Friday, 05 August 2022 04:25

[OPINION] Season Of Blame Game - Abdu Rafiu

In no time we will enter September. It is a special month. From the point of view of numerologists, nine signifies completion. Figure 10 takes us back to one as one plus zero is one. Eleven comes back to figure two. One is the figure of the Almighty. Five is the Lord Jesus and seven, the number of the Holy Spirit, the Will and Perfection. To the geographers, it is the month the sun returns to the equator from the Northern Hemisphere, and upon crossing the equator, it heads for the Southern Hemisphere. As it gives signal of its approach, the August break ends with its waves sweeping away the exceeding cold that is the feature of August break. So we look forward to the return of the sun to the equator to give us the second rain maximum, accompanied by lightning and thunder. But much more importantly, September is the month of Belief and Completion. It is the month, for example, an uninhibited baby comes out of its mother’s womb. Beyond the ninth month, extending to say to the 11th month, the prospective parents begin to worry; they are gripped by anxiety. It is the month we are helped, particularly the women with special Rays, to help us in the struggle with ourselves, special Rays of Purity mediated from On High from which, for women who are open, are to draw for their special high tasks in Creation, tasks they blur in pursuit of political power and influence; in the pursuit of executive activities, and in the end plunge man into dark alleys. We are told in the priceless work, A Gate Opens by Herbert Vollmann that “the Law of Numbers enable Light threads to lead mankind to the knowledge of God’s will in Creation, which God in His immense Love, allowed to come into existence.”

It is, however, in September noise-making, blame game will begin in our land as politicians will be out on the hustings. The rehearsals have begun. All kinds of things are being said about themselves, and filth spewed. Within the twinkling of an eye-lid some are defecting from one party to another. They are switching loyalties, they are forging new alliances. In the words of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “there is nothing principled.” They care less whether it is an exemplary conduct or not. It is calculation for advantage of where bread and butter are likely to be better assured in the next dispensation. It is being feared by pundits that the rate at which the PDP rank is swelling in the Senate, it may become the majority party. Once that happens, the position of the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, will be threatened. The defectors comb the constitution line by line in search of loopholes to circumvent the grundnorm’s check and take cover. It is crass opportunism. And you begin to wonder if within memory you have read about a Labour Member of Parliament in the UK defecting to Tory Party, or a Republican crossing to Joe Biden’s Democratic Party in the US.

 

Last week, before the National Assembly proceeded on break, some members waved the red flag before President Buhari’s gaze: Shape up or ship out! They gave him two weeks to do something about insecurity ravaging the land otherwise he would be impeached. A member of the National Assembly said they had the number to remove the President. This came as a bombshell which has triggered heated debates in the land, particularly among the enlightened and the informed. I want to believe the threat of impeachment would have driven cold shivers down the President’s spine and that of his aides who have been blocking his gaze to see the reality of the desperate situation into which his Administration has plunged the country. Insurgency, terrorism, call it whatever you may, was confined to the North East when in 2015 Buhari assumed office as the nation’s helmsman. There had been bombing at Eagle Square all right which served as a rude awakening. The man thought to be the mastermind fled to South Africa. There was peace in other parts of the country and people could sleep with their two eyes closed. Even if we were to go by the painting of the situation by Lai Mohammed that in certain local government areas of North East, Boko Haram flag was hosted, the insecurity in the land has gone from bad to worse, indeed to the worst ever in the country. In parts of Niger State, flags of insurgents have been known to have been hosted and farmers both there and Zamfara States pay levies to access their farms in their drive to establish a country within the country.

 

Nothing demonstrates the insecurity in this country worse than travelling. Going by road is not safe; it is a gamble. Nor is it safe by rail between Abuja and Kaduna in particular. Since the terror attack on the rail in March, the government has not had the heart to put the services back on track. Travelling by air is shooting beyond reach; this is where the flights are available. Aviation fuel price has gone through the roof with the attendant spectacular ripple effect of very high fares. Lagos to Abuja is being touted in the range of N75, 000 one way! The exchange rate of Dollar to the Naira is hovering around N710. Inflation is roaring at 18.6 per cent. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank met two weeks ago during which it expressed concern over what it described as “the continued aggressive movement in inflation.” In the communiqué read by the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the committee said the aggressive movement came “even after the rate hike at its last meeting and expressed its unrelenting resolve to restore prices stability, while providing the necessary support to strengthen our fragile economy.” It was at the meeting the committee decided to increase the monetary policy rate (MPR) to 14 per cent from its previous 13 per cent. All this means that even in the economic sector, there is no joy. The economy is on its knees.

It may be appropriate to remind ourselves of some of the crucial programmes Presidential Candidate Buhari pledged to carry out should he be allowed to fly the APC flag and given the opportunity to govern the country. He did state and I quote: “If you nominate me in December, 2014, and elect me in February, 2015, my administration will:

 

*Initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true federalism and Federal spirit.” In item 2, he spoke on INEC. Continuing, he said he would:

*Attract the best and brightest of our sons and daughters into our politics and public service by aggressive recruitment of private sector people, academics, and professionals within Nigeria and in the Diaspora through internships, fellowships, executive appointments, special nomination to contest elective offices;

*Prevent the abuse and misuse of Executive, Legislative and Public offices, through greater accountability, transparency, strict and implementable anti-corruption laws, through strengthening and sensitizing the EFCC and ICPC as independent entities;

*Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases;

*Restructure governance for a leaner, more efficient, and adequately compensated public service sector, while promoting effective participation of the private sector for more robust job creation programmes to employ the teeming youth;

 

*Require full disclosure in media outlets, of all government contracts over N100million prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals;

*Reform and strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance;

*Fully enforce the Freedom of Information Act so that government held data sets can be requested and used by the public and then such data sets be published on a regular basis;

*Amend the constitution to require local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10million.

That was Part 1 of Buhari’s laudable thinking. Part 2 seems to be the crux of the matter in the circumstances of protracted and seemingly intractable security challenges pounding the nation. It is captioned “Security and Conflict Resolution; On National Security and Defence.” It reads as follows:

*I will urgently secure the territorial integrity of the Nation. I will never leave the defence of the nation in the hands of Hunters, Children and Civilian JTF through the following:

1). Urgently address capacity building mechanism of law enforcement agents in terms of quantity and quality as this is critical in safeguarding the sanctity of lives and property;

2). Establish a well-trained, adequately equipped and goals driven Serious Crime Squad to combat insurgences, kidnapping, armed robbery, ethno-religious and communal clashes, nationwide;

3). Consult and amend the constitution to enable States and Local Governments to create city, Local Government and State policing systems, based on the resources available to each levels, to address the peculiar needs of each community. I will therefore work with the National Assembly to set and revise, when needed, boundaries of operations, for Federal, State, and Local Government policing units, through new Criminal Justice legislation to replace the Criminal Code and Police Act.

 

Further on Conflict Resolution, National Unity and Social Harmony, Buhari said: “I will:

 

*Establish a Conflict Resolution Commission to help prevent, mitigate, and resolve civil conflicts within the polity:

*Bring permanent peace and solution to insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe and Kaduna in order to engender national unity and social harmony.

On the “Economy, Infrastructure Base on the Economy”, says Buhari, “I will:

*Maintain sound micro and macro-economic policy environment, and run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank;

*Restore financial confidence in the citizens and the world by putting in place a more robust monitoring, supervising, and regulating of the financial institutions;

*Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12 per cent annually;

*As at 1999, the Nigerian rate of unemployment stood at about 8 per cent, today it is estimated from official statistics to be close to 30 per cent. I will embark on vocational training, entrepreneual and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5million jobs by 2019. A Small and Medium Enterprises Commission will be created for this purpose. I will also encourage state governments to focus on employment creation, by matching every job created in the same state;

*Integrate the informal economy into the mainstream and prioritise the full implementation of the National Identification Scheme to generate relevant data;

*Balance the Nigerian economy across regions by the creation of six Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAS) to act as sub-regional hubs in order to promote healthy regional competitiveness;

*Put in place a N300bllion Regional Growth Fund with an average of N50bn in each geo-political region; to be managed by the REDAS, to encourage private sector enterprise and to support places currently reliant on only public sector, to emigrate to a private sector reality;

*Create an additional middle-class of at least 4million new home owners by 2019 by enacting national mortgage single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses as well as review the collateral qualification to make funding for home ownership easier, with a 15 to 30-year mortgage terms. This will equally help our banking system migrate from short to long-term perspective of their role in sustaining the economy;

 

*Create a Social Welfare Program of at least Five Thousand Naira (N5, 000) that will cater for 25million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunization to help promote family stability:

*Provide allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members of twelve months (12) months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programmes;

*Equate N1, 00 to $1.00 (One US Dollar).

*Embark on a National Infrastructural Development Programme as a Public Private Partnership that will

a). ensure 5,000km of superhighway including service trunks and

b). building of up to 6,800km of modern railway completed by 2019;

c). Embark on PPP schemes that will ensure everyone of the 36 states has one functional airport, with all 21st century safety tools for effective commercial air travel.”

I have deliberately omitted the promise on inter-regional and Africa cooperation and foreign policy crucial as they are. The threat in the National Assembly to have President Buhari packing is not hinged on performances outside our shores, outside our frontiers. The threat has more to do with domestic issues, mainly insecurity.

The manifestoes are superb. I doubt if we could have wished for a more exhaustive and robust pledge document. But as it has turned out it is a laudable pledge only on paper; in execution, they ring hollow. How many of these campaign promises have been fulfilled? It is a social contract broken so very badly, indeed irredeemably, given the time left. A contract breach attracts damages in the court. In the court of public opinion, the guilty party in more decent and developed clime will be expected to resign or be impeached. But political scientists will tell you that democracy does not necessarily guarantee good government; what it does guarantee is change—periodic change of guards. President Buhari may have failed woefully going by what he himself of his own volition solemnly pledged to do. It will not profit anybody to have him booted out at this stage when he has only six months to go, after which his will become a lame-duck government. Impeachment of Buhari has very serious security implications. He swept Nigerians off their feet by his promises, including some of the leading lights in our land, the high and the lowly, the rich and the poor except those who had serious base material acquisition instinct to contend with given Buhari’s famed abstinence, simple life-style and effulgent integrity. The question then is where did he veer off the lane that promised to lead the nation to some appreciable levels of development even if not to Eldorado. The path to Eldorado was envisioned and expected by the enlightened, by respectable citizens who saw some promise in him. What were the inhibitions? Did these have to do with shadow power wielders often referred to as cabal or was it for lack of competence and personal capacity? Was the document just handed over to him? Do his aides have a copy of the manifestoes? Is there anything called periodic performance review either in cabinet or in the inner caucus? What of the upper echelon of the party? Is there no monitoring committee? Let down, this enlightened and respectable class of the citizenry long turned off; they detached themselves, leaving many an opportunist and in the majority those who could be described as suffering from cognitive impairment, those without standards. And in this lies the security implications. Even then, how much longer does he have to get out? He himself has said “I wish the person who is coming after me the very best. I am eager to go. I can tell you it has been tough.” His exit to which he is eagerly looking forward should be orderly. Elections have been fixed and the nation is looking forward to an exchange of baton. This should in no way be disrupted.

 

The National Assembly members pushing for his impeachment are the least competent to do so. They have been complicit. They have remained in the chambers giving a feeling of unconcern. There has been clamour for the setting up of state policing from all over the country,–from the governors at their forum, from the El-Rufai committee on restructuring; they turned deaf ears to the outcry, a tier of policing that obtain in all federations across the world. Now we are learning the hard way! As our elders say, if you are being beaten by the rain and you don’t like it you change your position. We cannot be doing the same thing no end and expect to get a different result. How can we be reasoning upside down and think a centralized policing system we have practised since August 1967 and which has not worked will now work; all it requires is to throw more money at the system, instead of restructuring it. Again, an unassailable proof that mankind have reached their wits end.

We are in the End-Time. In discussions of world events not much effort is made to probe into other spheres of life to see if explanations for these happenings can be found therein. And there, in fact, lie the answers because the world is more encompassing than we care to realise. We bother about the physical world, but not about the beyond it, yet the visible and the invisible form a whole and the inner core of man is connected with the invisible as well, in the same way the body and the soul are connected such that when one part is troubled, it affects the other. The world is subject to a higher order and in quiet moments, those who reflect deeply may have sensed it. The higher order compels obedience to the absolute perfection of Nature. Man is part of Creation, not the Creator; he is dependent on the Creator. To have peace, joy and progress all his activities must be adjusted to the higher order. It stands to reason that whatever goes contrary to this will lead only to disorder. As time goes on, man will find himself being compelled to re-examine already accepted concepts and practices. None will stand as long as it is at variance with the demands of the higher order, the Will of the Creator, Who has woven His immutable Laws into Creation.

 

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