I think President Buhari should worry more about how to keep his own side of the social contract with Nigerian voters. Elders who claim to speak for Ohaneze and old Afenifere, associations of less than ten veteran politicians, saw no evil and heard no evil. Now that the chickens have come home to roost, elders who behaved as if they didn’t have stakes in Nigeria are using their control and influence of the media to jam our earlobes with howling newspaper headlines such as ‘outrage grows across Nigeria’, ‘more outrage over Buhari appointments’, ‘Buhari’s lopsided appointments’ split the north’, ‘Buhari’s war against the south’etc
And why is the country being heated up? The APC spokesman Lai Mohammed and Governor Adam Oshiomhole made some disturbing disclosures. They claimed N3.8 trillion of the N8.1 trillion earned from crude oil between 2012 and 2015 was not accounted for by NNPC; they spoke of $2.1b unauthorised withdrawal from the excess crude account; missing N109.7b royalty from oil firms;N6b allegedly looted by ministers, 160b barrels of crude worth $13.9b lost between 2009 and 2012.; $15m from botched arms deal with South Africa and N183b yet to be accounted for in NNDC, $700m taken from the Sovereign Wealth Account for the second Onitsha Bridge without any bridge and the money-gobbling Onitsha-Owerri-Enugu dual carriage that is leading nowhere. Added to all these are ‘a mind-shattering $2.2billion-arms scandal and an alleged $6.9 million fraud by chief of security (CS)) to ex-president Jonathan committed under the guise of buying three mobile stages for Jonathan’s campaign.
But these are all mere allegations which according to Olisa Mentuh, PDP spokesman are ‘irresponsible, reckless and provocative ‘bandied imaginary figures’. But while one would have expected our respected Nwabueze to wait for the judicial process to start, he chose to issue a statement titled ‘Corrupt Practices: “Igbo leaders position on probe of past governments’, where he argued against limiting the probe to the administration of Jonathan which according to him ‘would be ‘selective, unjust and unfair’. He speculated that such a probe will be used to humiliate political opponents of government. The question to ask is why Prof. Nwabueze has chosen to fight for those who have neither been accused nor charged. As for Chief Edwin Clark, ex-president Obasanjo who he alleged is corrupt must first be probed. But for many, that Chief Clark is only just discovering that Obasanjo is corrupt after he had single handedly promoted Jonathan from deputy governor to governor, vice-president, and President with grateful Jonathan describing Obasanjo as the third most important influence on his life after God and his parents is a measure of the quality of his advice to Jonathan who ended up describing Obasanjo as a ‘motor park tout’.
And those who have taken up arms over appointment forget we run a presidential system where the buck ends on the presidents table. As soon as Buhari named Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as the Group MD of NNPC, an institution that controls over 75% of the nations earning, Dr. Ezeife, who had openly expressed lack of faith in Buhari, said the position was not enough for the Igbo. But with the filling of some 30 positions, ranging from his chief of staff, national security adviser and SGF, a post he gave to a pastor from one of the minority ethnic groups in the north, perhaps as an answer to Dr Eziefe and others who said they mobilised against Buhari for fear of Islamisation of the country, these permanent Igbo office seekers have decided to heat up the polity. They now say the SGF position recently vacated by Anyim Pius Anyim ought to have been ceded to Igbo by a president they said they don’t trust. Didn’t he say he “belongs to all and he belongs to no one”? – they reasoned. And suddenly Kachikwu ceased being an Igbo man but a Delta Igbo. And those who have suddenly forgotten South-South and South-East cornered 30 out of the forty most important parastatals in the country only yesterday, ostensibly on behalf of the Igbo poor are now set to wage war against Buhari for appointing those he trusted. The thousands of offices yet to be filled, they openly argue, is not as important as being a member of the kitchen cabinet of a president they said they would mobilise against if another opportunity comes up tomorrow.
Self serving Igbo leaders who fraudulently swear in the name of their people to secure positions have their counterparts in the Yoruba country. The self-styled Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA) hosted by Mimiko in Akure last week where President Buhari was criticised for what was described as “his lopsided appointments and selective war against corruption”, was the same group which in January this year endorsed Jonathan for reelection in Enugu. Unfortunately at the Akure gathering, Mimiko and his relevance-seeking group spoke not for the Yoruba but for themselves. Yoruba are often more concerned about a leadership that will guarantee fairness and justice for all. As Bode Thomas argued during the constitutional debate leading to independence, Yoruba quest for regionalism was to prevent the country from being subjected to the rule of a one-eyed-king. During the 1959 elections, Awo offered to serve as Zik’s deputy. He voluntarily resigned as Finance Secretary and de facto Prime Minister under Gowon after the civil war. If Yoruba supported MKO Abiola in 1993, it was because he was the best material in that election, a fact confirmed by his landslide victory all over the country including military barracks and in Kano where Tofa was floored in his constituency. Yoruba rejected Ernest Shonekan the impostor and was literally chased out of power through the judicial process. It was for the same reason Yoruba rejected Obasanjo who lost his Abeokuta ward election in 1999 when the military and those who constituted themselves into the hegemonic power bloc in Nigeria graciously decided to allow a Yoruba man become president. In the not too distant past, the Yoruba supported Tambuwal to become the Speaker of the seventh assembly against a Yoruba candidate. It is therefore a disservice to the Yoruba nation for Mimiko to give a wrong impression that the Yoruba are fighting Buhari’s government they helped to put in place over appointments.
The mood of the nation today allows Buhari to ignore the noises of errant elders, and if he so desires, seek from his Daura village a minister for Abuja Territory who would not cede prime Abuja land to a sitting president, his wife and a Secretary to government, Ministers of Petroleum and Finance who will not jointly preside over the theft and disbursement of N1,7triilion to fuel fraudsters, a Minister of Defence who will be loyal to Nigeria instead of fighting the president’s dirty political wars in the colours of ‘Ekitigate’, pacification of Oshun and disruption of public work with soldiers in Lagos, a Minster of Education who will not be too engrossed mobilising militants for the president’s reelection bid while universities and polytechnics shut down for close to a year and a Minister of Internal Affairs who will not fleece young job seekers of over N1b and end up supervising state murder of some of them through sloppy arrangement. And if it is from Daura he can find a replica of ‘Kachikwu’, said to be a round peg in a round hole for NNPC, to clean up other stinking parastatals, he has the support of Nigerians.