We are sick in this country. Or how else how can we be debating about phrases in presidential communication to the Senate and not the failure of the Senate to pass a budget laid before it by our “sick” president almost six months ago? In the interim we allowed the Senate to divert our attention from its failure to pass the Appropriation Bill by pretending to be angry that Col. Hameed Ali, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service refused to wear the Service’s uniform; we permitted the spoilt brats at the National Assembly to entertain us with clowns like Dino Melaye appearing in a ceremonial academic gown in the supposed hallowed Chamber of the Senate. We spent quality time speechifying on the superiority of Section 171 of the Constitution over Section 2 of the EFCC act with regards to Magu’s continued headship of the Commission in an acting capacity. We are sick if we believe the mundane is more important than the substance.
What is our take on the suspension of Babachir David (BD) Lawal? He was suspended because he is a Kilba minority Christian from Adamawa who the Hausa and Fulani Muslims wouldn’t want to see appointed as the Secretary to the Federal Government if not for the benevolence of Tinubu and Akande, forgetting that the man who appointed him in the first place is a Fulani Muslim. He was not suspended because he turned the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) into an initiation into pain by hundreds of thousands of those who lost their loved ones, their economic power and dignity, their households and all worldly material. He forgot the essence of establishing the PINE in the first place.
The essence of establishing the Initiative, in my opinion, is to give an undemanding assistance to the victims of insurgency in the North East; to give them a strong arm and a crutch to stand-on and pick the pieces of their shattered lives. It is also meant to be a vehicle for extending comfort and aid to our unfortunate brethren whose only desire is to get resettled to the monotony of their past lives. The PINE is meant to jump-start economic activity and restore economic dignity in communities that has seen their economy ravaged by mindless insurgency and help reintegrate families who hitherto engaged in one form of business or the other but are now reduced to living in IDP Camps. These are the people the SGF denied the opportunity to live again like him and other fellow human beings – live with dignity and the privacy they have been denied in the recent past. They don’t belong to these camps but the failure of the past government to secure
their lives and properties brought them to this sorry state.
The SGF believed that the PINE was specifically established for him to satisfy his yearn for money. He cared less for the integrity of the one who appointed him to the office nor the dignity of the supposed beneficiaries, now living in Camps that has been adjudged to be not fit for human habitation, no thanks to BD, who turned the iniative into his chequebook. We have seen the quantum of monies transferred to his company or personal accounts by contractors engaged to execute these palliative projects in the zone. We have seen the crudity and the wickedness; we have witnessed the inhumanity and vulgarity in “chopping” the widow’s mite meant to provide succor to the needy in the SGF’s locality. We are sick if we still believe the SGF’s religion has anything to do with his suspension. We are doubly sick if we believe he should be walking around freely when Dasuki is rotting in jail for almost the same offence. Dasuki is guilty of diverting monies meant for the purchase of arms to fight the insurgents who put these people in the IDP camps in the first place while the SGF is guilty of denying them their humanity by stealing monies meant for their reintegration. Same difference in my opinion.
When big things happen to some people, they go gaga – and I believe nothing bigger has ever happened to our SGF in his entire life than being appointed into this office – occupied by the likes of Alison Ayida, Liman Ciroma, Gray Longe, Shehu Musa and even Yayale Ahmed. He pictured himself as this “big man” in this “big office”, without a dime to his name. And then he got to work to remedy the situation. What then do we tell those among us who are in IDP camps until God-knows when? Those who cannot afford smartphones and tablets to see the primitive defence we are putting up on behalf of their tormentors; or for those who still possess smartphones among them, the cost of data is contrasted with that of a hot meal; or to those whose daily survival is a trauma not knowing where their near and dear ones are; those whose present in hopeless and their future bleak. Where is our humanity?
We have spent the better part of this year talking about Buhari’s health. First he is dead, then he is suffering from dementia, then he is terminally ill and when he came back from his treatment in England and we all saw him walking from the plane to the helicopter we changed the tune. After addressing the nation on how sick he was and even disclosing some of the treatment he underwent and alerting Nigerians on the possibility of going back for further tests and treatment, we still insist he conducts a media chat or should pack out of the Villa. We are so filled with hate that we cannot empathize with a seventy-five-year-old man in his hour of trials.
Who is sick – Nigerians or Buhari?
The recent case of former Taraba state governor James Danbaba readily come to mind. Here was a pharmacist whose love for flying nearly ended his life. His plane crash in late 2012 turned him into a vegetable to be wheeled around by those concerned with maintaining the political status quo in Taraba state, yet not a single voice was raised against the charade that we were treated to in the name of bigotry. Nobody asked Danbaba to be shoved aside for a healthier person to take over. We are truly sick if all we do is harangue an old man facing health challenges and needs our sympathy and prayers.
We have seen how first Andrew Yakubu, erstwhile Group Managing Director of the NNPC, stashed away $9.8million dollars in the ghettoes of Sabon Tasha, in Kaduna and then Ayo Oke, the suspended Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) warehoused about $47million in an apartment in Ikoyi Lagos. Monies that have been denied Nigerians because they have been removed from circulation but all we are thinking of is their religious affinity and not their criminality. How did their thieving benefit their religion? Is there any religion that encourages one to steal? Is there anywhere in our holy books that provided for the glorification and protection of thieves? Can you in all honesty and good conscience kill an armed robber and a kidnapper while sparing these two? Common folks, if this is the way you think, then you better consult the next psychiatrist you meet.
The life of the 2016 federal budget came to an end on May 5, 2017 while the 2017 federal budget is bogged down in the National Assembly. The president presented the budget to the National Assembly towards the end of 2016. So what was the National Assembly doing all this while? Nobody is asking them questions because we are occupied with the president’s death or ill health. Knowing our proclivity for the humdrum, they staged plays, which cannot be staged by NTA of years gone by. They picked a fight with Hammed Ali over the issue of uniform because most of them are smugglers whose nefarious business have been affected by his tough guy stance; they refused to confirm Magu on two occasions because most of them live on corruption and are scared of the wooden-face Magu and their poster-boy, Dino Melaye’s academic status remain hazy.
What was our reaction when all this was going-on? We clapped for them and egged them-on. We forgot there is a budget to work-on and pass to the executive for assent and implementation. In less than twenty days (June 5), if the budget is not passed and assented to, we will have a government lockdown and then the blame game will start all over again with the vilest language reserved for the president. That is when we will conveniently forget that the budget was presented to our representatives long before now.
You tell me we are not sick? We are sick, my friend. Buhari may be the only healthy person among us.