I have watched with blistering disgust the virulent criticism of Mr. President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua. The recent clampdown on channel TV and the oath of secrecy administered on presidency officials, have fortified the critiques’ armoury, depleting the stock of the aficionados’, of which I am one. It has become imperative to address so many misconceptions of Mr. President by the Nigerian masses. Mr. President is human, could be taken ill while on Umrah or lesser Hajj. For Nigerians, the right to be informed on the whereabouts and health condition of Mr. President became suddenly overriding, eclipsing our moral obligation by him. It was disconcerting that instead of profound prayers for a supposedly critically ill president, presidential misinformation or no, we were instead regaled with light-headed beer-palour bantering and wild conjectures on how worse the situation had not become. Did Yar’Adua aspire to be president? Was it not the Nigerian nation that blackmailed him into power just when he was dusting his belongings for the classroom and further political foray the last thing on his mind? We voted vigorously, rigged blindly to ensure the reluctant caliphate prince occupied Aso Rock. Even then, I was somewhat scandalized that someone of Alhaji Yar’Adua’s pedigree would condescend to leprous handshakes with the incorrigible reprobates of Nigerian politics. But we were bought over by his disarming simplicity and reassuring smiles. We did not tolerate any opposition. Orji Kalu was hauled before the EFCC, Atiku exiled – how dare they challenge the anointed one of a cabal as global as Nigeria? Yar’Adua did not know the rigours of campaign for a position as strategic and competitive as the presidency; should never have, when we, the teeming masses, were beckoning on him to serve. Thus while the campaign for the presidency raged, with Orji Uzor Kalu delivering his soul-searing diatribe, Atiku Abubakr sweating it out and citizen Mohammadu Buhari not left out, Yar’Adua had the presence of mind for a pleasure trip to Germany, prompting a storm of wild speculations on his state of health. We invited international monitors and dramatized a peaceful, orderly election to the health of our visitors, who, however, did not lose sight of the theatric. Like pigs fed and washed, we returned with dirt all over. Electoral materials found their way into the bushes. But who dared confront us? The fact is, Yar’Adua is hale and hearty, had earlier challenged doubting thomases to a game of squash. The prospect of a sick country saddled with a sick president and sick policies is inconceivably daunting and can never be the lot of Nigerians. We know better than any decongestion of the Yar’Adua cabinet. Forty-eight ministers is microscopic, double that number would be effective, so that Nigeria would grace the pages of the Guinness book of records and have more mouths for the ever-thickening oil windfall. There aren’t more immediate issues than motley of ministries and duplication of functions. Even with our assorted ministries, we are not becoming the millipede in a hurry – checked entirely by the same legs meant for mobility. It would appear that government fiscal policies are all about payment and settlement of government functionaries. The recent hype in salary of public office holders addressed just that. Before NUT or ASUU begin to have ideas, they should know that the milk of Animal farm is only suitable for the pigs, whose patriotic duty it is to swallow the bitter fluid to keep their medulla oblongata in good form, else the entire nation be overwhelmed by the enormous challenges the officials tackle. Certain things are not meant to go round. We are all witnesses to the turmoil in Zimbabwe where everyone has become a millionaire, yet poor. The undisguised knocks on the government over the closure of Channel TV were unwarranted. Only a blind, biased and parochial critique would not recognize that due process and rule of law have limits and that military reflex took over where the others ended. The recalcitrant media needed some periodic arm-twisting to continue to be conscientious. From whichever source, resignation was, for Nigeria, an improbable news; as improbable as one reporting the death of oneself. How dare channel TV imagine that a Nigerian President could resign his position midway through a first tenure – not second, not third? Is Yar’Adua, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa or Musharraf of Pakistan? Can there ever be prospect of resignation of any public office holder in Nigeria when Ghana-must-go bags and unscrupulous citizens abound? The oath of secrecy is only necessitated by the fact that the wrong information might spill into the public domain wrecking havoc overnight. Knowing the inner workings of the presidency is not a right but the costly prerogative of a cabal. It is truly burdensome and the generality of Nigerians are spared from this, which in my view is a very patriotic decision. I would only appeal to Mr. President, to prove the antagonists wrong, by administering the oath of secrecy on all Nigerians so that the burden of knowledge would become equitable. We are not losing patience with Mr. President. His style is awesomely enchanting. We could go to sleep forever. That shuts off unpleasantly encounters and experiences. The electoral reforms could continue at fever pitch. Not much would stop us in our plot to rig blindly again and retain this charming caliphate prince. He deserved even a fifth tenure, if the constitution could guarantee that. Electoral promises are just that – promises. Fulfillment is not in our character. Clarius Ugwuoha writes from Egbema.



The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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