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Reminiscences of a political transition (II)

Then those with track records of pen robbery were invested into the corridors of cabinet and initiated into the cabal. People waited for their sanctimonious gem to initiate judgment from within but it has not happened. We were told to bring evidence or forever keep silent. Babachir Lawal aka the Grasscutter happened and Buhari developed an earache as we kept hitting frying pans to get his attention. He reluctantly released the grasscutter but found him a better job as his campaign coordinator.

What shall we say of the nepotism that greeted political appointments? Just as GoodJoe’s wife called our children ‘born troway’ Buhari justified his lopsided appointments by saying he could not sacrifice those who gave him 95% of his votes to satisfy the other five per cent! Apparently, appointments were balanced with dead nominees! Ghosts made it to the list not once but twice.

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Ministers serve at the president’s behest. The ones our president found are incapable of doing wrong. Two of them flouted the NYSC code but chose to keep their jobs. The one who eventually left resigned because she was sick and tired of our heckling. She was just another alien in the cabinet who insulted us before leaving. The other one, a trained lawyer has shown why being in cabinet makes you unaccountable to the law.

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A few gated scandals have characterized this regime that promised change. One was the Mainagate in which a man sacked made his way back through the back door complete with presidential approval? If he had the courage of a Shittu, he could still be sitting in the ministry serving his boss except that he chickened out and has remained, perhaps in open hiding.

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Our president is the archetypal blamer-in-chief. He takes no responsibility for anything. He has an excuse for everything, from the ridiculous to the bizarre. He blamed GoodJoe for late cabinet. He is eerily absent in times of need. He was neither aware that people were massacred in Benue nor of the slaughter on the Plateau. As the grand patron of herders, he turned his face and made excuses where tough love and quick action was required to curb the slaughter of his citizens. The perpetrators were – Libyans. At each visit abroad, that he relishes, he denigrated the people and country – from calling the youths lazy to saying most citizens had mental issues.

Having declared Boko Haram technically defeated, the atrocities by the terror group has basically remained unchallenged. Anyone saying anything to the contrary was not a patriot.

Democracy thrives on respect for the rule of law and the rights of the people. As known rogues are whitewashed when they join the train, only supporters of the regime have respectable rights. A journalist spent two years in detention without trial on trumped up charges. Deji Adeyanju has been in and out of prison because he counters government narratives with facts. Those who critique this government must be saints and saints see nothing wrong with the system.

Exercising rights to protest, the Shia heckled the chief of Army in Zaria, the man left, tail in between his legs only to mobilize his troops for a night raid that left over 300 dead. Sheikh Zakzaky their leader was hauled into jail with life-threatening gunshot wounds. He has remained in detention in spite of valid court orders for his release. Since then, anytime the Shia protested peacefully they harvested live bullets, and buried their ranks. Our government cherry-picks which court orders to obey and which to ignore.

On this second week of the start of a New Year, weeks to election, our government has shown that, unlike those it overthrew, it would not relinquish power willingly or play by the rules. A substantial chunk of the citizenry has lost confidence in this regime. It shows in the needless furore over who collates the election results. With Baga and most parts of the northeast slipping in and out of government control, insecurity in Zamfara, Katsina and everywhere, our overstretched military is dancing the python dance. They are primed to warn non-conformists not to touch the tiger by the tail.

Having played Russian roulette with democracy, it is obvious that neither the PDP nor the APC have the capacity to inculcate the democratic value in our nation. #NextLevel, Buhari’s stolen slogan will not spring any surprises nor would Atiku’s jingle to make Naija work again. Truth is, Naija has never worked and probably never will.

Sadly the people are too polarized to the alternatives that would put the nation to work. We are obsessed with the two-party structure that the military once attempted to foist on us. Anyone aspiring to redeem this nation must first join the ranks of its discredited parties, work and walk through the acrid putrescence of its ranks and emerge with a blueprint. That is an uphill if not insurmountable task.

Happy New Year 2019 to Naija voters and citizenry! Hope you make informed decisions at the polls as this might be our last chance at keeping this contraption one and workable.

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