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March 30

March 30 OPINION PAGE 42 Kogi crisis: Buhari should not sit on the fence By Femi Olugbemi With the persistent overcast on our lives in…

March 30

OPINION PAGE 42

Kogi crisis: Buhari should not sit on the fence

By Femi Olugbemi

With the persistent overcast on our lives in Kogi state, occasioned by the political debacle foisted on us in the aftermath of the 21st November, 2015 governorship election, it has become imperative for me to write this piece to bring to the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari on the absurdities that have become a disturbing feature of the politics in our state. I am constrained to ask which offence we have committed in Kogi state to deserve the present situation whereby our state has been turned into a laboratory for different bizarre political experiments that have aggravated the sordid situation of our people; we have indeed gained notoriety for negatives in the politics of this country. It is as if Kogi State has become a state operating under different standards under INEC, judiciary, APC and wait for it – The Presidency.

I am struck by the incongruity of the president’s indifference to the worrisome political situation in our state. It is disheartening that the regression of the party leadership into the politics of seclusion and marginalization which is a manifestation of intrigues and corrupt power play have complicated a process that, ordinarily ought to be smooth. From the time the hard won victory of the Audu/Faleke ticket was mischievously declared inconclusive and the unjust and compromised decision of the party thereafter, our state has been mired in an avoidable contrived crisis. The party leadership demonstrated an amusing and amazing inability to manage success with its ill-conceived decision to submit the name Alhaji Yahaya Bello as substitute for Late Prince Abubakar Audu despite the fact that he never participated in any of the activities that ensured the victory in the first instance; a classical example of rewarding rather than reprimanding disloyalty.

The absurdities playing out in our dear State started when INEC declared the November 21, 2015 Governorship election inconclusive despite the fact that the APC Governorship Candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu and his Deputy, Hon James Faleke had secured the highest number of votes and also one third of two thirds of the votes cast in all the Local Governments in fulfillment of section 179 of Nigeria’s constitution.

Sadly, Prince Audu died same day the election was declared inconclusive, and other absurdities started playing out. The issue of who was to replace Audu as the Party’s candidate in the ill-advised supplementary election ordered by INEC became so shamelessly handled by the leadership of the party. Instead of asking the Deputy Governorship candidate of the party, Hon Faleke to step up as the Governorship candidate of the party, the runner up in the party’s primary election, Yahaya Bello was thrown up to the utter indignation of party faithfuls in the state even when there are no provisions for runners-up in primaries. Primaries are meant to produce only a candidate. And even when there was ample opportunity for the leadership of the party to manage the furore generated by the ill-advised decision to bring Bello, the stakeholders meeting held in Abuja turned out to be a mere display of unabashed arrogance by no less a person than the National Chairman of the party, Chief Odigie Oyegun who insisted that the party’s decision was final and there was no going back.

The action and lack of same of the national leadership of the party resulted in another abnormality that had the candidates we voted for getting disqualified from the National Assembly election re-run polls in Kogi East and Kogi Central

Senatorial Districts respectively. This has further exacerbated our fears that there must have been more to all these than we are made to know because INEC was very much aware that Primaries were held yet it played dumb to the court rulings barring our candidates who are still smarting from the sudden death of the leader of the party in the State, Audu.

The prevailing political situation in our state has the tendency to snowball into anarchy if not nipped in the bud. The volatile security situation in our state cannot be allowed to deteriorate further as governance is now virtually stagnated and there is a bleak prospect for development except the needful is done to restore our state to the path of sanity. I am disturbed because what is at stake for us as a people is beyond the inordinate ambition of any individual or group of persons. The desire to be free from poverty, misery and agony that we were compelled to endure for more than twelve years of corrupt and clueless governance informed our decision to join the change train which has become a painful and agonizing experience for us.

Although many of us share Mr. President’s resolve to belong to nobody but to everybody, sitting on the fence as it affects us is not a pleasant option for us. President Buhari’s indifference so far to our plight is a source of concern and disappointing considering the efforts and support of our people that culminated in the victory of the party at the state and federal levels. The peace, tranquility and development of our state should not be sacrificial items on the altar of the ignoble interests of some people.

The crummy situation in our state is becoming unbearable and no longer acceptable; this is not the change we voted for and therefore I implore the president to be more concerned and show more than a passing interest in happenings in our state to halt this ominous glide to anarchy. I pray for good health and divine guidance for the president as he strives to put Nigeria back on the track of prosperity devoid of impunity and corruption.

Olugbemi, a Kogi APC stalwart, writes this piece from Abuja.

Five unchangeable human variables

By Tunde Asaju

Believe it, there are things in this world you would never understand. Like the way of the politrician with his supporters. At campaigns, they demonize the ruining party with promises of heaven on earth. Once elected, they wax exegetical reminding voters how God caused confusion the last time people attempted to create a highway to heaven. It is soft blasphemy – a way of reminding that only God could solve all problems and that somehow He has chosen not to do so.

So, here is a subtle defense of minister Ibe Kachikwu who, after taking on the oil cabal and ending up where Mike Tyson lost steam and bit off the ear of punishing Evander Holyfield has finally thrown in the towel, reminding us that only TB Joshua and the league of prophets are licensed to perform miracles in Naija. What is a little surprising is why he would not hire them to bail him out – afterall some of them have PhDs but not from Harvard! Now Bola Tinubu, the godfather of Change has given Kachikwu the raw side of his tongue. Tinubu’s acronym is BAT resembling the government he helped install.

Because it is sacrilegious, we would not remind people of Sai Baba who as candidate heckled President Jones like the rest of us, for his allergy towards Chibok. He also promised to end Boko Haram by December 2015 and those of us who could not decode military speak believed the promise. It turned out that military deadlines end in ‘technical defeats’. When Sai Baba was blackmailed and cajoled into meeting Chibok parents, usually unreliable sources claimed he charged out of the meeting. He would have since visited Chibok if the town has an airport. The budget did not make provisions for one to be built soon. Lately, Sai Baba apologized and begged people not to lose confidence in his promises. There are three years left to make them real and if anyone lacks power in their homes or fuel in their cars, they should exercise patience – 2019 is just round the corner and walking is good for health.

You will never understand the way of justice when walking with its cousin – the rule of law. A few years ago, Anders Breivik walked into a Norwegian youth party convention and mowed down nearly 80 young and promising compatriots. They were not in a relay race with The President, no. He had an axe to grind with his government, but government officials are usually overprotected, so he dealt with the youths – aka soft targets. Breivik is enjoying the life of a very important prisoner in Norway. He is said to have access to phones, watches television and reads newspapers. But because he is put in solitary confinement, he has sued his government for the restoration of his right to association. Norway is signatory to that treaty. It doesn’t matter that he denied all his victims their right to life. How does one understand that he is likely to live to old age because his nation, like all ‘civilized nations’ subscribes to the rule of law?

Salah Abdeslam allegedly organized the Siege of Paris last year but fled to Belgium where his manhunt led to the shutting down of the entire country. He is finally in the net with a few wounds and you would think he’d gladly return to Paris, where unfortunately the rule of law would’ve prevented them arranging that meeting for him to receive his libidinous reward of virgins. Not so, his lawyer says he would fight his extradition to France. How does any survivor of the Bataclan concert hall or the other four soft targets terrorized that night understand the way of the law?

One would never understand the way of the powerful western media to the suffering of the children of a lesser god. Whenever the human race is under attack, scheduled programming on major news stations are suspended. Recall the Bataclan Concert Theatre shootings; Dylan Roof’s slaughter of worshippers in Charleston, South Carolina or the recent bombings in Brussels. When children of the lesser god are slaughtered either in Nyanya, Maiduguri or Kaduna or in Mali, Westgate Mall in Kenya or Somalia – usually worth five-second headlines. On Sunday, while Pakistan was mourning the slaughter of 65 women and children, normal programming continued after the five-minute breaking news. This is probably not what Dele Giwa meant when he wrote that one life taken in cold blood is as gruesome as a countless number that may go down in a pogrom declaring – so let’s forget about numbers and talk about life.

Lesson for the children of the lesser god – if you want your tragedies headlined in the running order- create your own global media and see if you succeed where Al-Jazeera is wobbling. If you think that all human lives matter, create your own hash tag and let’s see how far it travels, or simply try to ferry Canadian cows the way you carry the dead from your abattoir of slaughters in Maiduguri, Mogadishu or Lahore. Let’s accept it certain things are beyond comprehension.

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