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COMMENTARY: The Missing Path Of Honour


By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau, Lagos – The tradition in the Nigerian political circle and orientation among the political office holders despite torrent criticism and condemnation for a change, have remained discouraging, offensive to discerning sensibilities and fallen below the best and global standard.

EFCC2In spite of the persistent public outcry and demand to serve due punishment (s) on any erring public officer as well as opting for the path of honour – (exit the position), the norms in Nigeria are empty rhetoric, deployment of sophistry as well as verbal attacks against the critics from the start of a blunder till such goes into complete oblivion and another grievous one follows. These are the anomalies and retrogressive standard Nigerians have lived with, for a long till the moment.

The 2013 John Yakubu and others N23.3 billion police pension scam and the infamous ruling by Justice Mohammed Talba of an Abuja High Court of two years imprisonment with the option of N750, 000 fine after pleaded guilty to three counts of an amended 20-count charge is stll fresh in memory.

The relevance of this scandal here is that the Nigerian society accommodates all manners of high profile corrupt practices, so, no expectation as such, from the public officers to be disciplined and honorably vacate their esteemed position when faced with the similar scandalous allegations and burdens.
And such is the case of the incumbent Minister of Interior, Abba Moro with respect to Saturday, March 15, 2014 Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment examination disaster. Despite alleged over 6.5 milion applicants, who each paid N1000  as an application fee and jostling for only 4000 vacant seats; the death of 23 applicants due to stampede at the various centres across the country and court suit by the victims and their families, demanding Moro’s removal and refund of the money, the Minister as we speak, is still in the Federal Government’s Executive cabinet!
Former Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stellah Oduah’s after the confirmation of $1.6 million cargate scandal waited till the embarrassing public tongue lashes reached the peak and her former boss, President Goodluck Jonathan, showed her the way out.

Of course, the five years old Boko Haram insurgency has the corruption and failure of leadership dimensions. Desperation for political power at all cost, greed and self-interest informed the attraction of the insurgents’ group in the first place, to the former Governor of Boko Haram origin State – Borno. Unfortunately, the group and its members later became nuisance and affront to their former backer, hence the beginning of the offensives and counter ones from both – government and militant group.
The insurgents had since advanced, from what could be termed as experimentation  to the actualization levels in their attacks ( please check my piece dated Friday, August 29, 2014, titled: Militants Siege: From Experimentation To Actualization) and today has become a big national tragedy, in which it is not very clear the present administration sincerely  and objectively, has the political will or enough clues, capacity and competence to fight and crush.

Let the fact be stated here that, there is no other points the Boko Haram insurgents are yet to prove to convince everyone that the government has been seriously challenged and dazed, regarding quick possibility of winning the war against them. With the exception of storming the VIP events and places, (which no one really wishes), I do not know of any aspect of life, the insurgents have not wreaked havoc. Sincerely, I do believe no right thinking Nigerian would have wished for many and previous human and material losses to the raging instruments of devil invasions and attacks.
Painfully, the insurgents’ bombardments and attacks recently, assumed more dreadful and fatal dimensions after the claimed killing, by the Military of the “replica” and controversial terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau as well as acclaimed ceasefire to anchor the insurgency between the terrorists and Military. Just this Monday, for instance, Nigerians woke up just to be fed with the sad news of insurgents’ siege on Damanturu, the Yobe State capital, which included a bloody attempt to take over the entire State. And this is besides previous overtaking of towns, villages, female suicide bombing, bomb explosion, sporadic shootings in the renewed attacks by the militants, aside the abduction and whole lot of disturbing terrorists’ acts by the group in the past.

If the mentioned approaches of terrorism have succeeded and lasted this long in a country not generally acknowledged to be under war and with a constituted authority in place, then questions must be asked about the real commitment; trust; competence and willingness and absolute resolve to act fast, appropriately and adequately against the militants.
Going back to my starting point, what then is the relevance of an administration; of a wanting public officer (s) in governance in the present situation, Nigeria has found itself? Yes, it is very clear the present administration is rounding off its tenure, so, calling for an honourable exit to me appears very belated, yet the same government; the leading opposition or whoever that assume power should begin to seriously address their minds towards opting for the missing path of honour, especially when the oath of office and constitution sworn to, before getting into power, have been abused and failed.
This is the norm in the developed and developing countries across the globe. On records were:  the 1972 Watergate scandal, a major political blunder that occurred in the United States during the tenure of former President Richard Nixon. The scandal indicted 69 of his top officials, who were found “guilty and incarcerated”. Nixon himself, eventually resigned about two years later, a development which was the first of its nature and the only so far, in the US history.

In the less developed Brazil, four cabinet officials, including the Culture Minister, Marta Suplicy; Labor Minister, Manoel Dias; Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Minister, Mauro Borges; Strategic Affairs Minister, Marcelo Neri as well as Cabinet Chief Aloizio Mercadante variously announced their resignations in October this year, to pave the way for the re- elected President Dilma Rousseff, to restructure her administration. Note, they did not wait till they were told to leave.

Back to US, the overzealous white Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson, who killed on Saturday, August 9, 2014 an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, announced last Sunday (November 30, 2014), through his Lawyers, resignation from the service, while still on administrative leave and apparently to douse tension, emanating from a jurist’s ruling that he should not  be tried for killing.

In the same vein, Kenya President, Uhuru kenyatta, Tuesday this week, (Decemeber 2, 2014) after the early morning devlish killing by the militant al – Shabab members of 36 miner workers in a quarry, fired his Interior Minister, Joseph Ole Lenko and accepted early retirement of the country’s Police’s Chief, David Kimaiyo. President kenyatta in his nationwide broadcast opened up that the country had invested so much on security and it could not afford to take excuse for non-performance from any aspect of his government.

All of these were honourable exit; bold and courageous decisions. The entire world hailed them as they set good standard and put everyone on his toe, that they give no rooms for excuses; blames trading; ‘bad’ politics and passing of bucks. They are truly paths of honour.

The country can equally reach her dreamt and aspired destination, only through the joint efforts and lofty contributions of every citizen. Therefore, for the political class to appreciate and embrace this genuine path, all hands must be on deck. So, the mass media, professionals, public commentators and analysts, business executives, students and academia should not relent in the constructive and productive engagements of the government, its officials, public policies with a view to be conscious of their actions; inclusive and persistent in demand to the political class, to be honourable in their decisions and actions.

Finally, the present situation in the country, regarding failure to act honourably in the face of political blunders and crises is a big minus and blemish on the country leadership. And the ultimate way out is for both followership and in particular, the leadership to retrace their steps, be bold enough and begin to do things right, so as to largely and in the long run, promote, propagate and pass on to the incoming generations – a valuable, credible and upright political culture; orientation as well as characters. /END

APC, PDP Primaries: The Emerging Victories and Casualties  

I have mentioned previously that whatever that happens within the two strongest parties in Nigeria – the ruling PDP and opposition APC takes its toll on the rest of the country. The obvious reasons for this are due to their spread, large membership and financial net worth.

pdp-apcPreviously, the ruling PDP conducted its gubernatorial congresses across the State of the Federation. The exercise ended peacefully in some States and remained controversial in some others. The Ebonyi State chapter of the party for instance, is currently polarized over the choice of the incumbent Deputy Governor, Chief Dave Umahi as its governorship candidate. Chief Umahi was speculated to be backed by the First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan. This has resulted to threat of the party’s failure in the State in the coming general elections.

Enugu State PDP is still being eluded by peace as the incumbent Governor Sullivan Chime and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu have not reached truce on the political future of the State, hence both keep different camps. The Rivers State PDP gubernatorial congress appears the most alarming as some sections of the South South branch of the party’s members have rejected purported imposition of the former Minister of State for Education, Nyeson Wike. The height of the protest was displayed Tuesday in FCT, Abuja when they carried coffin to the PDP national secretariat Abuja and voiced their rejection of the man speculated to be solidly backed by President’s wife and by extension, the President himself.

PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu reportedly ran for cover when the aggrieved members stormed the party headquarters. Whatever the coffin means in short and long terms to the members and future of the party, are tasks better executed by it – the ruling PDP itself. The Ogun State PDP guber congresses as we speak are still controversial and already in court as muscle flexing is on among the strongmen – Prince Buruji Kashamu and Dimeji Bankole/Mu’azu/Abubakar Mustapha camps. The State of Excellence, Lagos guber congresses is among the few still pending as it was inconclusive when it originally held. Where the public relevance comes, in all of these is the safety of common man when the real primaries hold in the respective States as well as the accountability of these political characters to the people if eventually elected into power in the general elections. What can they actually do? Who are they going to be accountable to?

As for the opposition APC, its guber primaries held nationwide yesterday (Thursday). Of note is the predicted outcome of the Lagos State exercise in which Akin Ambode emerged the winner over other 11 aspirants, including the incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) anointed candidate, Mr Olasupo Shasore (SAN). The aggrieved aspirants walked out of the primary later in the day, on smearing fowl play allegedly orchestrated by the party National Chieftain and former State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The question now is will the incumbent Governor Fashola and other angry aspirants walk with the party’s candidate as the election campaigns hot up? Only time will determine that. In other climes, in particular, the opposition’s State assemblies and Federal House primaries, except the Nollywood star, Desmond Elliot who scaled through in his Surulere (Lagos State) 01 constituency, Hip hop stars – Abolore Akande, 9nice and Tony Tetuila failed in their bids to win thew Oyo Federal and Kwara State constituencies respectively Tuesday. The most painful was 9nice who had abandoned a successful musical career for the dicey political ambition. His failure was despite a pre – primary massive campaign train and speculated State support.

It is also important to note that the sons of the opposition APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Folarin and Lagos State Chairman, Henry Ajomale won in their various constituencies of the State in Tuesday primaries. Well, if these greenhorns have won and no throwing of bashes follows, it may well be said their fathers or leaders are popular in the party and respective constituencies.

Still, the issue is what type of ‘distinct and fair’ political culture this party reputed for its persistent and very critical criticism of the present administration in Nigeria is thriving to promote? This is very key, thus the party must walk the political morality it consistently proffers and preaches in all fronts!

E – Mail: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com; Twitter: @tajudeen balogun



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