Posted by News Express | 21 December 2018 | 1,103 times
Former Lagos State Governor and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, is a straight-talker. Recently, he reported said: “The PDP has looted our destiny, prospects.” It’s easy to dismiss his comment as election-eve rhetoric. But knowing how politicians prey on voters’ amnesia, what Fashola said bears restating: The ugly, disgusting and excruciating legacy of 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot be swept under the carpet.
From former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo to Goodluck Jonathan, Fashola made an apt and accurate reference to the evils of the PDP administration - done with reckless abandon - to the destiny and prospects of today’s Nigerian tax-payers and generations yet unborn. Fashola has seen the consuming - even if unimaginable – depth of corruption by the PDP, ably supervised by Jonathan’s administration, which reportedly wanted Nigerians to believe that stealing, in a manner expertly demonstrated by weeping Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke – its Petroleum Minister – is no corruption.
Now so close to the 2019 general elections, PDP top operatives to whom Fashola directed his (belated) comment would rather maintain a studied silence. But, by the same cultivated silence is the PDP’s consent, and admission of guilt boldly registered.
Fashola is deeply disturbed that the PDP dumped the Nigerian economy into darkness (three years ago), since it couldn’t, for 16 years that it was in government, brighten the prospect of electricity supply; that, despite close to $240 billion at its disposal. That, too, explains the epileptic nature of electricity flow to industries and other consumers until the advent of the Buhari administration. The PDP has, for its inexplicable failure in the power sector, made Nigeria one of the world’s leading importers of electricity generating sets (long before 1999) from such countries as South Korea, Japan, China and India. All that with attendant noise pollution that medical doctors and environmentalists say is unhealthy to human auditory organs. By inference, what Fashola said was that the PDP frittered away an ample opportunity for a rapid advancement of the Nigerian economy (all history).
Fashola thinks that the PDP is a party of looters (same as being witnessed now) that should not be allowed to control the affairs of this country any longer. It’s a party that has siphoned into private pockets – and supposedly safe havens in foreign countries – close to $90 billion belonging to the good people of this country. By his disapproving comment on the depth of the evil done to the Nigerian economy, Fashola’s advice – coming so soon after that of Comrade Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kano State, in the short-lived Second Republic – is that Nigerian voters should (blindly) cast their ballot for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Yes, a case of enlightened self-interest.
Fashola’s comment further sounded as a reminder of a long-tested advice to the effect that, “those who fail to heed the lessons of history are doomed to face the miseries and bounds of shallowness in a cycle from which they’ll never escape.” A visible number of Nigerian voters, who have suffered untold misery, under the PDP administration, are sure to hearken to Fashola’s less-prejudiced instruction that they should not vote for the PDP. And that’s because as some forensic accountants and development economists – some of them top hands of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) – have posited, every Nigerian tax-payer and voter, who’d take part in the 2019 general elections, had been defrauded of an average of N60,000.00 per month, in 16 years of the PDP administration. What else, as Fashola demanded, is corruption? If driving Nigerian tax-payers and voters, and generations yet unborn into the much-feared, debt peonage, by looting the Nigerian treasury, so flagitiously as the PDP has done, what else, as Fashola demanded, is corruption?
As one writes, Fashola has adjusted his antennae, writing what promises to be a robust response, in the event of a PDP jab. “BRF”, as he was fondly referred to in the forward-looking days of “Eko oni baje”, surely has a lot more to say to cripple the PDP on the eve of the 2019 general elections. And, if one is to play the psychologist, BRF will re-echo - for informed emphasis – the ugly fact that, amid the bounteous harvest sprung by the unbroken record of nearly 150 dollars per barrel of crude oil in the international market, the PDP succeeded in impoverishing 27 states to the extreme that their governments could not pay workers their salary regularly.
But it has taken the Buhari administration, with about one-fifth of the financial resources that the PDP had to rescue such deeply distressed states (workers are no longer owed by states). What else is corruption, the PDP style? If Fashola were to drag the PDP to any court of competent jurisdiction – and up to the Supreme Court – it’s a case that would, certainly, attract a verdict of guilt against the PDP. It’s a telling verdict, besides, for which the apex court – almost at the risk of siding with the Buhari administration – might advise Nigerian tax-payers and voters that, come 2019 general elections, they should cast their votes in support of the APC. And that would be because Nigerians do not need yet another binge of slavery under the PDP.
The PDP’s unrivalled looting of the Nigerian treasury, in close to two decades, uninterrupted, if you ask Prof Wole Soyinka, is well-deserving of a special Nobel Prize for Gargantuan Looting and Crippling of Africa’s Foremost Economy.
From Fashola’s disturbing (belated) revelation issues the fact that it has always taken Buhari – with a touch of prophecy – as an individual, to cleanse the Augean Stables often bequeathed Nigerian tax-payers and voters by Obasanjo. If it was not the Obasanjo-installed stooge that was the “inept, corrupt and directionless” Shagari administration, in the ill-fated Second Republic, it’s the choking stench initiated by Obasanjo himself as the first president of the Fourth Republic, which was augmented, astronomically, by the Yar’Adua and Jonathan administrations.
A swamping number of Nigerian tax-payers and voters would agree with Fashola and Buhari that the “Change” promised by the APC is fixing the Nigerian economy such that inflation, unemployment amongst graduates of tertiary institution, insurgency/insecurity and the walls against rapid injection of foreign direct investment (FDI) are south-bound and has had a salutary effect; a refreshing departure from the PDP. What the Buhari administration has done - with a merited pass mark - should be trumpeted, hence forward, by Buhari himself and all his ministers as they sell the APC’s “Rescue Nigeria From Further Slavery by the PDP” in their campaign from their various wards to the national level.
Perhaps, a very good starting point would be Fashola’s comment that the looters of the Nigerian treasury, who are mainly leaders of the PDP, have never had it so bad; that with Buhari there has been rejuvenated hope and confidence, that the there’ll be no hiding place for the looters of the country’s treasury. Buhari, his ministers and operatives of his campaign organisation or well-wishers should drum it loud and clear – and there should be less modesty in doing all that – that but for the unsmiling anti-corruption crusader in Buhari, Nigerians would never have known about the unfathomable depth of stealing and sabotage – indeed, all manner of unpardonable financial and economic crimes – committed against them by the PDP.
Buhari’s ministers should also post in relief, the fact that the priceless co-operation that Nigeria has received in the repatriation of stolen funds – including the unpardonable crime that is bottomless “Dasukigate” – is a demonstration of the international community’s confidence in Buhari’s fight against the heap of corruption bequeathed by the PDP. The Buhari administration should, in steeling that confidence, publish the names of the certified, chartered and very pre-eminent looters of the Nigerian treasury. Fashola has a neatly-kept list of nearly 70 per cent of them.
Fashola’s expository comment on the evils committed by the PDP against Nigerian tax-payers and voters (which rejected the party three years ago) assumes a revolting touch when it’s realised that it was the attendant criminal crippling of the Nigerian economy that has empowered other economies, especially in North America and the European Union to – permit the usage – loot Nigerian treasury of brilliant and seasoned doctors, dons, famous scientists and, amongst others, prize-winning writers.
Last line: The standard-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku (alias Triple A) has taken one gargantuan step that has dented his image. If, truly, his desire to be the president of this country is for public good, Atiku should have been the first to initiate a peace accord and sign same: much to public applause.
But a similar initiative by Nigeria’s last military dictator and architect of the Fourth Republic – Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd) – drew an initial cold, if disdainful, response from Atiku. Perhaps, on a second thought, that, probably, that was an ill-advised disposition, a politically unwise one, that would eat viciously into his appeal as a prospective president of Nigeria, Atiku made a 180-degree turn to sign the peace record.
Atiku has contradicted himself, just as he lied to Nigerians that never was he invited to the peace process, in the first place. It may interest Atiku that by lie he has started losing crucial votes as the 2019 general elections draw near.
Still, Atiku does not appear concerned about peace and security that Nigeria needs amid Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East geo-political zone (his home) on the eve of and well after 2019. That Boko Haram (which Buhari claims to have technically defeated) is a collective responsibility of all the top actors in the Nigerian political theatre, is a given; one that Atiku, by his negative disposition to the Abubakar-initiated peace accord, may have less efficacious solution in the event of his presidency. And that was the same Atiku whom Abubakar has encouraged to run against Buhari. One wonders how the former military dictator must have felt: Disappointed, no doubt, that Atiku was not interested in a peaceful 2019 general elections.
Disappointed, still, that Atiku did not seem interested in offering a sorely-needed helping hand in solidifying the Fourth Republic from the dreadful monster of violence and waste that Nigerian voters have known to have, in the past, hurt and consumed the sires of the Fourth Republic. Buhari, who enthusiastically signed the “peace accord” is a peace-maker and a democrat. Does Atiku deserve to be so qualified?
•Uzuakpundu, a veteran journalist and political analyst, writes from Lagos.
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