• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Jonathan’s no bi me cause am politics

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We live in very dangerous times! If you think these dangerous times are exclusively as a result of the activities of members of the Boko Haram sect, then you are not a proper indulgee. And that is because every indulgee knows how to read between the lines. They know that when what they know and can see is distorted, they would try to guard against it. That which they cannot see or understand they would take with a pinch of the proverbial salt.

Today, indulgees are taking seriously some of the things they are hearing government people say in very recent times. And these government people, to even make matters very worse and dangerous, include President Goodluck Jonathan himself. In some circles the expression that would be used would go like this: “including statements coming from the commanding height of the government (or heart of the government).” When indulgees are confronted with such descriptions, then they will choose to gather at their square table to discuss and ask questions about what is going on in their country.

It is not easy to live in dangerous times and still be able to congregate at a square table and look at different takes on the issues that make the times dangerous. You know that one of the major problems is the fact that in the distorted democracy that we have in our country, even where politicians and political parties are bereft of any ideological persuasion, there is a failure to separate governance from political platforms (make it godfathers) on which politicians get into office. You also have the issue of personality (not in terms of ideas, policy thrusts and directions, but personality of self) getting in the way of governance.

Indulgees are ranting today that there are too many things happening, all in one breath, that make them untrusting of people saddled with the responsibility of governing them. They draw inferences from a few things happening, particularly the political campaigns going on in the country in the run-up to the general elections and one man’s chronic penchant to abdicate responsibility and perpetually pass the buck. Somebody even said the other day that the man came to Lagos to display visible anger. And I dey laff! But, really, it’s no laughing matter. Here’s an excerpt from the president’s campaign speech in Lagos:

“They talk about insecurity, that they will fight insecurity. And you will ask, are our armed forces weak? Are the Nigerians in the armed forces weak? If we have problems, what is the cause? Equipment. And somebody who wakes up and tells young people of 23 years old that he wants to fight insecurity, ask him when he was the head of government, did he buy one rifle for a Nigerian soldier? These people did not buy anything for the Nigerian soldiers. They refused to equip them. No attack helicopter, nothing. Ask them what they did with the defence budget for the whole time they were in office. No country equips armed forces overnight. What they use is quite expensive and they are built over the years. Even if you spend $10 billion today, you cannot equip the army, navy and air force.”

And here’s another: “If they had succeeded in fighting corruption, corruption would not have been with us here today. If they had set up structures and especially in today’s modern science using ICT to manage resources, we would not have been talking about corruption today.”

And yet another: “It is either we vote to be prisoners as we were – and I will tell you, maybe some of you do not know, in 1983, I don’t know for the young people, some of you who are writing all sort of things on the social media. In 1983/84, what they called discipline, as a post-graduate student instead of reading my book, the whole night I queued up to buy two tins of milk. And they say that is discipline. So we should make you queue up the whole night as students to buy two tins of milk? Is that the discipline you want?”

Well, that’s just one reason for the dangerous times we all live in: the president’s attempt to abdicate his responsibility without doing what those who abdicate do (one King of England just went off to marry his American heartthrob and damned the throne). In virtually every serious matter that concerns this country – from insecurity to the power sector to every damn thing – the man says, as a correct Izon man: “No be me do am o!” You know how it is with some of us who were born into large families. When something is wrong and our parents come round asking who did it, one by one, you heard: “It wasn’t me.” “It is not me o.” “I don’t know who did it o.” “Papa, no be me o. Na Obasanjo. And before him, na Abdulsalam Abubakar. And before him, na Abacha. And before him, na Pa Shonekan. And before him, na Babangida.” On and on and on and on! Yes, it is always easy to resort to buck passing.

Indulgees thought that we had passed this stage in our development; that our president would be presidential and take responsibility because that is what he came to office to do – solve problems, not tell us who caused them. If that was what happened in those days in Otueke; that is, instead of dealing with problems that they should have been dealing with, they told the world they were not responsible, it must be one of the reasons why a young schoolboy like the president did not have shoes to go to school with. People who were in charge and were supposed to ensure that he got shoes to go to school were going about saying, like Mr. Jonathan is wont to do, “No be me cause am o.” We are in serious trouble in the hands of politicians, I tell you!

PHILLIP ISAKPA