Former publisher of the women’s bi-monthly, Emotan (1977-1984) and op-ed columnist with The Nation, Tola Adenle now publishes her writing here on http://emotan.wordpress.com. This is a re-print of an article first published in The Nation. The blog encourages an active discussion around matters social and political related to Nigeria, so feel free to comment but comments that bring no new insights to subjects or that do not respect the rights of other commentators would be deleted.
Comments would get my opinions as replies as much as possible.
Welcome to my blog, and do stop by to check out the ABOUT column. TOLA ADENLE, March 30, 2011.
God willing, I will cast my presidential vote for retd. General Buhari and that is more than a personal quantum leap.
As recently as before the 2007 (s)elections sealed whatever shot retd. General Obasanjo (rGO) might have had at statesman-hood, I had wondered aloud in my rested weekly essays for this paper why General Buhari would not let Nigerians know what his feelings about democracy and religion were. I had a personal experience of the effort to force a state religion down Nigerians’ collective throat during his rulership. It was apparent that retd. General Babangida’s misadventure to turn Nigeria into a Muslim country was similar to Buhari’s. As I shopped at Old Gbagi, Ibadan, one afternoon in ‘84/85, a commotion suddenly developed as word went round that policemen were out arresting women who wore pants! I was a culprit and made for my car, unwilling to wait for verification in the then suffocating environment of religious fanaticism.
Who can forget the attempt by the Buhari’s government to introduce Soviet Russia-style exit visas for Nigerians who would want to travel outside the country? Or the callousness of the public executions of those drug couriers though it seemed to have stemmed the then growing menace? Thousands, mostly Christians have been killed since rGO’s presidency when a country’s supposed secular Constitution was p— upon by a governor whose Sharia declaration was an open challenge. I do not remember rGO’s government taking any legal action against this major assault on the country’s Constitution. Thereafter, the manageable national relationship between Christians and Moslems became a combustible situation that exploded anytime any event – even in far-off lands – displeases Northern Nigerian Muslims. To have Nigerians slaughtered because somebody in Scandinavia defaces Mohammed’s picture is unconscionable. Muslims and Christians have always coexisted peacefully in Southern Nigeria. Religion is not the cause but PDP-type politics.
The biggest problem confronting this country today, we are all agreed is corruption, and the ruling party has proved unable AND unwilling to fight the cancer nor enunciate a plan different from its eight messy years for a New Nigeria. An example of PDP’s governance style can be seen in the big Ogun mess with rGO reduced to less-than a tribal chieftain vs. Daniel as chief combatants. In the party’s typical style, luxe paint has been spread over structural damage; everybody is focused on the prize: PDP needs Daniel; so does he of the minority House members deliberating over the majority without any raised eyebrow at Abuja. PDP has amidst its ranks people with enough proverbial skeletons in various cupboards that would rival those of rested souls at Lagos’ Atan Cemetery. Those that hold the country by the jugular air these skeletons whenever upstart moneybags forget to remain in line. This “settlement” style, “we are one family
… eerily resembles the Italian Mafia’s “family”. Did scenes from Ogun and Anambra shrines where grown men were stripped naked at oath-taking bring the Mafia’s omerta to mind?
As the PDP goes from crisis to crisis with in-our-face implication that it needs us NOT, Nigerians must be ready to fight what would be another great robbery by the same group I called “Nigeria, Inc., as in Murder, Inc” back in ’03. The Southwest, landscape has been left desolate with leaders whose governance style is chasing shadows. Even me, “an elderly lady” as this paper’s Kunle Abimbola once aptly referred to me in an essay about Osun’s illegal 7-year “governor” Oyinlola.
The two expended millions shadow-chasing, seeing an enemy in me.
Here is the opening of my “PDP is Nigeria’s worst nightmare” of May 4, 2008: “On March 9, this column carried … PDP is Nigeria’s greatest impediment to democracy and the country’s very survival.“Every new day seems to show that a title that on the surface appeared hyperbolic might actually have been an understatement. While most Nigerians are beginning to realize that the massively-rigged retired General Obasanjo “election” was an evil…most had nevertheless hoped that Nigeria could rise from the ruins …if Alhaji Yar Adua was given the benefit of the doubt – in Nigerian-speak, if peace reigns in spite of the collective angst, democracy could somehow germinate …”
Buhari’s recent speech that implies he would condone his supporters going on rampage should the coming elections be rigged is not different from our own Late Uncle Bola’s colorful allusion to the 60’s conflagration. I do not remember his exact words but it was something like ki la ma nse s’eni t’o ba ji ibo? What does a vote rigger deserve? The masses in Ekiti chanted ‘rig and roast’ during rGO-selected Madam Ayoka Adebayo’s infamy in Ekiti; I’vealso seen a popular blogger’s moniker, rig2011electionanddie for well over a year on Sahara Reporters’ website. I believe in law and order but we cannot encourage people who are determined to stay in power through the barrel of the gun and other evil means to be confident of getting away with their crime again. As we have seen, the judiciary is as corrupt as the PDP to which most seem to owe allegiance. I’m not sure a wife and female daughters would be raped while the husband stands by and say prayers for God to forgive those destroying his family.
I think the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), must return to negotiations. The party’s presidential candidate is worthy like Buhari but we cannot take Nigeria back from despoliation having two worthy combatants with near-similar ideologies in opposing camps. The experience of Buhari matters. The youth of this country, surprisingly, is ready for Buhari. I’m conducting a very informal and unscientific poll among young professionals, all Christians, all Odua descendants and in two months, only two of forty-eight have repeated the time-worn ‘he’s a Muslim fanatic’; he’s not a democrat; he’s this, he’s that cliché. Hardly any of the contestants can sail through a rigorous examination. Who will provide the best leadership and who can steer the corruption-artists in the face and not blink? Those interviewed, all late 20s to early 40s, say they’ll checkmark the retired General’s name in April. Like thousands and thousands of families, I have accepted a life of semi-exile for me and perhaps, permanent exile for my kids but most Nigerians cannot even afford what is, at best, a life hardly worth living: exile by necessity to start, no matter how later comfortable, is awful. We therefore all owe a lot to make Nigeria work.
Buhari’s gave General Tunde Idiagbon of very blessed memory more than elbow room. We cannot doubt he would do the same with Pastor Tunde Bakare. The PDP is too large a monster to be left to continue to roam the land, and must be stopped.