It was one of those evenings after the day’s chores and i decided to relax in the living room with just a shot of brandy. There was a news-splash on one of our local TV Stations. An aspirant, a presidential aspirant was asked the question: “what did you leave behind in Aso villa? Answer: I left behind …………… I left behind the best…………… I left behind in Aso villa……………. and finally, i left behind in Aso villa, the best ever conducted election which i annulled.”
Gush! I was stunned! I was shocked! was it one of those “Alawada” humours? I starred at the visuals on the TV again. I saw the man smiling broadly. The journalists questioning were many and i thought one of them would call him back to the question again and ask him different words, but this was never to be. The question should have been: “Mr. presidential aspirant, what did you forget in Aso villa that you now want to go back to take? Perhaps they would have received the needed answer which would be of great interest to many Nigerians who have followed Nigeria history right from the days of the military interruption in her democracy.
Yes! The year of election is fast approaching. We are going to be treated to more humours. I know you can still remember the days of Bakins when the interviewer wanted to know what mineral resources are in his state. “Habah!” the gubernetoral aspirant for the state then continued; “In my state, we get am for panta, we get am for milinda, we get am for danta cola, sina cola, we get am for coke.” Trust our journalist then. Much omelet was made of this for general consumption. Can you still remember that vocal and boisterous politician in Ibadan who was asked how he would stop students’ frequent unrest if he becomes the governor of Oyo State? Answer: “Aaah!” students ke; to rest? Students are not supported to rest. They are to read their books day and night.”
Watch out for them! They abound everywhere. They are the half baked literates and elites aspiring as usual, to rule the country, to make laws for you and i, to lead this great nation, come 2011. These are the politicians who are not ashamed to rig elections, who have no conscience but to siphon public funds with impunity, to who, winning election is a question of life and death. They are the aspirants to who, electoral reforms mean nothing, who believe that with their stolen wealth and fellow-godfathers they can impose themselves on the people at any given time and space.
Watch out! they are coming in full force! They are the kingmakers who were able to move an ex-convict from the prison and impose him on the entire country in an election which our respectable elder statesmen from the east described as “sham”. Therefore, they stepped aside. Watch out for them! Watch out for their slippery, deceitful smiles. Nigerians would not be fooled a second time by these recircled elements in their dreamed second coming. Before votes are cast this time, the south-westerners would ask, what happen to June 12th, through which many precious lives in this country were lost.
The Edo’s will not forget so easily about their front-line journalist who was gruesomely murdered by a parcel bomb. They continue to ask an ever – recurrent question, “who killed Dele Giwa?” can the youths of Nigeria forget and forgive easily, the man who has advocated their total exclusion from the scheme of things in governance, a man who believes that the only good thing that can happen to his country is the recircling of military generals in political corridors? If these three questions are satisfactorily given answers to, which are unlikely, all Nigerians would want to know what happened to their twelve point five billion dollars oil windfall which would have gone in no small way in providing good roads, unfailing electricity in all nooks and crannies of the Federation high standard educational system and highly graded health-care system, such that the president and the governors do not have to go abroad anymore for healthcare.
These people have really inflicted an indelible pain of all dishonour and negativity on the country. The wound may be healed but the scar remains. They think the wounds which they have inflicted on the nation have healed and that Nigerians are fools and can easily forget. That is why they are making a second coming, in a country where electoral laws are faulty; coming, in a country where citizens’ vote do not count; in a country where a political party vows to rule uninterrupted for sixty years only. Why not five hundred years, you may ask? We are in a society where mediocrity is glorified and honoured; where those on the opposition bench scramble for crumbs falling from professional political rogues.
My conclusion is that there will be a time when in this great nation of ours, indeed in the entire Africa, corruption, illicit accumulation of wealth and political crimes will be no interest anymore to anybody. It may not be in our generation, but it will surely come. Great will that time be for all Nigerians. Who, today in the western world steals public money and brings to the bank in Nigeria to save, or accumulate public wealth for his children, and children’s children? Not in Britain or America. God save Nigeria.
Pat Asakome, a broadcaster, is an analyst in public affairs and he writes from Lagos.