Temple Chima UbochiSunday, January 7, 2018
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Bonn, Germany


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow (Albert Einstein)

And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been (Rainer Maria Rilke)

A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away. (Proverbs 13:22-24)

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. (Proverbs 14:30-32)

And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:5)

For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:11-13)

2017 is over. 2018 is here.

honestly hope each and every one of us will have the best year ever. A New Year of Renewed Hope; New Opportunities; New Adventures; and New Ways to give and to love! From this 2018 onward, let's ignore worries; avoid tensions; believe in our intentions; live in peace with our neighbors; and have no fears to confront our problems.

As we stand now in the beginning of a New Year, it is a good time to reflect on the year that has ended, and look forward into the year that has just begun. It is also a good time for us, as Nigerians, to take inventory - take a very close look at where we have been, where we are, and where we're supposed to be.

I will start the year on a funny note: I want you to be happy, no matter the hassles of life. When I was a child, there was this jest song we used to sing, about removing somebody or something that didn't fit into a place - being at a wrong place at the wrong time. It was about telling "who brought a dog to the church to chase it away, before it bites our pastor". The point is that Nigerians made a grave mistake by electing president Buhari, and just like a dog in a church; he must be chased away before he causes more havoc. We have had enough of Buhari and his government, and I do hope that by 2019, he will be chased out of Aso Rock.

Where do we start from: One thing Buhari knows how to do is not to be president. Some of us who discerned him, prior to the election, as being unfit for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, underestimated his incapability and cluelessness - I never knew he will be so bad. I wonder why nobody saw it come that Buhari is not intelligence, has no integrity, has no Presidential qualities, is not smart, is not a good person, and is not even a good pretender - so dull. It will never get better with Buhari; he's only interested in sustaining himself in power, and has unleashed tyranny in the land, by harassing journalists or anybody who criticizes him, as he has done by sending the Federal Special Anti-Armed Robbery Squad, SARS, to arrest Daniel Elombah, a UK based lawyer, a publisher, and a fellow writer; and his two brothers, making one to wonder if we are now living in a Nigerian version of Tayyip Erdogan's Turkey, or Viktor Orban's Hungary, or Vladimir Putin's Russia. How can anti-robbery squad arrest people because of what they wrote the government sees as offensive? Armed robbers are harassing Nigerians; corrupt politicians and civil servants are plundering the public treasury, and the SARS wasn't sent after them, but was sent after innocent people who were only expressing their opinions. Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah should be released unconditionally or left off the hook; the Inspector General of Police should apologize to them; and the Nigerian government should pay them restitution for infringing on their rights. Infact, this government should build more prisons, and be ready to arrest all of us soon. They can't panic us into acquiescence.

The whole world is laughing Buhari and his government to scorn. What kind of government is this that includes the names of eight deceased persons on its new list of appointees into the board of Federal Government agencies? This shows that this government is out of touch. For a joke: after the names of the dead persons were released for appointments, I was talking with some friends and asking why Buhari hates the Igbos so much that he also marginalized them in the appointment of the dead into the board of the Federal Government agencies. I noted that Buhari should have appointed Alex Ekwueme, Chinua Achebe, Ojukwu, Chuba Okadigbo ( more dead Igbos), in order for the appointment of the dead to have a true federal character (please don't laugh).

This is the best part (sent to me by a friend)

"The National Association of Nigerian Ghosts (NANG) wishes to thank President Buhari for giving our members Board appointments.

There was wide jubilation in the Cemetery last night as the News broke to them. They appreciate PMB for following due process and Federal Character. No government in the past has considered them for such offer. They are mobilizing en Mass for the inauguration.

These are the names of dead people that will be inaugurated:

*Senator Francis Okpozo

*Rev. Fr. Christopher Utov

*DIG Donald Ugbaja (retd)

*Garba Attahiru

*Umar Dange

*Magdalene Kumu

*Dr. Nabbs Imegwu

*Comrade Ahmed Bunza

*Asuzu Okpalaibekwwe

Now we can truly say that you belong to everybody and yet you belong to nobody ... living or dead.


Hon. Ebora Orogodoganyin

Then, another comment (many must have read this):

"You can't even die and rest in peace in Nigeria. Either you die and resume work as an ancestor to bless and protect your descendants or Buhari appoints you as a Board Chairman".

The most irking part of it is the defense put up by the government in order to justify this blunder. Even those, who should have known better, have joined in the defense of this booboo. Imagine the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), berating those criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari for including the names of eight deceased persons on his new list of appointees into the board of Federal Government agencies. This Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the list was compiled over a year ago, and there was no way the President would have known that eight persons out of 1,467, on the list, had died

He then went on to insult some Nigerians. Hear him: "This list has been under preparation for over two years. There were recommendations from governors, ministers and other important members of the APC. And that list has about 1, 500 persons. So, can any normal person be surprised that about six people have died out of almost 2,000 in two years?

"Also, was the Presidency supposed to have visited the homes of each of the appointees to know if they were still alive? The outrage is unreasonable and needless. Even as we speak, how do you know that one or two persons have not died since their appointments were announced? Do we control life?

"The impression that I have is that the Nigerian elite have a Lilliputian mind. For me, the whole episode shows the stupidity of those who were outraged. I think it is evidence of idleness of mind."

People like Profs. Sagay and Soyinka have disappointed so many Nigerians, as they have betrayed and disgraced their lofty academic qualifications for pittance. What makes a man of Sagay's quality to sink so low? This is a man Niran Adedokun called a teacher of teachers and an accomplished legal luminary. Niran wrote this about Prof. Sagay: "Aside from your role in the training of some of the foremost lawyers that this country has ever seen, one can also not make light of your contribution to the promotion of democracy and democratic governance in Nigeria. At the risk of your life in the days of the military era, I recall your selfless identification with the common people and your impatience with totalitarianism. So, when you were named Chairman of President Muhammadu Buhari's Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, one felt a compelling sense of gratification. First, that your years of service to fatherland, finally, were being recognised and secondly, that you would be able to deploy your wealth of experience and intellectual acumen to assist this government in preparing Nigeria for a future devoid of the shameless sense of compromise that had gripped its soul".

When Buhari appointed Sagay as his adviser, many of us thought that the erudite professor will reject the appointment, but instead, he jumped at it; and since then, nothing has moved forward in the war against corruption. Instead of Buhari taming corruption, it has grown more tails, tentacles and fangs, making one to wonder what Prof. Sagay is doing there. And now, look at the flimsy excuse he's giving for the blunder of appointing dead people into Boards. Nigeria is then finished, if those we thought are the conscience of our society are Judases in disguise. No wonder there's no sign of a government in Nigeria.

I know that to appoint somebody to a position, governments, in saner climes, will first of all inform that person about the appointment, and ask if he or she is ready to take up the appointment. Only on acceptance of the offer will the government make it public, and not the other way round as Buhari's government is doing. What stopped the government from crosschecking the list and checking on the appointees, even if the list was compiled two years ago, as Prof. Sagay wants us to believe, before going public with it? No wonder the civil service is replete with ghost or fictitious workers, and their pay goes into some people's pockets.

Do we have a government in Nigeria, when the government can't even generate one-tenth of the electricity Nigeria needs. If you're outside Nigeria, maybe you didn't know that the whole of Nigeria was in darkness on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Justifying the national power outage, the power ministry, in a statement in the early hours of Wednesday, blamed the outage on fire at a gas pipeline system which interrupted gas supply and affected the national transmission grid. We hear only stories from them!

Do we have a government when the Fulani herdsmen are engaging in their killing spree without any retribution or consequences? The blood of innocent Nigerians are watering the grasses the cows of the Fulani herdsmen are feeding on. If you've been following my articles, you will remember that when Buhari was in England, on a medical leave, the Fulani herdsmen didn't strike anywhere, and I reminded Nigerians that those murders are not attacking anywhere again because, Buhari, their patron, is out of the country; and I predicted that the attacks will resume once Buhari returns, and now, my premonition didn't miss. It didn't take upto a week, after Buhari's return, before those murders started killing, raping and maiming people. My question is why a "guest" should be more powerful than the "owner" of the house". How can those murders be overpowering the owners of the land - their hosts. The answer may be because those Fulani herdsmen have the backing of the Buhari's government; and any community that retaliates against them is being punished for defending themselves against the unwanted and marauding "guests". Now, those killers have attacked Benue, Rivers and Kaduna States without consequences. I just read how suspected Fulani herdsmen have hacked to death a middle age woman, after invading her farm at Arodoye community, in Akure South local government area of Ondo State. It was gathered that the herdsmen dissected the woman's body with machete, after destroying over 200 acres of farmlands in the area.

For me, those Fulani herdsmen's attack is a bigger threat to Nigeria than Boko Haram's, and I wonder how Lai Mohammed, the lying minister, can say that they're not terrorists. While Boko Haram holds the North-Eastern part of Nigeria to ransom, the Fulani herdsmen go wherever they want, in Nigeria, and do whatever they like with impunity. What I still can't understand is why no governor, except Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, has the balls to confront those killers, irrespective of the federal might backing them.

Dan Amor wrote: "living in Nigeria especially since the 2015 general elections and the subsequent emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as President would have known that politically the nation is sitting on the keg of gun powder. There is a regime of palpable fear in the land as the political thermometer cannot easily be interpreted by analysts no matter how discerning they might be. The situation is compounded by an unnerving weight of mayhem that appears to have engulfed the entire geo-political space like a cankerworm. Rampaging Fulani herdsmen on killing spree have turned many states in the North West and North Central, and many parts of Southern Nigeria to killing fields thereby sentencing thousands of armless Nigerians to their early graves without a blink of an eyelid from the government. In fact, the quality of democratic practice in the past two and a half years has been abysmal, with public functionaries at all levels of government consciously exploiting the weaknesses of the system to advance interests that run counter to the common good".

Let's end this part with what Paul Onomuakpokpo wrote about Nigeria being a place where the dead lead: That the credit that duly goes to President Muhammadu Buhari is that it is under his government that the possibility of the dead leading the living is brazenly demonstrated. In fact, this possibility is flaunted at the citizens. And if the latter attempt to ask any questions, government officials feel affronted.

This brazen character of the possibility of the dead leading the living being projected by the Buhari government has vitalized the imagination of Nigerians. They have thus alerted us to the fact that the system of government being practiced by Buhari, his officials and political party could be referred to as either deadocracy or corpsocracy.

Or how do you explain the Buhari government giving appointments to the dead as chairmen or members of the boards of government parastatals and agencies? The list of the dead is getting longer with the passage of each day. But so far, the list contains the names of nine dead persons. They include: Francis Okpozo, Chairman of the Nigerian Press Council; Donald Ugbaja, a board member of the Consumer Protection Council; Christopher Utov, a board member of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research; and Garba Attahiru, Umar Dange, Nabbs Imegwu and Azuzu Okpalaibekwwe who were given other positions and boards.

Since deadocracy or corpsocracy is a government of the dead for the dead, it is no accident that that there has been a spectre of death over the nation since the emergence of Buhari as the president. Obviously, what Buhari failed to add to his 2011 apocalyptic prediction was that it was not only when he lost but also when he won that the baboons and dogs would be soaked in blood. The agents for the fulfillment of this prophecy are multiple. They come in the form of wrongheaded policies that neglect the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens leading to their untimely death. They are in the form of the neglect of the nation's health care system that dooms the citizens to their early death. But more importantly, they come in the form of herdsmen on the prowl, looking for whom to devour. Thus, it is not strange that since Buhari became president Fulani herdsmen who were living harmoniously in their host communities in different parts of the country have declared themselves implacable foes of their hosts. The death from the herdsmen comes almost on a daily basis. If they are not raping, maiming and killing in the southern part of the country, they are inflicting similar havoc in southern Kaduna. Or they are unleashing horror in the Middle Belt. Just this week, over 50 persons were slaughtered by the herdsmen in Benue communities.

Thus, it is the government officials who are outraged that the citizens took umbrage at Buhari making the dead to lead them that are chafing under the affliction of a Lilliputian mind and not the people. For, all we see from this development is that the Buhari government is tardy; it cannot pay attention to details. The government officials who see themselves as intellectuals and the citizens as Lilliputians have only mocked their so-called intellectualism by not being able to vet and re-vet just a list containing names of the appointees. What the arrogance of the so-called intellectuals of the Buhari government prevents them from seeing but which is clear to the citizens is that the list betrays why the citizens should not expect good governance from this government. For, if they cannot give the citizens a list that would not provoke such deserved outrage, how would they muster the attention span and patience to consider policies that would improve the citizens' wellbeing?

Obviously, it is the same way that they approved the list and released it to the public that the officials of the government sign documents for raiding the treasury without paying sufficient attention to what they are endorsing. If the list had been prepared since over two years ago, should this not have naturally necessitated screening it again? So, the Buhari government did not even consider the possibility of some names being sneaked onto the list? How was the Buhari government so sure that the reasons for putting some of those names on the list were still valid after two years? How were they so sure that those who were to be appointed because of their loyalty to the nation, Buhari or the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not become treacherous?

The excuse that Buhari could not have knocked at the door of every appointee to know if he or she was alive rather betrays intellectual vacuity of those who accuse the citizens of being Lilliputians. Worse still, why must the Buhari government keep the list for over two years when the appointments were meant to improve governance? Does this not show absentmindedness, negligence and insensitivity of the Buhari administration? A better excuse by the Buhari government could have been that because it could not find capable people among the living where the dead came from, it had to opt for the latter. It could go further by arguing that because they were dead and there were no other qualified persons, that was why some of them were offered marginal positions even though they came from a region of the country that supplies its resources.

Again, if Buhari and his officials cannot re-vet such a list why should the citizens expect them to muster the energy and patience to scrutinize budgets? Any wonder that figures are planted in budgets for officials to steal money and they are only ferreted out at the moment of screening at the National Assembly? And this could also explain why the Buhari government has turned the 2014 national conference report into an object of derision. Its consignment to the archives of the Buhari government may not be because of its position that the report's recommendations are not capable of achieving what they promise - a better governance system that could give the citizens a better life. It is rather probably because Buhari and his officials consider wading through a document of hundreds of pages a repulsive ordeal.

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To be continued!