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Nigeria's Babel: One Government, Multiple Conflicting Voices - By Reno Omokri

If you are a keen follower of the world of business, you would probably have heard that Etisalat Nigeria, the Nigerian affiliate of the UAE based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, also known as Etisalat, is having difficult times and may be taken over by banks to whom it is heavily indebted to the tune of about $1.7 billion. Apparently, CHANGE has come to Etisalat Nigeria!

Is it not ironic that it is this same Etisalat, where an All Progressive Congress big fish with an appetite for lying and making inciting statements is suspected to have interests, is blaming the economy for its failure? Who has been in charge of the economy since 2015? 

The funniest thing is that under the previous Jonathan administration, Etisalat was thriving. Now under President Muhammadu Buhari it is failing and failing BIG TIME. These guys who used lies to bring down the administration of Goodluck Jonathan in order to get to power should pray that the destruction they planned for Jonathan does not consume them and their businesses one after the other. 

And just like the British Government vindicated Jonathan over their lies about that government rejecting an offer to rescue the Chibok Girls, God, I believe, will also vindicate Jonathan over all their outstanding remaining lies. After all, 'if you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself.'-Proverbs 26:27.

And talking about that false allegation, can Lai Mohammed and Nasir El-Rufai now bury their heads in shame as the British Government has debunked the lie they promoted against Jonathan over the Chibok Girls?

Even when Jonathan released a statement denying the allegation without mentioning the current government, Lai Mohammed, pricked by a guilty conscience, released a lying (laing) statement against Dr. Goodluck Jonathan accusing him off 'finger pointing', while Nasir Elrufai, a man who cannot rescue his own citizens of Southern Kaduna and whom former President Olusegun Obasanjo described as a "pathological" character assassin with a "penchant" for lying (in his book My Watch) was circulating the lie on Social Media. Who can know Elrufai more than his own boss of eight years?

This is an exact quote of President Olusegun Obasanjo's assessment of Nasir Elrufai from page 412-413 of his book, My Watch Volume 2:

A leader must know the character and ability of his subordinates. Character wise, Nasir has not much going for him. But he is a talented young man who can always deliver under close supervision. So, when Osita Chijoka approached, among others, propping Nasir as my possible successor, believing that whoever I supported would make it, which was a false belief; I did not hesitate to point to Nasir’s naivety and immaturity, talk less of his inability to give honour to whom honour is due.

My vivid recollection of him is penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long. Two years after I had left office, Osita came to me to confirm how right I was on my assessment and judgement of Nasir. I knew what I could make him to achieve and he achieved it for my administration and for the country. I believe that he can still be used in public service but under guidance and sufficient oversight, making allowance for the psychology of “his petit size and his elephantine brain.” He was described as a malicious liar. He was more than that; he is a pathological purveyor of untruths and half-truths with little or no regard for integrity. In all of this, he unwittingly does more harm than good to himself”

Bear this psychological portrait in mind to understand why he and Lai carry on the way they do and are now using national assets to further their lies.

The Nigerian Television Authority network news at 9 PM on Monday the 6th of March, 2017, was devoted to promoting this lie rather than on informing Nigerians of the good work the Acting President Osinbajo has been doing in the absence of President Buhari. But now that the truth is out, there is total silence from both guys and the NTA. I know these people very well. Please do not doubt me when I say lying is their major occupation!

The Nigerian Television Authority should be a medium for information, not propaganda. Nigerians should be informed via that channel on what their government, temporarily headed by Acting President Osinbajo, is doing to fulfill the change agenda. 

Why is that not the preoccupation of NTA? Is it because the erstwhile Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has so out-shined the returnee Vacation President, Muhammadu Buhari that we honestly do not know if Nigerians will want to go back to Buhari's style of governance by blame when he comes back? 

History does not repeat itself. Men repeat history and blame it for repeating itself. In 1984 Tunde Idiagbon was the real power behind Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017 Professor Yemi Osinbajo is the intellectual power behind the same Muhammadu Buhari!  

It was when Tunde Idiagbon travelled out of the country that the first Buhari administration FELL in August of 1985 and it was when President Muhammadu Buhari travelled out of the country that the second Buhari administration started to RISE beginning from January of 2017. This proves that Buhari's governments can thrive without Buhari himself, but it is doubtful if they can survive without his deputies.

And so we continue to see the kitchen cabinet shoot down any attempts to compare the Acting President with his lackluster boss.

No wonder the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has been so restless of late. Babachir Lawal and others in the kitchen cabinet know that the days of a President writing letters to defend their dubious contracts are over until President Buhari comes back. May God bless Pastor Osinbajo!

And still on Babachir Lawal, what does the Secretary to the Government of the Federation mean by saying Christians are fueling rumors of President Muhammadu Buhari's ill health? Can he name names? What type of grascutter talk is this? 

The Christian Association of Nigeria has never speculated on the health of President Buhari preferring instead to pray for him as do many Christian ministers. What sort of provocative statement is this? What is the business of the Body of Christ with speculation when we are spectacularly pleased with the actions of the Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo? Mr. Babachir Lawal, do not let your grass cutting contract intoxicate you into insulting the Body of Christ!

I predict that we will continue to see such contradictions from the APC led federal government for the next two years until 2019, because that is what you get when you have strange bedfellows in a contraption called a party but is in reality a vehicle hurriedly put together to grab power for the sake of power and not for the sake of what to do with power.

Political parties should not just exist as a vehicle for people with a desire to secure political power. They ought to be a place of common ground for people who share the same broad ideas for the advancement of human civilization within the sphere of influence of the city state or nation whose citizenship or residency they hold.

And a political party can only bring about positive change when it offers people common ground. Where a political party does not offer a common ground it will inevitably become a battle ground. And sometimes, there is the danger that the battle ground continues to widen and may eventually result in collateral damage to the people that are meant to be served.

Members of the APC are not friends or partners or constituents. They are comrades. A comrade is not for what you are for, neither does he share the same interests as you. A comrade is simply one who is against what you are against. 

Members of the APC share no ideological connection. In actual fact, they may even hate each other, only that they hate the previous administration, the Peoples Democratic Party and the immediate past president more than they hate each other and are wiling to temporarily suppress their hatred for each other in other to gang up against their common enemies.

And when their gang up becomes stale, guess what will happen? You guessed right! They start to turn on each other.  And the chickens are coming home to roost.

Just imagine that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri, told Nigerians with non essential travel requirements not to bother traveling to the United States. She gave as reason the opinion that the Trump administration's travel ban was not quite clear on Nigeria (it is) and the fact that Nigerians with valid visas have been denied entry into the US. 

Apparently, Abike is not aware that this is not the first time that Nigerians, and indeed other citizens including citizens of the U.K., have been denied entry into the US even while possessing valid visas. 

A visa to any country is a privilege and not a right to enter that country. The final decision on whether or not to grant you entry is made by the immigration officer at the port of entry. This is true for America under Trump and America under Obama or any other President. It is also true for the U.K. and for the EU.

Many Nigerians with valid visas were stopped from entering the US under President Barack Obama but because the mainstream media did not think it sexy to report that Abike is unaware of it. Ditto for U.K. and the EU. 

Abike gave an interview on her travel advisory to Reuters and it was reported on the pages of Western newspapers. And it seemed to establish Nigeria's foreign policy towards a nation whose President had called our own President on phone, invited him to the White House and offered to sell him badly needed weapons to fight terrorists.

Well, President Buhari's minister for foreign affairs would not have that. Geoffrey Onyeama, perhaps to assert himself, perhaps just doing his job or perhaps, as has been reported by some media houses, he was directed by 'the cabal to do so' we will never know, but on the next day (Wednesday March 8, 2017) held a press conference and totally repudiated Abike's travel advisory.

Again, Reuters and the international media were there and again the Western press carried the story in their headlines. Can you imagine how silly Nigeria must look to the outside world with a government that cannot get its act together and speak with one voice?

Do not forget that this is the same government that reduced MTN's $5.2 billion fine to $3.4 billion and when the world media reported it it came out to say that the reduction was a typographical error! 

Let us be mindful that this is the same government that lost its own budget. A budget that had been padded beyond belief before it was even lost and found!

And while we are being told by government officials to pray for a President that another set of government officials say is 'hale and hearty' we are confused as to what to say in our supplications. It is after all madness to pray for the healing of a man who is 'hale and hearty'!

Then just as we are recovering from this 'riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma', along comes the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, with a strong public rebuke against his own successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who accused him of 'frustrating' his developmental efforts in Lagos state.

In just one week Nigeria has expressed a rofo rofo featuring Abike Dabiri  versus the foreign Affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, and now another featuring Babatunde Fashola versus Akinwunmi Ambode (his own successor). 

We have previously been regaled with the open disagreement and unhealthy rivalry between the Directorate of State Security and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with the former releasing a damning memo on the Chairman of the latter.

We also saw the public exchange of uncomplimentary letters between the former National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (former because President Buhari said there is no such title) and the party's Chairman, Mr. John Odigie Oyegun.

The only conclusion is that the APC led federal government obviously does not know how to manage a government talk less of how to lead a people. 

As a pastor, I counsel married couples and I believe that some of my counsel to husbands and wives would be useful to the Buhari administration.

First counsel: Never tell your family that your wife is bad after a disagreement because they will not believe she is good after you have both reconciled. 

In this case, the family is Nigeria and the husbands and wives are the feuding members of the Buhari administration.

Second counsel: You can have an ex pastor, ex spouse or ex lover, but cannot have ex parents. So, look after your parents to get permanent blessings from God. 

The ex pastor, spouse and lover are ex officials. No condition is permanent and to lob insults and allegations against Jonathan and members of the previous PDP administration will not serve present officials as they themselves will one day become ex officials. If they want to remain relevant today and tomorrow and get permanent blessings, they must look after their parents which are Nigeria and Nigerians.

Third and final counsel: Do not use your mouth to destroy your children's destiny. Do not call them stupid even if they act stupidly. Call them what you want them to be instead.

This is in response to the President's penchant for speaking negatively about Nigeria and Nigerians abroad. Nigerians are not 'criminals' even though some Nigerians, like nationals of other countries, will engage in crime. Does the President know that the population of US prison inmates at 2.3 million people is more than the entire population of the oil rich nation of Qatar? Yet no American President has called Americans 'criminals'. As a matter of fact, every American President in the last 100 years has repeated the words 'God Bless America' and is ready to go to war abroad over the death or maltreatment of one American.

So when the APC and its government behaves the way it is behaving the question on the minds of Nigerians and friends of Nigeria is this: Does the APC even need an opposition? 

Is it because we have recently had a government with an Acting president and a Vacationing President that officials are taking two different positions? How can two walk together except they agree? If a government is divided against itself, how can it stand? Are we finally seeing the reason why this government ran our economy aground? What does the Bible say in James 1:8? "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

In fact, nothing best describes this administration like the biblical case of the Tower of Babel. Like Nimrod's Tower of Babel, the APC came with a tower of empty sugar coated empty promises and like Nimrod's empire, confusion has been visited upon them. 

So much for the promise of 'change'. But should we be surprised at this turn of events? Were we not warned by the Holy Scriptures themselves in Proverbs 24:21 which prophetically says 'meddle not with them that are given to change.'

Let me end by saying that perhaps there is a solution that can benefit Nigeria with President Buhari's return which will preserve the good work Acting President Osinbaja has been doing and also give the President room to 'rest'. Why can't we consider a return to our pre 1966 governance mode where, like Nnamdi Azikiwe, President Buhari will be the ceremonial President and like Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Acting President Osinbajo would preside over day to day management and leadership of the economy and country, leaving only the armed forces and foreign relations to the real President (Buhari)? Without being mischievous, I think this will guarantee the sustenance of the economic progress we have witnessed under Osinbajo and give President Buhari room to 'rest'.

At this stage, it is fitting to end this piece with the Latin phrase, Quod Erat Demonstrandum (QED)!

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