Friday, June 8, 2018
Bonn, Germany

Desperation can make a person do surprising things (Veronica Roth)

Desperation is not an evidence of hard work; it's a sign of lack of faith (Constance Friday)

Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor (Henry Rollins)

he news that President Buhari is about to declare June 12 Democracy Day; and will honor Chiefs MKO Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi are a rascal but desperate move geared towards getting the Yoruba votes in the next presidential election.

The Punch wrote that Buhari, on Wednesday, June 6, directed that the nation's Democracy Day will, henceforth, hold on June 12 of every year as against the current arrangement where the ceremony holds on May 29. Buhari also resolved to honour the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, with the highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). Apart from Abiola, Buhari said he would also honour his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, and the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, with the second highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).

These are desperation, pure and simple. We must never underestimate desperate people. You never know how far they will go to get what they want. Buhari wants to remain in power in 2019, by all means, and he's ready to do anything to achieve that. But, the chance is slipping, as those who supported him in 2015 are deserting him in droves. As a "drowning man", he's clutching at straws thinking they will save him from going under.

We all know that the Yoruba votes helped Buhari to win the 2015 election, and so, he wants to placate an outraged citizenry in order to get their votes again, thinking that the Yorubas of 2015 will still be the Yorubas of 2019. Of course, Buhari will never know that all deceits have expiring dates, and that Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th President of the United States, said that "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time". Fact is that Buhari is the worst president Nigeria has ever had; he has failed and disappointed many who voted for him in 2015. Definitely, he will not receive a fraction of the Yoruba's votes, as he did in 2015, no matter what he does. It will be surprising if the Yorubas allow themselves to be deceived by Buhari again. Anybody will be a fool to fall for this cheap trick.

Because of 2019 election; all of a sudden, June 12, 1993, becomes, for Buhari, the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence. Where was Buhari when the election was annulled? All of a sudden, Buhari acknowledges that Chief MKO Abiola won the election. Did he ever identify with him when he was fighting for the restoration of his mandate?

What does Buhari think that awarding, posthumously, the highest honor of the land, GCFR, to the late Chief MKO Abiola, can achieve for him, his family, the Yorubas and all Nigerians now? Afterall, Abiola has moved on, and the award is useless for a dead man. Due to the annulment of the election and his death, his empire has scattered, his properties sold, his family is fighting bitter for his possessions, and after DNA Test was conducted, it was discovered that he was not the real father of 25 of his 100 children. He had 25 wives (the electorate voted for a leader, not because of what he does in his bedroom). The annulment of the election messed up Abiola's family, and the highest national award will never compensate for or undo that. The vacuum Abiola's death left in his family can never be filled.

Because of 2019 election; all of a sudden, Buhari wants to honor late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, a human rights fighter who identified with the poor and the wretched of Nigeria. Buhari, as a head of state, and his fellow dictators, who ruled Nigeria at one time or the other, imprisoned Chief Gani Fawehinmi so many times. Now, Buhari, in order to garner the Yoruba votes, is eulogizing Gani. If he were still alive, I'm sure Gani would have rejected the national honor, and even in the grave, he's rejecting it. The National Conscience Party (NCP), Gani's Party when he was alive, said: "Fawehinmi would have rejected the award in view of the prevailing situation in the country - the killings, issues in the economy and unmet aspirations of the masses, for which cause he fought all his life. He would have asked the government to forget the award and fix the problems of the country. He once turned down a national award for the same reason."

The point is that the recognition of June 12 as a Democracy Day, and conferring the highest national award on Abiola are the right things to do, assuming the move has no political undertone, but it's hypocritical that these are coming few months to 2019 election. The whole thing might not be genuine, but an effort for political gain. The question is why Buhari, who was Abacha's right-hand man, didn't advice the brute to release Abiola from prison, recognize his mandate and then hand over to him? Buhari was wining and dining with Abacha while Abiola was languishing in prison, and he said or did nothing to save him then. Even when Abiola's wife was killed, Buhari did or said nothing about it. Now, he wants the Yoruba votes, and Abiola has become "something "to exploit for political gain. It will never work for Buhari!

Buhari did not say anything so extraordinary; after all, Goodluck Jonathan, as president, named the University of Lagos after MKO Abiola, but the furor that decision unleashed made him cancel the move. Some of those praising Buhari now were among those who criticized Jonathan's own move then.

If Buhari's move is genuine, let him officially declare Abiola the winner of that election and a former president of Nigeria, even if he did not rule then. And then, our historians will be tasked to put together the story so that those who did not experience that period and the unborn generations will know that there was a Nigerian president called Chief MKO Abiola. The Senate is also of this view, as it has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce the results of the June 12, 1993, presidential election. We're told that in a four-point resolution reached after a lengthy debate of President Muhammadu Buhari's Wednesday declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day, the Senate said with the recognition of MKO Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe as former President and ex-Vice President by the federal government "all their entitlements should be paid forthwith".

Let's touch on the police's allegation that the Senate President, Saraki, has a connection with the Offa robbery. I cannot understand why the police thinks it can befuddle our thinking. It's unfortunate that the police arrested the Offa robbery suspects in a jiffy, but has failed to arrest any of the Fulani herdsmen spreading deaths and mayhem in many parts of the country. The police told us that some of the Offa robbery suspects implicated the senate president. I'm not holding forth for Saraki, as I can't vouch for his innocence or guilt, but there's a pattern here. Buhari is using the instruments and apparatuses of government to intimidate his political or real enemies in order to subdue them.

Senators Dino Melaye, Shehu Sani and some others fell out with Buhari or his cronies and thereafter were accused of being sponsors of criminal activities. And now, the Senate president, Saraki, is being "implicated" in the Offa robbery case because he has accused Buhari of being dictatorial, and the Inspector General of police of not being up to his job. Bukola Saraki has urged Nigerians to disregard the allegation by the police linking him with the 5 April robbery in Offa, Kwara state.

One thing for sure here is that Buhari and the Inspector General of Police want to get Saraki. The Senate has invited the Inspector General of Police to appear before it, and he refused to do that. What we are seeing or hearing now is an irrelevant battle for supremacy.

I watched a video where the gang leader of the Offa robbery answered reporters' question. He didn't say anything connecting Saraki with the robbery, rather, he said that they served as Saraki's political thugs when he was the governor of Kwara State, and that he used them in election rigging then. But, the armed robber specifically said that Saraki did not know about the Offa robbery. So, why is the police connecting Saraki with the robbery? The leader of the robbery gang only said that because Saraki and the current Kwara State's governor used them as political thugs is what emboldened them to carry out the robbery. These are two different things: If the police is talking about political thuggery or banditry, then Saraki might have a case but remember that everything the robbery gang leader said is still in the realm of accusations, and Saraki is still innocent until proven guilty.

When the police saw that its accusation against Saraki is not adding up, it quickly changed the story, saying that the Senate President was only invited to explain why he allegedly purchased illegal and prohibited weapons used to kill innocent and law-abiding people. It also added that the four gang leaders of the group accompanied the delegation of the Senate President to visit the Olofa of Offa to console with him over the killings.

I will advise the police to stop making noise and do its job by proving the allegations. I know that Saraki is a corrupt human being who can go to any level to achieve his aim, but I doubt if he can stoop one more low to sponsor a bank robbery. Saraki and his family are Kwara State, and Kwara State is Saraki and his family - the state is their personal fiefdom. Saraki and his family have stolen, and are still stealing, all the money they can with pens, I doubt if Saraki is also stealing with guns.

But, let me make this statement that those persecuted lawmakers - Melaye, Sani, Saraki, and others - have themselves to blame. They all supported Buhari as president, and not only that, they have also failed as senators. Why? Buhari, as the president, has taken unilateral decisions or actions which should have warranted his impeachment, but they chose to acquiesce. Now, he's coming to get the senators one by one. It serves them right. That's why my people say that "whenever you see a fowl marching on feces, pursue it away because you might not know who will eat those chicken legs tomorrow".