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Between Wike and Obi, who’s lying to Nigerians, who should be dancing?

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Compatriots: How many of you watched the video of Nyesom Wike that trended recently, where he was doing his Jagaban dance, the latest introduction into his new found love for a peculiar genre of music, steeped in mockery and derision?

I’m sure many of you must have seen it. What was your reading of that odd spectacle? Of course I saw that the reactions of Nigerians were captured mostly in a groundswell of disgust, outrage and utter horrification, to what many saw as an eyesore.

Now, looking closely at that video that I saw, did you think our brother, Wike is a happy man as he made out? To me the answer is negative! Instead of happiness, I saw a man in deep pain – deep down inside his soul – deeper than anyone could contemplate. That was how I captured it and that is why, instead of conjuring the feeling of outrage, as some of you felt, mine was pity.

There is nothing as salient, significant and prominent as the Tiny Voice – that voice Jesus Christ described in Revelation 3:20 that continues to knock at the heart of the sinner but which the lures of the world keep pushing back. It is the most devastating phenomenon, especially against wrongdoings and wrongdoors.

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Did you really believe that Wike would be blind and impervious to those violent scenes in Rivers State during the 2023 general elections – to those bloodied images in Port Harcourt and other places in the state? Did you really think he has forgotten about them or he would be able to forget? Yes, he may not be the one who harmed those people including the NYSC members. Those arguments could be made in his favour. But he was in charge and responsible either directly or vicariously and as it has now turned out a direct beneficiary.

So, the dancing you see couldn’t be anything else than a smokescreen to cover the deep state of unhappiness beneath the apparent show of enjoyment. That tiny voice is the nemesis of every human being. Worse still, it is an adversary to the evil-door – an eternal, mortal enemy that must be suppressed at all cost, but which those who attempt to, no matter how much they tried find the effort to suppress it ending in futility.

Or why do you think criminals are usually high on external substances? They smoke and drink all sorts of things to be high enough to suppress that voice. Yes, that armed robber who kills the child of the woman, who spent 10 years in search of a baby or rapes her while her husband is either crouching somewhere in fear or is compelled to watch the eerie scene, must thereafter empty the proceeds of that evil escapades on hard liquor and drugs. You see them dancing in clubs and pubs ordering everything with reckless abandon in smoke-filled rooms amid skimpy-clad women, but how would you know that the entire show is a façade – a farcical display in their inner struggle for elusive peace.

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Yes, Wike did not rob anybody. Nobody saw him with a gun anywhere. He was not even among those men in police uniform, who were captured in several videos in the state carting away ballot boxes. So, nobody could rightly accuse him of such outlandish brigandage outside the fact that it happened under his nose and he was therefore liable one way or the other. But that should be enough for every human with a soul, willy-nilly.

Outside this, I also saw a Wike that is desperately seeking to prove to the world that he is part of the inner cabinet of President Bola Tinubu. Yes, much as he delivered Rivers to the APC as a PDP governor, and has been rewarded for it, it has not made him a Tinubu Boy proper. Everyone knows those that are qualified to wear that tag. He’s still very much an outsider per se.

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My reading is therefore that the Jagaban Dance is another smokescreen – another make-belief to hoodwink the uninitiated to think him a crocodile instead of the lizard he really is in the Tinubu camp.

For one, a word from one or two of the true Tinubu Boys could end his show. So, the way to go about it is to make such a video, not only to prove to outsiders that he really belongs, but to further push towards worming himself into the camp and be accepted as part of it.

How successful this turns out, would have to be seen in future. For one, Tinubu is not a fool. He knows a Wike who betrayed the PDP because he lost his presidential bid could also betray anyone including himself if Come, comes to become, as the politicians put it. If he doesn’t know that, then he’s not worth the accolades that come with that name as the wise man of the Nigerian politics.

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You may also have listened to the same Wike attacking Peter Obi and calling him a liar. You could feel the bile from the texture of his words. And what was Obi’s sin? He suggested that instead of spending a whopping N15billion for the completion of the official residence of the Vice President in Abuja, it should be used to uplift the condition of suffering Nigerians, especially as he already has a home in the city. That was all!

Now, compatriots, I bid you listen to the two, and determine who is actually lying and has the interest of Nigerians at heart from the statements of the two.

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First, hear Obi: “Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as I am compelled to ask what is exactly wrong with us as a country. I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation in these critical times.

“The recent news about a budget provision of N15 billion for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation.

“Just recently, in the Supplementary Budget, the sum of N2.5 billion was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence.

“Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing. I am convinced that 99.9% of Nigerians can only dream of living in the current residence of the Vice President. This is the finance needed to develop the much-needed human capital.

“The budget of N5 billion for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed, is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home. I am sure the major teaching hospitals in Nsukka, Lagos, Ibadan, and Zaria did not receive this much capital vote in the budget this year.

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“Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria.”

Wike: “People should commend the administration and not make statements, blackmailing and telling the public lies, just like they told that they won an election when they never won any election.

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“Nigerians know those who won elections through the electorate. Nigerians know those who won the election through social media. Let them continue to tell lies.”

“We have taken a decision to make sure that we will do the best for the people, as mandated by President Bola Tinubu. In the policies you make, it may not favour so many people. But what is important is if the generality of people, and not some people who benefit at the detriment of others.

“When you bring a policy that will bring change, so many people will kick against it. The few who benefit will kick against it. But when you are focused, they have no choice but to align themselves with the policies of the government…Let me tell Nigerians: you must commend the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Nigerians forget easily. As the time we came onboard, all the contractors abandoned their work. Today, you can see that all the contactors have returned to site.”

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Of course in Nigeria, whenever the opposition camp complains or raises issues against a sitting government, it is because those in the camp are either jealous or in pain over election loss. That is why Wike is telling Obi to congratulate Tinubu today, even with all the current hardship in the country.

The NPN, during their days of landslide victories, similarly dismissed Zik and Awo with the same mantra. Chuba Okadigbo, reeling in the euphoria of the moment, even went as far as describing Zik’s protest as the “ranting of an ant,” the infamous statement he lived to regret long after for the rest of his days on earth.

In recent years, the PDP was no less facetious, dismissing of every complaint in similar manner. In the days of Muhammadu  Buhari’s eight years of the locust, every discontent by Nigerians is either read as corruption fighting back, hatred for the President or songs of Wailing Wailers, a la, Femi Adesina, his spokesman.

One thing Wike was right about though, is that Between him and Obi, Nigerians know who is lying. If I may add, Nigerians also know, between him and Obi, who is happy and who is in pain, who sleeps soundly at night and who’s sleep needs to be induced!

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Soyinka, terror to dictators, face of democracy – Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu, spared no nice words in showering accolades on Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate on Literature, extolling his democratic credentials, ending it all with the renaming of the National Theatre as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts, in honour 90th birthday of the celebrated playwright, novelist and activist.

The President’s sentiments, on Soyinka, a professor of literature, globally celebrated essayist, actor, singer, composer, and documentarian, who brought great honour to Africa and Nigeria when he won the coveted prize in 1986, was conveyed by Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman in a statement, ahead of the birthday on Saturday, July 13.

Describing him as one of the finest minds of his generation; conforming to the highest standards of human enlightenment, but unyielding to injustice, oppression, and base impulses, Tinubu hailed his long-time friend, with whom he was in the trenches some three decades ago, during the June 12, 1993 struggle.

The statement, which stressed that Tinubu also hailed Soyinka as one of Nigeria’s living repositories of history, knowledge, and courage, and commended him for his valiant efforts in the trenches for the nation’s future both as a pro-democracy champion and as a trenchant voice against corruption and maladministration over several decades, recalled the days of the struggle.

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His words: “Our paths crossed during our just struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. When faced with a trial in absentia and death sentence by the military regime at home, he galvanized opposition in exile through NALICON and NADECO. His global stature made him the face of our struggle to validate June 12 and restore democracy in Nigeria.”

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Wishing him many more years in good health and creative fulfilment as a global force for change, he added: “Today, I join the world to celebrate his profound influence on generations of writers, scholars, and activists who have been inspired by his work. I celebrate him for giving us the spark to fight and confront military dictators in our country.

“I am, accordingly, delighted to have the honour to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

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S’Court: No more allocations to 37 Development centres in Lagos, others  

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The 37 Local Government Development Centres (LGDC), created in Lagos in 2003, during the tenure of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as Governor of the state, may have been dealt a hard blow, as they will no longer be captured in the funding bracket of the state, going by the interpretation of Thursday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, by some legal minds.

One of those who believe that by the judgement, the councils have lost their source of funding, following the pronouncement of the courts that allocations from the Federation Account be paid directly into the accounts of recognised entities is, Mike Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Lagos has 20 local governments originally created by the Federal Government, while the 37 LGDCs, were created by the Tinubu administration, in a bid to further take governance to the grassroots, a development, which led to a bitter feud between the government and the Federal Government under the President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In fact, throughout the period Obasanjo was in power after the creation of the LGDCs, the state was denied its council allocations, as a punishment to the state, following the former President’s aversion to the move.

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It was only the government of Umaru Yar’Adua, Obasanjo’s successor, who released the entire entitlements to the state, when he assumed power in 2007, after the state had funded the councils from its own resources for four years.

Ozekhome, a renowned constitutional lawyer,  who was a guest of The Morning Brief, a breakfast programme on Channels Television, on Friday, told his host that Thursday’s apex court judgement on the autonomy of the councils, made it clear that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would not send funds to local government areas headed by caretaker committee chairmen, or development centres.

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Hear him: “The judgement of the government is clear. If you want to receive funds from the federation account, then conduct an election. If what you have in place is a caretaker committee as local government chairman, be sure that it will not have money from the federation account.

“What this law is saying is that if you are not a democratically elected local government council, you cannot have this money under section 162 subsection 5 and 6 of the 199 Constitution. So, what it means is that money should now be ploughed to those local governments that are in existence democratically.”

The only remedy, he stated was for the state to find ways of funding the development centres from the allocations of the councils, adding: “They can do that internally to share. That is their internal business. Nobody can control that one. But for now, the money can only go to those local government areas named in the constitution. Don’t forget they are even named in the constitution, 774 local governments. If you want money from the federation account, such councils must be democratically elected.”

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The apex court not only endorsed full local government autonomy and ordering that funds from the FAAC be paid directly to their accounts, but also barred governors from henceforth dissolving democratically elected officials for local governments adding that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

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Tinubu completely caged, now surrounded by thieves, Ndume insists

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Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, on Thursday dug deeper in his earlier revelations putting Nigerians on notice that President Bola Tinubu is currently under a cocoon thrown around him by his aides, who have used the opportunity to mindlessly fleece the national till.

A guest of Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise News Network, Ndume, Chief Whip of the Senate, told his host that the seat of power has now been captured by “kakistocrats” – a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens and kleptocrats – one run by thieves.

Absolving Tinubu of complicity in the alleged massive thievery he alleged that the Presidential Villa and top government bodies have become, he said: “The government is also populated by kleptocrats, but unfortunately that is not what the President is up to. He really meant renewed hope, but you can only do that when you have people around you that are on the same type of thinking.”

Ndume one of the longest serving members of NASS, explained that much as Tinubu, whom he described as a close political associate and a democrat, would always be quick to act on any act of malfeasance that came to his attention, such as his recent repudiation of the Cyber-crime bill, the said unscrupulous aides, had been doing much to keep him away from some critical information.

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Hear him: “When the president realised that he had not heard about it, he quickly suspended it.” He highlighted the significant challenge of hunger and food scarcity, mentioning that inflation has risen to 40%. In some places, even with your money, you won’t find the food items you want to buy, which is very dangerous..

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“Nigeria has never been included among countries facing severe food crises or food insecurity, but recent UN and World Food Programme figures rank Nigeria as a hotspot. For people like me, I have to be scared because I’m 64 years old with 10 children, 20 grandchildren, and I don’t have a passport or visa to anywhere.

“Some Ministers only meet the president during council meetings and that the President is often the first to leave. I’m the chief whip, and if the chief whip can’t have access to the president, the new senators won’t have access either. During the time of President (Olusegun) Obasanjo’s administration, any senator could see the president within 24 hours.

“President Tinubu is caged in. There are no visible efforts by the government to address pressing issues like climate change. The President has to harness Nigeria’s natural and human resources. He must get the right people into office and dominate his government with democrats. The president needs people who will realise his dream and tell him when something is wrong.”

Ndume who also bemoaned the effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy, argued that much as it was a good move to eliminate corruption and allow savings to benefit the people, measures must be taken to cushion such effects, like the introduction of food stamps, adding that presently the anger of Nigerians over their parlous situation could snowball into uncontrollable conflagration.

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