The state of affairs in
Nigeria today is indicative of a polity that is about to rupture. The
atmosphere is fully charged, waiting impatiently for the impending
apocalypse. The actors and actresses on the political stage are consumed
by the verbiage they dish out on daily basis
. Their heads appear to have turned torrent by the everglade of
political disruptions and threats of more to come in the weeks ahead.
The stage for this unpalatable scenario was set a few weeks ago by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In an unprecedented verdict of guilt, the commission pronounced almost
all the 36 Governors of the Federation corrupt. It threatened that it
would send a good many of them to jail as soon as they leave office as
But in the meantime, the commission, by a certain fiat, any governor
indicted by it form constesting for any elective office in the 21007
If we still live a proper setting where rational human beings operate,
the EFCC would quickly have been reminded that it has no powers to
decide who qualifies or who does not qualify to stand for elections. The
job is that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). But
because we live in a clime where anything can happen, many Nigerians
believe that EFCC can make good its threat and have therefore decided to
just watch and jeer or cheer.
But the apocalyptic dimension our tomorrow is assuming is amply
represented by the bizarre drama that is playing out in some quarters.
Absurdities are taking place in Ekiti and Plateau States. In Ekiti
State, the legislators are behaving like someone’s emissaries. They want
to latch on to anything to impeach Governor Ayo Fayose. Their resort to
unconstitutionality in their purported removal of the Chief Judge of the
state is a clear demonstration of the level of brigandage that is going
on in the land.
Plateau State presents a different scenario. The absurdity here is
captured by the indicrous attempt by six legislators out of a 24-member
legislature to impeach Governor Joshua Dariye. But what is really
regrettable about the Plateau scenario is that the Presidency thought it
fit to order the Inspector General of Police to give protection to the
six members that do not even constitute one third of the members of the
House of Assembly. Garrison mentality is practically at play here.
Then in Abia State, Governor Orji Uzor Kalu is being hounded by the
Presidency. In an apparent bid to destabilise the Governor, the EFCC has
decided to declare his mother and his brothers wanted. It also joined
some other officials of the state government. The overall objective is
to cause a stampede in Abia State. The Presidency and its agency or
agencies want to give the impression that Abia is a Wasteland where
proper governance has taken place. The objective is to weaken Kalu and
make him a lame duck of a governor. But Obasanjo’s nemesis in this
matter is that Kalu is bold enough to tell his own story.
Unlike most of the other governors who would easily melt at the sight of
the president, Kalu recognises Obasanjo as an elder and as a father. But
when this elder fails to do the right thing, he could be called to order
by those who want the best for Nigeria. This is the role Kalu has been
If this is the reason that Obasanjo is after Kalu, then he (Obasanjo)
will not go far. The plot is bound to fail, especially now that those
who did not understand the essential Kalu before are beginning to come
to terms with who he is. The young man is incapable of pretending. He
says it as it is. It is such sincerity of purpose that Nigeria needs to
face the challenges of the battle before us.
From Ekiti, Plateau and Abia States, the Presidency and its agents would
certainly move over to some other states of the Federation. Since no
less than 31 governors, according to EFCC, have questions to answer, we
would soon witness the fall of as many governors as President Olusegun
Obasanjo would wish.
But a common strand runs through all the cases we have been talking
about. That strand is corruption. Obasanjo’s agency has accused Vice
President Atiku Abubakar of corruption and corrupt practices. It has
also said the same thing of almost all the governors. Significantly,
Atiku has more than retorted. He has unearthed Obasanjo many corrupt
practices. In the same way, Kalu has had occasion to draw attention to
some of Obasanjo’s transgressions.
But in spite of the fact that the President’s underbelly has been
exposed by Atiku and Kalu, the rampaging EFCC has turned a blind eye to
the cases raised against Obasanjo. Nigerians are equally being forced to
think or believe that the allegations against the president do not
deserve consideration. In other words, we are being coaxed into ignoring
every allegation made against the President while accepting with
religious devotion the allegations made against Atiku and the governors.
Can anybody tell me why it should be so? Do we have a separate system of
rules governing the president’s actions? Is his office inviolable? Why
the allegations levelled against him just end up as mere allegations? Is
he the only good man in a clan of sinners?
This is the crux of the matter. In today’s Nigeria, it is Obasanjo
versus the rest. Whereas the Vice President and the governors are
corrupt, the president is necessarily clean. And to show the difference
between him and the sinful flock, he has set the EFCC against them. They
must either be blackmailed into resigning or get impeached. Even some of
those who are not in government are leaving the country for fear of
being hounded into prison. If this trend is allowed to fake roots, we
will soon discover that many Nigerians of note would soon abandon the
country for Obasanjo.
It is either you are in jail or you are hibernating somewhere outside
Nigeria. If Obasanjo succeeds in depleting this country through the
ongoing reign of terror, then we shall be left with no one to join
issues with him as to what the future of Nigeria should be. In fact, by
the time Obasanjo is through with his targets, the frightened hicks that
most of us would become would have no option but to earnestly yearn that
the remains in office for many more years to come. By then, there will
be no more argument as to whether Obasanjo is the messiah we have been
waiting for or not.
The situation we have on our hands is frightening. The road being taken
by Obasanjo looks dangerous. At first, some believed that the president
had genuine intentions to fight corruption. But recent developments have
shown otherwise. What is plausible to say now is that Mr President is
feathering his own nest. He is clearly up in arms against his perceived
enemies. He is doing so not for the sake of Nigeria, but to advance his
The danger in this is that those who are being pushed to the wall may
regain momentum. When they do, they are likely to fight back. The other
facet of the looming danger is what would become of the fighting field
by the time the elephants lock horns. Will Nigeria, the battleground,
withstand the onslaught?
If Obasanjo were the Mr Patriot we were initially made to think he is,
he should be worried by this question. He even seeks to provide an
answer to it. If I love this country as Obasanjo says he does, I will
not do anything that is capable of throwing the land into a crisis of
A patriot, regardless of his ideological persuasions or convictions,
should normally know where to draw a line between moral posturing and
practical politics. An unbridled pursuit of ideas or vendetta can lead
to a dead end. I believe that it is better for Obasanjo to apply the
breaks than to insist on the pursuit of hate and vendetta. The Nigeria
he claims to love will be awfully hurt by the dangerous dimension that
this politics has assumed.