“Theresa Omolara Obu ended well. Her life ended in prayer. At the hour of her death, she received that which all Christian men and women desire, which is, pray for me now and at the hour of our death,” were the eternal words with which Father Ehi Omoragbon of St. Francis Catholic Church, Idimu, Lagos, opened his sermons on Friday September 1.
It was indeed a testimony as well as exhortation for the sea of heads of men and women, who came from far and wide, from all over Nigeria and beyond to bid farewell to the matriarch of the Mark Obu family of Umukwata Kingdom in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State, who passed on, in Lagos, on August 9, 2023 at the age of 72.
The kaleidoscope of colours inside the massive church, which was almost filled to capacity, despite being a work day, and the almost airtight situation outside the expansive compound betrayed the telltale signs of a big event that could only be captured in superlatives, which corroborated the verdict of the priest that the tentacle of the matriarch not only spread far enough but her life touched many across the globe quite positively.
How did Father Omoragbon establish his conclusion that Ma Obu ended well and is currently resting in the bosom of the heavenly hosts? Of course, he did by simply recounting how she spread love, devoted her life and times towards humanity through her work in the church as a devoted Christian and other altruistic activities through a long career as medical personnel in the channel of saving lives. With these and other acts of kindness as a businesswoman and pro-social being, she was able to uplift the less-endowed in the society, healing many wounds physically and spiritually till her last hours.
The cleric narrated how indeed, her last days on earth were epitomised by the fountain of love that radiated around her, and how the affection which she emitted throughout her life, were returned in quantum measures by those she cared for, particularly her immediate family, who were never far from her.
This was crowned when she received the last sacraments that led her to a peaceful transition from life on earth to eternal rest – the sacrament of Extreme Unction – anointing of the sick – the desire of every Catholic and a privilege they get at their last hours.
Hear the priest: “At the hour of her passing in this life, our dear sister was not alone. The beloved husband stood with her, the church was at her side, the priests and the believers were there. And because the priests and the believers were at the side of this Christian woman, Jesus was there, because three had gathered in his name.
“And in his presence, our friend, Theresa renewed her baptismal profession and because she believed in the forgiveness of sins, she was called and she heard. She went softly to death and resurrection of Christ. May almighty God free you from all the punishments in this life and the life of the son. And after that, our dear sister was asked to be led by God into the kingdom of peace. She was admitted and she received the body of Christ. And for this beloved wife, at the hour of her death, everything was done in faith, in freedom and in love.
“Of love, this daughter of love, received and gave love, in good times, she was loved, she was loved in sickness. Her condition did not in any way make her any less loveable. The situation didn’t make her unwanted. Without counting costs, everything was done that this beloved daughter of God would live. The beloved husband and the children, who wanted to keep her were free and felt free to let her go and let the will of God be done in her life.
“Because of that freedom, we Christian men and women and church, we were free to bless her, saying, May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and protect you, may He go before you to guide and stand behind you to give you strength. May He look upon you to keep you and bless you. Then that night, God said to this beloved daughter of us, come to me, you who have laboured and God gave this faithful servant rest from her dutiful labour – the labour of being a devoted wife, for whom being a wife was not a burden, the labour of raising children for which it was not a burden, but joy, the labour of helping God to give healing to the sick for which for her it was not a burden, but a deep source of consolation.
“With joy, she lived among women and men as a beloved daughter of God and through her somebody came to know the kindness of God. This beloved daughter with whom we gather this morning to worship for the last time on this side of life, trusted and worshipped God. Open-handedly, she gave with graciousness, she received forgiveness and she gave as well. And when the cross came, she picked up the cross and carried it with the strength of Christ. And I can stand here and testify that her living was not in vain.
“Now my brothers and sisters, in life, there are things that are vain and there are things that are meaningful. Today, let us set our eyes on things that last forever. For soon, very soon, the glories of this life will pass away and all will remain is what we did for Christ. Soon, very soon, the glory of life will pass away and only what we did for Christ will last.
“When the end comes for us as it came for our sister, she was ready. When the end comes for us, let it be said as it is said of our beloved sister, she tried and did her best to love. Let it be said, church that we tried and did the best we could to feed the hungry. And when the end comes, let it be said as it is said of our beloved daughter, let it be said of us too that we tried and did our best to love and serve humanity. When the end comes, and it will come, at an hour we do not know, church, let it be said, as it is said of our sister that we tried to do our best possible duty as we ought to.
“Our beloved sister, wife, friend, mother, grandmother, we know she was not perfect, but who is? None of us! She served and served and served again and again and again. Our friend, mother, sister a child of God was faithful. She did not deny in any way the father. She did not deny in any way even in the face of difficulty, the fidelity and the faithfulness of the Son. And at the end, I testify too that she trusted in the mercy and the forgiveness of the Holy Spirit.
“She did not deny the father, she did not deny the son, she did not deny the Holy Spirit. She was faithful and faithful all the way to the very end. So, now, let us hear what God said to the faithful servant: ‘“Welcome home. Enter into the joy of the Father.’”
Father Omoragbon, was actually not alone. His was indeed a further echo of the floodgate of testimonies that opened up from all quarters right from the outset of the news of her passing till she was finally interred, as many, whose lives she touched right from her childhood through her days as a professional nurse and as a businesswoman and leader in the church stepped forward to give account of her good life.
Pa Obu, the patriarch himself, in his tribute, had traced the beginning from their first meeting in December 1967 during a science, sent-forth party of Fatima College, Ikire in the present Osun State and how the friendship that ensued led to the tying of the nuptial knot, eight years later.
“We got introduced to each other and became friends. I cannot forget the memory of our friendship for eight years before we got married on 4th October, 1975… We sojourned together for 56 years, first as friends for eight years and marriage for 48 years,” he recounted.
The intensity, level and quality of love that existed were such that twice, she nearly blocked the patriarch, a first class engineer, astute businessman, philanthropist and community leader from taking well-deserved traditional titles, having kicked against the idea, on the ground, according to him, that it could lead him into taking other wives, who would come in-between them and mess up what they shared.
Yet, to underscore the reciprocity of the mutual affection, the titles were taken without other women showing up. Thus, it was a win-win situation, especially when that of The Knight of St. Mulumba Nigeria, a Christian equivalent came in 1997.
He continued: “She was a very lovely friend and wife. She was very honest and pious. She could be quiet and cool, but she had a very strong character, such that when she took a decision on issues, she stood by it. She could be very stubborn, but she meant good on such issues and that my inputs are always needed to take a decision. We had our disagreements on many issues, but we found ways to resolve them.”
On the homefront, particularly about the children, he added: “My wife did not like travelling. Most mothers would have taken the advantage of having children abroad to leave behind their husbands, but my wife was an exception. She preferred to talk on hours on phone daily to all of them one after the other than travel. She loved her children and grandchildren that she could sacrifice all her savings to please them. She was very faithful, honest and respectful. Even in her sickness she was still struggling to play the role of a wife and mother always asking after the welfare of everyone. She will surely be missed by all the children especially our sons who were with her all the time during her illness. We are sure you are with our Lords Jesus Christ and praying for us. Rest in peace, till we meet to part no more.”
What an emotional way of ending an epic elegy for a soulmate with whom one had shared 56 years of life, climbing the steep, slippery road, falling and pulling each other up in the trudging journey? How else could one capture such enthralling experience?
The testimonies of the children were no less revealing. From Osai Justina Ojigho, Omakolo Christiana Omotayo Ugowe, Ifeoma Gbenedio, Nwaka Obu, the daughters, to Chukwuma Tolupe Obu and Emeka Obu, the sons, through the grandchildren to the in-laws, family members, school mates, fellow workers, business partners, friends and well-wishers, who paid tributes in torrents of homage, it was clear that the words of Father Ehi Omoragbon, were in no way misplaced.
Centuries ago, the Romans wrote on their walls – vox populi vox Dei! If indeed the voice of the people is the voice of God, it then means that Theresa Omolara Obu, now has the best of the two worlds – a very positive, eventful and remarkable life on earth and now a blissful rest in heaven. What a way to END WELL!
Soyinka, Obi, Tinubu: When repayment of mafia debt is inescapable
By Sunny Igboanugo
Amerigo Bonasera was a longtime friend to Vito Corleone, otherwise known as Don Corleone the alter ego of The Godfather – that Mario Puzo epic novel depicting the mafia influence of the American society. However, unlike many who had pitted their tents with the godfather, in the Italian neighbourhood, he would rather avoid him and his syndicate, because he felt the consequential backlash could rub off on his well-laid business and reputation as a law-abiding, straight American citizen. On many occasions, the godfather courted his loyalty, but he rebuffed it, feeling safe inside the protective cocoon of the American system.
But that same system failed him when his prized daughter was attacked and assaulted by his boyfriend and his friend. Maria Bonasera was not only his only daughter, but the only child and despite his fears, was the goddaughter of Carmela Corleone, the wife of Don Corleone. Kelvin Moonan, her new American boyfriend had tried to rape her after she rebuffed his sexual advances, but after succeeding in fending him off, the young man, aided by his friend, Jerry Wegner, beat her so badly and damaged her beautiful face.
Completely gutted, Bonasera, a successful owner of Funeral Parlour, did the right thing, or what he thought the right thing in America. He went to court to seek justice for his daughter. But instead of putting the rapists away, at the most for their clearly heinous crime, after finding them guilty, the judge did the unthinkable – he handed them – suspended sentence. So, the two young men walked out free from the same court leering and practically mocking him – no thanks to the powerful influence of their parents, who pulled the strings from behind.
Suspended sentence?! Bonasere had exclaimed before the godfather in whose presence he ran to seek the real justice. After chiding him for rebuffing his earlier offer of protection in preference for trust in the American system, Don Corleone accepted his request to give him justice. However, he would not accede to Bonasera’s extreme demands. He had wanted the godfather to kill the two young men. But he declined. Bonesera’s daughter was still alive. Let her attackers suffer the same way she suffered, was his own option.
Pressed further to the option of murder, offering to pay for it, he again reprimanded his kinsman for trying to lure him to commit murder, particularly on the wedding day of his daughter. “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, this scum who ruined your daughter would have been suffering this very day. And if by some chance, an honest man like yourself made enemies, they would be my enemies. And then, they would fear you,” he had emphasised?
Having agreed to help him in his own way in return for his “friendship” he had given the job to his executor to conclude. At the end of the day, the two young men were so beaten with so much damage to their faces that their parents could not recognise them. So, that was how Bonasera, who had earlier pledged his everlasting loyalty by kissing the shoes of the godfather, got justice. Nothing could have given him more excitement and satisfaction than the disfigured faces of the two boys, splashed in the newspapers the next day.
But did Bonasera not pay eventually? Of course he did. But he did in a different way, different from monetary payment. Don Corleone, had visited him at the funeral parlour, three years after. His irascible son, Sonny had been heavily disfigured by the bullets of the competitors and enemies of his mafia organisation. He wanted his Italian brother and friend to fix him to look normal and fit for presentation for an open-casket funeral. Bonasera, who was the best in the land, ought not to have touched such a job, coming from Vito Corleone, a criminal to be avoided. But he was in debt, so high a debt. Backing out was out of the question. Either by way of gratitude and conscience or by knowing the grave consequences of saying no to the godfather, he was in debt.
How apt this story to the new reality in Nigeria of today. For years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had played the same role of Vito Corleone, though at a different level – politics. Countless Nigerians who were hurt one way or the other, found succour in him and through him.
When Muhammadu Buhari, before the end of his disastrous outing as President between 2015 and 2023, tried, or so it seemed, to shirk this obligation of playing ball after Tinubu single-handed made him President, either due to patriotism, knowing that Tinubu would probably be a worse calamity or out of mischief to hand over to another Northerner, knowing his proclivity for nepotism, he was stopped in his track. Tinubu simply reminded him where he was coming from.
He was not only quickly reminded of his debt – remember Tinubu’s Abeokuta declaration and his infamous Emilokan speech – but the enforcers moved in. They were the ones who completed the first stage of the project at the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja, beginning with the Northern governors, who took the initiative to rally around him. Now, you might be wondering why the North with their touted unquenchable taste for power could become so amenable. Well, mafia debts are paid to the full.
Asari Dokubo, currently has a standing army ready to go to war against naysayers on his behalf. His reason: Tinubu was his patron when as the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), he was arrested and detained by the Federal Government. Tinubu fully provided for his family including a home in Victoria Garden City (VGC), one of the most glamorous areas of Lagos. Debt!
If, perhaps, you are wondering what debt Yakoub Mahmood, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who virtually threw caution out of the window by practically killing the 2023 presidential election owed, listen to Chibuike Amaechi. The former Governor of Rivers State and former Minister of Transportation, provided the answer when he told the world how his appointment came via the Tinubu camp.
So, why then would anyone be surprised about our own dear Prof. Wole Soyinka? He provided the answer to his current wacky undertaking long today before now. To every ear, he had told the story of how Tinubu and his family provided for him when he was down and out on return from exile imposed on him by former Nigerian despot, the late General Sani Abacha who went after the necks of leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), of which he was one during his iron-fist reign.
He himself narrated how Remi Tinubu, the supportive wife of the former Governor of Lagos State, now President, provided him with pots and pans and other household utensils to start life anew. He also told the world how Tinubu it was that got him a letter of recommendation with which he then approached the government of Taiwan for the rice contract that supplied his daily bread. Nobody knows whether that source and the stream of income thereof has closed yet. Kongi did not tell us.
So, what would you not do for someone who fed you when you were hungry and probably saved you from the frustration of starvation and even death? Today, South Africa, despite all the threats from Europe and the US, has remained the major ally of Russia in Africa for the simple reason that the country was its bastion of struggle and hope to extricate itself from the vice grip of white man’s rule during the struggle for apartheid.
Obi: Still going about doing good
By Sunny Igboanugo
It is not unusual to hear some people in obvious overdrive of satiation, heckling and mocking – Peter Obi will never be President of Nigeria in his lifetime. Of course, it is coming from divergent quarters – the purveyors and patrons of the current state capture that are currently tightening their vice grip on Nigeria, their various supporters blinded by primordial sentiments – mostly pecuniary and ethnic.
Take Reno Omokri for example. Hours after the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election, he went all and about with this same mantra. Of course, only a few of the spectators of his current monologue and lone dance in the street like an inebriated village drunkard, would fail to understand where he is coming from.
Many, who are now quite conversant with his ways, would easily decipher that his constant solo attacks on Obi, is his own pitch to break into the camp of President Tinubu for what he could get, after successfully doing so with Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Tinubu’s opponent.
Just as he had tried the same trick with Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor and met a brickwall, owing substantially to the aloofness of the former President to stimuli around him no matter how virulent, he might be thinking that a more amenable Tinubu, would be different and would be the next meal ticket, now he seems to have realised that Atiku might not be offering very much, as could be seen in his less than passing interest in that camp.
So, the issue is not about the likes of Reno, his likes who are pitching for a job. It is also not about those already at the table where he wants to break into, currently devouring the sumptuous meal that the Nigerian commonwealth offers. It is rather about the outsiders who, though, are not in the two categories are imbued with either partisan or ethnic interests, even as they are as hard hit as the rest of the suffering mass with the realities of the crises of today’s Nigeria.
They are the ones to be pitied. If only they knew the truth. If only they knew that Obi has since moved on to where he came from – the higher plane of serving humanity. If only they knew that for Obi, the battle is quite different – different from the quest of power for its sake – rather than power to do good. If only they knew that for Obi, it is not about the acquisition of wealth, obscene, garish, insatiable wealth, mostly stolen from the common purse, but that earned from the sweat of the brow and using same to pull the society up by its booths strap. Then, they would know to whom they would direct their spikes.
Yes, Peter Gregory Obi, has moved on. He had always told those, who cared to listen that the 2023 presidency, where he was the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was not really for or about him but for Nigerians – that he had actually come to help. His idea was that since he had used his personal resources to try and better the lives of those around him, the presidency would offer him the greater opportunity of a wider spectrum – to use the enormous resources available in Nigeria to create a country that would be brimming hot with goodies. That had always been the intention.
Indeed, as he exhorted his followers, a few days ago not to give up, he would also not drop the gauntlet in achieving that aim. But in the event that the forces of darkness, with help from within and without, succeed in their evil plot to capture the country, he would simply return to basis – going about doing good with the little at his disposal.
That was exactly what he proved last week when he presented a cheque for N10 million at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Department of Midwifery and Public Health Nursing of the Millennium College of Nursing Sciences of the Awka Anglican Communion, Anambra State, a project he promised he would be part of till fruition, after donating N40 million to Faith Specialist Hospital, where the College is domiciled, all aimed at enhancing the Diocese’s overall initiatives in strengthening its healthcare facilities.
Hear him: “My motivation for this gesture stems from my belief that healthcare is one of the critical developmental needs of any society. I encourage support of institutions like the Church in their ongoing efforts to develop these vital areas. I want you to understand that these facilities do not solely benefit the bishop and his priests but rather the entire populace of the state. I therefore pledge my commitment to the project. I’ll also leverage my connections to secure funding from my friends for this purpose.”
Alexander Ibezim, Anglican Bishop of Awka and the Archbishop of Niger Province, while commending the former Governor of Anambra State, for consistently demonstrating his commitment to the welfare of the masses, cited his past accomplishments in the state, such as the return of schools to churches and massive financial support to the schools as well as substantial financial support for healthcare, as exemplary actions that other leaders should emulate when genuinely dedicated to serving the people.
“You’re a builder of both individuals and institutions. Your investments in education and healthcare dramatically transformed the landscape of these vital sectors within the state,” the obviously elated cleric, added.
Stella Chinwe Okunna, who was not only Obi’s Chief of Staff as governor, but his ears and eyes in many of his undertakings, thereafter was neither less enthusiastic nor short of words in praising her former boss, while praising the church as well for its dedication to initiatives that improve society, recalling how his vision during his tenure as governor, aligned with global developmental goals.
“Under his leadership, the healthcare sector was completely revitalised. Before his tenure, Anambra had no accredited health institutions, but during his time, the state gained many, including two accredited hospitals. Through Obi’s partnership with the Church, institutions like Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi, Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha, St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha and St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu now have accredited Schools of Nursing, School of Midwifery, and Schools of Health Technology,” she said.
Recalling his significant support for the establishment of the School of Nursing at the Diocesan Hospital of Amichi Anglican Diocese, and efforts to the elevation of Iyi-Enu Hospital to a University Teaching Hospital, she added: “It was Obi’s government that initiated the construction of Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital from the scratch, equipped it, and secured accreditation.
“His administration also built 10 new maternity and child care facilities in remote areas of the state, and purchased close to 100 ambulances for selected Anambra hospitals. Rehabilitation of 15 General Hospitals in the 3 Senatorial Zones of the state, building of over 120 Primary Health Centres across various communities in the state. His achievements were so outstanding that he won first prize in the Bill and Melinda Gates prize for Polio immunization.”
Presently, Obi has moved to the Supreme Court to try and retrieve the mandate Nigerians gave him on February 25, after the September 6 PEPT verdict. It is going to be another attempt in the struggle to save the polity and gift the people the New Nigeria, he has always promised. No doubt, the forces with evil agenda would continue trying to stop him.
But, win or lose, ranting of Omokri and his gang or no, be it known that he has since moved on. Unlike his contemporaries, whose paths are clogged with the numerous barriers of dirty wealth or its vulgar display, he has since won the battle long ago by shedding the weight in more accumulation and the gnawing hunger for more and more and settled for giving and more giving. That’s why, he’s going about doing good!
Igboanugo, is the publisher of WhirlwindNews
APC disaster: The dying voice of Nigerian media, CSOs
On February 9, 2015, there was a sort of chaos at the conference room of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. It was a revolt carried out by reporters covering the Presidency. For the first time in the history of journalism in Nigeria, there were open confrontation against between the source and the recipients of news – a conduct anyone with the littlest classroom knowledge about journalism would not only find totally unprofessional, but reprehensible.
What was in issue? Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, as he then was, had pinched the retinue of reporters seated before him with a needle at a point they found unbearable. Apparently unaware of what was before him, he had made a definite statement that General Muhammadu Buhari, as he then was, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would not win the election that was scheduled for February 23 – just 14 days away.
With that statement, he practically touched the tiger’s tail. The reaction was spontaneous. The room erupted in an almost riotous situation as his audience practically threw their practice out of the window and in a conduct – never permissible – shouted him down. Some even poked fingers in his face, daring him to do his worst.
For anyone conversant with the peculiar nature of coverage at the Villa and the conduct expected of the media men, known as State House Correspondents, the development, was not only strange, but the height of audaciousness. In the first place, the rule book allows journalists to ask questions, tough questions as far as they could, but NEVER to step into the gallery, taking sides or betraying their bias. The penalty for such could be huge back home in the newsroom, where the editors would be waiting.
But in this instance, it was the case of the child whose father sent to steal, that smashes the door with his feet. Who would carry out the sanction? The editors? No! Long before, they had taken the lead in taking the same route. They not only betrayed their own bias, but did so unapologetically and unabashedly.
What is more? They may have even been the instigators to the outlandish behaviour their reporters carried out, for all anyone could know. In fact, doing otherwise, could have given their eyes and ears at the Villa as supporters of the Jonathan Government, which was not only a sort of hara-kiri, but one that was fitted for a fatwa, deserving of a red ink.
The situation appeared even worse with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Led by prominent Nigerians who championed the various socio-political struggles that led to the return to civilian rule and their patrons, whose voices boomed beyond the shores of the country to attract international attention, virtually all of them lined up behind Buhari, again, boldly and brazenly.
It was therefore no surprising the ululation that erupted in the two critical circles when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced Buhari the winner of the election on April 1. In fact, not even Jonathan conceding defeat, a historic act that has remained unprecedented, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa and even beyond, mitigated his case.
The volcano of anger against him, was simply too severe as to be cooled by such a gesture. Whatever remained of the venom stored in their glands were unleashed mercilessly. Editorials fell upon themselves, while analyses fell over themselves. Various images, including one depicting him as the Otueke Drunken Man, heading home with his belongings on his head, were conjured to complete the entire mocking narratives.
Then enter Buhari, the new messiah. Initially, it was heralded with fanfare and endless hypes. There was a period of Body Language. Then, everybody began to look at each other. Though the ululations continued in the expected quarters, particularly APC, and obviously among the traditional cheerleaders – Any Government in Power (AGIP), the murmuring among the more prudent and stable quarters, including the media and CSOs, as they began to read the signs with the dark cloud beginning to encircle the horizon, showed that they knew that danger was nigh.
That was when they were expected to have picked up the gauntlets from where they left them during the Jonathan war. But that route appeared closed or substantially unattractive. Why? Shame? Intimidation? Blackmail? Vested interests? All came into the mix and many more. It might also be a case of going too far into the Buhari Project, that retreat was impossible or that there were still some layer of hope for the better.
The result was, apart from some few established media houses that actual went frontal against the former President and his party, the usually fearless and vibrant Nigerian media that practically confronted moving trains that were the military and their apologists, went on holidays. It was even worse with the CSOs. In their own case, it was probably a case of dogs do not eat dogs syndrome that set in. What with the APC harbouring within its leadership echelon veterans of the pro-democracy movement, with whom they were either in the trenches or exiles together.
The result was for the eight years of Buhari, all the faulty steps, deliberate and intentional, were greeted with either heavy silence or in some rare cases, occasional commentaries, with the obvious discontents couched in carefully-chosen words, coated in such a manner that even the whimpering of wounded puppy could have been more effective.
Or did it surprise anyone that for the eight years the APC was in power, neither the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) never that usually seized the momentum, never called a strike for one day. What could be stranger than that?
The only major shakeup the Buhari government got, was organised by Nigerian youths who practically used the #EndSARS protests to try to save themselves from the looming danger of being exterminated by not only security operatives, particularly the police, but also to protest the bad government policies that were churned out on daily basis. Even in this singular effort, the CSOs were missing.
While the traditional media, which ought to have championed the initiatives, could not be totally waved aside in the entire engagement, having played a significant role, they only managed to trail behind. The major battle was fought in the social media, coordinated by the youths, who seized the moment and directed it their own way.
But even after that singular effort, how far did the two critical entities go? Did the CSOs not continue snoring in their cocoons like lazy fat cats that ate too much oil? How much challenge did the media give to Buhari? Where was that crowd that almost threw chairs and tables to Okupe and his master, Jonathan?
Not a few believe that if Buhari had received less than a quarter of the heat of the criticisms meted out to his predecessor or even former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the monumental damage disaster his era wrought on Nigeria would have been mitigated by far. No matter how bizarre or outlandish, there was always a means of deodorising every mess.
What could be funnier than the farmer-herder crisis expression employed as baptism to sedate the import of the outright slaughter and butchery of citizens by Fulani herdsmen in many parts of the country? Apparently, the fear of giving offence to the government, whose goons, coined the expression, superseded the need to stand up to facts on ground. To say that Buhari got away with blue murder under the nose of the tiger brand Nigerian media, would be an understatement.
It was under Buhari that Ibrahim Magu served for years in office as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) without confirmation by the Senate. It was in that regime that operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the homes of Supreme Court judges in the dead of the night and their lordships sprung off their beds, some stark naked.
Buhari got away with increase in pump price of petrol. He got away with a record of 98,083 Nigerians killed by bandits and terrorists under his watch. He got away with Nigeria descending to the nadir of economic degeneration, becoming the poverty capital of the world. He got away with $19billion sunk into the nation’s refineries without a drop of refined crude coming out of any of them. He crowned it all with delivering the worst election in the history of Nigeria.
It was under Buhari that the buildup to the cock and bull stories about the unsustainability of the subsidy regime gained the intensity and extra verve that led to what Nigerians are experiencing today. It was against the backdrop of the big, fat lies that Nigerians have been told that led to President Bola Tinubu, out of sheer brain-waive, announce the removal of subsidy, ad-lib at his inauguration on May 29.
Suddenly, everybody is now trumpeting the song that subsidy is the devil in the room rather than the managers of the project. Who says that Nigeria cannot sustain subsidy? The only way it would seem impossible is because the customs officer that has just been posted at the border sees it as an opportunity to make money, because he is in competition with his classmate who had just been elected into the National Assembly on who would build more houses across the country and drive the most exotic cars minted from factories in Europe and Asia.
In the same way, subsidy will be impossible because the desk clerk at the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), would want to build more mansions in Abuja and elsewhere as well as travel to London with a private jet to take evening coffee after work in the evening after tripling the figures of the amount of petrol actually imported. Subsidy will remain impossible because the direct sale, direct purchase system where Nigeria exchanges crude oil for refined products, has remained a dark book, where nobody is required to look into except those in charge.
Pray! Why should the issue of palliatives dominate discussions in the Nigerian media more than questions about why the NNPC, which as at the last count, sunk another $1.5billion into the revamping of the Port Harcourt refinery? Why is the emphasis not on the whereabouts of the billions of dollars sunk in the refinery projects? Why are the basic questions not being asked? Have the Nigerian media and the CSOs become so lazy as not to know that they are being led by the nose and that where they are going would lead to a cul-de-sac?
But no! It seems more plausible that one analyst after the other appears on television to argue about the crumps being thrown to Nigerians as “palliatives” while leaving the substance which is that subsidy as a policy is not impossible, only that those managing it are the devil in the room.
The question is, why are the Nigerian media not holding the beaming their searchlight into the posterior of the APC government as it did with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) starting from Obasanjo to Jonathan? Why adopt this passive, prudent and reticent attitude of see nothing, say nothing? Why chasing shadows rather than substance? Tragedy!
September 24, 2023 10:42 pm
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