Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Nigeria: Is it Too Late...?

Yes!...The Nigerian constitution will be amended soon to allow third terms for elected officials. It is just a matter of time- even if Obasanjo decides to vacate office come 2007. The fact that this issue has lingered this long (since 2004) and grown big wings (the majority of Nigerian governors and state legislatures are in support of a third term, and the National Assembly may amend the constitution to permit it) means the third term agenda has taken strong roots in Nigerian politics, and it is just a matter of time before it becomes legalized...with or without President Obasanjo.

The Nigerian president, Obasanjo recently squandered a brilliant opportunity to set the record straight on the third term rumor by choosing to not answer a question directed at him during a live televised talk show last week. Rather than stating in clears terms what he wants once and for all, he went off on a tangent, beating about the bush... Oh dear!

“…Fielding questions on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme, 'The President Speaks', anchored by Mr. Cyril Stober, a caller from Sokoto had asked the President to comment on the speculations that he wanted an extra term. Rather than address the question, the President went into a long-winding story about the reforms programme of his government thus cleverly evading the issue..”, writes ThisDay, a Nigerian news daily.

What a disaster!

One wouldn’t be surprised by this level of arrogance and recklessness (or should I say stupidity) going by the statements of Fani Kayode, one of President Obasanjo’s trusted henchmen, when he asked recently, via a ThisDay article cynically entitled: “...Presidency ‘Earnestly’ Searches for Obasanjo’s Successor”:

“… How many of these people [Nigerians] are really capable of ruling the country in an efficient, just and equitable manner as being done today? How many [Nigerians] are capable of running the economy and fighting corruption the way it is being done today? How many [Nigerians] are capable of restoring the fortune of Nigeria in the international arena as it is being done today? How many [Nigerians] could have won us debt relief and debt cancellation as has been done today? “How many of the several millions of Nigerians that could have boosted our foreign reserves, increased agricultural production, consolidated our banks and revived the manufacturing sector as has been done today…?”

[Ouch! What an insult!!!]

If this is the mindset of Obasanjo and his inner caucus, then the debate is over and we can all close shop and go home.

This man and his henchman just don’t get it! The nation needs reassurance and closure on this matter, but when the opportunity presented itself, Obasanjo and crew of wise men flunked the test, in front of 130 million listening and watching Nigerians. This is the biggest PR blunder of the century, and our president and his boys are totally blind to the damage they have caused.

Reflecting on the insulting (yet accurate) remarks from Fani Kayode, I am not surprised that he has such questions in his head, because not many serious-minded and honest Nigerians will be interested in partaking in the mockery called democracy in Nigeria, and until the government can provide an enabling environment for peace and justice, only rogues and thugs that are connected to the president and his party, the PDP (People's Democratic Party), will dominate the political arena in Nigeria.