“So, the fight is on two levels: one, directly against corruption and the second is that you are going to prepare for a counter attack. That is where we are at the moment and there is no retreat.” - Wole Soyinka
It was one of those articles that at once makes President Muhammadu Buhari so easy to mock as unrepentant dictator and Nnamdi Kanu so easy to adore as the liberator of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). Okey Ndibe, in his January 6 column on SaharaReporters entitled “Emperor Buhari, Or Plain Poor Communicator?” wants us to believe that Mr. Buhari has collapsed the nation into total despotism.
Writing with a rolling festival of charm and stylish elegance and quaint touches, he paints President Buhari as a dictator who refused to be transformed into a true democrat. What I object to (and I think most other Nigerians do as well) is the reason given by Ndibe in condemning the “undemocratic” way President Buhari is fighting corruption and the President's handling of Kanu's treasonable act.
As Ndibe’s piece progresses, he becomes increasingly bitter such as when he conjures such false bias about Mr. Buhari's method of fighting corruption:
“Even so, it is a safe to bet that Mr. Buhari would have had a harder path to victory in last year's presidential election had his handlers not refashioned him into a champion of democracy,” says Ndibe.
“Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, are still languishing in detention, even though separate competent courts had granted them bail.”
Ndibe continues, “the President also slammed the plan by the former NSA to seek medical attention in London, saying it would be irresponsible of the federal government to allow such trip. Regarding Kanu, Buhari said because of the IPOB leader holds dual citizenship of Nigeria and Britain, it would be easier for him to abscond, especially since he did not come into the country with (either) of his international passports.”
Ndibe concludes that, “to be fair, President Buhari has a solid point of view, one eminently worthy of ventilation, but his government has chosen to make that point, at A, the wrong venue, and, B, in a manner so irresponsible and dangerous that all informed Nigerians ought to voice their outrage.”
The majority of Nigerians who put Mr. Buhari in office would disagree with Ndibe that Mr. Buhari would have lost the election if he had not been falsely packaged as a born again democrat. Fact is, Nigerians were sick and tired of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. The re-election of Mr. Jonathan was a matter of profound moral conviction for Nigerians considering his epic failure. Jonathan is a coward. He was not known as a President that makes bold initiatives. He had demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that he can't lead. Years of corruption and budget bloat made it fashionable to embrace corruption. Mr. Jonathan became the god father of corruption. Nigerians were ready to settle for any candidate but Jonathan. In such a grim and hopeless situation, Nigerians were irresistibly drawn to Mr. Buhari like a shark to blood water because of his legendary abhorrence for corruption.
Nigeria was on unsustainable course. At stake was nothing less than our standard of living at home, our constitutional freedoms, and our position in the world. We couldn't afford four more years in which corruption among other popular national pastime vices would mushroom out of control. For almost six years, Jonathan had squandered the opportunity after the next to turn things around. It was too obvious that the longer we delay acting, the steeper the price we'll have to pay. The Nigerian economy was not only stagnant, it was dead. There and there Nigerians made up their minds that Jonathan had to go.
Since the war on corruption began, disciples of corruption and beneficiaries of corruption have been churning out tiradeson how the President is fighting the war. Some call him a dictator. Others say his targets are “selective,” “witchunting,” or “vengeful.” Yet others believe Mr. Buhari is out to pulverize the PDP opposition. That is how far the critics and opponents of the war on corruption would go these days when it comes to attacking the ways and means Mr. Buhari is fighting the war. To them, the facts don't matter. Perceived bias does. The sheer bias of some writers, critics, and enemies of the war on corruption is not just bewildering, but appalling.
It is amazing and of course dangerous to see how people seem to advocate against the nation's interest, and against the interest of our people. Don't we agree that Nigeria is corrupt? Don't we agree corrupt politicians should pay for their crimes? Don't we agree we elected Mr. Buhari to purge Nigeria of corruption? Don't we agree corruption will kill us if we don't kill corruption?
Wole Soyinka spoke the minds of Nigerians when he said:
“There is no doubt the country has made progress. We were not where we were before this new administration took over. Again, we just have to be careful and I make this remark again and again. Corruption fights back and the hardest fighters are those already within the cesspit of corruption. So, the fight is on two levels: one, directly against corruption and the second is that you are going to prepare for a counter attack. That is where we are at the moment and there is no retreat.”
We all know that the last vestiges of our democracy and the rule of law in particular, were bastardized and indeed uprooted by the military despotic buffoons. The assault continued under moronic civilian presidents. In the process the judiciary has been badly compromised and castrated if you will.
The endless delays, needless postponements, and unjustifiable adjournments of cases by our courts become our by-law. A good example is the case against Bukola Mesujamba Saraki which has taken a life time to prosecute. With convenient memory loss, Ndibe couldn't recall that some of the biggest names of corruption and looting absconded safely from the front-line of the war on corruption. If Mr. Buhari had allowed Dasuki to travel overseas for feigning sickness as the “competent” court ordered, Dasuki would be dancing in London or in Atlanta with the stars like Diezani Alison-Madueke, Ibrahim Lamorde the ex EFCC chief, and Musiliu Obanikoro of the famous Ekitigate thanking their stars for escaping the Buhari tsunami. What “competent court” is Ndibe talking about? So, what's the problem with the prosecution strategy adopted by Mr. Buhari in fighting corruption?
The writing shows the writer who he is. Mr. Ndibe has elected to leave his moral sensitivity for his lack of human feelings for the victims of corruption – our nation and on our people. Corruption is a chaos that reigns over Nigerian lives with the whim of a death squad. Who cares whether Mr. Buhari is democratic or despotic in fighting corruption? Who cares where and when Mr. Buhari made his pronouncements on war on corruption and on Kanu?
Bottom line; let Buhari fight corruption by any means necessary. I see Ndibe's article as distracting and contemptuous. There should be no safe haven for these demonic looters. It's time the distracters and interpreters of maladies stopped colorizing and started focusing on the black-and-white.
Now to “the one you called Kanu...” The ethnic composition of Nigeria makes it impossible to have a "melting-pot" nation. The varies ethnic groups have different values, cultures, customs, and traditions. It is therefore understood why ethnic nationalism is very strong and alive in Nigeria. Separatism runs rampant. Political fragmentation is the order of the day. Lately, ethnic self-determination dominates the headlines in Nigeria with the notice served by Kanu the Director of Radio Biafra that Igbo secession is non-negotiable.
The Igbos believe that not only can a group of historically similar folks be an island unto themselves, they can try to be a nation-state, taking up arms to achieve that end if necessary. Let me be clear. Any group of people under foreign domination has the right to fight for their independence as opposed to force and dependency. The Igbos are not under Apartheid.
Three quick questions for Kanu and Biafra agitators: Why is agitation for secession loudest and urgent now? Why was the issue not raised during Obasanjo, Yar'Adua, and especially in Jonathan years? Why is the megaphone for secession so strident since President Buhari took office? Professor Itse Sagay, a constitutional lawyer and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on corruption succinctly provide answers to the questions. He said the proponents of Biafra are doing so for selfish reasons. I agree with him into-to.
In his own words: “I have been studying elections very closely in this country since 2007. The Igbos were committed to Goodluck Jonathan. But they didn't leave it at that just convince people to vote for him. They decided to rig for PDP and Jonathan. They did that yet, the party still lost out at the federal level. So, they lost out. If you look at Jonathan's government, the Igbos were in almost 50 per cent of positions in this country. But they lost out because of their rigging and opportunism and lack of principle. And now they want to take it out on Buhari by resurrecting Biafra. They want to intimidate Buhari so much. They will now want to negotiate with them and start giving them things and positions they don't deserve. That is intimidation and threat to just cause.”
The January 1966 coup and a counter coup in July 1966 by different military factions, perceived to be ethnic coups resulted in pogroms in Northern Nigeria in which Igbos were predominantly killed. That led Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu the secessionist leader to demand for a new country, Biafra. Ojukwu had genuine reasons to take Igbos out of Nigeria. That was then. This is now. Kanu is just an opportunist and a pawn in the hands of political prostitutes. President Buhari is right to detain Kanu until it is safe to take him to trial for treason.
For now, let's forget about the Kanus of the world. Our priority now as a nation is to pursue the war on corruption to its logical end. And NO distracters wanted. Kanu should take his medicine as a man by going to court to defend his treasonable conspiracy. He should not be allowed to bolt away like Ojukwu did before he returned home after 13 years as Biafra hero.
We know Ojukwu, but who is Kanu?
You can email Bayo at [email protected]