A Leopard Does Not Change Its Stripes


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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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A Leopard Does Not Change Its Stripes:

A Stand-up Comedy 2006?




Michael Oluwagbemi II





The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare. Daniel P. Moynihan quotes (American Politician, 1927-2003)



April 12, 2006 



Two events this past week have convinced me the above statement is correct: Census 2006 and iBB’s interview. Gosh! We are in a very funny country- we live in the most comedic entity in the universe. What a country! Nigerians are bunch of comedians, believe me.


After seeing the rabble rousing by my own government, I leave convinced that this government of ours is simply incapable of managing the most mundane programs that you can think of. National ID card program, 2003 Elections, National Health Insurance Scheme, Privatization of NITEL, Turnaround of NEPA, Deregulation of Petroleum sector etc. What comes to mind? Absolute failure! Our government is big but dunce; common A-B-C of policy implementation is not its forte. What baffles me is that our government fails but also fails to know how to save its face. At least, let someone resign or let baba fire the culprit or something. What we get is bold facing and public tantrums by the affected official; and silence by Baba Iyabo.


This last week, “honorable” Fani Kayode has been quiet for ominous reasons that is yet unknown. Somehow, he has not replied census critics like Reuben Abati and his fellow press boys. I guess Abati does not believe in God as well! I have the feeling that Obasanjo is having a feeling of de javu: after all, we have given this gargantuan apparatus called the federal government chances upon chances to prove itself Comedy 2006?as a worthy receptor of our tax naira but it has failed repeatedly. The federal government has rather shown it is a big white elephant project built and ran by the mediocre of the Nigerian society. It is such a rot, that I will recommend the dismantling of the whole operation: the census, the man behind it, the organization behind it and the government that sponsored it: yes, the federal government.


In all sincerity, the failure of the census is not the fault of the presidency. The census is the collective failure of the Nigerian people. For seventy years, our nation lacks a reliable enumeration figure. Even the Chinese and Indians have counted themselves, yet Nigeria a nation one-tenth the size of these countries have failed to do so as far as my historical memory can help me. The failure of census 2006 can be traced to one thing: the defective structure of the Nigerian nation. Our national structure is effectively flawed such that it cannot sustain any efforts that require mobilization of all citizens to achieve a common purpose for the purpose of development or for the cause of patriotism.


First and foremost, our nation is top heavy. With an almighty federal government that muscle the minion state governments that come in cap in hand to her for sustenance and help. What we run is a central barracks of cow boys that can hardly put their own house in order not to talk of a whole nation. Only about six to nine states have shown they are capable of standing on their own, and truly only the Lagos state government have proven it is worthy of that stewardship. Secondly, our nation is deeply divided along economic, ethnic and religious lines. We have failed to address the national questions of equity, fairness and justice in such matters like revenue distribution, separation of religion and state etc. Thirdly, our nation is lawless. We are not a nation of laws: we worship men and are slaughtered at the alter of political godfathers and money bags. That is why for days; men exploited the inadequacies of fellow men and descended to sub-human levels to unleash terror on their fellow men, all in the name of census. 


Fourthly, we are a politically dud nation. Politically, we are devoid of ideological leanings, and the covenant that exists between the governors and the governed is effectively non-existent. In which nation will the chairman of an apparently inept organization declare an exercise it ran, being obviously riddled with inefficiencies, a seventy-percent success? Only in Nigeria! Dumb Nigeria. After this census, I am sorely convinced that as a nation we will get nothing right until we address the four inadequacies I address above. How we get there is what I don’t know. Because those men that rule over us will rather see us fail than succeed: they prosper when we fail! And from what I see, we (the people) lack the political courage to ask our masters to account for their mastership: odd as it sounds.


If the census was comedic, come and see the IBB interview! IBB is a joke- simply put. This man lives in a fool’s world: totally ignorant of how as nation we have evolved since those eight dark years when he lorded it over us and transformed our nation to the Disney Park of corruption and animalistic instincts. iBB again thinks he can dribble his way out of everything. I loved the way the former labor chief Frank Kokori put it; “Vintage iBB”. In the interview, this self acclaimed “evil genius” could not talk straight. Speaking from both sides of his mouth, he left more questions unanswered than resolved. In my opinion, the man is seeking attention and should be ignored. I sorely think the desire of the likes of iBB to seek the highest office in the land, shows the caliber of the men that occupy that office today. Heck, iBB must be thinking “if OBJ deserves to be in Aso Rock why not me? I am smarter and I am more ruthless!” As for me, to crown his stupidity I have started writing his name in small letters- he is as unserious as a common noun! Nigeria we hail thee: you are a big joke and an excellent stand up comedy, wake up sleeping cum drunken giant!


Last Line:

“There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you” Will Rogers


“If vice and corruption prevail, liberty cannot subsist; but if virtue have the advantage, arbitrary power cannot be established”

Algernon Sidney




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