Last week friday evening(March 19), the Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) decided to give us light in my area after two good weeks of blackout. I will not tell you where my area is but it is an open secret that everywhere in Nigeria today is always in blackout- day and night- except the Aso Rock where the PHCN may want to respect the Presidency. I learnt from a very reasonable source that even the PHCN officials use generators in their offices! This naturally depicts that we as common citizens should not in any way expect electricity since the people who give and takes the light also sometimes depend on generators in their offices and homes.
As soon as the light came on, out of surprise or amazement, I rushed to the television set to at least relax a little with any programme I could get before the ‘power owners’ hold the power again. I tuned to NTA and it was not long after I started watching their evening network news that my interest was aroused by one particular event. I call it an inspirational event.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu had gone to meet the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole to detail him about his(INEC’s) plans and preparations for the coming general elections in 2011. Now, the Speaker was trying to stress his views about the feb. 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra which was adjudged in some sections as controversial. According to the Speaker : ‘An election may be free and fair and still be regarded as not free and fair. Before an election can be regarded as free and fair, it must be free of controversy in every way’. After the words by the Speaker then came the opportunity for the INEC chairman to try and convince Nigerians about his commission’s efforts during the Anambra election and what he intends to do for Nigeria in 2011.
I must confess I was really disappointed at him and his defense. My mouth was agape with amazement at how a professor could suddenly become a stammerer when it was his time to finally display his mettle in the national television to viewing Nigerians. He stammered throughout and I could not even get a point or clue from all what he said. As my writer mentor, Femi Adesina, normally writes, that presentation by the INEC chairman shows he is badgered, confused, without liver and with weak biceps he could not even flex. It is also right to say he is presently in wonderland, too creepy and spooky for him to comprehend.
Honestly, I pity him but I still don’t pity him because he was one of those people who were forced on Nigeria by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, a man who must have brought publicity along with him while coming to the world. As portrayed in his middle name, Okikiolu, he is always in the news for one reason or another. I also remember the most publicized quote from Prof. Maurice Iwu after the 2007 general elections when he had the audacity to say ‘even America has a lot to learn from Nigeria’s ”wonderful” elections’. An election which even the unborn child knows was a fake one considering the way politicians butchered themselves, hired thugs for violence, and rigged the results to pronounce fake winners through the mercenary called INEC. Some of the fake winners were later flushed out by the tribunals. We saw it in Edo, Ondo and Rivers state. The man, Prof. Maurice Iwu tried to make a fool of every patriotic Nigerian with that controversial statement then, but he went away with it because he did it in Nigeria! No country in the world could have taken that except a country where the citizens don’t know their right to have credible elections.
Professor Maurice Iwu should never have become INEC chairman in the first place being a microbiology professor. He could have invested his wealth of scientific knowledge into future microbiologists if he had followed his call. Some people will argue that any professor or higher institution graduate should be able to solve any problem or head any division effectively considering the wide knowledge they must have acquired. Yes, this may be true but can we really be talented in every human field? Personally, I can never, after spending more than four years in the university, then Masters degree, and then after many years of scientific researches, end up collating election results and voters’ registers. By venturing into this line, Prof. Maurice Iwu had already put himself in national pressure and I will not be surprised if he suddenly becomes confused, perplexed, badgered, short of words, weird and hysterical.
Everyday in Nigeria, you already face traffic pressure when going to work(especially if you live in Lagos) , electricity pressure at home and at office, and if you are unfortunate enough to have a vixen as a wife and crooks as children you also face home pressure when returning home from work. And the list of pressures goes on.
Gadaffi is a Prophet
I have always despised the man, Muammar Gaddafi, for turning himself to a despot and dictator in his home country, Libya and for refusing to relinquish power to young leaders. Like many of our former military heads of state in Nigeria, Gaddafi is an opportunist who got to the apogee of political power through instability in his contry. After assuming power as a military man over 30 yrs. ago, he has since changed himself to a self-made civilian, just like many of our present day politicians in Nigeria.
Who says wise words do not sometimes come out of even confirmed mad people? That is why everybody must be given audience no matter who they are or used to be. Muammar Gaddafi surprised everyone last week when he called for Nigeria’s break-up. Since then, he has suffered a barrage of abuses from journalists, clerics, resourceful people and legislators, most notably the Senate President of Nigeria.
Gaddafi does not surprise me at all, only the people abusing him did. His abusers and accusers surprised me because Nigeria’s break-up is not just known and they should not have waited till the Libyan ruler talk before they show their unthoughtful rage. When the Jos crisis first occured last year and in january,why didn’t someone do something about it? People always look for scape-goats such as Gaddafi to blame for their woes. I think we are always afraid of the truth in Nigeria.
Anybody with capable intellectual and insightful abilities must have seen a looming break-up before now. Infact, I personally have been praying against Nigeria’s break-up since mid last year(2009) because I believe in Nigeria. That is why I called Gaddafi a prophet. He seems to know what many do not know and was kind enough to say it. The definition of a prophet. You do not need a fortune-teller to know what is happening as the signs are even in the air!
Now, are the signs not there for us to see? Militants(MEND) in the Niger-Delta, MASSOB fighting for Biafra, Boko haram, religious fanatics, ethnic disputes e.t.c. That is to mention but a few. For how long can we continue to bribe the militants in Niger-Delta with an unreliable amnesty? In the days of yore, ethnic disputes was between the Ijaws and Itsekiris, but now, it is the Berom and Fulani in Jos. After 50 yrs. of coming together, we are still yet to see ourselves as One Nigeria. We still do not believe we are one blood. Some tribes still claim ownership of lands. The only thing Gaddafi got wrong is by thinking christians and muslims will break apart. If truly Nigeria will break(this I don’t pray), it will be political and regionally, not for religious reasons.
If Nigeria will not break, then our leaders needs to be sincere with themselves and Nigerians. The Senate President should not pretend as if he does not know all these challenges. To pretend as if there is nothing means there will be no solution. Nigeria needs to work on ethical standards and not mere sweet talks. Not futile campaigns that encourages profligacy and reputation building such as the ‘good people, great nation’ era. Nigeria needs a change, a revolution, an emancipation, a salvation, a revival, and a deliverance. God, save us.
Tomiwa Olasiyan lives in Nigeria,
N.B: I originally wrote this article years ago, when the issue of election malpractice and separation of Nigeria was still hot.