by Chukwuemeka Eze
THE CURRENT STATE OF NIGERIA
The wise King Solomon rightly posits that, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverb 29:2). It goes without saying that Nigerians are groaning day and night under the wicked rule they are being subjected to through a government that has abdicated its responsibility to the people, and in every way possible shows the wickedness of its reign.
To say that Nigeria is currently at the cross roads – confused and not knowing what tomorrow portends, occasioned by the visionless and misguided leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre – is to say that appropriate words to describe the state of our nation under an uncaring and corrupt government can’t be found. Today, we have a government that cannot protect or guarantee our security as contained in the Constitution. Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka recently stated that Nigeria practises ‘Government of Impunity.’ And, according to Dr Peregrino Brimah, Nigeria occupies the first position in the ranking of nations with the worst governments in history. He pointed to a report from the World Bank in April which listed Nigeria among the five poorest countries in the world, with the largest number of people said to live on less than $1.25 a day. The others are India, China, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
President Goodluck Jonathan instead of addressing the issue on poverty as raised casually dismissed the report by saying: “Nigeria is not a poor country.”
The rebasing of Nigeria’s economy, setting Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa, while revealing the true economic position of Africa’s largest nation, simultaneously re-certified Nigeria as the nation in the top position for worst leadership in social welfare and opportunities for the people. With 70 per cent of the nation’s population living under a-dollar-a-day; economically factored, Nigeria has the poorest people of any nation in the world today. With the rebased economy rating, Nigeria has unparalleled HDI (Human Development Index) to revenue and economy ratio of all nations. Poorest people, in the case of Nigeria, are derived from or correlate with poorest leadership.
Is it not surprising that Nigeria, at the end of 2013, surpassed Mexico in kidnapping, recording the cruellest and second highest single abduction events in recent history? By the end of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, Nigeria surpassed Syria, Libya, Iraq and Central Africa Republic (CAR) in deadly acts of terrorism and sectarian violence. The Nyanya bombing was ranked the fifth worst bombing of its kind in world history, post-1970, by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI). The Jos bombing, with over 200 reported dead in one attack, is second only to 9/11 and the disputed Syria chemical weapons attack.
According to the report, “In combined values, with about 80,000 people killed in four years of largely unchecked Boko Haram violence, and with over 4,000 killed in the first quarter of 2014 alone, Nigeria has fast outpaced other nations of the world in deadly terror. Nigeria’s leadership in December 2013 secured the world’s top position rating in insecurity and failure to protect life, and discourage terror. Current rankings put Nigeria’s leadership second only to Hitler, after surpassing Saddam Hussein, in the current century, in terms of deliberate internal wastage of life.”
A recent report on global life expectancy by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has rated Nigeria low in its report titled, “World Health Statistics 2014”, and published few months ago. According to that publication, life expectancy for both men and women is less than 55 years in nine sub-Saharan African countries, namely: Nigeria, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Sierra Leone. The yearly report is the definitive source of information on the health of the world’s people. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from key diseases, health services and treatments; financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.
Speaking at an event in New York City, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, said the Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan squandered its oil resources, and indirectly helps corruption to fester in the troubled country. Her words: “They have squandered their oil wealth; they have allowed corruption to fester, and now they are losing control of parts of their (own) territory because they would not make hard choices.” The former U.S. Secretary of State at the function organised by the International Crisis Group also noted: “The Nigerian government has failed to confront the threat, or to address the underlying challenges. Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens, and ensuring that every child has the right and opportunity to go to school.”
That is not all, according to Sarah Seawall, U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Corruption prevents supplies as basic as bullets and transport vehicles from reaching the front lines of the struggle against Boko Haram.” Back home, former president, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, in his assessment of Jonathan’s performance in office posited: “I don’t believe he has performed to the expectation of many Nigerians, not just me.” While U.S. Senator John McCain, in his view, submits that Nigerians don’t even have a government in the right sense: “We shouldn’t have waited for a practically non-existent government to give us the go-ahead before mounting a humanitarian effort to rescue those girls. Mr. Jonathan, who leads a corrupt government that has little credibility, initially played down the group’s threat and claimed security forces were in control. It wasn’t until Sunday, more than two weeks after the kidnappings, that he called a meeting of government officials.” (NewYork Times).
To worsen the nation’s situation, President Jonathan has proven himself as incapable of running this country as his six years of administration have been most disastrous to the country. Our hospitals have become more of a consulting and mortuary centres; our federal roads are now death traps, after billions of naira had been budged and wasted and looted. We have an elected Government that hates democracy, but prefers ‘lootcracy’! Under this administration, the civil war years can be described as haven, as Nigerians are killed in droves today, without any solution at sight! Under this administration, Nigerians are so divided in both tribal and religious matters! Salaries of civil servants are not paid! Graduates are produced in millions yearly without any plan of employment for them. Instead of allowing these unfortunate graduates to live in peace, they are being defrauded by government agencies, while a good number has lost their lives in their search for non-existent jobs! We now have a government of deceit, which major achievement is making our nation a laughing stock before the international community.
A government that has succeeded in making us a mockery before the international community and African leaders; which major achievements are traumatising and transforming the nation into darkness as well as digitalising corruption to such a level where a whopping sum of $10 million can be said to have developed wings, and unaccounted for.
The latest in the series of global ridicule to which the scandal-prone Jonathan Administration has subjected Nigeria to is the recent impounding of a whopping sum of $9.3 million cash, against every norm of international transaction; allegedly for the purchase of arms by the President Jonathan government. The South Africa Government is currently investigating the shameful act, alleging that this is just a monetary laundering exercise.
My good friend, Hon Nebukadineze Adiele, while commenting on this latest scandal stated: “Notwithstanding whatever excuses that Nigeria is making today, the transporting of $9.3 million into South Africa alone is a criminal act of money laundering. It violated the various monetary policies of the entire world: it violated currency laws in Nigeria, South Africa, U.S. (it is its currency), and any nation whose airspace was passed as the money moved. That the money was for illegal arms purchase is another violation of the laws of the entire world. It violated almost every anti-arms trafficking laws of Nigeria, South Africa, and all the nation’s whose airspace was entered throughout the journey. It was also a violation of any international treaty entered into by Nigeria, with respect to arms control or illegal trafficking in arms. Through this transaction, Nigeria has disgraced itself and President Jonathan has (once more) brought his incompetence to the international stage.”
Capturing the present state of our nation under the present administration of President Jonathan aptly, Senator David Mark, most successful president of the upper chamber, affirmed that Nigeria is at war. His words: “The escalation of violence and the heinous crimes daily perpetrated by insurgents and terrorists, including the declaration of a Caliphate, has reached alarming proportions. Regrettably, the Boko Haram sect, these harbingers of death, have become more emboldened and daring, killing innocent Nigerians and destroying property at will.
“From abductions, kidnappings and bombings, the situation has now degenerated to capturing and occupying some parts of Nigeria. In what is obviously intended to humiliate us as a sovereign nation and test our resolve, the terrorists have brazenly hoisted their flags to confirm their assault and affront on our collective will as a nation. The Boko Haram sect has in no unmistakable terms declared a total war on Nigeria and Nigerians. Their ideology is alien to our culture.”
But sadly, after few days Senator Mark made this remarkable statement, he was among the shameless PDP leadership that nominated President Jonathan, who has demonstrated incompetence as a hobby, to fly the PDP flag during the 2015 general election. So, who is deceiving who?
Ironically, Nigeria is certainly more divided under this (democratically elected) administration than ever. And only Divine intervention can enable us survive the visionless and clueless leadership that now pervades our nation. Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, last Thursday, observed that Nigeria was moving backwards, saying: “There was never a time the nation passed through the challenges it is currently facing, especially in terms of insecurity, corruption and other vices that have been on the increase in this country.”
For leading Nigeria to its present comatose state, one cannot be far from the truth if one says that President Goodluck Jonathan is a colossal failure, in terms of his leadership style.
Notwithstanding the foregoing woes backed by facts and figures, a notorious group that calls itself Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), which I prefer to call Tragic Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), led by a notorious subsidy thief, and made up of scammers, rouges, vampires, vultures, scavengers, looters, plunderers – all seeking the continued ruination of Nigeria by the most corrupt and inept regime that has ever infested Nigeria, headed by clueless President Jonathan in order to continue the looting spree and impunity associated with this administration.
Correcting the Abnormality Caused By GEJ Over PDP’s Zoning
The fact remains that the founding fathers of PDP in their wisdom, enacted in its constitution with a Gentleman’s Agreement, that power should rotate between the predominantly Muslim North and Christian South every two terms. General Olusegun Obasanjo, from the southern part of Nigeria benefited from this arrangement for eight years (1999 to 2007). The 2007 presidential election witnessed power shifting to the North, but after the death of President Umar Yar’Adua, a Northern Muslim, then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian, took over as acting president.
The former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, said he was present at the meeting where Dr Jonathan, then acting governor of Bayelsa State, signed the agreement in 2003 that the North would produce the president between 2007 and 2011; and that Jonathan, who was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, signed as number 43. But sadly, President Jonathan went ahead to scuttle this policy designed by the founding fathers, by contesting the 2011, which he won. And after spending six years in office by 2015, he is still offering himself to contest the 2015 presidential election, which if he wins, will make him to rule the country for ten years; against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that stipulates that nobody should rule the country exceeding eight years.
Throwing light on the above, former Governor Abdullahi Adamu, one time National Secretary of PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT), in a recent media interview, stated that President Jonathan’s running for the 2015 presidential election, is absolutely reneging on an agreement. According to him, at a meeting with party leaders at the Conference Room of the Office of the First Lady, Presidential Villa, the President agreed not to seek re-election, after conceding that it was the turn of the North to produce the president on the platform of the ruling party, following the demise of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. According to him, at the meeting, which he attended in his capacity as the then secretary of the PDP’s BoT, virtually all the PDP governors then were present. The former governor recalled: “I was there. I was the secretary of the Board of Trustees of the party. The president himself was there. Some state governors were there. Samuel Ogbemudia was there. Virtually all the PDP governors were there. Mr. Jonathan would be violating the agreement if he decides to enter the presidential contest, which holds in February next year.”
All Progressives Congress (APC), to the understanding of some of us, was divinely formed to find solution to the abnormality that PDP has become and the quagmire state we have found ourselves as a nation.
Undemocratic adoption of President Jonathan for the 2015 elections by the PDP Leadership
In the Guardian News Paper Published on July 29, 2011. President Jonathan, said and l quote “l won’t stay in office beyond 2015″ Not minding the massive failure in all sectors of our economy, the immorality and the political implication on our nation of President Jonathan contesting the 2015 general elections; the various echelons of PDP Leadership have adopted him as the party’s sole-candidate for the 2015 presidential election. With this development, Nigerians have no option than to rally together and ensure that this evil calculation is not allowed to see the light of the day as extra day after May 29, 2015 with PDP Leadership at the centre will be hellish for all of us.
The son of Nigeria’s First Republic Prime Minister, Dr. Abdul Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, captured the illegality of this plot thus, “What type of democracy do we have? Is the PDP a communist party? Where is the place of internal democracy? What Nigerians need and where they want the country to be in future are paramount issues. We need to put our ideas before the people and allow them to decide”.
Implications of GEJ Contesting the 2015 Poll
Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, former Archbishop of Lagos and first president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other Nigerian leaders knowing that President Jonathan is an embodiment of failure in leadership have spoken against his third term bid but Dr Umar Ardo, an Adamawa State PDP stakeholder, captured aptly the ineligibility of President Jonathan in the 2015 general election in an open letter to the National Chairman of PDP. He wrote: “Any person of average intellect who read the 1999 Constitution (as amended) along with four key judgements of the Supreme Court (INEC Vs Boni Haruna; Peter Obi Vs Chris Ngige; Ladoja Vs INEC, and INEC Vs 5 PDP Governors), would easily conclude that President Jonathan’s eligibility to contest for another four-year term in 2015, or at any other time thereafter, under the present constitution is impeded. This argument is premised on the fact that what constitutionally applies to the governor on the issue of eligibility or otherwise to contest elections is ipso facto applicable to the president.
“In those judgements, the apex court had established the relationship between the governor and his deputy on the issue of succession (Boni Haruna); determined the holding of office in a term at four years (Peter Obi); affirmed that a governor can stay less but not more than four years in a term (Ladoja); and declared that tenure of the executive in office is a cumulative maximum period of eight years, and not a day longer (five PDP governors). By 29 May 2015, President Jonathan would be five years 23 days as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If the president contests and wins the 2015 presidential elections or at any other time later, he will exceed the cumulative tenure of eight years maximum period as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Therefore such a contest will be unconstitutional.”
Nothing else will be far from the truth than this truism, but NEC, BoT, and the leadership of PDP are well aware of all these facts. But in demonstration of their hatred for our nation, they are ready to wreck our Constitution, in their drive to achieve the misguided vision and mission of their party.
Options, Way Out of PDP’s Evil Trap
Are Nigerians actually tired of these evil cabals that have hijacked governance in the country? If yes is the answer; how to correct these anomalies associated with the poor leadership of our country by PDP lay in their hands. The fate of our country can only be ratified and put back on track if Nigerians rise and get PDP sacked by 2015. If not, the woes ahead on all of us may not be described. We have done too much talking!
The Next Question: Is APC Leadership Ready to Bail out Nigeria?
All Progressives Congress (APC), to the understanding of some of us, was divinely formed to find solution to the abnormality that PDP has become and the quagmire state we have found ourselves as a nation. If this is the case, the challenge before APC, therefore, is enormous; and Nigerians will hold the leadership responsible should they for any reason fail to rescue our nation from the 16 years of ruination of our country by the inept leadership of PDP Government at the centre.
The Obasanjo Solution
I have read the statement of our statesman and leader, General Olusegun Obasanjo, in his recent reaction to the PDP nomination of President Jonathan as its sole candidate, entitled, “Obasanjo To President Jonathan On Second Term”. He said: “Your word must be your bond.” With respect to Gen Obasanjo, the fact remains that he created the monster in President Jonathan, and should find how to get this puzzle sorted out and save our nation from the doom that awaits her should this man succeed against all odds to be re-elected by 2015.
APC Presidential Candidates
One is happy with the no zoning policy adopted by the leadership of the party and with the presidential aspirations of Gen Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, Governors Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Adams Oshimhole of Edo State, Okoroacha of Imo State and Kano Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso, without post-primary crisis. Also, to add Tambuwal’s under the platform of APC; I am sure that any of them can send the present inept leadership of PDP to the cleaners. But the challenge is that should there be any crack in this team, the plans and plots of PDP will easily sail through. In this regard, I wish to appeal that a sort of college be formed among these aspirants; to include our governors and BoT members, to select a candidate from among them, so as to avoid any sort of crack. This will enable us forge a united, virile campaign that will send this enemies of Nigeria out from power. But should any of these candidates, for any reason, decide to break this accord, and PDP succeeds, then we all should wait to see the true President Jonathan.
Many of my friends have come against me asking why I should be postulating this position against a fellow Southerner, but I will take consolation from the stand of the great Irish political philosopher, statesman and the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, who died in July 9, 1797. He may have had the messy state of our nation in mind when he stated, and I quote: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.”
The point that I have been in the centre of the struggle for a better Nigeria is not in doubt, prompting the penning down of this article. So it will be sad should anybody dare suggest that I was either influenced or motivated in writing this article for any other consideration, if not for patriotic reasons.
The fact remains that should APC loose out in the 2015 general election, but God forbid, the true colour of President Goodluck Jonathan will be revealed to Nigerians. And the heat may be unbearable. The ball is now in your court to do that which is necessary to rescue Nigeria from the imminent doom that awaits her, should we fail in this mission.
Let me; therefore, conclude this thesis by asking you all to listen to what the most outstanding African, both dead and living, Nelson Mandela, said about our present predicament: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then, people will appreciate your leadership.”
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze was the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New PDP