Dear Ohimai, Our Votes Aren’t A Waste Of Time. Because We Hardly Vote At All!

By Femi Oluwaseye.

Ohimai Godwin Amaize’s excellent article (http://www.signalng.com/issues-2019-votes-waste-time-ohimai-godwin-amaize/) on why our votes are, and have always been a waste of time refers.

The essay pointed out why the curse of corrupt leaders won’t stop plaguing us anytime soon. Since political candidates are the product of the political system the party operates, they can never rise beyond the ideologies of the system that produce them, no matter how laudable their initial intentions are. We must have heard time and again, that perennial excuse given for failures of our political leaders: “He has good intentions, but is surrounded by evil people”. By “evil people”, they mean the very people on whose back, the “good people” ride into office. These “bad people” are only actually fulfilling their part of the bargain, trying to recoup their investments. For that’s what running for political office is all about in Nigeria. An investment, that is expected to yield returns.

There’s no intention whatsoever to counter what Godwin wrote. It is an excellent piece. I just think the assumption that Nigerians aren’t aware they’re wasting their time is not altogether correct. I’ll explain.

15 million voters thumbprinted for President Buhari in 2015. About 13 million more voted for then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. That’s less than 30 million Nigerians altogether. Forget about the other names on the ballot. The country, from available records has well over 100 Million Nigerians in the voting cadre, and more than 70 million that actually have registered as at the 2015. That means only about 30% of Nigerians were interested in voting at all. The same statistic is often maintained at state level. At the local government stage, the turnout, compared to registered voters is always abysmal. There can only be one reason for this apathy. Voters know their votes don’t count at the end of the day, so they hardly bother at all.

The recently concluded elective convention of the PDP was a broad-daylight confirmation of this abnormal norm. In someone’s sitting room, according to reports, the list of preferred candidates were drawn, publicly distributed, and in the charade that followed, that exact list was declared elected. The entire list. The question then arises. Why organize an election when you’ve already made up your mind on the winners? That’s often what elections are in Nigeria.

Nigerians who go out to vote often do so out of mere necessity and not convictions. The politicians only need voters to help them validate their choices. That’s why many elites and middle-class Nigerians often don’t bother voting. And they’ve been castigated for being so disinterested. They don’t need government for anything anyway. They provide their own water, education, electricity and healthcare. There’s no need helping a businessman fulfill his quota for returns when he won’t ever be accountable to them. Elected officials are only loyal to the godfathers that field them, and not the voters that thumbprint for them. Because, while the godfathers invested the hundreds of millions of naira, part of which was even used to pay-off the so called voters; the voters simply “voted”.

Of course, not everyone is paid to vote. Some are cajoled, others are really convinced by campaign promises (which are often promptly denied once they’re sworn in), some fell for propaganda and outright lies against other contestants. Only very few do it out of their civic responsibility. The question is, if that’s the case, why thumbprint for only either APC or PDP? At the last election, there were over ten parties on the ballot paper, some of them represented by people of some level of integrity. Why did the elites, or oppressed populace not vote for them. Gani Fawehinmi once ran for president. Everyone knows Gani would most likely do a better job than the career politicians. How many votes did he ammass? Profs Utomi and Sonaiya did poorly as well. Why do people who seem to have better ideas at governance never get the chance? Because people who would naturally have voted for them know the votes would hardly count. So why bother?

Nigeria runs a multiparty democracy which is the best chance to make our voices heard. But corruption won’t allow it to be so. It has to start from party finances. In advanced democracies, not only is there a limit to how much can be spent during an election, the party finances are also scrutinized by ethics agencies. That ensures that no party is allowed to use availability of funds monopolize the electorates. In such a situation, once a credible candidate is found, the process itself going through a rigorous primary where candidates articulate their plans, and a blueprint is presented, the finances to run the campaign is raised from multiple sources. Obviously, there will always be the big, big donors, but the fact that they can get a lot of people to buy into the project gives citizens a sense of ownership from the word go. Until there is a reform on how money is spent during elections, even if saints from heaven form a party in Nigeria, the moneybags would likely suffocate it. And if they find the party getting too popular, they won’t mind going to the extreme. They may assassinate the leaders.

Our political participation would start from being involved financially. It would amaze us how much money we can raise if we all support a genuine purpose-driven candidate. That was how Barack Obama, a first-term senator, ran against the WallStreet establishment and won the Democratic party primaries in 2007. The American people bought into his vision for change. From students to artisans to business executives, they all contributed financially to match the war chest of Hillary Clinton, the favorite of the party. The people owned the race. Obama had no godfather. The people were his godfathers. And they didn’t need to tell him how to run his presidency. All they wanted was good governance.

Nigeria has lots of brilliant politicians who are stuck in the corruption of their parties. Many of them have ideas that can never be implemented as long as their godfathers are the ones sponsoring them. Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe recently said elections are not for the poor. He said if you’re not rich, you don’t need to participate. Nonsense. Barack Obama was worth only some tens of thousands of dollars when he took on the Clinton machinery without corrupt backers. So where did the money come from? The people.

Until we the people are able to decide that we’re tired of allowing moneybags decide for us, we would never enjoy real political change. The decision is the money! Until smart, talented and visionary politicians who are tired of allowing godfathers sit corruptly on their visions say “enough”, and come out to the people, it would remain business as usual.

I believe very few people waste their time at the polling stations. Many people are paid to vote. Others, like those at the long queues in Kano in 2015, actually wanted their “own person” to win as against the other person on the ballot. Those queues were replicated in the south-south, for the “other person”. Those voters had a motive to vote. Others are politicians themselves who mobilize as many people as possible. But honestly, majority of other Nigerians do not care. And would still not care. Because they never like the candidates they are left with. And so, they simply resign to fate. They don’t have to waste their time.

But its a wrong stance to take. As corrupt politicians know our docility is their greatest weapon. They are afraid of us discovering that if we unite to choose a correct leader, they won’t be able to match us. Money for money, zeal for zeal. With the help of social media, we can break barriers, and pass our message. We can raise a lot of money. We can run a campaign that will break the back of the corrupt establishment. They know we can do it. After investing into a future we want to see, we won’t be discouraged from voting. Rather, we’ll go out in our numbers, to thumbprint our dream. At that point, even if we fall short, we would have broken the glass ceiling, and opened the gates for our redemption. That’s why they’re doing everything not to let us discover it. They are bribing us to forgo our right to own, and choose our own leaders.

So, for now, only few people waste their time voting. Because they know its actually nothing but a waste of time when it always comes down to a choice between two corrupt camps. Either of which would only leave us worse off.

Femi Oluwaseye can be reached on Olufemisp@gmail.com, or on Twitter @olufemisp.

Advertisements

The Lion King, Jackals, Hyenas; and A Jungle called Nigeria

Olufemi Oluwaseye

 

Earlier this week, Nigeria’s First Lady (she, in her bid to toe her husbands line of famed frugality, has opted rather to be called the less fanciful title of “Wife of the president”), put her fingers on her keypad to type these words: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals would soon be sent out of the kingdom. We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals”. She was responding to a Facebook post published by Senator Shehu Sani, who painted a Satire out of the current predicament of Nigeria and President Buhari’s prolonged, illness-induced absence. Said the Kaduna senator: “Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned, until he’s back, then they’ll fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace template.” He went further: “Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to themselves in whispers…..it is the wish of the jackals that the Lion King never comes back so they can be king” Senator Sank concluded by saying: “It is the prayer of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save them from the hyenas….and other predators”. It was that post Mrs Buhari responded to, claiming the prayers of the weaker animals, obviously yearning for the safe return of the Lion King, has been answered.

There’s no need wasting precious time interpreting the proverb. We all know who the almighty lion king is. We know the jackals and the hyenas. We know the weaker animals too. We may not be sure however, if the thoughts of the Senator and Mrs Buhari perfectly align with those of Nigerians. Actually, there are many irresponsible conclusions, both in Sani’s post, an the sweeping reply by Aisha.

Firstly, we can immediately see that we are still a long way off being healed of our inordinate lust for nonexistent “Messiahs”. When Buhari was repackaged as the one and only solution to all the problems of Nigeria, past present and future, and was offered to the electorates as the glorious Lion King of the jungle (yes, Jungle!), we all fell in love with him. It just had to be him. We loathed all others. We fell in love with him. When we were warned that his antecedents contradicts our collective expectations, we shrugged. We all know how that has turned out so far. In fact, so overwhelmed by expectations was the lion king, that he had to quickly admit that he’d be limited by his age in meeting our needs. He was 72 years young when he blurted that out. (See “Twelve mistakes of Buhari” for more https://olufemisp.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/twelve-mistakes-of-buhari/). It is therefore ridiculous that after that failing experiment, we are still stuck with the mindset that all the weaker animals’ survival depends on the arrival of the lion king, without whom, they’ll be all dead! How medieval. How sickening. Heck! The lion king is the one praying to survive here! And as circumstances have shown, the so called weaker animals, from all indications, actually seem better off without him.

President Buhari, aka the Lion King, has, this year, spent a cumulative 115 days out of Nigeria, and counting, seeking medical care. He has virtually spent the whole of 2017 in the hospital. The time he made a brief return, more like a stop over, he stayed indoors, abandoning council meetings and important engagements. Mr Lai Mohammed once entertained us with a jab when he claimed he was “working from home”! It is instructive to note that the late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua spent only 78 days away after which even the governors and the national assembly felt enough was enough. That no one is actually talking seriously about Buhari’s absence is a shocking testament to how much some actually want him away. Since his departure, nothing has honestly gone worse. They have actually been better. The one time he interjected into our lives by wishing us happy Sallah, he only made things worse. What sort of lion king records a goodwill message to all the animals in the jungle, but speaks in the local language of only one clan. How should the million of other animals feel? So, they’d be going to animals from the lion clan to ask for interpretation! Like someone said, “Lion king that can’t speak a language that all animals can understand, is that one lion king?”

To Shehu Sani and Aisha Buhari, let no one deceive you into thinking the weaker animals are desperate the lion king returns. He’s not a lion, let alone a king, to begin with! Praying for his safe return? Yes. Praying he comes to rescue us? Hell no! Rescue from what, to begin with? From double digit inflation he himself caused? From recession he plunged us into? From divisive statements and nepotistic tendencies? If these are all he offered when he presided, how should you think we are desperate for his return? Actually, we need him to be fine. And its our honest opinion that he’ll be fine without us. For his health’s sake, he can let us be. I know doctors must have muted the idea of resignation, but I doubt he’ll want to heed to it. But Nigeria is praying Muhammadu Buhari gets better, and go home! For his own sake, he needs to hand over. Its as simple as that. Acting President Osinbajo, isn’t doing anything fantastic at the moment actually, but we can’t deny we all breathe slightly better now.

The morale of my argument is that the lion king is better away. Its a win-win situation. He can take care of himself, and we can have a breathe of fresh ideas, which he is certainly devoid of.

Meanwhile, it is imperative to state that Nigeria is not a land of lions and jackals. Nigeria is not an animal farm, nor a zoo. Nigeria is a land of equal opportunities, or at least, is supposed to be. In every jungle, the lion is the king, not because it protects other animals, but because it actually eats them! Nigeria doesn’t need anymore leaders who eat the people rather than serve them. We are tired of politicians who only devour resources on themselves than develop infrastructure. Power supply is taken for granted even in many African countries, ours has been fed to successive lion kings. No good roads, no hospitals that work (our present lion king is even being treated in another more civilized jungle), no jobs provided; all because lion kings were interested only in feeding fat. We say no to lion kings. We say no to lions and to kings. We need servants.

Nigeria is supposed to be a land of equal rights. There shouldn’t be stronger and weaker animals. But Shehu Sani believes there are. In his estimation, those hoping to take over from Buhari are the jackals and hyenas; while the groaning citizens are the weaker animals. Yes, weaker animals are groaning. Groaning from pervasive corruption and maladministration, groaning from insecurity and crime, groaning from collapsed infrastructure and skyrocketing inflation. Don’t assume we are groaning that Buhari returns. As long as he is healthy to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren, we actually don’t care. All we want is a nation that works for the people, where leaders don’t ride roughshod over their people, and where they are actually accountable to the people. Our desire is not Buhari or Osinbajo; a lion, lioness, jackal, hyena or any other nameless mammal for all we care. Our desire is for a country that works for all, and gives fair and equal opportunities for success and happiness to all. Until that is clearly done, groups like IPOB shall continue to take advantage of our inequalities, to further polarize the already fragile unity. We don’t need a country that is an animal farm, where some animals are more equal than others. (Remind me when Zahra Buhari completes her NYSC)

Let me conclude with the parable of a certain lion king who got too old to hunt. He didn’t want to die of hunger. So he deviced a means of getting regular meals. He pretended he was ill. So an announcement was made for all animals to pay a get-well visit. They did. And as they entered the lion’s cave, they were promptly swallowed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as occasion permitted. The tortoise was however more circumspect. As he carefully made his way to the lion King’s palace, he shook his head. At the gate, he made a brisk u-turn. Asked why he wouldn’t want to proceed any further, he remarked :” all I see are footsteps walking in, I can’t see any footsteps walking out”

I know our Lion kings have eaten most of us for lunch. This time we choose to say no. So, if Shehu Sani, and Aisha Buhari assume we would fall once more for their palace tale, they better think again!

olufemisp @gmail.com; Tweet @olufemisp

 

 

 

Twelve Mistakes of Buhari

Olufemi Oluwaseye

 

 

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is a very interesting one. Aided by a number of factors, the stone many builders rejected, suddenly became the chief cornerstone. Like a hurricane, a wave of “Buharism” swept through the land. Emergency “Buharists” were born. From Dele Momodu to Wole Soyinka, on the one hand, to Chude Jideonwo and Japhet Omojuwa on the other, Nigerians all over suddenly found themselves in love with this man. It was strange. It was like a charm. What made it the more strange was the fact that almost all the people who made selling the Buhari project a do or die task, were staunchly anti-Buhari not long before. There was always one ready excuse for those who were themselves surprised by their love for Buhari: PDP, or to put it more emotionally; Jonathan.

After 16 years of piloting the affairs of Nigeria, almost everyone wanted a Change. Nigerians were tired of politicians who would say one thing, and do another. Under PDP, politics became a means to wealth, public wealth, more than a means to any other thing, service included. Under PDP, our treasury was looted. People became poorer, while the ruling class became fatter. To make matters worse, they behaved as if they never cared. They arrogantly arrogated omnipotence unto themselves. Everyone wanted a saviour from this behemoth. That was a when Buhari walked our way. For the fourth time.

There was something different about Buhari this time. No one could pinpoint what it was. But he suddenly had appeal. Almost a romantic one. Forgetting his track record, we all suddenly saw in him a Messiah. And Messiahs come with popular revolutions. No one wanted to be left behind. Everyone quickly jumped on the Buhari bandwagon. APC helped package him sweetly. Decked in Igbo, Yoruba and South-South attires (attires he never once adorned thereafter), Buhari smiled for the cameras. When some more discerning folks chose to warn us of his very brutal and provincial past, they were roundly ignored. Or accused of working for Jonathan, a man who was sinking in self-inflicted waters of opposition. In any case, Jonathan was never an option for majority of Nigerians. The North, who don’t really care about corruption, simply wanted a Northerner as President. The South simply made corruption the issue. And the verdict was loud and clear: Jonathan’s body language encouraged corruption. I mean Jonathan was feeding on a billion naira a year, while Buhari made do with only N30 Sachet Milo! Add that to the Boko Haram insurgency and the brazen kidnap of over two hundred school girls, Jonathan was fighting a battle he was doomed to lose.

Buhari and his party capitalized, and they were catapulted into the State House, against the run of (usual) play. However it didn’t take long at all for Buhari to disappoint everyone. Apart from some clowns who work at the Villa, and there are many of them there; almost everyone has been disappointed by Buhari. Like burnt “dodo”, what was meant to be tasty, leaves a harsh taste in the mouth just halfway there.

Buhari didn’t suddenly disappoint us. He did it methodically. Almost as if he deliberately planned to. He made some blunders that made us wonder. At the end, his critics would still be wondering how he actually found a way of ruling this country twice!

Here are some of his errors.

 

1. RUNNING FOR OFFICE (Again)

Buhari was never meant to run for President. Not once. And obviously, not four times. After the 2011 polls, he vowed to retire. He should have kept to his word. He would have died a hero. We wouldn’t have known he wasn’t really up to the task. He ran for President four times, and when he eventually got it, ran FROM the presidency. He shouldn’t have bothered.

2. DISOWNING HIS OWN CAMPAIGN PROMISES

Buhari actually came out to deny almost all of his campaign promises. He almost claimed those fine billboards with fantastic pledges were the handiwork of detractors. What kind of leader ever denies the path that got him the throne? Shameful.

3. REFUSAL TO DEVELOP HIMSELF

Buhari got into the army with a contentious O’ Level. He became Head of State without a degree! Same as Yakubu Gowon. Except that Gowon went to school after leaving power. He got a degree, a Masters, and a doctorate. He’s better for it today. Buhari? Nothing. He wasn’t preparing for leadership. Because he never prepared himself for it.

4. ETHNOCENTRISM

Even if you’re ethnocentric, at least, pretend you’re not. Not Buhari. He could not even hide his narrow mindedness. He didnt know how to. His appointments were obviously skewed in favour of his clan. And everything also, including DSS recruitments. There’s a certain Mamman Daura that runs things. Buhari is from Daura.

5. INABILITY TO BUILD BRIDGES

During the 2011 campaign, Buhari never visited the South except Lagos. Heck! He wanted to be Nigerias President, and could only campaign in the North? That was why I was surprised there was post-election violence in the North after he lost. I knew he would lose. Or he thought he would win?

6. LACK OF SENSE OF URGENCY

Buhari spent SIX months before appointing ministers. Would you believe that. That you spend one-eigth of your time without a team? What an abject , prodigal profligacy? Global best practice is to name your team even before you’re sworn in. My confusion was that very few people raised any alarm at that time. I think we were charmed.

6. GAFFES GALORE

“I cannot treat the people who gave me 97% of the vote in the same way as those who gave me only 5%”. “My wife belongs in my living room, my kitchen, and the other room”. “Nigerians are criminals and corrupt”. Words on Marble. By a President. In 2017.

7. ASSEMBLING A MEDIOCRE TEAM

Apart from former governors, name ten of Buhari’s ministers. OK, seven. Hard? Then there are the obvious nincompoops, who make you wonder how they found their way to a President’s side. Buhari has an appalling team. Simple. And somehow incompetence thrives around there. Even Fashola looks bemused. What’s Fayemi’s ministry again? Malami? LOL. Dalung? Da-what?

8. REFUSAL TO PUBLISH HIS ASSETS

Buhari lowered the bar. Yar’Adua published his assets on national dailies. Good luck Jonathan was crucified for failing to do so. Buhari promised to. He has not. Most likely will not. Shame.

9.OVERFLOGGING CORRUPTION

Corruption is a huge problem in Nigeria. But contrary to what Buhari would have us think , corruption is not our major problem. Leadership is. We can’t have the kind of system that operates in Nigeria and expect that there won’t be stealing. Policemen on the roads still openly demand bribes. Yet we’re fixated on past government officials. For lack of a clear vision, Buhari mentions anti-corruption war as the antidote for all our problems. Whereas, if you open your eyes wide enough, you’ll see corruption taking root, even under Buhari’s nose.

10. ECONOMIC ILLITERACY

Buhari drove Nigeria into recession in 1984. He blamed Shagari. He drove us into recession again in 2015. Of course he blamed Jonathan. And falling oil prices. And 16 years of PDP. And corruption. And corruption. And corruption. He blamed everyone except himself. He was asked to devalue. He refused. He chose to float the Naira suddenly. He stopped a corrupt oil subsidy, after claiming it never existed, drove inflation into double digits, enforced a blanket Treasury Single Account, weakening money flow, and crumbled many businesses. Buhari’s economic illetracy brought unnecessary hardship. In fact an acronym for BUHARI became Brought Unnecessary Hardship Among Reasonable Individuals. To make matters worse, he never acknowledged he was weak. So, he never assembled an economic team. He had scores of media aides, many of them useless (I won’t let Lauretta Onochie work for me for free); but never had an economic team. We suffered for nothing.

11. SHEER SECRECY OVER HIS HEALTH

The way and manner in which Buhari has handled his health is unfortunate. Nigerians don’t know what is wrong with him or where he’s being treated. Buhari has been incommunicado for well over four months in the year. He’s getting treated at government expense, and all we get is no information.

12. TACTICAL INEFFICIENCY

For a former Soldier, his lack of tact in dealing with Nnamdi KANU and the Shi’ites is strange. KANU was almost a nobody with just a pirate radio, but Buhari turned him into a cult hero. Buhari should have visited the Southeast, for familiarization. He should have shown them love. No. He offered them Operation Python Dance. His absence allowed Prof Yemi Osinbajo, his deputy to mend some of those cracks.

*********************************

Buhari haa done fairly well for himself in the war against insurgency. He has largely decimated Book Haram. That would be his major achievement. But has Buhari made Nigeria, or Nigerians better? Answer with the Fear of God.

 

Olufemisp@gmail.com, @olufemisp

Buhari doesn’t love Onnoghen, and he wants a quiet divorce. But that’s Not going to happen!

Aside

By Olufemi Oluwaseye.

President Muhammadu Buhari obviously doesn’t trust Justice Walter Onnoghen. The distrust has very little to do with the Judge himself, but with the very man Buhari. Buhari either knows you personally or, you are suspiciously corrupt. Its as simple as that. Buhari strangely, lives in a world of illusion. The illusion that almost everyone in Nigeria is corrupt. And except he can personally vouch for you, you are likely a bad person. If he had built an extensive network of people, his microcosm community would have likely been a fairly accurate representation of Nigeria. But Mr Buhari’s viewpoint starts and ends somewhere around Daura, and then a little into Kaduna. If you are not from those two places, or you have not been fortunate to cross his path somehow, then, you are a very corrupt person. Afterall, as he himself recently agreed to with aplomb, Nigerians are fantastically corrupt. All of them!
President Buhari is not a lawyer. Its actually not his job to know who is qualified to be the Chief Justice. That responsibility lies with the National Judicial Council. He may actually refuse their choice, constitutionally. But the new choice still has to come from them. So, it was shocking, that, months after the NJC forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the president, for a simple job of passing same to the national assembly, he did nothing. And there was an embarrassing silence from those who should know better: the bar.
Constitutionally, there are provisions for an “acting Chief Justice”, but that would be in most extraordinary of situations. There was nothing extraordinary about a chief justice retiring, and the next in line stepping in. Not that such a boring and predictable system of succession doesn’t have its own shortcomings, but altering that system, when finally, a southerner has the opportunity of occupying the post after over 28 years of northern domination, is wrong.
The claim from Aso Rock is that there is an ongoing investigation of judges by security agents. One arm of government investigating another! In other words, Mr Onnoghen is under investigation. And we know he would most likely be found guilty, a perfect excuse to dump him for another saint from Daura. Not remembering that when Obasanjo foisted the worst 2007 elections on us which produced Yar’Adua, Onnoghen was one of the three judges at the supreme court that voided the election in its entirety.
The constitution is very clear. President Buhari can either forward Onnoghen’s name or allow his three month tenure run out and allow the matter die a natural death.
When contacted, a source at the presidency, quoting Thisday Newspaper, (Jan 22, 2017), says the president is hoping Onnoghen passes the security agencies test. But if he fails, the unnamed source continues, then the President promised to appoint a replacement from the South-south of the country. Nonsense!
First, the Chief justice is the head of an arm of government. In as much as no one is above the law, its ridiculous to assume the NJC could all be wrong while DSS, a body headed by Buhari’s cousin, should be right. Its ridiculous to assume the DSS should determine the fate of the number one Judicial officer. Its ridiculous that since August, when his name was forwarded, the DSS hasn’t concluded investigations, knowing that he can’t be reappointed as acting CJN once his tenure expires early February.
Buhari obviously doesn’t love Onnoghen. Maybe it has to do with where he’s from more than who he is. But the truth is that if he thinks their marriage would be allowed to die quietly while he picks his new wife, he is mistaken. Buhari must tell Nigerians why he still hasn’t sent Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation. That in itself should be a formality. For it is ironic that our senate, populated by active and retired rogues should screen a rogue catcher. But, that is the law.
Buhari however must be honest to let us know the real reason is that Onnoghen is from outside his clique, where all the saints in Nigeria reside. Buhari must be honest to tell us he doesn’t trust the rest of us. Instead of hiding behind DSS and security reports which are mere attack dogs used by our despotic leaders to hound and oppress those they don’t like.
I can however assure Buhari. Rejecting Onnoghen for whatever reason would be noisy, and messy. And he wont be without bruises and painful scars of a needless grandstanding, after it. We wish him full and quick recovery in London.
Follow on twitter @olufemisp

Buhari doesn’t love Onnoghen, and he wants a quiet divorce. But that is Not going to happen!

Aside

By Olufemi Oluwaseye.

President Muhammadu Buhari obviously doesn’t trust Justice Walter Onnoghen. The distrust has very little to do with the Judge himself, but with the very man Buhari. Buhari either knows you personally or, you are suspiciously corrupt. Its as simple as that. Buhari strangely, lives in a world of illusion. The illusion that almost everyone in Nigeria is corrupt. And except he can personally vouch for you, you are likely a bad person. If he had built an extensive network of people, his microcosm community would have likely been a fairly accurate representation of Nigeria. But Mr Buhari’s viewpoint starts and ends somewhere around Daura, and then a little into Kaduna. If you are not from those two places, or you have not been fortunate to cross his path somehow, then, you are a very corrupt person. Afterall, as he himself recently agreed to with aplomb, Nigerians are fantastically corrupt. All of them!
President Buhari is not a lawyer. Its actually not his job to know who is qualified to be the Chief Justice. That responsibility lies with the National Judicial Council. He may actually refuse their choice, constitutionally. But the new choice still has to come from them. So, it was shocking, that, months after the NJC forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the president, for a simple job of passing same to the national assembly, he did nothing. And there was an embarrassing silence from those who should know better: the bar.
Constitutionally, there are provisions for an “acting Chief Justice”, but that would be in most extraordinary of situations. There was nothing extraordinary about a chief justice retiring, and the next in line stepping in. Not that such a boring and predictable system of succession doesn’t have its own shortcomings, but altering that system, when finally, a southerner has the opportunity of occupying the post after over 28 years of northern domination, is wrong.
The claim from Aso Rock is that there is an ongoing investigation of judges by security agents. One arm of government investigating another! In other words, Mr Onnoghen is under investigation. And we know he would most likely be found guilty, a perfect excuse to dump him for another saint from Daura. Not remembering that when Obasanjo foisted the worst 2007 elections on us which produced Yar’Adua, Onnoghen was one of the three judges at the supreme court that voided the election in its entirety.
The constitution is very clear. President Buhari can either forward Onnoghen’s name or allow his three month tenure run out and allow the matter die a natural death.
When contacted, a source at the presidency, quoting Thisday Newspaper, (Jan 22, 2017), says the president is hoping Onnoghen passes the security agencies test. But if he fails, the unnamed source continues, then the President promised to appoint a replacement from the South-south of the country. Nonsense!
First, the Chief justice is the head of an arm of government. In as much as no one is above the law, its ridiculous to assume the NJC could all be wrong while DSS, a body headed by Buhari’s cousin, should be right. Its ridiculous to assume the DSS should determine the fate of the number one Judicial officer. Its ridiculous that since August, when his name was forwarded, the DSS hasn’t concluded investigations, knowing that he can’t be reappointed as acting CJN once his tenure expires early February.
Buhari obviously doesn’t love Onnoghen. Maybe it has to do with where he’s from more than who he is. But the truth is that if he thinks their marriage would be allowed to die quietly while he picks his new wife, he is mistaken. Buhari must tell Nigerians why he still hasn’t sent Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation. That in itself should be a formality. For it is ironic that our senate, populated by active and retired rogues should screen a rogue catcher. But, that is the law.
Buhari however must be honest to let us know the real reason is that Onnoghen is from outside his clique, where all the saints in Nigeria reside. Buhari must be honest to tell us he doesn’t trust the rest of us. Instead of hiding behind DSS and security reports which are mere attack dogs used by our despotic leaders to hound and oppress those they don’t like.
I can however assure Buhari. Rejecting Onnoghen for whatever reason would be noisy, and messy. And he wont be without bruises and painful scars of a needless grandstanding, after it. We wish him full and quick recovery in London.
Follow on twitter @olufemisp

Buhari doesn’t love Onnoghen, and he wants a quiet divorce. But that is Not going to happen!

Aside

By Olufemi Oluwaseye.

President Muhammadu Buhari obviously doesn’t trust Justice Walter Onnoghen. The distrust has very little to do with the Judge himself, but with the very man Buhari. Buhari either knows you personally, or, you are suspiciously corrupt. Its as simple as that. Buhari strangely, lives in a world of illusion. The illusion that almost everyone in Nigeria is corrupt. And except he can personally vouch for you, you are likely a bad person. If he had built an extensive network of people, his microcosm community would have likely been a fairly accurate representation of Nigeria. But Mr Buhari’s viewpoint starts and ends somewhere around Daura, and then a little into Kaduna. If you are not from those two places, or you have not been fortunate to cross his path somehow, then, you are a very corrupt person. Afterall, as he himself recently agreed to with aplomb, Nigerians are fantastically corrupt. All of them!
President Buhari is not a lawyer. Its actually not his job to know who is qualified to be the Chief Justice. That responsibility lies with the National Judicial Council. He may actually refuse their choice, constitutionally. But the new choice still has to come from them. So, it was shocking, that, months after the NJC forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the president, for a simple job of passing same to the national assembly, he did nothing. And there was an embarrassing silence from those who should know better: the bar.
Constitutionally, there are provisions for an “acting Chief Justice”, but that would be in most extraordinary of situations. There was nothing extraordinary about a chief justice retiring, and the next in line stepping in. Not that such a boring and predictable system of succession doesn’t have its own shortcomings, but altering that system, when finally, a southerner has the opportunity of occupying the post after over 28 years of northern domination, is wrong.
The claim from Aso Rock is that there is an ongoing investigation of judges by security agents. One arm of government investigating another! In other words, Mr Onnoghen is under investigation. And we know he would most likely be found guilty, a perfect excuse to dump him for another saint from Daura. Not remembering that when Obasanjo foisted the worst 2007 elections on us which produced Yar’Adua, Onnoghen was one of the three judges at the supreme court that voided the election in its entirety.
The constitution is very clear. President Buhari can either forward Onnoghen’s name or allow his three month tenure run out and allow the matter die a natural death.
When contacted, a source at the presidency, quoting Thisday Newspaper, (Jan 22, 2017), says the president is hoping Onnoghen passes the security agencies test. But if he fails, the unnamed source continues, then the President promised to appoint a replacement from the South-south of the country. Nonsense!
First, the Chief justice is the head of an arm of government. In as much as no one is above the law, its ridiculous to assume the NJC could all be wrong while DSS, a body headed by Buhari’s cousin, should be right. Its ridiculous to assume the DSS should determine the fate of the number one Judicial officer. Its ridiculous that since August, when his name was forwarded, the DSS hasn’t concluded investigations, knowing that he can’t be reappointed as acting CJN once his tenure expires early February.
Buhari obviously doesn’t love Onnoghen. Maybe it has to do with where he’s from more than who he is. But the truth is that if he thinks their marriage would be allowed to die quietly while he picks his new wife, he is mistaken. Buhari must tell Nigerians why he still hasn’t sent Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation. That in itself should be a formality. For it is ironic that our senate, populated by active and retired rogues should screen a rogue catcher. But, that is the law.
Buhari however must be honest to let us know the real reason is that Onnoghen is from outside his clique, where all the saints in Nigeria reside. Buhari must be honest to tell us he doesn’t trust the rest of us. Instead of hiding behind DSS and security reports which are mere attack dogs used by our despotic leaders to hound and oppress those they don’t like.
I can however assure Buhari. Rejecting Onnoghen for whatever reason would be noisy, and messy. And he wont be without bruises and painful scars of a needless grandstanding, after it. We wish him full and quick recovery in London.
Follow on twitter @olufemisp

Is Lai Mohammed Scared of Social Media’s Whirlwind Already?

When new flashed that Nigeria’s Information minister, Lai Mohammed was in a “friendly” meeting with bloggers and “social media influencers” (whatever that means), I immediately feared for the worst. I was a bit relieved to read that stifling or gagging the online press, voracious and crude as it may be, isn’t on this administration’s agenda. However, I was still at a loss as to the real essence of the meeting. Hear Lai :
“Let me assure you that the federal government does not intend to stifle free speech or abridge the rights of Nigerians to air their views freely.” The minister was further quoted as saying: “We are not about to regulate or stultify the social media. This explains why we are asking you to self-regulate. That is why we are encouraging you to rein in the impostors among you and show restraint when dealing with issues of national unity, issues of Nigeria’s sovereignty, as well as issues concerning the lives and well-being of Nigerians”

Three things are immediately clear. One. The government is scared of the social media. Secondly, The government is scared of the social media. Thirdly. The government is scared of the social media.

The meeting in itself is ironic. Very ironic. Lai Mohammed contradicted himself in the meeting. He started by first thanking the social media gurus for using the social media to devastating effect in giving the ousted PDP government absolutely no chance at the polls. Mr Mohammed went further by asking them not to abandon their keypads yet, as the government still needs all their support. In other word, Lai Mohammed was very appreciative of the role social media played in getting the APC on board. Then, he talked of self-regulation due to many dangers a free and uncontrolled social media poses for our national security. He asked for “impostors” to be reined in, and restraint in dealing with national issues.

There is a problem, honourable minister. First, you didn’t explain what you meant by “impostors”. Do you mean the people whose pastime is merely creating parody accounts swaying undiscerning populace, like we have Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida fully represented on twitter, despite the fact that both men have severally denied being on social media? Or are you talking about people who speak their mind, on their own space, on the accounts they created, and browsing with their own money and data? Or are you talking about people who go about spreading falsehood and demoralizing the country through wicked tales about our military and openly rejoice when Boko Haram strikes?

Then reining them in! Are you in effect ordering a class captain for the Internet, whose job would be to pull down any account that doesn’t fit in to the official code of conduct of the APC-led government? Are you asking for the “influencers” to ban twitter accounts of “Impostors”, or report them to the DSS?
There’s more confusion – “self regulate”! LOL! Lai Mohammed wants social media to regulate it’s activities! It goes this way. Probably. There’ll be an association of social media voltrons or overlords, with a president and a senate, where decisions would be taken on what can, and can’t be posted online. Now, if Lai Mohammed’s statement doesn’t amuse you and your tummy, nothing would.

Continuing in his strange sermonization, Lai Mohammed enthused: ”What I am saying in essence is that you must self-regulate in order not to self-destruct. Self-regulation allows you to weed out the charlatans among you in order to maintain your credibility and ensure your survival. Lose credibility and lose it all. That is the stark reality. If you must survive and grow, you must not compromise your credibility.”
He added that “hate debate is adding fuel to some low-intensity fires and, if left unchecked, could conflagrate and consume all of us. Remember, you need a peaceful country before you can even dream of greatness. You need a united, strong and virile country to provide the necessary environment for your dreams to come true.” Continuing, he said ”A marriage between Nigerians of different tribes that should be hailed for solidifying our unity as a people has become one of the reasons to vent incredible hatred and openly predict catastrophe for our nation on the Social Media. The New Media is a powerful platform that has democratized access to information and strengthened citizen journalism. But it is also a double-edged sword that must be wielded with caution.”

Lai Mohammed actually said the truth. But he said it without shame. It’s a classic case of the thief, who not apprehended quickly enough, has turned to the accuser. Lai Mohammed preached the right sermon, but preached it too late.
Many claimed Goodluck Jonathan was a weak president. If you observed the fiefdom on social media during GEJ’s years, you’ll agree. Lai Mohammed’s party, and individuals sympathetic to it, turned the social media to a vehicle of hate, terror and intimidation. They used innuendos, sensationalism, outright falsehood and stark abuse to harrass the government and individuals that supported them. Now, that’s not to support the PDP government. They had a lot of failings. And we’re rightly voted out. But the social media was used to shape opinion massively against the government of the day.

In January 2012, twitter was used to oppose the brilliant but poorly executed fuel subsidy removal strategy. A movement that typically shows how people can be easily swayed by social media. Boko Haram attacks were celebrated by APC twitter handles. “#GEJOut” trended almost simultaneously with every blast. The unfortunate loss of the Chibok girls was used. #Bring BackOurGirls simply transliterated to mean Kick Out Jonathan. Strangely, many twitter handles with BBOG as user names simply changed once Jonathan lost. The urge to get the girls back is gone. Or, it was never there in the first place. Every seeming failure of government was amplified to highlight why the PDP must be voted out. Hate speeches was normal. The president was called a pig. His wife, a “she-hippopotamus”, “clueless”, “idiocy”, “dumbo” were quite milder terms. You’ll had thought Jonathan achieved absolutely nothing.

At the height of the social media onslaught against Goodluck Jonathan, Lai Mohammed should have preached this sermon. He rather cheered them on. His many press releases contained several clichés cropped from the reigning anti-GEJ slogan. He severally called Jonathan names too. They, including the now born-again Lai Mohammed, sowed the wind. It is ironic they are afraid of the whirlwind.

Meanwhile, if Buhari’s government had merely fulfilled campaign promises, and positively changed the country as they screamed pre elections, the perceived ill-talk against them would have been dismissed as mere malice. But every anger directed at APC today is not misplaced. The subsidy has been mismanaged. Chronic fuel scarcities have returned. And no end is in sight. From never believing in subsidy, Buhari has now paid close to six hundred billion naira as subsidy in six months! Yet, queues wont go away. Power supply, initially thought to have “self-constructed” at the instance of a certain body language, have returned to normal epilepsy. The so-called “Fear of Buahri” is non-existent, except in the minds of apologists. Thieves are still thieving, crooks are still cooking, corruption is still in bloom. Or how can Timipre Sylva be put forth as a gubernatorial candidate, and you claim anyone fears Buhari?

And, they are too arrogant to swallow the humble pie by scrapping the unfortunate and wasteful subsidy. The economy is crashing. Corruption is still in town. And, guess what, Buhari’s body language is nothing more than mere dance steps. It took six months to select ministers and never have we seen such six months of lack of direction.

Lai Mohammed should rather face his job. He should be worried that a mere six months into their tenure, goodwill is fading like wax in fire. Even a promise as simple as declaration of assets was so bungled by them. Shame. Yet, Nigerians are yet to unleash anger on social media. Infact, he hasn’t seen anything. At least, no one is “Lai-ing” against them yet. I can assure Mr Mohammed, that if this strange pace of fulfilling promises is maintained by his government, not only would they be attacked on social media, even men and women who don’t even know whether twitter is a type of food or brand of insecticide, would openly give them ten times what they gave Jonathan – anger!

And, on a final note, Mr Information minister. The press CANT be regulated. Much less the social media; where every man is his own CEO. And I’m surprised you’re not aware of this.

Olufemi Oluwaseye is on twitter @olufemisp