January 2018 had been silent, with almost zero excitement on the political scene, there were smacks here and there but nothing re-vibrating.
But like a moving vehicle determined to leave its print on murky soil, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote an open letter to current President Muhammadu Buhari and immediately, We knew January will be rolling off with some juice.
The letter, like an uncontrolled virulent disease, circulated every nook and cranny of Nigeria. Barely 24 hours after the letter hit social media, newspaper merchants were already in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, hawking the news in traffic to ensure that it gets to those Nigerians who had no power to charge their phones.
I must say, NGOs have something to learn from Obasanjo. Imagine if the impact of the various attempts at advocacy can be as far reaching as that letter? Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine.
In this red letter, Obasanjo was not kind at all, but are we really surprised? The former president has never been a man of sweet words. Obasanjo expressed the thoughts of many Nigerians who have been shouting the same message for months but without the viral effect of a former president.
Obasanjo likened the present administration to a parasitic insect, insisting that the government is out for the blood of Nigerians. These are his exact words; “The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeeds – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today”.
Obasanjo re-hashed the concerns of many Nigerians who voted for the president, hoping that there would be positive changes in their living standards. Many Nigerians had thought that with PMB as the “horse rider of Nigeria” their lives and properties would be safe; that those who stole their fortunes would be brought to book and their fortunes reclaimed. Two years after the hope was sold, it is becoming more and more apparent that those promises are not going to happen or they will take a lot more than envisaged to happen. Some loyal Buharists believe the latter.
See, if you have been in an abusive relationship for 16 years like Nigerians had been under the PDP rule, you don’t want to take any chances after your liberation. So, it is understandable that Nigerians seem a little impatient with the current administration.
Obasanjo knew this and he decided to speak the language of the people, although this act might not be in the interest of the people. Again, we are not surprised. Our politicians are synonymous with deception.
Shortly after the letter and Obasanjo had once again assumed the messianic status, it was clear that the long, scathing letter was merely a political move to pave way for his “coalition” to emerge.
Coalition for Nigeria (CN) emerged this week and it would break the rank and file of the two dominant parties, and bring good governance to Nigerians, they claim. While I have no doubt that it might break the rank and file of both APC and PDP, I am certain that it has nothing good for Nigeria.
For one, it is the same old recycled politicians pulling out of their various shells to wear a new one. We learnt 20 Senators (who have been docile in their duties), 7 governors (who might be owing salaries) and a number of House of Representative members have pulled out to join the august coalition. Sorry, but I am not excited!
If this is all Obasanjo could launch after that letter bomb, then one can say for sure that he has lost his A game.
Also, they told us the coalition is not a political party but a movement and We say to them, we shall see!
Anyway, The Transverse will be here to report any good news if such comes out of Obasanjo’s coalition.
The political moves this week did not end with Obasanjo. The officials and the principal of the Federal Government went mum for almost 24 hours after Obasanjo exploded in their faces, in preparation for an epic come back.
The first chess move was to list President Buhari’s accomplishments, then Babachir Lawal, the grass cutter SFG, miraculously visited EFCC and the agency suddenly developed the audacity to detain him.
This would be 13 months and 10 days after the Senate Committee first indicted him. Abeg, more letters should come, maybe Abba Kyari too might be flushed out. I cannot wait to see his face if that happens.
Moving on, Nigerians are a very ethnic centered people. Somehow, we always manage to find an ethnic dimension to every issue. The cattle colonies proposed as the solution to the herdsmen-farmer fracas has not been different.
If you’ve been following the debates about this issue, you would have noticed the ethnic lines being drawn as with any major issue.
The northerners and their governors have shown much support for the recommendation. Acres and hectares of land have been flying around. Land here for colony, land there for colony. However, if you move down east, the people are apprehensive. They do not want any cattle colony in their states. They cannot have cattle colonizing them, they insist.
The Western part of Nigeria, as usual, is in the middle. Neither here nor there. They think having the cattle settled in a place (as in colonies) is good but since the word “colony” seems to be pumping blood into some people’s brains, they are of the opinion that ‘ranch’ is a preferable choice of word to use. So, for the Yorubas, they don’t want cattle colonies but cattle ranches would just be fine.
You see our problem?
To the last but most important issue of the week, LASSA FEVER!
Again, everything that should get the utmost attention of this government never gets it.
There have been fresh outbreaks of the fever in some parts of the country. Doctors and patients alike are dying but the government, as usual, is busy with politics.
Dr. Idowu Ahmed Victor contracted the fever from a seven months old baby while he was caring for the child, and the death of the Kogi doctor has raised serious concerns for safety of medical practitioners who face this deadly disease despite inadequate medical facilities.
Late Dr. victor was loved and would be greatly missed by friends and family who poured out eulogies in mourning his death.
His death came days after two other doctors, Dr. Abel Sunday Udo, a resident doctor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Dr. Ali Felix, a resident doctor in the Department of Community Medicine, both serving at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakiliki, (FETHA), Ebonyi State died of the fever on Sunday, January 14, 2018.
Mr. Buhari is busy defending his administration, hosting African leaders while permutation is ongoing against 2019 elections. The minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, is attending launch of campaign office while Nigerians are dying of contagious health diseases.
You see our government?
May the gentle soul of Dr. Victor and every other person who have died due to the failure of these politicians, Rest In Peace. Amen!
On a final note, we would have loved to also talk about the recent actions of Madam Aisha Buhari but time is far spent. We will say this though, may she continue to show Mr. President that her purpose is beyond voyages to the “oza room”.
Till we come your way next week with more newsquakes, be a patriotic citizen and always think about what you can do to make your country better.