Baba scores an­other own goal

Sunday Trust - - COMMENT & DEBATE - Top­sy­fash@ya­ (SMS 08070850159) with Tope Fa­sua

You see, Baba is an ex­pert at scor­ing own goals. The lat­est one he scored was when he an­nounced that more peo­ple had died in Taraba (Mam­bila) than had died in Zam­fara and Benue com­bined. No one asked Baba for that in­for­ma­tion. To the per­son whose sin­gu­lar loved one was butchered in Zam­fara or Benue, or in­deed in the other ‘peace­ful’ parts of Nige­ria, such statis­tics are not only use­less, but an­noy­ing. Is Nige­ria meant to be a killing field where we play pri­mary school games of ‘my own is plen­tier than yours’? I know that the man was prob­a­bly try­ing to pa­tron­ize the Tara­bans, but in that sin­gu­lar state­ment, he di­min­ishes the agony of those in Benue, Zam­fara, and other parts of Nige­ria. He told us with that state­ment that he would rather think in the neg­a­tive than the pos­i­tive; that he sees noth­ing overly wrong with the fact that a sin­gle soul in the coun­try over which he su­per­in­tends would be killed. It is a sad com­men­tary in­deed. I had seen some of Baba’s me­dia chats, and felt de­pressed how he an­swered ques­tions about the suf­fer­ing of Nige­ri­ans with dis­dain. His mouth will turn down at the sites as if Nige­ri­ans were stink­ing. He will an­swer in mono­syl­la­bles and dis­miss some out­right. He won­dered why we would ask him to per­form. He an­swered ques­tions with ques­tions

But be­fore I con­tinue, my read­ers will re­call that I was crazy about Baba be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent. Oh, if I could turn back the hands of time! I be­lieved in him. I felt he could do no wrong. I could swear by him. I rem­i­nisced about 1984, and 1985 when I was in an Army Sec­ondary School, and how I wanted him to bring back those days. I thought he was hon­est and was on the side of the peo­ple. I felt he could reach into the minds of Nige­ri­ans and get us to do the need­ful. I thought he had a vi­sion for what he wanted Nige­ria to be. In the event that he had none, I was ready to pro­vide some. Even dur­ing the cam­paigns I strug­gled to give him my ideas. I didn’t as­sume that he will see them here or else­where. I pre­sented him my books - all of them - through sev­eral peo­ple who claimed to be com­pa­tri­ots with him. I left noth­ing to chance. My sup­port was great, to the level of be­ing ridicu­lous. A few peo­ple who know him bet­ter warned me about him; I ig­nored them. Many oth­ers be­came my en­e­mies. I un­friended a great many on so­cial me­dia and drew lines in the sand.

The first sign for me that some­thing fake was go­ing on was the rig­ma­role and long sto­ries sur­round­ing his dec­la­ra­tion of as­sets. I could swear that this Baba was much bet­ter than an­other per­son whom I started to love in his dy­ing days; Umaru Yar’Adua. As it has panned out, in my books Umaru is light years ahead in terms of in­tegrity. Even peo­ple I in­ter­act with in Abuja’s min­istries tell me that Umaru was the clos­est we have had so far, to a hon­est leader. Baba hemmed and hawed, his han­dlers fid­dled and fid­geted, over the is­sue of open as­set dec­la­ra­tion. The APC gover­nors gath­ered to­gether some­where and fired the first salvo; they will not de­clare their as­sets openly to any­body, and no­body should ask them please, they thun­dered. Baba said noth­ing. Nige­ria was head­ing into an­other pitch dark­ness. The cor­rup­tion war was lost be­fore we started. When he would de­clare the as­sets, he gave an amor­phous list that could pass for a joke. His han­dlers rushed for­ward to defend the heart break­ing move of his. Garba Shehu dis­missed us all and sent us on a slave’s er­rand to Code of Con­duct Bureau. We should go with our FoI (Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest), in hand. Some who know him bet­ter pointed to prop­er­ties in Abuja and else­where, that the Baba owned. Si­lence. More si­lence. It be­came ob­vi­ous that we should ex­pect noth­ing from Baba. He had stated his agenda.

It took me over a year to try and do some­thing about this dis­ap­point­ment. I had seen some of Baba’s me­dia chats, and felt de­pressed how he an­swered ques­tions about the suf­fer­ing of Nige­ri­ans with dis­dain. His mouth will turn down at the sites as if Nige­ri­ans were stink­ing. He will an­swer in mono­syl­la­bles and dis­miss some out­right. He won­dered why we would ask him to per­form. He an­swered ques­tions with ques­tions. He was ag­gres­sive and un­friendly. Ha! This wasn’t the Baba I cam­paigned and voted for. And so on the 16th of De­cem­ber of 2016, I and a few friends went to INEC and in­formed them of our in­ten­tion to have a party. We felt - and still do - that there was no one to trust among this old group of militi­cians. They had their agenda and the bet­ter­ment of Nige­ri­ans is not part of it. ANRP - Abun­dant Nige­ria Re­newal Party, or Abun­dant Nige­ria for short - was born. To­day we are Nige­ria’s most-or­ga­nized and most Fu­tur­is­tic party. Away with the time wasters and cheaters of the past. Nige­rian youths are build­ing their own thing in ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try.

And so it was very in­ter­est­ing dur­ing the course of the past week­end, to see many of Baba’s hard core sup­port­ers ex­press sur­prise and dis­gust at his at­ten­dance of an­other so­ci­ety wed­ding when he chose to play pol­i­tics rather than lead the peo­ple. Per­haps his un­der­stand­ing of lead­er­ship is to frat­er­nize with his own ‘class’ of peo­ple and watch the peo­ple pine away. Gan­duje, the man who promised him 5 mil­lion (fraud­u­lent) votes was mar­ry­ing off his daugh­ter to Aji­mobi’s son. Aji­mobi hap­pens to be one of the most self­de­luded, and prof­li­gate gover­nors in Nige­ria. A friend walked into a shop in Zurich the other day, and was asked if he knew Aji­mobi, Nige­ria’s ‘best -dressed’ gov­er­nor - in their words - who had bought lace worth an equiv­a­lent of N50mil­lion from them. I’m sure if Boda Isi­aka, as he is known in Ibadan should read this, he will know that shop. Only that it will not be the only shop where he has bought his many gar­ments of waste, profli­gacy and shame. It may even be Aji­mobi’s money, the one he made in Conoil work­ing for Ade­nuga, but where are the eyes and the con­science of our so-called lead­ers? What is the point - in the name of God - of host­ing a multi-bil­lion high oc­tane party in a coun­try that is tee­ter­ing on the edge of col­lapse?

And the pres­i­dent was there; fully - he and his co­terie of party hang­ers-on and those who tell him the con­stant un­truths he wants them to tell; those who whis­per con­stantly into Nero’s ears and tell him he is the best thing since kunu and zobo; those who are al­ways on hand to say the same sweet noth­ings to any gov­ern­ment in power. He was there cheer­ing on, laugh­ing away, back­slap­ping his friends - in­clud­ing “Shege Bull­dozer” El-Ru­fai - and par­tak­ing in a feast of mock­ery alongside those whose so-called riches are the pro­ceeds of the suck­ing to death of a poor coun­try called Nige­ria. He was there.

For me, I can no longer be sur­prised. We have a pres­i­dent who prefers the com­pany of loot­ers, rig­gers, and evil con­spir­a­tors against the will and com­mon good of Nige­ria and Nige­ri­ans. Once he leaves such com­pa­nies he can­not wait to jump into the next flight and travel abroad, where he is in­fin­itely more com­fort­able. Some­one should help with an an­swer; what hap­pened to Buhari?

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