BY COL. ALBEHU GORA DAUDA (RTD)
If ever there was any hypocritical nation on the surface of the earth, you need not search beyond Nigeria. The evidence is everywhere for even the bat to see. An anti- corruption war is supposedly being waged, but directed only against opponents of the government currently in power. The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) is simply a sanctuary for corrupt politicians to decamp to that is if they were from the opposition PDP. The moment you decamp to the APC, a warm reception awaits you where you will receive a pat on the back and told to go and steal no more.
Where else aside Nigeria with a huge oil reserve and three decrepit refineries, yet the country relies heavily on imported refined products? President Muhammadu Buhari was an avowed critic of the huge subsidies paid on the imported refined products. At a point he argued that there was no subsidy and promised that if he was voted as the president, he would reduce the pump price of petrol to N45 a liter. Four years on, the subsidy has even increased. What would it have cost if at least two additional refineries were built to refine our local crude? A country blessed with huge gas reserves, yet the population cannot access cooking gas and have to rely on deforestation to meet the demand for firewood. In Kaduna State, large swathes of forest have been cleared, particularly in Adara Kingdom and Birnin Gwari areas without new trees being planted. The dangers of desertification is real.
Nigeria is a country where foreign Fulani terrorist Islamist are operating openly with military styled weapons brought into the country surreptitiously from Qaddafi’s armories. Sovereignty has no meaning in this country because everybody can simply cross, especially our northern borders so long as such claims to be a practitioner of a certain faith. Ours is a country, particularly in the northern fringes where foreigners are more Nigerian than other bonafide Nigerians from other parts of the country.
Nigeria is a nation where thieving governors have thoroughly emasculated local Councils almost to the point of economic asphyxiation under a dubious ‘Joint Account’. The councils are simply departments under the State governments when they ought to be independent of both the States and the Federal Government. Under the dubious Joint Account system, the State governments dish out financial handouts to the councils even when they are closest to the grassroots and should kick start development from there.
Nigeria is one hell of a country where the ” Immunity Clause ” inserted in the Constitution has become a rampart tool of providing protection to bandits simply on account of the fact that they are Federal or State Executives. As soon as the tenure of the State governors is ending, they serially manipulate the politics of their states to transmute into Senators. In doing this, the crimes of their past is bloated over largely.
In saner political climes, there is no hiding place for even former presidents. They are either impeached or are held to account at the end of their tenures. At least two former Brazilian presidents are cooling their heels in jail, Lula da Silva and his immediate successor. Similarly, in South Korea a former president is in jail, too. In South Africa whose democracy is far younger than ours, former President Jacob Zuma is on trial for alleged corruption. Egypt is not far away, but in Nigeria, former bandit presidents are walking free and enjoying their loot at the expense of the ordinary people wallowing in abject penury. How then can this country grow?
Nigeria is perhaps the only nation on the face of the earth which though politically independent with a Parliament, yet the president finds it easier and convenient to take important decisions of governance or makes very important statements about his country in foreign land, particularly the United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inadvertently cresting the impression as if Nigeria were still a colony. Whenever there was the need for an important decision, he simply jets out to either of these other countries and all we receive in return some of the time are embarrassing statements which do not portray our country in good light.
Nigeria is one hell of a nation where a misapplied democracy is operating side by side with dictatorship as in Kaduna State. My State is so ”Lucky” to have been blessed with an ”All knowing ” governor, diplomat and lecturer on how to retire renowned politicians and godfathers. He successfully put the Kaduna State House of Assembly under his huge limbs such that they must walk under to find relevance. There was once upon a time a Federal Minister for Special Duties under Gen Abacha’s dictatorship, late Alhaji Wada Nas, who gleefully preached to Nigerians that he had the responsibility to look into the affairs of any other Ministries. Even late Wada Nas could not have been as meddlesome as the dictator in Kaduna State who arrogated to himself the right to conduct foreign policy on behalf of the Federal government by sending emissaries across the West African region to contact his supposed Fulani kinsmen for compensation for the events dating back to the 2011 general elections
How would one describe a nation where in the 21 Century a state governor embarks on the creation of emirates in other ethnic groups’ historical homeland just to be seen and heard to be advancing the interest of his ethnic and chosen people as in Kaduna State under Malam Nasiru El Rufai. If not in Kaduna State, where will an elected governor be engrossed in making inflammatory speeches with the sole purpose of inciting one ethnic group against another? If not in Kaduna State, where in all of Nigeria will a retrenchment of primary school teachers be relentlessly pursued even when more should have been recruited and yet claim to be growing education in the State? Where if not in our Kaduna does a governor make a caricature of the state’s Civil Service, yet claim also to be enhancing productivity?
Where if not in our Kaduna State will you find a State’s Chief Security Officer who is emblematic of a rabble rouser and meddler with so much contempt for the traditional Institution up to the point of dismissing them in large numbers and expecting that there will be peace in the land? If it is true that nature abhors a vacuum, then a vacuum has been created wherever a local traditional leader was relieved of his responsibility. The insecurity in many parts of Kaduna State is a natural corollary of the dismissal of some of these traditional leaders. Where there is a deliberate plan to supplant an ethnic grouping from their ancestral lands only for foreign and local Fulani herdsmen to occupy the vacated spaces, this is called Fulanisation.
There is obviously a deficit in leadership where foreign Fulani terrorists heavily armed have occupied the free spaces and highways, killing and kidnapping citizens at will, demanding and collecting huge ransoms which governments sometimes pays up. Could there be any justification whatsoever under these difficult situations for any sane government to decree the cancellation licences for private firearms and calling on such firearms to be surrendered to the Police who themselves need to be protected from the outlaws who remain free to carry unlicensed military styled weapons with which they are dispatching many to their early graves?
Is it not the very height of absurdity in a supposedly secular, multi-religious, multi-cultural nation for some States governors to be deploying state resources to advance the interest of a particular faith? How can transparency and accountability find accommodation with practices such as these? In order to rescue this beleaguered nation from the stranglehold of this dubious presidential system of government, why can’t we just go back to the parliamentary system that was inherited from the British colonialists? In my humble view, this is the way of peace for this nation.
Col. Gora, a public commentator, wrote this piece from Kaduna