Adebanjo: Another Four Years of Decay?

 Scotland has just decided by approximately 55 per cent vote to stay in Britain. It does not rob Scotland of its soul as a nation in the United Kingdom. Bavaria prides its institutions more than it prides the Republic of Germany. In fact, all the states of Germany are genuinely autonomous of the Federal Republic of Germany. There are so many instances to cite. The Edo man respects the Oba of Benin more than the President of the Republic of Nigeria. Let us not pretend to a non-existent homogeneity. Nigeria is of many nations.

It is difficult for me to pick holes in the views held by Ibrahim Coomassie, Sardauna of Katsina. Is the Goodluck Jonathan government not inept, immature, rudderless and unpardonably corrupt? Has the PDP government of the past 15 years not ruined everything it inherited? Have the last seven years not been exhibition of impunity, lawlessness, senselessness and insensitivity? Must we paper over gaping cracks because of a so-called North-South divide?

Goodluck Jonathan is a poor testimony of southern competence. Olusegun Obasanjo was a prowler who devoured anything on sight mindlessly. These two leaders deflated the vaunted balloon of efficiency flown by the South. In fact, southerners should shut their traps about maladministration in Nigeria because their standard-bearers in government have shamelessly led Nigeria to decay in the last 15 years. I support Coomassie’s description of Jonathan’s government. He was even fair to the President. Was it worse than Bisi Akande’s opinion that Jonathan was a kindergarten president? We should call a spade what it is and not a pick axe. Why must the North not protect its interest? Ahmadu Bello and Aminu Kano were not incompetent leaders. Even Audu Bako, Clement Gomwalk, Abubakar Rimi and others were visionary.

On the federal level, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Muhammed and Muhammadu Buhari proved to be good managers of men and materials. The oft-cajoled Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha were many knots ahead of the waste of the last 15 years of southern leadership at the federal level in good performance. Yet we had Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Okpara, Samuel Ogbemudia, Lateef Jakande, Sam Mbakwe, George Innih, Bisi Onabanjo, Ambrose Alli and Fidelis Oyakhilome from the South as benchmarks of vision and performance.

I was getting worried that Ibrahim Coomassie was lukewarm in his public stance unlike his foresighted father, Ahmadu Coomassie, who was the pillar upon whom the North was built before party politics. That man speeded westernisation in the North without destroying the people’s identity. He was the first education officer, the first district officer, and the first permanent secretary of northern origin. He whipped up enlightenment there without exploiting the people. Ahmadu’s father, Muhammadu Salau, the chief of Kumasi and prince of Tamale and Katsina, was exiled to Ikorodu from the Gold Coast for disagreeing with British exploitation of the people. He lived there peacefully in true friendship with the Anyagburen and other traditional leaders in that area until death.

Happy that Ibrahim has broken from his shell of too pro-establishment at the centre. He is of good heritage and should be prepared to be counted as one of those standing for the truth. This brings me to the seeming and anachronistic vacillation of big brother Ayo Adebanjo on the leadership of his country. It appears that his long-held hatred for Arewa blinds him to reality and the future for Nigeria. How can another four years of no plan, no philosophy, no mission lead to a good future?

Everything that should determine good living in Nigeria is on the retreat. Unemployment has risen, poverty has gone through the roof, impunity is now the name of Nigeria and corruption has rocketed beyond recognition. We now have two presidents – Goodluck, de jure; Patience, de facto. Cost of living has risen while standard of living has plunged abysmally. I was shocked when in 2011 Adebanjo carried the banner to retain Jonathan. One thought he should rue that action but he persists to make more mistakes. Who tells him Jonathan will implement the decision of the confab when he has no power to make laws?

We thought Adebanjo would stoutly stand for the restructuring of Nigeria to a true federal state as proposed by the defunct Action Group in which he was general secretary of the youth wing. After expectedly clashing with the Lamido of Adamawa, perhaps from that hatred for the North, he was mute all through the period the conference sat. What has happened to that fearless fire that saw him to exile and eventual detention? Nigeria is in the throes of leaderlessness. Goodluck did not hide his incompetence when he got somebody, a de facto prime minister, against the books, to help run Bretton Woods programme for him. He is nonplussed about government and so has reached for Lee Kuan Yew’s document, the stage we passed 40 years ago, as the new religion for Nigeria. There has been nothing original about government in his seven years in office.

One would have thought Adebanjo would be working for a Buhari/Babatunde Fashola ticket to vie for the presidency so as to rescue Nigeria from the pit of disgrace to which it has been thrown by a kindergarten presidency. Billions of pension money has been unaccounted for. The thieves were instead decorated with national honours. All federal pensioners have not been paid for months. Is that the way to run a country? Those responsible for the sleaze have been profited openly for their sleight of hand. No one sensibly casts a slur on what is publicly accepted to be valuable. Adebanjo is speaking for another Afenifere, not the progressive force that made Western Region a beacon of light for others to follow. The West is unlucky with Goodluck.

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