Stars in their own films (1)
Agwa ka nma na eke turu. The above is Igbo. It will be make a real effort to find the equivalent in English. So I’m not even going to try. What it conveys is that bad behavior is better, tolerable, and more acceptable if it comes from particular individuals and groups. When favored people are involved, bad behavior becomes fashionable and worthy of emulation.
For seven years, by May 2022, Nigerians would have been forced to sit and watch color horror movies. And the main actors in these films are the big and powerful in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The not too high also joined the parade by delighting the Nigerians with their celluloid skills. the the orchestra, which serves as the background music for these long-running films, is conducted by the REAL national leader of the APC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari. There is yet another who bears this same title of national leader of the same policy party. Corn many Nigerians know that this other had been granted the title for its comedic value and humor. However, it is common knowledge that some impatient APC honchos, particularly from the Northern extraction and who are in government, have had occasions to publicly and angrily dismiss the other national leader as a joke. But the critical days are here, with the first day of judgment being February 26, 2022. For those those who want to forget, February 26 is the day proposed for the national convention of the APC. In all likelihood, that day would confirm who calls the shots in the APC. This day could also mark the collapse of the ruling party. In Nigeria, history tells us that the only thing that destroying a ruling party is a success. APC could still turn history around after February, although the unfolding events seem to indicate that history is about to repeat itself. Despite the recent inauguration of the party’s state leadership without two or three state chapters, concern is still strong within the APC.
The Buhari and APC regime was founded on lies, deception and propaganda in 2014 and 2015. And that helped him defeat the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And for almost seven years, the regime has ruled on the basis of lies, deception, propaganda and denial. Shortly after taking office as President in 2015 General Buhari repudiated all major and minor promises made by the APC to Nigerians. He said he was unaware of APC’s written contract with the Nigerians. The party did not push back, which can be interpreted to mean either that the party did not drag its presidential candidate into the wording of the contract, or that the document was a forgery. Either of these leaves APC indicted. To their credit, APC and its sponsored presidential candidate showed hands with Nigerians early on in what turned out, predictably, to be a horror movie.
Now, let’s roll the reels of the APC films that left Nigerians dazed and horrified. Ahead of the 2015 elections, serial candidate Buhari was cleverly but dubiously packaged and presented to Nigerians as a “born again” democrat. He had been a putschist and a usurper of the presidency.
He was the military leader who birthed the famous Executive Order 4, which criminalized the publication of the truth by the press if a public officer was embarrassed. Under him, too, three Young Nigerians, Bernard Ogedegbe, 29, Bartholomew Owoh, 26, and Lawal Ojuolape, 30, were executed for drug trafficking under an executive order granted retroactively powers. Before his second coming, he was dressed in strange robes. He was introduced as a tech savvy with photos of him playing with an iPad. He was equipped with a designer suit that enhanced his sartorial elegance to the maximum. In Igboland he wore an isi agu robe, after his name was Okechukwu. But in his first and only media conversation (a live television broadcast), the telling phrase that came out of his mouth was: What do the Igbo want? Shortly after, in the United States of America, he declared that the Igbo people should not expect to be treated fairly in his infamous statement of 97% against 5%.
Years later he described the same Igbo nation as an insignificant point in Nigerian space. Unless I haven’t been paying attention, I haven’t heard Buhari describe another nation in Nigeria in such a disparaging, unflattering, dismissive and condemnatory way. But whatever.
Candidate Buhari has promised to rehabilitate Nigeria’s four refineries and build new ones. At both counts, he failed.
What he has managed to do is oversee the waste of N100 billion in 2021 to fix refineries that were not adding even a liter of fuel, kero, petrol or diesel, to national consumption. Under Buhari, Nigeria is set to spend 3 trillion naira on the so-called petrol subsidy in 2022. It is a horror movie starring Buhari.
Just like in his first incarnation, the country’s economy slipped into recession twice in as many years during Buhari’s second coming. Buhari, the barter trade representative in 1983-85, returned 30 years later with a similar strange economy.
He attacked those who held domiciliary or foreign currency accounts in banks. The practice was virtually criminalized and this action triggered capital flight and increased anxiety. He backed off. In October 2016, this regime authorized its secret police to raid the homes of judges, including Supreme Court justices, in the middle of the night, as part of a fake sting operation. Judges were awakened from their slumber and marched to detention centers in their pajamas over corruption allegations. Nigerians watched in horror as an orchestrated and deliberate scheme to intimidate the judiciary. And capture it. Some of the judges arrested were never brought to trial and those who were brought to trial had their cases thrown out for lack of merit. In fact, a judge Ademola made a declaration of dismissal, and he won. But the regime won the ultimate prize, the ousting of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, on another occasion on the eve of the 2019 election.
Buhari’s APC government prepared its first comprehensive annual budget in 2016. And it was headlined with the word “padding”. And since then padding has been synonymous with every budget cycle. Thousands of projects worth hundreds of billions of naira are brazenly smuggled into budgets every year, since 2016. And hardly anything happens. The highlight of the film screening was the presentation last month of an alleged million tonnes of paddy rice at 13 pyramids in Abuja. The regime made the show sing and dance. Buhari claimed that he had achieved the feat of shifting rice production in Nigeria from less than four million tons to more than seven million tons. The price of a bag of rice is expected to collapse when the paddy field returns from the rice mills. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will headline the reels when they roll next week, but not before addressing what London’s The Economist newspaper described as a “crime scene at the heart of the Africa”.