Saving Democracy: Who Is Fooling Who?


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Saving Democracy: Who Is Fooling Who?




Femi Soneye



Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we should make ourselves happy, but how we should become worthy of happiness. -  Immanuel Kant.




May 24, 2006



It has been interesting reading the show of shame going on between the President of Nigeria, Rtd General Olusegun Obasanjo his vice-president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, concerning the tenure elongation of this present government. It has confirmed what some of us know about the people ruling the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The function of any purposeful government is to deliver service, provide security, promote welfare, social and economic development of a nation; we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that this government has failed considerably in that regard.


Nigerians will remember in 1999 when President Obasanjo claimed that he was virtually begged by retired military officers, power brokers, traditional rulers and politicians to become the country’s next democratic leader, many at that time rejoiced with considerable hope that Nigeria may not be totally at sea, his statements and proposed policies inspired huge confidence that even in that present darkness and doldrums there await a new dawn of governance for Nigerians. Such sparks of light at that time ignited candles of hope and brought illuminations to the lives of many.

However after seven years of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s rule, all the hope of a new Nigeria anticipated by many in 1999 was nothing but bogus promises by the ex-military dictator. It is therefore not surprising at the refusal of Nigerians to allow the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) the opportunity to extend their tenure by more than what the 1999 constitution stipulates.


It was Machiavelli who stated that in the actions of princes the ends justify the means, and that princes who wish to survive had to learn how not to be good and how to be feared as well as loved. President Olusegun Obasanjo, Abubakar Atiku and the PDP in their quest to keep power don’t mind turning Nigeria to a fail State. They are both cold-blooded advocate of power politics. The third term plot though defeated has turned many politicians to millionaire. It has been reported widely how the pro-third term foot soldiers bribed certain individuals, but little has been reported about bribe offered to the anti-third term politicians. The vice-president has been one of the figures campaigning against his boss, he alongside some governors have expended huge resources to stop the illegal bid, and in the process enriched some political contractors. A former Nigerian ruler from Minna also provided huge resources to the anti-third term group.


The vice-president has publicly declared his intention to run for presidency in 2007, to me Atiku Abubakar is not better than Obasanjo. He is an accomplice of all the atrocities committed by the government. He was accused by the president of being disloyal, for those who do not know Atiku, he has always been disloyal. While his mentor and political father the late Alhaji Musa Shehu Yar’Adua was locked up by Gen. Sanni Abacha in prison, he deserted Yar’Adua. He distanced himself from him and never paid him a visit. While Yar’Adua was alone in prison, Atiku was busy preparing for election to become governor of Adamawa state. He contested, won and looked forward to Adamawa State government house when Rtd Gen Olusegun Obasanjo asked him if he was ready to take orders and he reportedly said yes, immediately he was named running mate to Gen Obasanjo. No sooner had he settled down at Aso villa, that he started planning to take over from his boss.


The multi-billionaire vice president left the Nigerian Customs Service in 1989; he recently built a $500 million university in Adamawa State akin to the American University in Washington DC. He employed instructors from all over the world paying them in foreign currency.


Abubakar Atiku is known to be a ruthless money monger, while in the Customs Service he floated   phony companies to buy seized goods that were later auctioned by the customs. He has his hands on almost everything from oil business to shipping, banking, publishing, education, transportation, communications and consulting. As head of the body to privatize Nigeria’s firm he bought every lucrative organization in Nigeria, he bought the robust African petroleum and wanted to buy UNIPETROL; but was prevented by President Obasanjo. Atiku known for his stupendous greed tried to buy Nigeria Airways by under pricing the Airline, thanks to the former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, who vehemently declined the sale. He also attempted to buy the Benue Cement Company through Aliko Dangote the sale was resisted by sons of Benue State, notably Senator Iyorchia Ayu. Atiku Abubakar made millions of dollars using Emeka Offor as front in the turn around maintenance; contract to repair the country’s refineries. He has in recent times financed many political groups in anticipation for 2007 Presidential elections. How he was able to amass these wealth remains questionable.


As Nigerians celebrate the victory of Democracy over the buried third term agenda which has overheated the polity, politicians are now set for serious electioneering we need to be careful of some individuals claiming they are fighting for democracy. Specifically, I am amused by the group called Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) It is filled with visionless, inept and "chop chop" politicians claiming to fight for the survival of democracy. I would mention just a few of them and leave the rest for a later day, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Abubakar Rimi, Jim Nwobodo, Tom Ikimi, Sunday Awoniyi and Lai Mohammed. They are all renegade faction of the PDP; it is the same old house, built on anger, disgust and disaffection. It is a copy of the People’s Destructive Party (PDP). The ACD are politicians seeking relevance and power for their selfish interest. They are disgruntled individuals having lost out in the power play in the PDP. Chief Olu Falae former Presidential Aspirant was one of the political bigwigs from the Southwest invited to the initial meetings of the ACD, he has since abandoned the ACD to form the DPA, and recently when asked why he left ACD his response was that “the ACD is a group of opportunists trying to seize power.” Interestingly, most of the names in the ACD are expired politicians, with no modicum of electoral value. Most of them are broke and seek contracts and appointments desperately to survive.


It was under Chief Audu Ogbeh as PDP chairman that a murder suspect contested an election from prison, without campaigning, and won by a landslide. It was the trio of Atiku Abubakar, Audu Ogbeh and Chief Bode George with support from the late Sunday Afolabi that gave murder suspect turned Senator Iyiola Omisore victory while he was still in prison. During his reign as PDP chairman, he led the massive rigging of the 2003 election. Prominent critics were assassinated according to sources he derives pleasures from manipulating people. He lacks the moral right to talk about democracy.


Ghali Umar Na’Abba is another arrowhead of the ACD. He is ruthless and stupendously greedy. Na’Abba as speaker of the House of Representatives is the most corrupt National assembly leader in the history of Nigerian politics. He came to the National Assembly with a rickety 1996 Honda Accord and left with exotic cars and houses across the world. He never traveled out of Nigeria before being elected into the National Assembly in 1999, a lawmaker from Borno State helped him with his first visit to London. He withdrew and spent 2 billion naira overdraft from Standard Trust bank without accountability. He made popular Ghana must go bags in the National Assembly, giving about 500 million naira to his fellow lawmakers to prevent his impeachment as speaker.


Abubakar Rimi is another convener of the ACD; he is known to fraternize with every government in Nigeria, both military and civilian. He was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo to head the minting and printing company in 1999. He is known to be very vindictive; he has refused to forgive the PDP for making Obasanjo the president in 1999. He is self-centered and still nurses presidential ambition.


Chief Jim Nwobodo is another controversial figure in the ACD. His presence further takes away substance from the group. Politically, he is irrelevant; he lost his re-election to the Senate and also lost the political machinery of Enugu State to the Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.

Trouble started for the bleaching politician when he publicly fought the governor for not making his wife commissioner in 1999. His bank, the Savannah Bank was distressed and closed by the CBN, Central Bank of Nigeria due to huge financial irregularities. He is a political dwarf in present day Enugu State, according to sources he is currently broke and need to be rehabilitated.


Nigeria is in dire need of genuine leaders, men with Integrity and programs to alleviate the ills of the masses. The ACD is another set of buccaneers with different visions and disparate interests. We have in the past made the mistake of putting our future in their hands; we should take it back from them




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