Biafra Nigeria World Weblogs


BNW: Biafra Nigeria World Magazine



BNW: Insight, Features, and Analysis

BNW Writer's Block 

BNW News and Archives

 BNW News Archive

BNW: Biafra Nigeria World


BNW Forums and Message Board


Biafra Net

 Igbo Net: The Igbo Network

BNW Africa and AfricaWorld 

BNW: Icon

BNW: Icon


Flag of Biafra Nigeria

BNW News Archives

BNW News Archive 2002-January 2005

BNW News Archive 2005

BNW News Archive 2005 and Later

« Nigerians in Diaspora: Are you Worried that your Kids do not know Nigeria? | Main | This Beautiful Land of our Birth »

September 30, 2005

Most Wanted: A Brand New President among 130-million Nigerians

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Our Country needs a well cultured African whose exposure to the outside world is subdued, not a source of aggrandizement. I do not know how a Country such as Nigeria could have been ruled for so long by people trained only in the act of tactical warfare, in many cases uncultured and unlettered dominating civilized people, if not by the power of the gun. They have turned many people into images of themselves - Monkey see, monkey do. Is it any wonder that violence and greed pervade in our society and mediocrity rule?

Alhaji Ribadu who was the Defense Minister in the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa’s Government would never have dreamt that the boys he wanted to defend Nigeria in the times of external aggression or natural calamity would be the same one bleeding us to death and perpetuating themselves in office by reappearing like a recurring decimal from khaki to agbada.

It is almost impossible to run for office in Nigeria if you have never stolen at gun point or get sponsored by some godfather who is connected to these armed robbers. Sad as it is, I am talking about powerful minority who have gained power over gentlemen of the armed forces and in the process corrupted many of them. It was Obasanjo who said he learned that there were no bad soldiers but bad officers. I refuse to believe that we have run out of choice among 130 million people.

Our youths who own the future of the County are confused – join the money bags as thugs or suffer as intellectual freedom fighters. Those of them who are products of 419 are small compared to the ones whose accomplishments get buried under the news. The silent majority must scream as loud as Obasanjo during Babangida’s regime, campaign as hard as Agbekoyas in the West, pray to any of the Heavens to show us the next President of Nigeria, as long as we realize that heaven helps those who help themselves. God will not come down to save Nigeria!

Nigerians are known to be very intelligent and clever. Both are not the same. Book knowledge is different from common sense. Those with common sense acquire knowledge by being self taught or through formal education. Nobody has monopoly of common sense. Since anyone can hire educated mercenary to actualize his primitive instinct, we may be limited to the choice of obsequious worshippers. After all, sound legal minds can argue favorable on either side of the coin and agree to disagree.

So it is puzzling that 130 million people watch a parade of former military generals that have neither monopoly on knowledge nor exclusive right to common sense, make presidency a no go area for others. These are the same caliber of people whose only experience is how they have brought Nigeria down to its knees or as one of them put it, wondered how Nigeria has not collapsed. Unbowed, they condemn their repentant colleagues who apologized for their misdeeds.

Instead of facing facts and stop worshiping generals, we blame a section of our Country for all the woes. We must not forget that this Country was ruled after Independence by the consensus of both North and South. The Prime Minister of the Country was anointed by a Southerner. In the wisdom of Azikiwe, it was better to have North and South representatives in the formation of Government. If he wanted, he could have become the Prime Minister but decided to become the Governor General. Others may interpret his motive differently, but his explanation is still practiced and holds until today.

One of the old politicians once boasted that there were two parties in Nigeria – NPN and the military. Some of us may disagree and claim that there is only one party – You Chop and I Chop Party.

Is it so bad that one can not pick some silver linings out of the deeds of the dictators? My fear is that, it may look like an encouragement because I am now hearing of third term for Obasanjo. Some of us did not even want him for the first term. If those who are asking him to return for a third term are his friends, it was the same friends of Gowon that propagated the same story until he was overthrown by his cohorts. Are those what you call friends?

Oh well, well, well! Yes, Obasanjo retired all those military politicians, confronted oil bunkering by bursting the balls of some powerful associates; and he is tackling corruption whichever way we may think. He has offered himself both locally to EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu for investigation and internationally to British Auditors Hart Group to look into Central Bank, NNPC and Federal IRS. Can anyone remember in the history of our Country a Head of State that has exposed his own domain to such scrutiny?

The closest person was Murtala Muahamed who forfeited his surplus. He was killed by the same gang of armed robbers who fear a change of attitude in Nigeria. Please, Mr. President this is not an endorsement for a third term, it is calling a hoe a hoe.

My ambivalence about our policies is not limited to this Government. The smell of foreign intervention in either economic, political policies or mimicry of foreign government interest repulses me. After our foreign mercenaries sell out their Country, they run out to Europe and America for awards on a job well done as Nigeria bleeds on the operating table. How many awards did Michael Imoudu or Kwame Nkrumah get from them? Then I should condemn Obasanjo for involving foreign governments in catching kleptomaniacs outside Nigeria, right? No, I support him. See my problem o! This is the same man who denied Lagos State its money in spite of Supreme Court ruling which he interpreted his own way.

I know the humiliation innocent Africans in Diaspora are subjected to by law enforcers in those countries. Any Blackman, who thinks he is beyond these assaults and persecutions has not learned and if he has learned, must be fooling himself. Some years ago while on a field visit, I warned an African landlord who refused an order from a senior health investigator to clean up environmental hazard. A court warrant was out for him since he did not show up in court. He shot back at me – Blackman, don’t you know there is a warrant out for most of us? The US Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas who was the darling of the conservatives learned the hard way. He claimed “high tech lynching” during his confirmation grilling for the US Supreme Court. An “African European” claimed discrimination? I beg your pardon!

At the same time, I do not turn a blind eye to reality. Corruption is so ingrained in Nigeria that the little man has given up. Each time a rogue is caught red handed, look at the parade of men from high places (enia pataki, jakan jakan) that I even respect and admire file out to beg for mercy. If you do not know where I am going, think about these cases: When Tafa Balogun was arrested who were the people who followed him to court and eventually stood for bail? Who went to Abuja to plead for the son of Abacha? Who pleaded for Dariye? Who were the people who stood up for Osuji before he withdrew his case against the Government? Who are the people crying for Alamieyeseigha?

These are not the informed little people of Nigeria. They are beneficiaries of corruption and only prey on the pain of the hungry man to divert attention. If they claim they care, they are hypocrites. While it may be wrong to desert a loved one, it is wrong not to tell him the truth. Our parents used to tell us that if you steal, nobody would bail you out. If they help, you become an embarrassment in the neighborhood. You become an outcaste.

So why do we recycle men who have soiled their name and were deft at picking people’s pocket as presidential candidates? So that some of the crumbs can fall into our sphere of influence or so that we may survive for the day while our children become beggars of Live Aids tomorrow.

How many Robin Hoods do you know that steal money from poor countries and take it to the rich countries or that refuse to pay local debts in naira to pensioners, in salaries, legitimate indigene contracts, or welfare but rush to pay foreign debts in dollars?

Some of us go as far as invoking the name of those who died fighting for rights of the oppressed and just causes to defend “Hood Robbers” as if our heroes could have been bought or if they wanted to steal money, it had not been within their reach.

What happened to the days when you would not dare take a young handsome man or beautiful lady home to our parents because of only one flaw – the reputation of their grandfather in the village. Nigeria, we can distinguish just cause from corruption.

As much as I would want to see the day we can pick a presidential candidate from anywhere in the Country. I also know the reality and permutation on the ground in our dear Country, Nigeria.

South-south President
This is the only region that has not produced a President. It is about time. There is no quality that is present in the other parts of Nigeria that can not be found in this part of Nigeria. The men and women have served enthusiastically since the days of Okotieboh.

The fear that if they become the ruling class or President, they will allocate all the oil resources to themselves is that of a dreamer. Nigeria is much more complex than that. Any system of government that we have or may evolve into would not permit a region to hold others as hostages. If it was done in the past, we all encouraged it and the crumbs seekers are still around, comparatively broke but eager for another day that will never come. I submit that one part of Nigeria can not be economically viable without the other.

Canada encouraged staunch federalists from trade unions and radicals from Quebec, a Province that wanted to break off, into National politics. Two of them later became the Prime Ministers of Canada – Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien. There are just as much federalist in the South-south as in the rest of the Country. Definition of a fair share may vary from one region to another but most of us believe in Nigeria as a Country.

Indeed, a President from that region can call off the bluff of the “oil farmers”, oil bunkers, “our son our money” and some so called freedom fighters who use the name of Issac Boro and Saro Wiwa in vain, with corrupt leaders. Where have they developed with their yields? I must say any President with the right frame of mind can cut their bluff.

However, some people are disturbed by some of the opinions coming from some groups in the region about negotiating for the position of Vice President in exchange for certain percentage on resource control. I think both should be mutually exclusive. A fair share of resources will and must go to the area that produces it. But a President of Nigeria, no matter where he or she comes from can not dictate that by fiat as it was done in the past.

Northern President
All Nigerians from any part of the Country must be able to aspire for the leadership of the Country. There are many young men and women from the North who can beat any candidate based purely on merit. The number of spent presidential candidates coming from this area has overshadowed the dedicated ones.

We must not forget that one of the purest Nigerian, Malam Aminu Kano is from the North. He lived like Mother Theresa, when he could have lived very comfortably. Other dynamic youths do not have the name recognition or stolen money to buy influence. But they are highly educated and do posses common sense.

The youths in the North are more concern about talikawa and the mistakes of past leaders who have nothing to show for their domination and military subjugation. Each time they meet their colleagues from the South, they have been able to resolve differences and avoided violence. They are more interested, as their colleagues in the South in sanitizing the Country than in power just for the sake of it.

This is not a way to deny them their turn in ruling Nigeria, but some Northerners have expressed the fact that they will exist without becoming the next President of Nigeria. Indeed, Alhaji Dogote categorically counted himself out of the contest.

South–east President
We have not had an executive head from that side of the River for a long time, either by design, omission or through generosity to the North on the part of Azikiwe or by rebellion. Whatever the case, South-south can not negotiate the Presidency away at the expense of the South-east. We should learn from Abiola who got a clear message from NPN that Presidency is not for sale.

Why South-east? Is it more palatable and easier to swallow than calling for Igbo Presidency?

There is much more to Nigeria than Hausa/Fulani-Igbo-Yoruba domination of the political power. The so called minorities are more than each of the main ethnic groups.
But before the presidency goes round these main ethnic groups again, the Igbo must have its share. It can not be bargained away.

Enough of all the favors Igbo never did, the State that never voted for Yoruba candidates, how the Igbo dominated the Rivers or looted Bendel. These are excuses not to give right to whom it is due.

Indeed, the Igbo can talk about marginalization in the political, economic and social fabric of Nigeria after the war. We can go on and on. No matter what this writer says, each side will find holes and faults. So this is not to please anyone but face the facts.

It has always interested me when I read about Igbo writers defending Obasanjo’s appointments against the marginalization charge. They first distanced themselves from his policies as this writer did above, before counting his Igbo appointments. The Yoruba grumbled about their displacement and how Obasanjo would not dare displace a Northerner. Actually, Okonjo Iweala replaced Adamu Ciroma a Northerner. There will be complaints, excuses but there is no reason an Igbo lady or man can not be the next President. It must be noted that some bodies from all regions have called for Igbo President.

I have noted above why any federalist from any part of the Country will fight to keep the Country together, so the notion that only certain part of the Country is committed to one Nigeria is false. Lest we forget, Azikiwe remained a federalist not withstanding Biafra, so was Asika and many who died fighting on both sides.

There has to be a day in our life time, now or as of yesterday where the best program would be more attractive than a bag of Jakande or Shagari rice. Some of us reminiscent about the days of Babagida, Buhari, Obasajo or Gowon. In fact what we are saying is that we had contacts and favors then and want it to continue now!

Nigeria needs to move on. Our prayers should be for better governance than the one we favored or left behind. There are too many people in Nigeria to be clamoring for the same generals over and over again.

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

Posted by Administrator at September 30, 2005 09:22 PM


BNW Writers A-M

BNW Writers N-Z



BiafraNigeria Banner

BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer


BiafraNigeria Spacer

BiafraNigeria Spacer


BNW Forums


The Voice of a New Generation