Posts Tagged ‘PRESIDENT UMAR MUSA YAR’ADUA’

NIGERIA: The Making Of A Dangerous Country

September 11, 2009
By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye,

“Something startles me where I thought I was safest,

I withdraw from the still woods I loved,

I will not go now on the pastures to walk…”

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) in the poem, ‘This Compost’.

In October 2004, Professor Chinua Achebe told Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s “civilian” ruler at the time, that Nigeria under his watch was unarguably “too dangerous.” That was about five years ago. Today, words would fail anyone, including Achebe himself, to describe Nigeria’s current state. And if by any stroke of misfortune the 2011 general elections still throws up this same band of (mis)rulers, whose insatiable greed and obscene display of unearned wealth now constitute the greatest and most effective incentive for the prolongation of Nigeria’s current nightmare of kidnapping, violent robberies and ritual murders, what this country will become in the next few years from now is better imagined.

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua And Queen Elizabeth of England

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua And Queen Elizabeth of England

Mid-last month, July 15, 2009, to be precise, The Nigerian Tribunecarried a very brief story whose significance may have been lost on many people. At 3.00 am on the Sunday of that week, a thief was caught in the bedroom of Mr. Sule Lamido, the Governor of Jigawa State. The story, according to the newspaper, has been duly confirmed by the Governor’s Director of Press, Muhammad Sanu Jibrin. Before now, who could have imagined that a thief, any thief, would have been able to violate the sanctity of a governor’s bedroom? But that has now become part of our history. I won’t be surprised to hear tomorrow that a governor or his wife has been kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination, from the safe confines of the Government House. Given the horribly complicated security situation in this failed state we call our country today, such a possibility already stares everyone in the face.

There is always a huge price to pay when a nation is left in the hands of an irresponsible and wayward elite to do the only thing it knows how to do with it, namely, primitively bleed it pale and callously run it aground. That is today the story of Nigeria. And the situation is becoming horribly complicated. Those outsmarted in the grab-and-plunder game have taken up arms to get their own share of the cake, provoked mainly by the sudden wealth being flaunted by the “lucky few” with easy access to public funds. Now, the smell of blood and death hangs in the air, like a dreaded epidemic! Fear walks on all fours. Yet, the looters are still busy plundering, hoping to use what they have accumulated to purchase safety and comfort for themselves in the midst of death and destruction. What a foolish thought.

On Their Own: Who protects these ones?

On Their Own: Who protects these ones?

On July 18, 2009, Saturday Independent reported the gruesome murder of two former aides to the Education Minister, Dr. Sam Egwu, at the burial ceremony of the father of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Nnewi, Anambra State. A Federal lawmaker, Paulinus Igwe Nwagwu, who was also hit by bullets from the same gunmen, however, still has his life intact, and was at the time of the report receiving medical attention at an undisclosed hospital. It was even reported that due to “the deadly onslaught of this gang of killers”, Gov Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who were already set to attend the funeral in Nnewi became scared and retreated indoors. Do you blame them? When a state fails, not even governors or deputy senate presidents can appear safely in the open, despite the intimidating security apparatus at their disposal.

And make no mistake about it: this can only get worse until the political and ruling elite decides that looting and plundering of commonwealth must not remain inextricably intertwined with governance, and that Nigeria needs to be healed and rebuilt and not continuously gang-raped. Well, the bad (or good) news is that very soon, treasury looters may no longer find any safe ground to ply their lucrative trade. The words of British clergyman, Willaim Inge, may soon come alive to everyone: “A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he can’t sit on it.” Indeed, no one can sow the wind, and expect NOT to reap the whirlwind. Nigeria appears to be the only country where people are busy eating and drinking poison, and yet wishing to live. Our rulers live their whole lives destroying the country, and yet wake up each morning expecting to see it flourishing like a May flower. No, you don’t bring home ant-infested faggots, and expect to be excused from the visit of lizards. For goodness sake, Nigeria is too young to die. It has never been this unsafe. And no part of the country is immune.

Living Dangerously: Who Cares?

Living Dangerously: Who Cares?

A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday, a heavily armed gang reportedly raided two commercial banks in Nsukka, Enugu State; they took their time to thoroughly clean out one bank before moving to the other to repeat the same exercise, killing a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the process. While the reign of terror and bullets persisted, no form of resistance came from any quarters. When they were through with the banks, they moved with an even greater fanfare to the Nsukka Police Station, where all the ill-equipped and poorly motivated policemen had fled for dear life. Then they opened the cells, released all the inmates and razed down the police station. After the robbers had finished their operations and gone, the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, told Saturday Independent (probably from his hideout in Enugu) that the Police Commissioner had dispatched some more policemen to Nsukka to go and help catch the robbers. Nigeria, Great Nation, Good People!

 

Face of Danger: No Place To Hide

Face of Danger: No Place To Hide

Whether we like it or not, the rise of violent crimes is to a large extent being provoked by the massive, unrestrained looting going on in public institutions. Time was when everyone, including criminal elements among us, watched passively as those in government, their relatives, mistresses and errand boys became rich overnight and obscenely flaunted their ill-gotten wealth before every eye that could see. Now the situation has changed. Those without access to government coffers now have access to guns. But in their determination to “make it” like their counterparts in government and politics, they are unable to achieve reasonable discrimination between those who acquired wealth by dint of hard work and those who bled the treasury pale. I have heard it said several times among the populace that if the robbers and kidnappers would direct their efforts solely on those carting away public funds, no one would bat an eyelid. It would then amount to a balance of criminality. They steal from the public; the thieves and kidnappers steal from them! And so long as those outside this godless ring remain untouched in the desperation of the two camps to out-steal each other, no one would complain. Imagine such a reasoning flourishing in supposedly sane country!

Tender Victims: Usually The Worst Hit In A Dangerous Country

Tender Victims: Usually The Worst Hit In A Dangerous Country

Welcome to Nigeria, a country no one wishes to slave or die for. Nigeria is like a collapsing House, cordoned off by the Ruling/Eating Class, who are busy day and night carting away the much they could before it goes down. No one is interested in rebuilding it so it could remain for all of us. But the marginalized out there have taken up arms to force their own portion out of the looters. There is “war” in the land which might become more complicated, ensuring that there would be no more places to hide. And as 2011 approaches, it is bound to get worse. But why can’t we decide today to halt this massive looting and start rebuilding Nigeria? If graduates get jobs tomorrow, will they steal and kidnap? We better open our eyes to the stark reality of today’s Nigeria and act fast to fix our country for the safety of both the ruler and ruled. But if we continue pigheadedly on this path of perdition, even a blind man can see what this place will become tomorrow.

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 scruples2006@yahoo.com

www.ugowrite.blogspot.com

Dora Akunyili,This Is Becoming Too Ridiculous!

May 5, 2009

BY UGOCHUKWU EJINKEONYE

I
f before the end of this year it becomes clear that the sterling performance of Dr. Dora Akunyili as Director General of the National Agency For Food, Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) has been completely erased from the people’s mind and rudely replaced with the clearly odious role she now plays as the ebullient head of President Yar’Adua’s misinformation machinery, she would have no one to blame but herself. And it would be very sad indeed. No doubt, the costly, but naïve decision she took to become the image-maker of a passive and rudderless regime must, without fail, exact an even costlier price. 

Never a one to miss an excellent opportunity to strike when the head is still on the block, Mohammed Haruna has stepped forward with the strange theory that the indisputable and widely acclaimed success of Dr. Akunyili in her determined battle against fake and substandard products may have been unduly exaggerated. “The problem with propaganda is that it almost always leads to self-deception. Akunyili may have succeeded possibly well beyond her wildest  imagination in turning NAFDAC into a well-known brand, but the reality of food and drug administration in the country is that her success has been more of image than substance,” wrote Mr. Mohammed in a March 4, 2009 column. He did not stop there: “The fact is that contrary to the image that NAFDAC under Akunyili has virtually eliminated the phenomena of fake drugs and drug abuse both have hardly experienced any significant decline. In spite of all her efforts, the open and illegal drug markets in the country including the three most notorious ones at Onitsha, Kano and Aba, have never really gone out of business. So also have those who openly hawk prescription drugs on our streets”, Mohammed declared.                                                                                          

dora-akunylil-in-new-york

Dora Akunyili: Attempting The  Impossible?

A few months ago, before Akunyili accepted to work for the very unpopular Yar’Adua regime as Information Minister, Mohammed, despite his sterling reputation in matters of this nature, would have thought twice before launching such an unfair broadside, but now, who would want to fight for a once widely-admired Dora who, for reasons that can only be less-than edifying, has chosen to hasten her self-immolation with her own hands? 

As DG of NAFDAC, Akunyili was regularly celebrated in my newspaper column even though I have never met her.  The same way, most Nigerians who had loved her, prayed fervently for her and had pleaded with her to resist the temptation to soil her shinning reputation by accepting to become the spokesperson of this clearly bankrupt regime, did not know her personally.  And they would regard as gratuitous insult Mohammed Haruna’s suggestion that they may have been hypnotized by Akunyili’s successful propaganda and media hype. 

No matter how revolting we may find Akunyili’s present engagement, we cannot in all honesty deny that she did quality work, as NAFDAC DG, to restore the people’s confidence in drugs and beverages circulated in Nigeria. So, solid was her work that as not a few Nigerians entered shops and confidently bought fruit juice or other beverages, and left with full assurances that their livers would still be intact after they had consumed them, they gratefully remembered Akunyili and thanked God for her life. As a baby suffered from jaundice, and the mother rushed to a nearby chemist shop and purchased the antibiotic prescribed by the doctor, and the drug saved the baby instead of killing him or her, that mother, depending on how informed she was, more often than not, would remember Akunyili. As drug manufacturing firms which were almost forced out of business (many multi-national drug companies actually closed shop and left the country) because their products were being indiscriminately counterfeited returned en masse and began smiling to the banks with their millions and billions instead of singing tales of woes, they remembered Akunyili, and thanked God for such a rare gift. To most Nigerians, Akunyili meant the return of sanity in a society overrun and made unsafe by heartless counterfeiters; the safeguarding of many lives which would have been lost because of the desperation of some devilish souls to rake in blood-stained millions at the expense of precious lives. 

As I read recently the Daily Trust web copy of Mohammed’s March 4 article and saw the comments posted by readers, it dawned on me that Akunyili’s lower descent may even happen faster than I had feared.  But then, it has always been evident that the first thing a public officer acquires in Nigeria is thick skin. That is why the very damaging allegation by one of Mohammed’s readers (which Daily Trust allowed to be posted) may not even bother Akunyili. That may also explain why she is most stubbornly going on with her overly exasperating re-branding campaign despite widespread agreement among the citizenry that it is nothing but a useless and wasteful exercise.   

I have heard that when people enter government they tend to be willingly ignorant and blind in order to survive for too long there. Else, how can somebody with Dr. Akunyili’s intelligence, training, exposure and endowments wake up one morning and convince herself that by attacking my phones daily with the very uninspiring slogan: “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation,” she will succeed in intimidating me into suddenly forgetting all the indescribable pains tormenting me in this country as a result of the abysmal failure of leadership and character on the part of our rulers, and start grinning from ear to ear? Does a country become great simply because some fellow stood in some cosy office in Abuja and attacked my phones with silly slogans he or she does not even believe?  What do these people really take us for? A population of empty-headed fools? Now, if a father who had wasted his money on wine and women, and, consequently, starved his family sore, suddenly woke up one morning and started reciting: “My Family: Healthy, Well-fed!” won’t his wife and neighbours think he has gone crazy? How can such a useless slogan better the lot of the family he had irresponsibly neglected? How would that secure him the love and cooperation of his family members and make them to stop seeing him as an irresponsible and failed family head? 

I seriously think that this is becoming too ridiculous! There is a disgusting penchant in Nigerian leaders to always throw money at problems and expect a magic to happen – a clearly lazy, insincere man’s option that would always be rewarded with resounding failure.  We always want to seek a shot-cut to glory by seeking to purchase a good image. How can any nation hope to re-brand itself in a vacuum, with practically nothing to showcase? Will the potential tourist or investor simply start rushing down to Nigeria because of one meaningless slogan when the verdict of Country Risk Analysts about this same country remains alarming? Why this indecent haste to re-brand? Why not Yar’Adua now set a realistic date to achieve uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria, for instance, and when that has been achieved, use it as a milestone to anchor a re-branding campaign? 

To clearly underline the fact that the rest of the world is unimpressed by our infantile campaign of misinformation, Nigeria was recently excluded from the G20 Summit of world leaders which it had before now attended as merely an observer. What it means then is that even as an observer, the global community is sick and tired of enduring the unprofitable company of this perennially sick baby. And when this happened, Yar’Adua mourned in Abuja: “I must say that today is a sad day for me. And I think it should be for all Nigerians, when 20 leaders of the leading countries in the world are meeting and Nigeria is not there. This is something we need to reflect upon,” he cried. 

Well, I can only hope that Yar’Adua and his unwieldy crowd will truly reflect upon this, and tell themselves that even if a G40 Summit is holding tomorrow, Nigeria may still be excluded, even if we sink billions to re-brand and re-brand and re-brand.  Somebody should please tell Akunyili what I think she already knows too well, namely, that when a room is horribly messed up with the indiscriminate droppings of a very reckless dog, what you must do is to bend down and carefully wash the place with an active detergent.  Only then would you get back the fresh, pleasant air that makes a room worth inhabiting. But if you take the unhealthy short cut of spraying the dog-shit with heavy dose of deodorant, then you will get a putrid scent that will make the room more repelling than ever before.  Indeed, it is time to discard this unprofitable and ridiculous exercise and roll up the sleeves to work to move Nigeria forward.  Without any re-branding campaign to hoodwink anyone, companies are closing shop here, and relocating to Ghana. Yar’Adua and Akunyili can also reflect on this. A good market, they say, sells itself.

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www.ugochukwu.blog.com

scruples2006@yahoo.com