Of age and dead brain By Yemi Osanyin



A Yoruba adage says, eni awosunkun to so ara e di aworerin (literally meaning, someone who causes sorrow but pretentiously referring to him/herself as source of joy). This is Nigeria among the comity of nations and PDP in the life of Nigerians. Nigeria is a land of the absurd, a theatre of a kind and where a slave sees himself as a king and a whore as a Queen. It is a country where anything goes, a land where there is no shame and where those who should be in jail are the ones deciding what we get and do not get. The year 2015 means so much to the world and to Nigerians. For the entire world, it is the year to come together to collectively measure performance in a tangible and results-based manner the achievement made against the various targets embedded in the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For Nigerians, it is a magic year that presents the opportunity to elect leaders at all levels, a time to reward good performance and a time to disgrace the non-performers. Unfortunately in Nigeria, elections have always been a period of rewarding failures and incompetence especially in the name of second term. Nigerians have been looking forward to 2015 elections with so much excitement and hope, but what we see is the road to 2015 that is laden with land mines and it is only the will of the people that will deliver Nigerians from the “army of occupation” represented by PDP. I recognize the place and role of prayer too!

The electioneering campaigns have been more of noise making and asonto and shoki dance and meaningless promises and less of issues. Everyone is doing the same thing and everything. It is an electioneering campaign where aspiring law makers will promise electricity, roads, food, health etc. These characters are unable to communicate to the electorates how they will make laws to reform our systems, institutions, practices, approaches, protect our economy and ensure that money is appropriated, used and monitored such that budgets become instruments of development and growth. They know that promises of law making do not make any sense to electorates, they do not sell and may not win votes compared with those hard things they can see and feel, even when the law makers know that it is outside their control. That is why politicians are struggling to outdo each other and playing on the collective intelligence of many undiscerning Nigerians to promise what they cannot give.

From all sides, the campaigns lack the quality expected, instead it has been reins of abuses, castigations, insults and violence. Particularly disgusting is the campaign strategy and approach of PDP, especially the roles of Fayose, Femi Fani-Kayode, Okupe and Mrs Jonathan. They have been fighting, vituperating, casting aspersions and pouring venoms with the latest Buhari being too old and being brain dead. Haba!. Buhari may not be an orator, he may be a man of few words, not aggressive in nature and not abusive, but he definitely cannot be written off in terms of being focused and knowing why he is in the race. Unfortunately for these clowns, they have forgotten that their Principal is a disaster when it comes to communication. Besides reading a prepared text (with struggles sometimes), the President is incoherent, unorganized and unprepared for interviews and speeches given extempore. An indepth analysis of his interviews and messages (unaided by papers) shows that the President lacks depth of issues, responses are very disjointed, he loses track of responses easily, he side tracks questions and sounds unconvincing most of the time. That is why I and many Nigerians are not motivated to watch the Presidential chats as they are more of rambling, complaints, anger, abuses, empty promises and summersaults. The President and his Vice combined are not in anyway better than General Buhari. As the saying goes, too much talk can be laden with lies. What will make the President describes as fabricated the Ekiti Tape he neither listened to nor investigated?

It is absurd that Mrs Jonathan (whose voice injures the ear and offends the senses) and the garrulous FFK could describe GMB as being brain dead on the account of his age forgetting that the President listens to, have engaged and entrusted responsibilities in the hands of septuagenarians and octogenarians. Many of these are his Advisers and trusted allies. It is therefore an insult and act of insensitivity to these persons to classify one of them as being brain dead. In a sane world, this act of unguarded statement is enough to make an aspiring candidate lose an election. If Buhari could be so described on account of age, then the President is contradicting himself by appointing persons in the age bracket of GMB to key sensitive positions. The President list includes Dr Christopher Kolade (SURE-P former Chairman), Alhaji Gusau (Minister of Defence), Chief Tony Anenih (PDP BOT Chair), Dr Alex Ekwueme (Chair, PDP National Reconciliation Committee), Umaru Dikko (former Chair, PDP Disciplinary Committtee), Dr Ahmadu Ali (DG PDP Campaign Organisation), Justice Kutigi (Chair, National Conference), Prof Bolaji Akinyemi (Co-Chair, National Conference), Justice Uwais (Chair, Electoral Reform Committee), Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Edwin Clark and Prof. Jubril Aminu (nominees of the President to the National Conference).

The National Council of State is made up of former Presidents and Heads of State, most of whom are over 70 and the President listens to them and also runs to them for rescue when there is fire on the mountain. Similarly, the Afenifere Group of South West is made up of septuagenarians and octogenarians that the President has been running after, fraternizing with and arm twisting for endorsement to redeem his crumbling political career. In the last one month, the President has been running from pillar to post, prostrating for traditional rulers, community and religious leaders and promising heaven and earth so that they could help him salvage what is left of his political career. The President more than ever before has been spending more time in Lagos than Abuja because there is fire on the mountain. Because it is convenient for the President, neither his wife nor FFK describe them as too old or brain dead and having nothing to offer. It is also an irony that the PDP with the President as the National Leader keeps a brain dead Governor in the Government House in Taraba State and instead settles for one Acting Governor or the other, a position that is unknown to the Constitution. Haba! Mr President.

The history of the world is incomplete without mention of great men above the age of 70 who emerged as Presidents and Prime Ministers and took their nations to greater heights. Despite the ages of Prof Wole Soyinka, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Sir Anyaoku to mention a few, they are figures that are respected and entrusted with assignments at the world stage. It is crystal clear that our President cannot match any of these great men in ideas and actions despite the fact that he is much younger than them. The United Nations and other international organisations will prefer and engage the likes of Obasanjos, Soyinkas, Anyaokus to the much younger President Jonathan in handling international affairs.

On Mrs Patience Jonathan, I think it is the excitement of the Office of the First Lady that is responsible for her gaffes and we will still see and hear more. As such she can be ignored. For Fayose and FFK, it is a fight of their lives. They are the instruments being used by PDP to play dirty and they play it to the satisfaction of the President who never called them to order despite accepting and signing the no violence pact in Abuja. It is not surprising as the President is synonymous with looking away when people around him perpetrate evil, but quick to accuse others of what his men is guilty of. Fayose knows that a victory for GMB is a disaster for him and may be the beginning of his long journey to the unknown. They are both who the Yorubas will refer to as eni a ba ta ka fi ra atupa, to ni oun aji tanna wo (the person that should be sold to buy a local lamp sees himself as a hero).

Mr. President, it may look like you are winning the battle against your political opponent through many antics and arm-twisting by your party, the reign of terror, psychological warfare of your foot-soldiers and alleged purchase of endorsements, but Nigerians are no fools and it may shock the PDP to know that the game is up. Nigerians shall surely overcome and we will recover the years that the locusts have eaten and the cankerworm, caterpillar and the palmer-worm represented by PDP.