FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, April 20, 2019
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Bonn, Germany
IF ATIKU ABUBAKAR IS NOT A NIGERIAN, THEN .... (1) (PICTORIAL)

Buhari and Atiku (Courtesy: COSCON)

Only lawyers and painters can turn white to black (Japanese Proverb)

What we witnessed in the recently concluded election was the death knell of democracy in Nigeria (Femi Aribisala)

Those northern leaders who behaved like Tigers towards Jonathan have suddenly become lambs to Buhari (Sen. Shehu Sani)

The difference between Nigeria and Algeria and the Sudan is that in Algeria/The Sudan the people will take to the streets to protest rigged elections and mismanagement, but in Nigeria, even religious leaders will rush to congratulate a leader who rigs an election and runs the country aground. You call for protest in Nigeria and only you and your family and friends will be at Unity Fountain. You call for sit at home and after 2 days Nigerians will start complaining that they want to go out and groove! Then they will start begging on Social Media, citing the harsh economy. We don’t understand cause and effects! (Reno Omokri)

ince childhood, I've admired the legal profession and wanted to become a lawyer, but didn't, due to an obvious shortcoming - I was a stark stammerer right from the beginning, although it has been lessening with age. But, what I heard from some lawyers in Nigeria, even those who claim to be Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), this past week, has diminished my interest in, and my respect for, the profession.

Buhari sent his lawyers to court to argue that Atiku Abubakar is not a Nigerian and has no right to challenge his election, and those lowbrows went to court with that harebrained argument. Just as I wrote, last week, that Buhari's attainment of the rank of a Major-General should be investigated, because, he's not acting like an ex-general, so also must we investigate the certificates of some of the Nigerian lawyers to ascertain if they really merited being in the legal profession, especially those who call themselves Senior Advocates of Nigeria, but are pedestrians in reasoning. You don't need to do every dirty job because of money.

Do you see how Buhari is trivializing governance in Nigeria? Instead of acting like a president by tackling the killings and hardship in the land, he engages in frivolities, all in his desperation to remain in power. Senator Sani was right that governance, in Nigeria, has morally taken a back seat, it’s authority has been challenged by a chain of tragedies it’s unable to combat or contain; and its relevance questioned even by those who trusted and thrust them to power.

I agree with Sule Lamido, the former governor of Jigawa State, that it's likely Nigeria will break. Lamido said:

“My heart is pounding and I am beginning now to worry about Gaddafi’s prediction of doom about our dear Country, that Nigeria will break up!

“The debate about Atiku’s nativity/nationality which started as a hilarious light-hearted joke is now treading on a very dangerous divisive path and we must all rise to call ourselves to order otherwise the authority we have as a nation within the African Union will be lost".

“If we do not like the children of those whose parents chose to join Lord Lugard’s assembled tribal natives called Nigeria, let us allow the former Northern and Southern Protectorates secede to form their own country. “We cannot on account of politics continue demeaning each other. The little weight and authority we have within the African Union will be lost. To the rest of the world, whatever respect we have is out of sheer courtesy.”

Let me stop here for the meantime. I will return to this issue later.

These are interesting political times in Nigeria, and only God knows where all these will lead us to:

*Atiku told the election Tribunal that he won the presidential election

*APC then told the election Tribunal that Atiku is Not From Nigeria

*INEC then told the election Tribunal that Atiku’s lawyer is not licensed to practice in Nigeria.

*Aitku told the election Tribunal that the presidential result INEC announced is different from what was in its server. Atiku then released ‘evidence’ of election result from the INEC website. According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes. But in his petition submitted at the tribunal, Atiku claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

*INEC then claimed the result Atiku submitted is not from its server. The irony here is that INEC budgeted for server, and collected N220 million for training staff, procurement, and installation of the server to receive election results across the country - now INEC says the server has no single election result.

*Atiku then invited Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, IBM as witnesses to prove that even if INEC delete the result, they can still be traced and recovered because these were their products.

*Atiku and the PDP went to court to say that Buhari was not qualified to stand for election to the office of the President, demanding that the WAEC chief should be subpoenaed to testify about the authenticity of the issued WAEC certificate.

*Buhari then told the Tribunal that he was far more qualified to stand for the election than Atiku, and challenged Atiku to produces his own credentials.

*On the allegation that Atiku is from Cameroon, Atiku Abubakar instructed his lawyers to file for a demand for the current Buhari's compulsory DNA test from neutral and different non-government doctors which should be under the supervision of both parties, meaning that Buhari is not a Nigerian. *Then, the Director, Strategic Communications of President Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said that Buhari doesn’t need WAEC certificate to become President of Nigeria. In his own words: "based on the provisions of the Constitution, an aspirant does not need a WAEC certificate to become a President in the country". But the same APC took the Ekiti State PDP governorship candidate, Senator Adeleke, to court for allegedly not possessing WAEC certificate. Very interesting indeed!

Nigerians are Nigeria's biggest problem! We're neither serious nor objective, as we try to pigeon-hole everything through the religion, region and relation prisms.

During Goodluck Jonathan's reign, we wanted to crucify him, and had to abandon him for Buhari, thinking that the latter will be all that Nigeria needs to get over all of its problems, but where are we today? My people say that he who sold his dog and bought a monkey still has a squatting thing in his house. When Goodluck Jonathan was the president, petrol was N87 per liter; and the subsidy was N600 billion. That time, Nigerians insulted Jonathan, calling him a thief who must go. Now, we brought in Buhari to redeem Nigeria, and petrol is at N145 per liter; and subsidy stands today at N2.95 Trillion; and still, many see Buhari as an honest man with integrity to fight corruption. Where's the outrage, are we cursed as a nation?

When Goodluck Jonathan was the president, many northern elders said that he was using Boko Haram to decimate the north, and they called for his head on a plate. Now, their own Buhari is president, and they're also crying that security has collapsed. Many of us read where the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) expressed dismay over what it called the recent “cataclysmic collapse of security and a colossal threat to lives and property” in many parts of Nigeria. The convener of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi (who hated Goodluck Jonathan, as a president, with a passion), told journalists in Kaduna, recently, that the situation was more serious in the north, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to be sensitive to the plight of the people in the region. According to him, “while the north still lives under horrendous Boko Haram threats, the situation has been aggravated by threats of banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery, marauding youth gangs, herders and farmers mini-wars, and seemingly overwhelmed or indifferent governments. In his words: "We demand decisive, comprehensive and fundamental governmental action against poverty, underdevelopment, and insecurity. Above all, we demand that President Buhari shows leadership and compassion which are the reciprocal expectations of the Nigerian people from their president.”

Nigeria seems to be a country of jesters, and the biggest of them all is their president. What a country led by clowns? Nigeria never ceases to amuse me, because, although the government is a monumental failure, the people are also a disappointment. That's why this government does whatever it wants and gets away with it. Many Nigerians will promise "fire and brimstone", but when it comes to action, they will be nowhere to be found. Nigerians forgot that a Chinese Proverb says that "talk doesn't cook rice". Talk is talk, and talk is cheap. Words without action are meaningless. Nigerians will be complaining about the hardship in the land, but will not do anything about it; they will be complaining about the impunity this government is unleashing in the country, but will never react against it. How do they want a change for the better?

In Sudan, a 22-year-old girl, Alaa Salah, helped bring down their dictator and his brutal 30-year reign. She has been the face of the Sudanese uprising, that finally toppled dictator Omar Al Bashir on Thursday, April 11. MSN wrote that Sudan’s military has overthrown the country’s longtime president, Omar al-Bashir. It’s a huge win for the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese protesters who have taken to the streets for months calling for his ouster — and for the brave women who have been a driving force in the protest movement. Much of the credit for al-Bashir’s removal goes to the women who have played a prominent role in the uprising that has swept the country and who have become the faces of the largely peaceful movement that toppled the regime.

Alaa Salah became an icon of the country’s uprising. Earlier, an iconic photo of Alaa Salah, 22-year-old engineering, and architecture student, addressing protesters from atop a car went viral. The image showed Salah standing on a white car surrounded by a sea of people outside the presidential compound and army headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. Salah towered over the crowd of protesters, her finger raised defiantly in the air.

Alaa Salah, 22, addressing a crowd in Khartoum, Sudan

In Nigeria, both the young and the old are doing nothing about their plight but only complaining without matching it with actions. If Alaa Salah was a Nigerian, she would be a slay-queen, taking pictures for her Instagram or Facebook followers and asking people what they thought about her beauty. She would have been looking for who to defraud.

My point here is that I had expected Nigerians to react after the 2019 elections were massively rigged, but nobody is seriously doing something about it except Atiku Abubakar who has gone to court to retrieve his stolen mandate. Even, I thought that the Kano State governorship election re-run that was brazenly rigged in favor of the incumbent governor would have drawn people out into the streets to protest that electoral robbery, but nothing happened.

The above point was elucidated by Femi Aribisala, who wrote, in his article, Death of Democracy ( a nice piece, read the whole article below):

"For those of us who had hoped against hope, the 2019 presidential election has proved to be the last straw. We are now convinced that Nigeria is a hopeless case. This country is not just a major disappointment; it is decidedly firmly on the trajectory of a future break up.

Today, the silence in the Nigerian political space is deafening. Just look back to 2015 and before, when there was a vibrant debate about almost everything under the sun. But now it is “siddon look.” We just had an election that was no election and more like selection. It was, even more, a mini civil-war, characterized by killings, voter suppression, and intimidation, ballot-snatching, and falsification of results. There was even a case where the electoral umpire claimed he was made to declare a false result at gunpoint. But in spite of the bogus outcome of the elections, nobody is fighting anymore. Nobody is burning tyres today or demonstrating in the streets. Instead, people are watching and waiting to see what will happen. Surely, this cannot be the end of the matter".

With this lackadaisical attitude of most Nigerians, nothing will ever change for the better in the country, and this government will continue to behave how it wants, unchallenged. I reiterated this point in my article of March 5, 2019, and here are excerpts:

"We should blame ourselves. You see, we have been allowing Buhari to be doing whatever that pleases him with impunity, and he has been committing all kinds of atrocities and be getting away with them. Nigerians have never made him know that enough is enough, and we haven't held him accountable for all the evils he has been doing. That's why he had to rig this election without any remorse or care about what people will say or do, and if we continue to keep quiet, he will also continue with this impunity undeterred.

The point I'm making is that we have allowed this man to get away with so many infringements and impunity. It's time to draw the line, otherwise, he will see it as his right to be lawless. Suzy Kassem (1975), in her book, `Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem`, wrote that "Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future when it will be far riskier — and much, much harder.”

Nigeria Will Not Survive the 2019 Presidential Election, By Femi Aribisala

To be continued!

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