Nigeria: Oby’s Double Charge On Buhari, Atiku


She had for long been an irritant among the political class in Nigeria. But abroad where she has acquired a sterling distinction as an adviser of presidents, board member of companies of international repute and as an alumnus of some of the world’s leading international institutions, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili is held in high reverence.

So, when of late, the woman indicated interest in running for the Nigerian presidency, it was easy for many to write her off. If not for lack of political suave, or for lack of political grounding, then certainly for her inconspicuous political platform.

The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN upon which Mrs. Ezekwesili is plying her politics had not been reckoned with since the late Olusola Saraki adopted the platform for his daughter’s failed governorship project in 2011.

Since then nothing much on the national scale had been heard about the political party until Mrs. Ezekwesili’s adoption by the party as its presidential candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

Mrs. Ezekwesili’s intervention into the political sphere is, however, coming against the background of two recent controversial interventions.

Mrs. Ezekwesili was a co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls Group, the body which against all the odds brought the issue of the kidnap of 276 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State in April 2014 to national and international media space.

Her partnership with Hadiza Bala-Usman, a close associate of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, a leading chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC at the time of the kidnap led to suggestions in some quarters that her activism for the Chibok girls was politically orchestrated to undermine the Goodluck Jonathan regime. However, even while Bala-Usman downgraded her passion for the BBOG after she came into government, Ezekwesili remained focused on the objectives of the group. She was to suffer more harassment under the Muhammadu Buhari regime on account of her BBOG activities than she got under the Jonathan administration.

The other controversial intervention involving Mrs. Ezekwesili was her involvement in the plot to produce a presidential candidate from the minor political parties under an arrangement styled as Presidential Aspirants Coming Together, PACT.

Mrs. Ezekwesili was the official observer, or moderator of the scheme under which about 13 presidential aspirants in different political parties including Dr. Elishima Ideh, Fela Durotoye, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, among others forged an arrangement to produce a consensus presidential candidate.

However, that attempt ended in controversy after some of the aspirants who entered the contest alleged wrongdoing after the emergence of Durotoye as the consensus presidential candidate.

Dr. Ezekwesili’s involvement in the process and her subsequent decision to enter the fray after being the umpire was a puzzle to many.

Nevertheless, she has moved into the contest with a frenzy that has surprisingly overtaken the motion of some of the earlier entrants. And she has moved with the kind of passion that she has brought to some of her earlier national assignments that have begun to raise attention that is increasingly drawing attention to her bid.

In making her move, Dr. Ezekewesili dismisses the two dominant political parties and their flag bearers as birds of the same feather and hence the need for new thinking for Nigeria to wriggle out of her developmental challenges.

Asserting that neither of the two men is the solution she said:

“Attempting to choose between these two is like asking one to choose between death by poison or death by gunshot. God forbid. We cannot reject one oppressor and hand over to another oppressor. We do not love bondage. We do not enjoy suffering. God in heaven forbid.”

ON BUHARI

What is the primary legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari? It is the destruction of our nation’s wealth, presiding over the worst economic recession Nigeria has seen in decades.

President Buhari declared after his victory that he “belongs to everybody and he belongs to nobody.” It sounded like sweet music at the time, but it was a big scam. This is a man whose wife – and surely his wife should know him better than we do – laments that a mafia had hijacked her husband’s government.

There is no shadow of doubt: President Buhari is the most parochial, most nepotistic and most partisan president that Nigeria has ever seen.

This president talks about fighting grand corruption. Please, please, give me a break! Can corruption fight corruption? Does he think we cannot see? A president that looks the other way while his friends and cronies suffocate and strangle our country?

This is not a time to speak in parables. I shall name names.

Should we talk about his former secretary to the federal government, Babachir Lawal, who was accused of stealing hundreds of millions meant for Internally Displaced Persons? Imagine the depravity. And when this person was indicted by the Senate, President Buhari actually wrote to them to say he would not take any action against the man! He only grudgingly sacked this tainted person because citizens stood their ground and said NO WAY. Up until now, no other action has been taken against him by the government. And they do not plan to take any.

Should we talk about how this government recalled a former chairman of the Pensions Reforms Commission, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has an arrest warrant on his head for stealing billions from our nation’s pensioners? The Head of the Civil Service actually advised the president not to reinstate him, and what did the president do? He not only recalled this person, but he also promoted him! He only sacked Maina because citizens resisted and said NO WAY. Up till now, over a year later, the EFCC and Police have done nothing. And they do not plan to do anything.

If we dive into all the other issues involving the APC candidate – from the Air Nigeria nonsense to claiming in the morning that Abacha was not a thief, and then going in the night to beg for repatriation of Abacha’s loot – we may spend the entire day here today and we simply do not have that time.

ON ATIKU

For those of you considering the PDP as an alternative, I really want to ask you: what is the thing that you see about them that is any different from the APC. Really? These people are the same: Siamese Twins of Failure.

I just laugh when I hear some people say our citizens’ movement will split opposition votes. But the PDP is not in opposition to the APC. The candidate of the PDP has over the past 14 years gone from PDP to AC, AC to PDP, PDP to APC and now back to PDP. These people are brothers and sisters of iniquity and impoverishment, merchants of failure and disappointment. Don’t believe that 419! They are both parts of a political ruling class that has held us bound, manipulated and diminished us for decades. Now they are auditioning to extend their streak of failure for another four years? God really forbid! The real opponent that the Nigerian people have in 2019 is this old political order that takes and takes and takes, and never replenishes anything.

For goodness sake, what has fundamentally changed about that PDP we have always known? What lessons did the party really learn after its defeat in 2015? Is this not the same PDP that looted the monies meant to equip our military, so that our soldiers had to run away at the sight of Boko Haram, because they had no weapons? The same PDP that spent precious days denying that our Chibok girls were kidnapped and so allowed the terrorists get away? Is this not the same PDP that conducted a recruitment exercise for the Immigration Service that killed scores of our young people and yet nobody was sacked or punished? Haba. How can we forget so easily!

So the question is: Apart from forgetfulness, why are some Nigerians suddenly considering the PDP yet again? I have heard some people say it is because the PDP candidate has run successful businesses and therefore will be good for the economy at a time like this.

That response just makes me shake my head in wonderment: Is it the same person we know, or are we speaking of another?

And these are the people you want to put in charge of the national treasury? In charge of the money for your children’s education? Of the resources for our country’s hospitals? Of the budget for our depleted army and our impoverished police force?

If we dive into all the filthy issues involving the PDP candidate – from the PTDF saga to the $2.8 million Siemens bribery scandal – we may spend the entire day here today, and I simply do not have that time.

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Publish date : 2018-11-02 08:28:15

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