In reality, Shema has not built the capacities of people and it has not transformed the lives of people. To them they believe that immediate challenges of the state are enormous and includes, high level of poverty, high level of unemployment; the schools do not have teachers, do not have facilities and the hospitals do not have doctors and facilities. People just put buildings in place to attract the attention of passers-by, but go to any of these new day secondary schools and you find in the whole place, only one permanent teacher and in some places, only three permanent teachers. How can one, two or three teachers teach a crowd of over 500?
They believe that Shema government has not offer any succour to Kastina People, as there are a lot of empty buildings called hospital that has no medicine, nor doctors and nurses?