Perhaps the most outlandish thing I have heard this year, other than the fact that one set of President Buhari's aides told us he was not sick while another set simultaneously asked us to pray for his recovery, is the claim by the All Progressive Congress governor of Zamfara state that the outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria is as a result of our sins. His exact words were as follows:
“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the type A virus. The World Health Organization, WHO, has carried out vaccinations against this type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states. However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination. People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned. There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”
The above quote from Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari is not only silly and nonsensical, it is also blatantly untrue.
First of all, it is not true for that there is no vaccine against meningitis C. There is one and it has existed for almost two decades. In the year 1999 alone, 15 million children in the United Kingdom were vaccinated against meningitis C. Why a Governor of a state prone to meningitis does not know this beats my imagination. If he is ignorant of this, I wonder how many more things he will be ignorant of!
When the Ebola Virus struck in Nigeria in 2014, the Goodluck Jonathan administration wasted no time in mobilizing against the disease alongside the affected state governments. Preventive measures were put in our airports and those affected were quarantined. Those who escaped quarantine were traced, apprehended and sent back to quarantine. Nigeria made international headlines for all the right reasons, becoming one of the first nations in the world to defeat Ebola even before advanced nations like the United States and the United Kingdom.
However, in 2017, when meningitis has reached epidemic proportions in Nigeria with 336 deaths and counting, the ever blame ready APC government blames our sins instead of attacking the scourge!
The annoying thing about Governor Yari's statement is that he said this immediately after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Who knows what the two of them must have discussed in secret that emboldened the Governor to say what he says right after the meeting.
The APC administration's response to the meningitis epidemic can be summarized thus: Repent of your sins and your meningitis will depart from you!
We never experienced these deaths from meningitis in the five years preceding this administration. One wonders if Nigerians were not committing sins during the years that Jonathan governed Nigeria.
If Nigerian Governors have any shame left, they will ask Governor Abdulaziz Yari to step down as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum. What type of leadership can he provide for the NGF? Over 200 people died from meningitis in his state and he is blaming the sin of fornication? This is a man who boasted of spending ₦1 billion in 2013 to host a Qur’anic Memorisation Competition, at that time equivalent to $7 million. If he had used that money to pay for meningitis C vaccines for the people of Zamfara, at least 200 of them would have still been alive to memorize the Qur'an today! That is the real sin that causes meningitis, not the sin of fornication.
But rather than dissociate from him, the equally shameless Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai invited Governor Yari to have the seat of honour at the Kaduna Investment Summit which held on Thursday the 6th of April, 2017.
Seated at the seat of honoring at the summit tagged #KadInvest was El-Rufai, a Governor who admitted paying Fulani herdsmen not to kill his citizens (they took the money and the killings continued) and on the right was Abdul'aziz Yari, a Governor who believes the sin of fornication causes meningitis. It was definitely not a successful Summit! Google the pictures from the summit and you will notice the empty hall. It seems herdsmen killings and or death by meningitis affected attendance!
If, according to Governor Yari, illnesses are the result of sins, then pray, can he tell us what sin is responsible for President Muhammadu Buhari's ill health? And while he is at it perhaps he can tell us what sin is responsible for his own illness of diarrhea of the mouth?
The fact remains that it is not sins, but lack of leadership that has caused the meningitis outbreak currently plaguing Nigeria. Our leaders have refused to spend the wealth of the Nigerian nation on the welfare and wellbeing of the Nigerian nation. More money is spent by states like Kano and Zamfara on sending their elites on pilgrimage to Mecca at public expense, or on organizing mass weddings for people that are ill prepared for marriage than is spent on defeating the meningitis scourge.
If at all sin caused this meningitis outbreak, then it is the sin that Nigeria has enough money to pay for President Muhammadu Buhari's London treatment but not enough money to give citizens in vulnerable areas the meningitis C vaccines!
Could this be the reason why the Presidency has refused to reveal how much of our money President Buhari spent on his medical tourism visit, also known as 'vacation', to London?
But the more I think of it, the more I am convinced that If at all sins cause diseases, it would not be the sins of Nigerians, it would be the sins of their leaders.
President Muhammadu Buhari alone has committed more than enough sins to saddle us with enough plagues.
Do we have to talk about the sin of his hypocritical letter to the Senate of the National Assembly in which he made excuses for his own Secretary to the Government of the Federation who had been caught, red-handed, in a contract scam?
The President's actions were made even more hypocritical by the fact that he recently fired a Permanent Secretary for doing the exact thing that grasscutter Babachir Lawal did.
By sacking the Permanent Secretary and retaining and defending Babachir, President Buhari proved the truism in George Orwell's words from his seminal work, Animal Farm, that 'all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'.
Going back to the President's sins that may have ignited the meningitis outbreak, could it have been his sin of failing to take any disciplinary actions against those involved in the killings of over three hundred Shiites in Zaria including defenseless babies, women, and children?
Or perhaps it is failing to bring anyone to book for the bombing of hundreds of innocent Internally Displaced Persons and the medical officers who were helping them at the Rann IDP camp in Borno state?
It could even have been the fact that the President condemned Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Naira lose value to the extent that it exchanged for 199 Naira to a dollar only to watch, almost helplessly, as it devalued to as high as 500 Naira to one dollar during his watch.
The fact remains that the President has committed enough sins, including relegating women to the 'other room' and calling Nigerians 'criminals' (to the Telegraph of London) that Nigerians do not have to have sinned to bring this plague on us. Our President has committed enough sins to pay the price of our plagues!
To those who believed President Muhammadu Buhari's allegation that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan looted, do you also believe his statement that 'Abacha did not loot'? To those who believe the President's allegations that Jonathan's cabinet was corrupt, do you also believe that Babachir Lawal, Rotimi Amaechi, Fashola and others in the current cabinet are angels? To those who believed the APC's allegations that Jonathan was training snipers to kill opposition members, ask yourself how many opposition members were killed under Jonathan and how many are being killed now. Finally, if you believed Jonathan was clueless, how come your economic situation has deteriorated since the clueless one left the scene for the clueful Buhari?
Life in Nigeria is already a hardscrabble and Nigerians do not need insults added to their injury by this infantile talk from the Zamfara state governor. If Governor Yari wants to make himself useful he should stop misrepresenting God and appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to tell us how much of our money he spent on his London medical tourism.
I mean, this President is just too secretive to hold a public post. He spends our money to treat himself and he will not tell us how much of it he has spent. Even something as elementary as his School Leaving Certificate is a mystery!
A corruption fighter who hides behind thirteen Senior Advocates of Nigeria instead of showing his WASSCE certificate and behind National Security instead of revealing how much of our money he spent on his London doctors, and writes a letter defending his appointee caught red handed in corruption, is that one a corruption fighter?
In June of 1975, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan sat for his West African School Certificate Examinations and made the following results.
Mathematics was canceled, so the next year he wrote GCE in November and got A3 in mathematics. So before you call Dr. Jonathan 'clueless', please show me your own champion's School Certificate result.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan made 6 As and 2 Cs in his WASC School Leaving Examinations. I have Dr. Jonathan's original certificates! If you want to see it I can show it to you without you having to pay thirteen SANs to raise objections and 'gift' a judge ₦500,000. That is transparency. That is integrity. That is straightforwardness. Dr. Jonathan signed the Freedom of Information Act into law so that all Nigerians have a right to know vital information which those in government want to keep from them. President Buhari, prove that you have integrity. Prove that you are transparent. Sack your thirteen SANs and show us your certificate! You have been pointing one finger at others, now your own four fingers are pointing at you!
In the year of our Lord, 1981, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan graduated with a Second Class Upper degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. At that time, there was nothing like 'blocking' in Nigeria. If you were not intelligent you could not graduate with such high scores. And yet, a Senator who has been exposed as having graduated with a Third Class degree and a former (?) dictator whose School Certificate status is yet to be determined had the temerity to once call such a man 'clueless'. Yet in less than a year they turned the prosperity Jonathan gave us to a recession. Now, who is really clueless?
On January 25, 2011 the Arab Spring began in Egypt. In less than a week after that date, then President Goodluck Jonathan issued an Executive Order for Nigerians to be evacuated from Egypt. On the 1st of February, 2011, Nigeria became the First Nation to evacuate her citizens out of Egypt. When the Arab Spring spread to Libya in February of 2011, President Jonathan ordered evacuations there which began on Thursday, February 24, 2011.
Recently, there have been consistent xenophobic attacks on the life of Nigerians in South Africa and India. What has the reaction of the Muhammadu Buhari administration been? Criticize Buhari and the Nigerian government reacts, but going by the reaction of the Buhari led administration to South Africa and India, it is almost as if nothing is happening to Nigerian citizens in those nations. Yet, this is a government that called the Jonathan administration clueless.
They have failed to stop the deaths of Nigerians at home by being responsive to the meningitis outbreak or the rising cases of mass killings by Fulani herdsmen and they have also failed to arrest the ugly trend of xenophobic killings of Nigerians abroad. What then is this government good for?
I admire the enthusiasm Nigerians have shown in voting for #BBNaija. Eleven million votes in one week is no joke. Now, all that remains is for Nigerians to use that same enthusiasm to vote out the man who called us 'criminals' in his February 5, 2016, The Telegraph of U.K. interview. In case you are a criminal and you do not feel offended that President Muhammadu Buhari defined you as such, then you should go ahead and confirm your criminality by voting for him!
Thankfully, I conducted a poll on Twitter which was well covered by the media. My question was simple: If an election is held for president of Nigeria today, who would you vote for between Efe and President Muhammadu Buhari? Needless to say that Efe won the vote by a landslide margin of over 80%.
And why have Nigerians rejected the President so soon? It is because he is being unraveled by his actions and by his kitchen cabinet.
Look at the kerfuffle between El-Rufai and the cabal? Look at how the so-called anti-corruption war is being exposed as a sham.
First Orubebe, now Justice Ademola and finally Dame Patience Jonathan. In one week, all three of them have been vindicated by the courts! The courts are dismissing trumped up charges.
Until Babachir Lawal, Buhari's grass cutter Secretary to the Government of the Federation is charged, the anti-corruption war is a sham! How can the President wine and dine with Babachir Lawal, a man caught red handed in corruption and unleash the EFCC on opposition figures like Orubebe and the judge trying his certificate scandal? Perhaps President Buhari will now instruct EFCC to charge Kola Awodein, one of the thirteen SANs defending him from showing his WASSCE certificate. After all, Awodein admitted giving Ademola a 'gift' of ₦500k while President Buhari's matter was before Justice Ademola!
Let me at this point conclude by again quoting from Orwell's Animal Farm: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
As I promised last week, I will give my readers a bit of the Nuggets I use in my teachings to my mentees as a pastor. Today's nuggets appear below:
Any woman who expects a man to look after her or give her money because he is dating her should not look down on prostitutes. Women, emancipate yourselves from this mentality that boyfriends are meant to foot your bills. Once money is involved, it ceases to be a relationship and becomes a transaction. In today's world, women do not need men financially. Men and women need each other emotionally and biologically. They complete each other. They do not contract each other. Start a business if you want a financial partner instead of getting a boyfriend. Boyfriends aren't poverty alleviation schemes. Poverty is a painful cancer. A job is like a pain killer to reduce pain. Having a business is like surgery to remove the pain. Do I offend you with my truth? The highest ignorance is to reject truth because it came from your enemy and accepting a lie because it came from your friend #RenosNugget.
Reno Omokri is the Founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center and author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God, Why Jesus Wept and his latest book, Apples of Gold.