by Tola Adenle
The following blog that I posted on Sahara Reporters yesterday morning says all that need be emphasized in the new siege on the Nigerian masses but since emotanafricana.com is in the business of commentaries, the following at the online Breaking News & Commentary Site is inadequate as my contribution to this new harassment of the masses which, truth be told, will aid corruption.
Submitted by tola adenle on July 27, 2011 – 11:05. [Sahara Reporters]
Okay, Mr. Abati, I think you’re as good as those before you. Let us assume this ill-conceived and not-in-the-interest of Nigeria or majority of Nigerians doomed project will start in 2015 as the president claims, will he not renege on his PDP trust-me-I-will-do-a-single-term? And we all know he will win come 2015 for a total of 7 + 4 + the balance of Late Yar Adua’s presidency. This is insanity. How long did it take Murtala to immortalize his name? How long does it take to stop corruption if Jonathan really means it? How long is required to clear the debris, including ongoing Bankole, etcetera mess if the will exists? We are in for another long and rough ride. Of course the NA members will rubber stamp it because theirs is embedded as well as the governors’. A real “scam”, I agree, with a capable spinner who seems to the job born. Wither Nigeria? emotanafricana.com
Allow me to first dispose of the aside to Reuben Abati which, in these parts, is considered hatred of the media guy who has attracted a lot of negative publicity these last couple of years because he is seen as a journalist who saw nothing wrong in running with the hare while hunting with the hounds.
First, for a middle-aged man to say as credited to him that “…the energy that has been devoted to speculations on the content of the likely bill is akin to an attempt to force the abortion of a non-existent pregnancy” is not only crass and uncivil but very unexpected of one with more in his language arsenal to use in presenting an unpalatable message. I dare say Mr. Abati is starting off worse than Alhaji Adeniyi.
And why, I wonder, can’t the tenure of members of the National and State Assemblies be disclosed rather than “a little more than four years” and what in the world is the implication of “lawmakers will still be eligible for re-election, as their constituencies may determine”?
Before I move on to the subject of this essay which is a dismissal of any need for tenure elongation, I must wonder aloud how this “constitutional change, when actualized, will … accelerate the overall development of the nation”? Nigerians are not buying this snake-oil, President Jonathan. In spite of tagging on those who would be gladdened by tenure elongations: governors, national and state assembly members whose clout (governors) and votes are needed to see the Bill through, IT WILL FAIL even though there must be rejoicing at the NA and state assemblies over its presentation.
AN UN-NECESSARY BILL
Jesus Christ spent about two years to perform all miracles.
The most pressing problems facing Nigeria can be summed up under three heads: security, fight corruption and repair crumbling infrastructure, especially roads and power. Other problems abound but many would be solved once these two are taken care of.
None of these call for Jonathan and the governors expending energy and resources on tenure elongation. Even getting started on a few MINOR problems would go quite some way in earning Jonathan “transformational leader” title:
Nigerians cannot wait for 2015 for the mayhem happening in the country: religious violence, kidnappings, etcetera – to be solved. By coming out blazing for constitutional amendment on tenure, the president has sort of inadvertently put these on the backburner. With the will, a president, a governor, etc down the chain, can perform wonders in a single term – make that a single year.
Remember the horror at Ile-Ife a few years ago when and where armed men of the police variety caused a trailer to ram into a vehicle behind others stopped for “checking”, and in the blink of an eye, there was a chain of vehicles crushed inside one of which was a new bride, her husband, the Little Bride and dozens who were sent to early graves?
How long would be required to stop corruption perpetrated by policemen that has led to the deaths of thousands at police posts? Dr. Jonathan needs a mere signature appended to a proclamation removing “road blocks”.
In four years, the NA reportedly enacted a handful of Bills. A longer term would not yield any better result.
How long would be required to ensure that Nigerian embassies around the world are not run like a Mafia ring with Consular staff NEVER having – as they claim – the outer coverings needed by our kids overseas to renew their passports or get new ones for their children, a racket that has gone on for years at embassies from Washington, D.C. to London and elsewhere? It wasn’t so in the 70s when I worked at the one in D.C.
Recalling Consular Officers to Abuja permanently might do the trick.
How long would be required to at least make a dent on the power debacle with all the money AND loans at our disposal, including recovered billions from looters? And, for Christ’s sake, what would it take to turn the Lagos/Ibadan – and beyond – roads around? Why was Osun former governor, Chief Akande, able to have that massive Secretariat at Osogbo constructed without borrowing a penny and the roads he constructed at much lower-than-FG-cost of road construction?
Here’s a quote from my review of the “Inauguration Paper” – itself, a new direction – delivered by Professor Adamolekun at Jonathan’s Inaugural in this Blog on June 8 because I thought the President was on to a really new direction:
“Citing that Nigeria’s corruption was worse in 2009 and 2010 than in 2008 according to CPI corruption Index, Adamolekun dares the president to “declare and make public his assets and those of his wife within three months after his inauguration … as a way that would show Jonathan leading by example.”
Has the president now declared his assets? How long will it take to sort out the Alhaji Bankole-mess of alleged billions stolen/lost while the guy sort of continue to spit in our collective face with asinine headline-grabbing statements? What of allegations against Ms. Allison Madueke which, for a man who promised to fight corruption, should have called for an investigation before having her back on his cabinet. It was a lost chance to practice what he professes about fighting corruption.
Neither the generality of Nigerians nor the ruling PDP – I’m almost sure – could now trust Jonathan; he ran for the presidency against an accord that most Nigerians do not care about but to which he had purportedly been party. What stops the NA and State Assemblies from amending the Bill before assent and secondly, what stops Dr. Jonathan from running for a second term that would yield Late Yar Adua’s balance of 1 year or so + 4 + 7 years? I will quote again from the “inauguration lecture”, a paper I’m sure the president must have had time to digest:
“… the country does not yet function fully as a country under the rule of law. A country under the rule of law means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand…”
A long tenure does not guarantee an achiever government.
Buhari/Idiagbon, much maligned as Buhari has been, lasted from after New Year’s eve 1983 coup till Babangida got to power a year and a half later. Yet, that short period saw positive steps in nation building: we were united by more than the Green Eagles’ fortune/misfortune.
How about Oyo State where Retd. General David Jemibewon ruled? How many years did it take him to open up Ibadan to an appreciable degree?
Ijokodo Junction to Eleiyele; Mokola (Army area) to Sabo/Onireke which people started calling Jemibewon Road (I do not recall him naming the road after himself) and work on the Ring Road. From UI to Eleiyele before David Jemibewon was a tortuous journey to Mokola through Sabo and Onireke. The Polytechnic/Ijokodo junction to Eleiyele reduced that journey drastically. In the intervening 35 years or so, how many NEW roads have been constructed in Ibadan? There were two major dualizations, several “patch patch” to borrow Late Adedibu’s words and billions that apparently took long walks.
And, finally, the briefest of all: Murtala Muhammed, who today, remains our most widely-accepted and loved leader. In under six months, he showed what a leader who wants to change his country for the better can do. He led by example. Gas station attendants who had hoarded gasoline on behalf of themselves and their bosses would wave frantically at vehicle drivers to come in! What happened? Murtala knew that he wasn’t head of state to be popular, and harsh as many have described his methods, that brief shiny moment was our PROUDEST and closest to nationhood. Discipline at home, dynamism in Africa, and respect, even if not love, abroad. Today, there’s no discipline in the land, we are despised by fellow Africans and hated and feared for our reputation as origin of fraudulent mails that deprive foreigners of millions annually the world over, a situation which has been a direct result of the culture of impunity in government at home that sees stealing of millions of dollars/pounds … by politicians as nothing demanding serious retributions.
Nigerians must fight this battle as we all did General Obasanjo’s “Third Term”. This is not what is needed from a man people who voted for him in spite of the hated PDP: “he’s decent”; “he loves Nigeria”; “he will bring good luck to Nigeria”, etcetera. Tenure elongation for the NA & state assembly members AND governors will be automatic even IF Jonathan takes himself out of the 2015 race.