By Ben Lawrence
Atiku Promising To Sell NNPC And Enrich His Friends… Does He Think Nigerians Are Morons?
To be dragged into issues arising from the campaign trails of the two leading candidates in the presidential contest could be unfair to an octogenarian. He had watched how Herbert Macaulay led the struggle, how the baton was passed to Nnamdi Azikiwe and the eventual emergence of other strong rivals from the ranks, equipped with clear visionfor the Nigerian people.
The old man saw how OludotunRansome-Kuti,Eyo U.Esua, EyoIta, Michael Imoudu, MatthewA. Tokunbo, Saad Zungur, Zana Bukar Dipcharima, the inimitable Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and others roused Nigerians from slumber to high-powered activism in all facets of life.
And you now want him to comment on issues of a people now being again woken from their stupor of 16 years of PDP’s negative leadership by a man whose only tools, at the moment, are his integrity and sincerity, but lacking the backing of high-minded persons of vision and valour, unlike in the past. It is a hard nut for him to crack.
First was the letter, 16 pages, by Olusegun Obasanjo, exposing what he did to draw Nigeria back during his eight-year rule. Obasanjo brought Scotland Yard detectives to probe the Supreme Court of Nigeria, with Chief Justice Mohammed Uwais as his target. Where were the so-called senior advocates of Nigeria when that sacred institution was being brought to ridicule? If I were Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, I would have resigned by now because my conduct was being undeniably faulted. That is the path of honour.
The Court of Appeal found in 2003 that 600,000 fake votes were added to the score of candidate Olusegun Obasanjo in Ogun State alone in that year’s presidential race.Stretch that to other 35 states. And he talks of rigging of election? The world holds him in scorn.Obasanjo sent the Nigeria Police Force to illegally topple Governor Chris Ngige without any legal authority.He roasted TafaBalogun the police boss, later, when he disobeyed another order of the kind subsequently.
Obasanjo was the president who conducted the election that the late President Umaru Musa-Yar’Adua personally confirmed in 2007 as flawed. That election brought him,Yar’Adua,to power, yet he was truthful enough to accept the facts, evidence of good breeding, not of an indigent and non-descript home. The world condemned that election. Obasanjo overruled Supreme Court judgment on Lagos State allocation. He disobeyed court orders.
There is no repeating the fact that Obasanjo and his vice president, Atiku Abubakar,carved up this nation like a chicken, selling its assets for a song. They and their party left Nigeria beleaguered without electricity, passable federal highways;put dams in disrepair, farms desolate and the industrial life extinguished. It took seven hours to travel from Lagos to Abuja during Sani Abacha’s regime, but Obasanjo made the same distance to be 14 agonising hours trip because all federal roads collapsed in the presence of his Federal Emergency Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
He acts like a dog in a manger, haunted by the evils of his past deeds. He talks of Abacha,but that chap was better behaved and felt more for the people’s needs. He ran a first-rate economy, though being hounded by the West, whose bidding he refused to bow to as a Kano radical. Abacha sanitised the economy and laid to rest the ghost of SAP. Obasanjo in a roundabout cavalier manner revived the carcass of SAP he once lampooned.
One has seen some frivolous comments from some so-called politicians and one wonders why Nigeria slumped so badly in political thoughts to parade such individuals as leaders.
President Muhammadu Buhari presented his vision in 2015 and although some said it was ambitious, he promised to make every Nigerian to work for it. He did not pledge free lunch for all, but he explained that it was better to teach someone how to fish than to make one dependent on your catch. It is on this he should be judged.
No country of worth in the world has made it without the sacrifice of labour, self-denial and collective effort to buy the dream driven by the state.
So if Nigerians now have Ekpoma, Ebonyi, Anambra, Nassarawa, Kebbi and Ogun rice, it is forward march for the country. Nigeria now has Wells Hosa Green Farm and many of its type springing up to return this country to those years of yore when it fed its citizens and exported semi-finished agricultural goods. Willie Obiano and many other governors arein this boat of progress motion to feed and export. Why did it not happen in the PDP 16 years of rule, part of which Akinwunmi Adesina grew rice and other produce in the telephone he carried about,containing names of farmers, but who did not grow any acre of crops? Givecredit to AuduOgbeh and Buhari.
The man is building rail tracks, he has dredged the Niger for haulage of heavy goods to commemorate Samuel Ogbemudia, whoconceived it during Yakubu Gowon’s regime,for which he founded the Central Water Transportation Company jointly with the governments of East Central and Kwara states 46 years ago.
Buhari is reviving our steel mills and allowing states to build power plants to fuel industrial growth and agricultural development. Buhari realises the downward trend in education which can only be changedby good legislation. But the National Assembly has been the worst drawback to Nigeria’s self-fulfillment. Atiku is promising to dispossess us of our remaining assets to enrich his friends. He would sell NNPC. What a joke by a jester! Does he think we are morons?
At the time he and Obasanjo were selling prime assets between 2000 and 2007, the Organised Private Sector in Nigeria had collapsed. The UAC declared loss. Dunlop, Michelin, PZ, and other blue-chip multinational corporations moved production out of Nigeria. Pharmaceutical corporations followed and also the textiles sector, with devastating effect on staff turnover and joblessness.
And it was when that sector gave a vote of no confidence in the Obasanjo-Abubakar administration for not providing municipal functions of power, water and transportation that the duo said they were public corporations.
Why is Atiku so backward in social, political and economic matters? .
Privatisation is now a dead-letter word in public discourse. Like SAP it ran its course and garnered hatred in Russia, Britain, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries. It enjoyed no support in Europe and with the Asian Tigers, China, Vietnam, and Malaysia all being socialist states. Japan, South Korea, North Korea have their own peculiar systems based on their history-loyalty to the Emperor in Japan, loyalty to the state in South and North Korea. Singapore, a city state, is no good example.
Atiku is shouting himself hoarse about attracting investments to 21st century Nigeria. Is he so handicapped in political thoughts? Other countries talk of mobilising their peoples to solve their challenges. And as usual, he wants to run a do-nothing government that will collect rents from contractors to the detriment of Nigerians.
This was how the PDP made Nigerians lazy and poor, harnessing their thoughts to betting, ritual murders, armed robbery and other crimes.
As for Peter Obi, how does he think he will get the votes of Yorubas, Hausas, Fulanis, Kanuris, Edos and others when he expelled them from his state public service? He did not spare Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia. Well, he thinks he has Catholic bishops in his pocket. That is a tall order. That is a fake order.