Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fellow Nigerians, we are in trouble ...

I am a very politically incorrect person; and my views are sometimes so contrary that I don’t express them. Like the elections this year; I have consistently refused to discus my stand publicly – and with good reason: the one time I tried to do a few weeks ago for instance, Tara Durotoye (a great soul nonetheless) almost beat me up physically. I could understand her passion; but I could also see an angle she wasn’t looking at.

It is the same way that FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, I have always distrusted the EFCC, and continuously maintained that Ribadu is an Obasanjo instrument of oppression even when he was winning Sun Man of the Year and Thisday Superman of the Year up and down. Long before now that it has become politically correct. The man, Ribadu, himself appears a patriotic Nigerian just as angry as I am and you are about the sorry state of our nation no thanks to kleptomaniacs, but in the hands of Obasanjo, it was inevitably impossible for him to do a clean job. I would express my opinion after critically looking at the man’s posture and activities and people would call me a cynic. Well, here we are.

Back to the elections: I have always said in private that going to register and all that drama is a massive waste of time because President Obasanjo does not intend to hold elections this year. I have always said it. That man doesn’t want to leave. I have taken my time to oversee his body language and vituperations carefully, including those around him and his stooges like the INEC Chairman and it has been abundantly obvious. Anyone who does so dispassionately will come to the same conclusion.

Two days ago, my True Love editor called me. There was going to be a high-powered interaction between the PDP Presidential Candidate, Yar’adua and select media persionalities to be televised on national television, and she wanted me to represent her (I will blog about that at happier times, not now please). I was very excited. However, She called me hours later with profuse apologies to say it had been rescheduled and we both wondered why. I just now found out that it was because Yar’Adua had collapsed in his house and been rushed abroad…

Sun Newspaper this morning ...

It is more striking for me because just yesterday I was half-joking with my friends that each time Yar’adua speaks during his campaign stops it looks as if he is so frail he is about to die (as usual, one of them said I was being cynical). I even said ‘He is like a dead man, in fact.’ And just the next day … this!

What’s worse? Everyone knew this! Right from the time this man was imposed as PDP candidate, those who knew him and his condition had cried themselves hoarse that he had either or a kidney or a heart disease that is fatal. The president denied, PDP continues to mouth rubbish and the man himself refused to listen to reason and admit his frailty.

As things stand, there are strong rumours that he is dead. As at this evening though – thankfully – Thisday confirms he is not. I can’t confirm of course, but even if he survived this, what we know for sure is that man is not well. At all. He is sick. Very sick. He might not last long at any rate.

Certain people have expressed upset that Obasanjo is killing Yar’adua with his own stubbornness. These people say if our president wasn’t such as egomaniac he would have admitted that he chose a sick man and make a U-turn but of course Obasanjo can never admit to himself his own infallibility.

Those people might be right, but they still don’t get the point. Right from the start, people like me, and lately Atiku and other members of opposition had pointed to the gross fact that even if OBJ leaves in May, he is still in charge of Nigeria, because he has amended the PDP constitution to leave himself as Chairman of the Board of Trustees FOR LIFE, and according to the same constitution, his decisions are binding on any PDP President. Bottom line: he would still continue to rule us! And for us, this was obviously why he chose an obviously weak Yar’Adua whom he could control.

Well we didn’t see this President coming! He is a master strategist! He has proven again that he is SMARTER than ALL OF US put together!

There are many things unpalatable about being in Law School here, but then again there are huge advantages of living amongst at least a thousand legal minds. Because in the midst of arguments over this latest development we just discovered an ALARMING provision in the Electoral Act. Let me give it to you:

S. 26: If after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief Electoral Commissioner or the Resident Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election.

Read that again. And again. And again. You get it don’t you? What it means is, if truly Yar’Adua is dead or if there is any chance of his dying anytime soon, the INEC Chairman and his subordinates can postpones the elections until ‘a convenient date’. In law, this is a dangerously discretionary power! So if the INEC guys say a convenient date is December 25 2008 – he is right in Law.

Atiku has been saying this!!

They must have known! The president’s strategists must have known! Why did they pick Yar’adua?! Why a sick man out of all the possible candidates who like him were not corrupt? Why not Donald Duke? Why not any other of his Northern Governor loyalists? They must have known!

Most likely, this might have been President Obasanjo’s plan all along. Fellow Nigerians … we are in trouble!


olu said...

Jehovah God. sorry, i can muster an intelligent/coherent response at the moment. this is sickening and all i want to do is hurl.

devil's advocate said...

Underlying all the issues you talk about is the weakness of the constitutional arrangement. The powers vested in the Presidency are among the strongest IN THE WORLD! It is only right that the Senate is trying to autonomise the EFCC. Therefore, your point at the start about Ribadu is a little too personalised. It is the structural legal relationship between the EFCC and the Presidency that is at fault - not any personality issues (positive or negative).

As in China, it is not clear when (if at all) genuine political reform will come to Nigeria. Economic reform without political reform always leads to an imbalanced and unhealthy society.

What chance is there that the governor immunity clause will be removed from the constitution any time soon? And yet this is one of the major drivers of high-level big-money corruption in Nigeria.

It is important that young legally minded people like yourself continue to examine the legal and constitutional arrangements that set Nigeria on a skewed path. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

The constitution puts constraints on tenure and re-scheduling of the elections. It cannot be more than 6 months at a time.

Chude! said...


Thankfully, we just realised that the constitution provides a safeguard this morning so you're right, yes.

Unfortunately though, that offers little consolation. An election postponed for more than a week in Nigeria is an invitation for chaos. Pure chaos.

Plus that Electoral Act is a minefield of fatal inconsistencies. We keep discovering as the mninutes go by ...

Osa said...

With Nigeria, it’s like playing the lottery! The dramatic occurrence in Nigeria’s political landscape is relative and expected judging from our history.
One thing for sure is that the next president of Nigeria has to follow thru with the reforms set by the current government and I am all the way for continuity b’cos lack of that has been a major setback with the growth of our country. I still believe PDP as a party can carry forth the right instruments to implement “somewhat” structured governance guided by OBJ. I don’t see OBJ as a man who has a lot to loose and his essence is for the betterment of Nigeria.. going back to history: loads of infrastructure serving us to date; MMAirport, interstate roads where all built during his days as Military Head of State. When people tag the term Father of Modern Day Nigeria, they have reasons to do so.. as IBB said recently “OBJ is FEDERAL” whichever way u judge him and that is exactly what we need for the existence of One Nigeria. It’s a Pity that he has not been able to structure the right political machinery and very sad that everything seems to be last minute hurry hurry but noting the political imbalance in Nigeria we can understand the complexities as a sequence to the consequences.
You stressed a point about Donald Duke; I am a big Fan and believe he will be president one day or have leadership responsibility on the federal level, his timing/age/awareness/clout is just not yet on cue (Nigerian Standard) in as much as we believe his articulateness will stand the test of time, Seasoned politician’s will argue that Nigeria has not reached the stage where the intellectually astute guys are office bearers or have say with how government should be run (Advisor’s they shall remain for now!).
We have a long way to go and with minds like yours, there is definitely a bright future for us all as long as we synergize for the right reasons.
I see you as a reformed Gani with a liberal approach in our generation.
Nice Job on your Blog!

Chude! said...

Devil's Advocate ,

I agree with you that I have personalised RIbadu's role - but unfortunately that is easy to resort to since our government has become one of men instead of laws.

There has been a systematic destruction of the structures that can sustain democracy or indeed like you noted engender any long-lasting (political) reform.

And this sadly has to do with the personalities behind government. In this dispensation when we have laws with many gaping holes, we inevitably have to depend on people like the President and the EFCC Chairman et al to respect the laws and by so doing strenghten democratic structures.

The way Ribadu is going, he has so personalised - and sadly in some cases trivialised - issues that it will be difficult to get any long-term benefits from his present drive.

EVen in tbe face of what you have correctly identified as the "structural legal relationship between the EFCC and the Presidency ", like I said it now behoves of them through strenght of character to fill in the gaps where the structure is weak.

Instead they are taking advantage of the loopholes and consequently weakening the structures. The flagrant dispobedience of the constituion in terms of impeachment and disregard of court orders is the ultimate demonstration of this.

It really is dangerous. And it really saddens me.

Thanks for reading!


Talk about preaching to the choir!....

Kiibaati said...

Inhale, exhale.
This is Nigeria, something really bad ever happens, nothing really good ever happens, expect the usual.
Things are not getting better but, thak God, they are not getting worse.
Ribadu is not a saint. Obasanjo is not a messaih. Yaradua is only human. We all are mortals.
I feel better already!

Anonymous said...

What's up? Nothing new in the past how many days??????????????????

kingpinblog said...

When I learnt about Yar Adua's collapse I thought to myself, now this is how the cookie crumbles.But minutes later I learnt that he was fast recovering.

About two hours later here I was standing not more than 10 metres away taking Obasanjo's pictures while a street was being named after him in Accra, Ghana.And all the time while looking through my camera lenses I am wondering "is this the man who plays God in my country?"

It was almost surreal to me getting so close to the man who has done and undone a lot of things in my home country.And just at that moment I remembered a scene from the novel No Telephone To Heaven.

I pray we get through these elections safely but one thing is I definitely won't be in Naija when it holds even though I was registered to vote.

Chude! said...

lol @ as a reformed Gani with a liberal approach in our generation. Actually, I like that - I like to think of myself in that way too. I share Gani's stubborn and insistent passion, but none of his rigidity hence my liking the 'liberal' label. But of course, his achievements remain in the sphere of aspiration for me.


Yes o, we need those 'survival skills' to continue to live in this country without tearing our hair out!

I understand what you mean. Sometimes you meet this key players and you can't believe that this mere mortal you are seeing is the same person causing all this havoc.

I alsp pray that we get through these elections safely - sadly, I don't have enough faith at the moment.

We have no choice though; its our nation.