I blame past Nigerian governments for lacking the vision to do what the Canadian founding fathers had done years ago to salvage and sanitize their own federation. The Canadian authorities made it compulsory or mandatory for Canadians who are interested in working for the federal government to speak and write in both English and French to qualify.
Nigerian founding fathers had a chance to do the same thing but they failed miserably for lack of vision. I learnt Latin, a dead language, in my secondary school and I scored an A1 in it in my West African School Certificate and my higher school certificate examinations because I have a natural flair for languages. A few of my classmates like Dele Akinseye from Ondo town and Ojo Ode from Ekiti and myself were very good in Latin and would have performed well in Hausa or Igbo languages if those subjects were also taught in our school.
If Hausa Igbo and Yoruba languages had been made compulsory and taught in all Nigerian schools, the tower of babel Nigeria has become today would have been nipped in the bud for the good of the country.
Part of the reason the Nigerian military boys appeared more patriotic than other Nigerians today was because Hausa was made the Lingua Franca in our military long before the British left our shores. Part of the reasons the northerners trusted Obasanjo more than any other southerner was because he spoke Hausa fluently. The Northerners trusted Azikiwe and Samuel Ladoke Akintola than they did Awolowo and other southern leaders for the same reason.
Pa Awolowo once confided in me he did try to learn Hausa as part of his preparations for the 1959 election campaigns in Nigeria and I believed him because the man passionately wanted to lead Nigeria. He wanted to set a new template in leadership never before seen in Nigeria but the “Ojelus” like he called them would not let him. I asked him who were the “Ojelus” and he told me they were Nigerians who take a special joy in looting our treasury to enrich their own pockets without giving anything back.
Language can be a major tool to indoctrinate and foster understanding in a country with as many dialects and languages as Nigeria. Nigeria has become the quintessential “Tower of Babel” because we speak too many dialects and languages and we despise ourselves because we are very ignorant.
Yorubas call Igbos “Yanmirin” Igbos call Yorubas “Ngbati Ngbati” Yorubas call Hausa “Gambari”.
Part of the reasons we do not understand or trust one another is because the three dominant tribes don’t speak the same language and nothing is being done by any of our 36 state Government or by our clueless federal government under our so-called transformational president to address or correct that conundrum in our system after more than 50 years of Independence. It is a big shame!
We are retrogressing in Nigeria more than we are progressing. Quite apart from the cankerworm of corruption, national Insecurity, power outages and massive election rigging, Nigeria’s developmental infrastructures are so weak compared to those of our competitors like South Africa and Ghana to mention a few.
I have just read Sonala Olumhense’s beautiful article on the Sahara website titled “Elections 2015: Should we trust INEC? I urge any of you reading this piece to go back and read that article. I not only appreciate the power of the man’s pen, I adore him as a very intelligent columnist and one of the best in business. The man has said it all.
Nigerians are preparing for another election that may well end in total disappointment and fiasco because we keep repeating the same foolishness while expecting a different result. I too don’t trust Professor Jega and his INEC any more for all of the reasons articulated in that article which I would not repeat in this one.
It is fair to say that Professor Jega has become the hatchet man of the man who appointed him. In 2011, the man gleefully announced that his INEC had identified some high visibility Nigerians who had blatantly violated our electoral laws and who he planned to pursue to the gates of hell in his effort to finally change the status quo of massive election rigging in Nigeria.
The man sounded to me like Jonathan when he admitted he knew there were Boko Haram elements in his government and cabinet. If he knew it why was he keeping them there? Why did he not push them out of his government right away and stop wasting our time complaining about them. If Professor Jega knew the bad eggs trying to promote election rigging in Nigeria why did he not take them to court and have them jailed or punished to serve as deterrence to other culprits?
If Professor Jega and President Jonathan are now joined in the hips in the way they think and act, that is a bad omen we all should be concerned about. I take off my hat for Mr. Olumhense for raising a very valid point. The INEC has lost its credibility to conduct a free and free election in Nigeria in 2015.
No Nigerian till now has been prosecuted and sent to jail for violating those electoral laws because President Jonathan and the PDP would not cooperate because they all benefit from election rigging and Professor Jega who claims to be the Napoleon who is going to end election rigging in Nigeria has not said a word. The Professor has become a phony and an empty barrel that makes the loudest noise. It is true that he has carried out a few reforms here and there to impress Nigerians, but he is still far from doing the heavy lifting that is needed to outlaw election rigging in Nigeria.
Nigeria is never going to change or radically improve until we have a Chairman of INEC who is prepared and ready to resign in a heartbeat if the President would not let him perform his duties as a totally independent umpire that all Nigerians can trust.
If President Jonathan was the truly transformational President he claimed to be, 6 years was long enough time for him to do what he had to do and get out. If he is a truly transformational president, he would have steered clear of the 2015 election altogether and to let the chips fall where they may. He cannot be an unbiased judge in his own case. With his 6 years in office and more than 600 million dollars richer, his future as a former president and the first minority president from the South/ South is totally secure.
The man just got his greedy and corrupt first lady appointed a super “Perm Sec” in Bayelsa even though she could barely speak English. The first lady is taking a big pension from Bayelsa as a permanent secretary and other fat pensions as first lady.
The first lady and her shoeless husband now have big shares in Fortune 500 companies in Nigeria and abroad and so many oil blocks in the Niger Delta, and properties at home and abroad as revealed in a well-researched article by Rudolf Okonkwo of Sahara Reporters.
I have gone to double-check some of the information contained in Okonkwo’s article and I found them to be completely accurate. What else does the Jonathan couple want from Nigeria? They have it made already. The President is as corrupt as they come and that is why his tolerance level for corruption in Nigeria has reached astronomical levels never before seen in any of his predecessors in that office.
Forget anything Reuben Abati and his mouth organ may be saying to the contrary. Reuben Abati has eaten out of the forbidden fruit of power and wealth in Nigeria. He is no longer the same Abati we used to know in the Nigerian Concord Press. Like Yinka Aiyefele, “Isale ti sun Reuben Abati” because he now knows that “Aiye nbe l’Oke”.
Reuben Abati does not want to know poverty ever again. Can you blame him? When the man buried his mother in Abeokuta he received several millions of Naira in gifts from the president and his wife and from the big wigs in the PDP from all over Nigeria. If I found myself in his shoes, I would probably do the same thing. Nigerians are all bread and butter politicians and Professor Jega, like Reuben Abati is arguably one of them.
President Jonathan is going to be running against a former president and chairman of the Petroleum Task Force, a former governor and a general in the Nigerian Army, who had to go and borrow money from the bank to be able to participate in the APC presidential primary he may well lose.
General Buhari, in many ways, shares some of the attributes of Obafemi Awolowo. He is a dogged fighter who will not chicken out of any fight. He speaks his mind and could care less whose horse is gored. The PDP loves to label him a religious bigot like they falsely accused Awolowo in calling him a tribalist.
I know Buhari very well from my days as a civilian administrator in the Nigerian Military Headquarters in Marina Lagos. The man is as clean as a whistle. The man quietly divorced one of his wives for trying to tarnish his image.
Like Obafemi Awolowo, the man drove himself twice as hard as he drove his subordinates. If he gets the nomination of his party and if he goes on to win as I think he will, you can be sure he is going to fall out in a short time with a man like Jagaban Tinubu or Atiku Abubakar because the two of them are going to be pushing him to do things he would never agree to do.
The guy is the most credible leader in the APC that has a profile that is totally different from those of the people in the PDP he is trying to replace. There are many in the APC who are as corrupt as those in the PDP. Nigerians should only be rooting for APC because of Buhari. If he becomes President, he would shake up the APC and shake up Nigeria because Nigerians fear any Nigerian leader who has power and is not afraid to use it to do the right thing. Buhari is one such leader with that kind of profile.
I don’t care what other Nigerians say about General Buhari. The Buhari that I know is a man best suited to lead Nigeria at this point in our history and with all the malfeasance we see in Nigeria today. I am not a card-carrying member of any political party in Nigeria but I want Nigeria to assume her leadership role in Africa and in the committee of nations around the world and I know that charity in deed begins from home.
The man may not have the intellectual depth of an Awolowo but he has one thing going for him right now. He is not a corrupt man and he is not a religious radical or the zealot they call him. Above all he is highly disciplined and straight-forward. He is by far the best presidential material in Nigeria today who can continue to put the military in check.
It is true that corrupt ex-soldiers like the evil genius would be shaking in their pants because they know Buhari would not tolerate nonsense. Shehu Shagari and aggrieved politicians who have not forgiven him and Idi Agbon for taking some of the steps he took to restore some order in Nigeria are going to gang up against him but Nigerians must see beyond that and not be discouraged to vote for the man.
I too would have joined their rank and file because the man wrongly put in detention my favorite uncle, Joshua Oladimeji Tuki of Akure because his government accused him of being the representative of Ondo State Government in the Board of Directors of the defunct National Bank of Nigeria. Buhari and Idi Agbon had wanted to close down the bank because they falsely claimed that the bank was a conduit pipe for corruption in Nigeria. My uncle never recovered from the negative impact of his wrongful detention till he died 10 years ago.
I still remember that tragedy as if it happened yesterday. But that is not going to stop me from voting for Buhari in 2015 if I am still alive and well enough to participate in that election.
I know Buhari is head and shoulders better than President Jonathan as the man to straighten out Nigeria. I am glad at one level that Buhari, a northerner has now been placed in a position to appreciate the humiliations, the lies and blackmail that Awolowo had to endure in his protracted efforts to save and heal Nigeria by repeating the same miracles he had performed in the old Western Region. But the nihilists in Nigeria would not let him.
Buhari is facing pretty much the same opposition today but there is no doubt in my mind that the man is, right now, the best candidate to tackle the major problems of Nigeria, having learnt some useful lessons from 1983 to 1985. I admire his perseverance and resilience as a candidate.
I completely agree with Sonala Olumhense that the key to the Nigerian emancipation in 2015 is in the hand of Professor Jega. If he can conduct a truly free and fair election and refuse to be micro-managed or bribed by President Jonathan, he will restore the peoples’ confidence in him. If his INEC can expose and prosecute all the big shots in the PDP and the other parties who have violated, compromised and bastardized elections in Nigeria, the right candidate and party will win in 2015 and the old order will change yielding place to new.
I am predicting that Buhari would select the right running mate, a non-Muslim and will go on to win by a decent margin in 2015 and Nigeria would be the better for it. It is time for Nigeria to begin to enjoy the full dividends of Democracy by saying no to a one party dictatorship and reserving the right to vote out the APC again in 2019 if it does not perform.
“Mai Gaskia Haka ni”. General Mohamadu Buhari is the true custodian of the truth. He is the incorruptible leader Nigeria needs right now to clean up the Augean stable of the Nigerian mess.
I rest my case.