Relationships That Transcend Politics By Donu Kogbara

Last weekend, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senator I’ve known for many years heard that I had a personal problem that was giving me sleepless nights; and he contacted me, invited me to his home and went out of his way to help me solve my problem.

I was deeply touched by his brotherly concern and practical assistance, especially since we had been on opposite sides during the recent elections.
I had vociferously campaigned for the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Muhammadu Buhari, while he had thrown his weight behind ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

And, given the amount of rancour that was generated in the heat of the campaign – and the bitterness that many Jonathanists still harbour against people who contributed to the unseating of their candidate – the senator’s kindness towards me was particularly gracious.

Many friendships have gone down the drain or been damaged because of political tensions. But I’d have done the same for my PDP senator pal if our situations had been reversed and he had been the one who was in a tight spot because I share his belief that cordial relationships are priceless and should never be undermined or destroyed by political considerations or differences of opinion.

Last week, I sounded off about the new foreign exchange rules, which have hit me hard because I have a home in London and am going to find it extremely difficult at best – and impossible at worst – to transfer funds from Nigeria with which to cover my UK rent, council tax, utility bills and living expenses.

I also expressed the view that the new rules would hurt innocents who have modest incomes more than the big money-launderers at whom they are aimed.

Predictably perhaps, quite a few disgruntled supporters of the previous administration contacted me to crow and say that they were glad that I was being inconvenienced. But I also heard from folks who either agreed with me or regarded the new foreign currency rules as completely justified.

Here are some of the responses I received:

2348122283505 Anaekwe
Donu shame on you! Your weeping is just starting. When we were telling you people about Buhari, did you listen? Stop complaining and accept my congratulations for your election victory because this new foreign exchange regulation is part of the CHANGE! you asked Buhari for.

Anonymous
Dear Donu, I do not want my name or phone number mentioned. I thank you for writing an article that highlights the plight of ordinary Nigerians who have overseas commitments. I am an honest trader and my business has been badly affected.

348065331211 Anonymous
Kogbara or whatever you call yourself: I have always known that you are a phoney and if I have my way, I will withdraw the green passport from you and send you back to UK. Please leave our president alone. He will ensure that our country shall rise again after Jonathan’s debacles.

2348027070684 Anonymous
So the new foreign exchange rules are too draconian abi? Why does this sound very familiar in describing Buhari and his policies past and present? I thought according to you previously, he is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in the recent past. Well you and your group of frustrated oyinbo wannabees ain’t seen nothing yet. You better relocate to that place where you feel at home before it gets really hot here.

On this page last week, I
also praised Mr President for creating a no-nonsense atmosphere that has led to a marked improvement in the power supply,   not only where I live in Port Harcourt but in many other locations nationwide.

2348058340795 Nicolas
Where and when has electricity situation improved? I live in Ozoro in  Isolo LGA in Lagos and I have not seen light for the past one month and you say electricity has improved. I think improvement is only within your family compound. Elections are over so, stop campaigning for Buhari.

I don’t, as a general rule,
answer people who have responded to my comments. But it seems necessary to address the following points to my critics, on this occasion:
*Buhari is human and he will sometimes make mistakes and it is possible to regard him as Good overall without enthusiastically endorsing every policy he adopts or every single move that he and his subordinates make.

*Some of Buhari’s fans are just as annoying and narrow-minded as some of Jonathan’s fans; and it’s primitive and dim-witted to regard anyone who dares to question some of Buhari’s decisions as a traitor. The APC is a broad coalition that includes people who are coming from different directions and backgrounds and are therefore not always on the same page with each other, never mind on the same page as their Leader. Debate is healthy. Anyone who cannot share ideas and disagree with me in an intelligent way should please not bother to contact me!

*Supporting Buhari’s attempts to cleanse and enhance Nigeria does not equate to being “Oyinbo”. Africans are as entitled to high standards as Whites; and TRUE patriots do not cheerfully or slavishly tolerate the kind of low standards that were commonplace during Jonathan’s tenure!

Taxation

Until recently, I have been VERY reluctant to pay tax because of a fear that my hard-earned cash would be squandered by thieving government officials.

Now that Buhari has come with his anti-corruption agenda, I have much more faith in the system; and I suspect that many Nigerians will share my new willingness to pay tax henceforth.

VANGUARD