By Moses Oludele Idowu
Winston Churchill in one of his memorable speeches at the House of Commons said: ” Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
Unfortunately, it is the last part of his speech that has been preserved by many commentators: ” Democracy is the worst form of government except for those other forms that have been tried”
Here then is a case where blunt truth can be disguised in form of a joke. True, democracy is the best form of government when all the right conditions are in place. The most prosperous nations on earth practice democracy. Everyone wants to live in a democracy if possible, including even religious fanatics. It is not surprising that citizens of Sharia-compliant Muslim states and totalitarian regimes often prefer to emigrate to the West rather than to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Qatar.
Yet democracy poses problems, big problems if the conditions are wrong. And democracy can become the worst form of government. A democracy elected Adolf Hitler, plunged the world into two world wars, uses the first atomic bomb to detonate hundreds of thousands, and maim multiplied more.
That is what makes democracy a two-edged sword. A democracy can be hijacked by the forces of tyranny and people become mere instruments to serve the sinister intentions of wicked people; mere appendages to reenact periodic rituals of selection or enthroning the people already selected by the Mafia. Democracy at such a time no longer serves the common good but the interests and will of a few.
Today, Nigeria has crossed this line. We are now trapped in a perverse system, a corrupt, cruel, and irrational system feeding on its cell-like cancer – and there is nothing we can do about it. We are saddled and trapped with the same men and women who caused the problems, trying to solve the same problems they caused and each time worsening them. Blinded by religion, ethnicity and other primordial sentiments Nigerians keep renewing their yokes in the hands of their oppressors.
Today Nigeria is behind on all developmental indices and measures. Out debt has ballooned, inflation has galloped and insecurity reigned. We are returning to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is brutish and short. And the last 7 years have been the worst of all by popular acclamation.
It is against this backdrop that I now warn Nigerians as they get ready to renew another season of their slavery and put themselves under the yoke for another four years.
Hope dashed in 2015
In 2015 there was the hope of a real change and even the possibility of a transformation if the present rulers had been fully prepared for the task and knew their tools. Alas, that promise of hope has turned to despair and the much-touted change has become decay and a tragic illusion. Muhammadu Buhari actually made things worse but I will spare him because he is not the object of my investigation this morning.
Nigerians are under the illusion that they are about to make another choice to save this nation from disaster. Nigerians, most of them, are presently in the excitement that another opportunity is ahead of them to make a real change in the affairs of Nigeria by selecting the “right candidate” or as they say, “getting it right.”
Sorry, I will disappoint you this morning. You are about to get it all wrong. In point of fact with all the three leading candidates now before you, you already got it all wrong.
Permit me to digress a bit.
We were excited in 2011
In 2011 Nigerians were excited at the possibility of electing one Goodluck Jonathan from Otuoke as the first president from the Niger Delta region. There was general excitement in the south because people felt that with his education and region, he would put an end to agitations in the Delta and also reposition Nigeria. Great expectations. But I wasn’t excited. I actually warned those who cared to listen that Jonathan was a dangerous person to put in government.
I saw Goodluck Jonathan kneeling publicly for endorsement on the altar of the Redemption Camp before the pastor even as President of Nigeria. Publicly. Warts and all. Immediately I made up my mind about the kind of person Jonathan would be. If a man could do this publicly for the sake of procuring an endorsement then he would do many things against our interest secretly. If he could do this before us all then he would do terrible things behind our backs.
However, by 2014 most Nigerians could see what I had seen in 2011. Most Nigerians don’t understand even elementary logic and this is a problem. You don’t even have to pray about certain things because they are so clear but we are not a people who think.
In 2015 I warned Nigerians that they are about to make a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. Two terrible choices, actually. Since 2015 we have entered this “deep blue sea” and accordingly, it has carried many Nigerians away through suicides, terrorism, hunger, inflation, economic recession, etc.
The rest of us are praying and watching not even for any meaningful progress but just to survive and outlive this administration which is a danger on its own.
This is what Franklin Roosevelt was saying about democracy: “the issue is to be wise in time, most people are wise after the event.” Nigerians are always wise after the event after the damage has been done not before.
As we prepare for 2023 I want to warn you again that you have before you three dangers lurking and the choices before you are dangerous choices but not to the same degree. Because the survival of Nigeria is now at stake and due to the havoc done by this outgoing government of APC the choices of 2023 will further deepen the wound already inflicted on the soul of this nation. And who knows what will result?
* *Tinubu/ Shettima Ticket(APC)*
The most dangerous of all the tickets facing this nation in 2023 is that being canvassed and promoted by Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Shetima of the ruling party. This ticket is not only dangerous to national and corporate security it is “dangerful”.
Make no mistake and let there be no doubt in any mind if by any act of omission or commission Tinubu and Shetima get to power Nigeria will witness three things on an alarming scale:
* Rise in touts, thuggery, and touting in all lengths and breadth of Nigeria.
* Widespread occultism and extreme poverty.
* Islamist Terrorism and widespread insecurity.
( Note: This has been written before the video clip of a naked Nollywood actor soliciting the marine powers to aid Tinubu was released thus confirming my apprehension )
I have done a bit of research and read several of the things written about Bola Tinubu and I must confess that in all the years I have been reading have never come across a public figure whose name is associated with so much dubiety, controversy, and suspicion. Everything about him is suspect and smells of a distortion, makeover or polish. His name, parentage, age, education, official and public records, nativity, source of money, etc., everything raises questions, and everything is controversial.
Even his democratic credentials have been questioned and punctured by those who truly knew him well and worked with him for a long time. He has been called a dictator by no less a person than the late Yinka Odumakin as well as other witnesses. I have heard confessions of candidates who won primary elections and were not fielded by the party under the hegemon because he didn’t like them.
His educational records have been punctured. In 1999 he filed with INEC that he attended Government College, Ibadan but the alumni disowned him that he wasn’t part of them. Now in 2022, we are being told he didn’t attend any secondary school; that he just took GCE because he was such a genius according to Festus Keyamo on a television program. Every genius has a history from childhood and from early education except the one at Bourdillon.
The former managing director of Alpha Beta, the company owned by Tinubu that collects 10% ( or is it 15%) of all Lagos Internally Generated Revenue publicly alleged and even wrote the EFCC that he has evidence that this company has defrauded the government of tax earnings running into a hundred billion. The people who take taxes do not pay taxes. EFCC has turned the other face rather than follow up the story because they are the ones in government and in power, choosing to be running after rats of vote buyers while sparing the fat cats and big dogs of corruption.
His running mate Shettima has declared before NBA that he would be in charge of security if elected, (be the Commander in Chief?). He said it publicly. Thus, the same man who could not ensure the security of a hundred Chibok girls right under his nose in Borno is assuring us that he would secure our lives. The same man who had no presence of mind to read and act on Security reports to prevent the Chibok Tragedy is telling us that he would be the one to command our troops. The trouble with APC is they feel Nigerians don’t think and rarely remember. I never knew a party so deadened to the moral and intellectual sensibilities of a people like this one.
They tell lies boldly and without shame. They make grandiose claims that have no basis in truth or reality and they have constructed an elaborate tapestry of deceits and structures with formidable ingenuity to provide them a refuge of lies. It is time to sweep away this refuge of lies because affliction must not arise the second time.
How about the health challenges? Some of the outings on the political trail and campaigns give us cause for concern. At Owerri, Minna, and Kano where Tinubu had to face the crowd it was one shibboleth and another as he struggled to pronounce words or make coherent and intelligible speeches.
The morning shows the day. Is Nigeria about to enthrone another candidate, – after the disaster of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency – who would have to farm out presidential responsibilities due to physical and mental fatigue and other inadequacies?
I have not even mentioned the religion aspect, the same- faith reality which is insensitive within the present situation we find ourselves in, but I choose not to touch it. The reality of two jihadists, one a closet jihadist and the other a chronic one, making decisions for Nigeria troubles me if it doesn’t trouble you.
The Tinubu crowd and their APC chorus singers always brag about Lagos. “Lagos is working…,” they say. And we ask them, ” What is working in Lagos?” It has been adjudged the second most unlivable city on earth by independent assessment. A city that has no water, no sewage, no security ( motorists are regularly mobbed in traffic).. and whose administration is run like a fiefdom by a mafia.
They say they have increased the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos. Fine. But they fail to tell us that they also increased the financial Indebtedness of Lagos making Lagos the most indebted state in Nigeria. And what have they done in 20 years with the enormous financial resources that have come to Lagos?
Jakande did wonders in just 4 years with a fraction of these resources and without borrowing a penny from anyone. So what is the fuss about Lagos is working? Working for who?
Have you seen the Financial Records/ Account of Lagos State since 1999? Has it been published anywhere? Even when a court says they should be published they have refused to obey. This is how they run a state like a mafia. It is now publicly acknowledged that a mafia runs Lagos. And this Mafia now wants to extend its tentacles by running Nigeria. We have a duty to stop them.
Let me leave APC for now in this essay because I am coming back in future essays specifically on APC. Affliction must not arise a second time.
* *Atiku Abubakar & Okowa*
The second ticket I want to discuss is the PDP ticket of Abubakar Atiku. I won’t waste much time here. In *The Divine Comedy*, Dante records Virgil saying to him when they got to a particular spot as they waded through the Inferno: “We shall not waste time on these. Look and pass on.” These were the men who had the capacity to be good but were neither good nor bad for that reason there was no use wasting time on them.
PDP is not just amoral, it is very immoral and grossly so. Its case is worse than what Dante described as not being morally committed to either good or bad. It was in fact committed to evil.
PDP is the epicenter of the earthquake that struck Nigeria in this Fourth Republic. Everything that went wrong began with them – the destruction of internal democracy, enthronement of rigging and do-or-die politics, assassinations of opponents, and mindless corruption ( 30 trillion was stolen under Jonathan according to Soludo’s estimation). This party gave us Obasanjo, with his imperial presidency, Yar’Adua with his inertia, and Goodluck Jonathan with his rampant corruption and cluelessness. All these are the reasons why we have landed in this “deep blue sea” that is daily carrying citizens away. Obasanjo did not capture our conditions by saying we move from frying pan to fire under Buhari.
No. We moved from Purgatory to Lake of Fire under the APC. And PDP must be held responsible for this forced transition for if it had governed well Buhari won’t be ruling Nigeria today. He would be in retirement after consistent failures for the Prize and Nigeria would be better for it.
Atiku Abubakar may be a good man and very cosmopolitan in outlook and totally detribalised. That is however not the issue now. He might have been the best candidate in 2019 to take over from Buhari after it became clear to all but the undiscerning that Buhari had no balls. Today it is a different scenario.
Three things work against PDP and the Atiku ticket at this time.
One, a Northern candidate and a Muslim aiming for the Presidency at this time is most insensitive, after the disaster of the last 71/2 years under Muhammadu Buhari. It is worse when that candidate also happens to be a Fulani too. No, it is insensitive considering the violence that has been done to this nation by this government with its rampant sectionalism and rabid religious bigotry.
The Fulani herdsmen who have wrought havoc against this nation would simply continue the business as usual seeing another Fulani as a leader and thus confirming their oft-repeated claim that their father owns Nigeria. They do not own Nigeria and this election must show them that they don’t.
Two, Atiku carries some moral and corrupt baggage that are difficult to wash away because they are in print. The havoc done to the economy of this nation in the name of Privatization where public wealth was transferred to private hands is too fresh and I will write about it someday to show future generations the trajectory of how Nigeria became a bandit state.
Atiku’s name features prominently in all these heists. Same with NNPC, NAPIMS, etc. Putting Nigerian resources in the hands of such a person may not be a wise thing although corruption is a common toga worn by all prominent politicians of this dispensation.
Three, PDP was the cause of our trouble, the very reason why we landed in APC’s deep blue sea. Should it, therefore, benefit from its own mistake while we suffer? Giving a mandate to PDP is like rewarding a rapist with a beautiful lady simply because he is the owner of the pregnancy. No.
I will not say more.
* *Peter Obi & Datti Ticket*
I now come to the last of the three prominent candidates, the Obi- Datti Ticket. This is where I will shock many people and possibly offend some.
Many Nigerians are excited and even over-excited about Peter Obi. Many Christian Nigerians and especially youths and southerners are also excited about a coming paradigm shift in leadership techniques, I wish them well. I am not so excited.
People think that Peter Obi is so different from Atiku and Tinubu. Not so. He is the opposite but not really different. Just as you can be different and opposite and yet the same.
For example, Martin Luther and Pope Leo were bitter opposites and different yet they are both Christians; Luther and John Calvin were sworn enemies and bitter opposites and different yet they are both Protestants; Stalin and Trotsky were different and bitter opposites yet they were both Marxist- Leninists. Do you get it? Obi may be opposite and different from Tinubu or Atiku but they are essentially the same.
The differences are superficial, and the similarities too fundamental.
As a person, I like Obi, his humility, simplicity, and prudence. However certain things about him trouble me and especially about the people around him.
Here are some questions to consider:
Is it true that Obi caused or tried to cause a rift between the Catholic and the Anglican Church in Anambra just for the sake of politics as has been alleged by noted Igbo historian Nwankwo Nwaezeigwe? Has anyone considered the implications of this for a politician and what sort of person would do this just for the sake of politics?
Is it also true that under Obi as governor medical doctors went on strike for several months without pay and Obi refused to accede to their demands or pay them? So how will this be different from an APC keeping lecturers away for 8 months without pay?
Three, some Anambrians have accused Obi of nepotism, of keeping major appointments to his local government and even hometown, with facts and figures. Has anyone considered this if true? Has anyone considered the implications of another sweeping nepotism after what Buhari has subjected this nation to with his nepotism and thoroughgoing Fulanisation? Or are we to replace Fulani nepotism with Igbo clientelism and hegemony?
The Soludo paper on Obi is another thing that I don’t want to go into because it speaks for itself and it is self-explanatory.
These are red flags to me but not even so serious.
Then we come to the people around Obi. His supporters have been categorized into three – Obidients, Obidiots, and Zombies. But I don’t like that designation although not far from the truth. From my own observation, I see three kinds of people around Obi: those who genuinely want change in Nigeria and see Obi as a veritable instrument to effect the change, those especially youths who are bitter and fed up with Buhari and APC and see Obi as a form of revenge; Ipobians, Biafrans, mostly Igbo youths, “collective children of anger”, remnants of a fatherless generation who nurture deep misgivings and bitterness about the Civil War and who see Peter Obi as a symbol of resistance and the Obi Movement as a fit mechanism for the revival of Igbo Nationalism, rebirth and possibly takeover of Nigeria.
Of this three the last group is the most dangerous. And if Obi wins he might not be able to control them. Soludo has made an allusion to Hitler which I find appropriate; I thought the same way. Adolf Hitler was also a Catholic and a communicant just like Peter Obi. The Hitler Youths began the same way until they transmogrified into Green Berets, Skinheads that imposed terror over Germany after Hitler came to power. Already, the way Obi supporters are threatening to burn down opponents’ houses and business concerns even when power is not yet in their hands should give cause for concern.
The video clips of members of Paul Eneche’s church that i saw of members shouting hysterically without control for minutes like bleating sheep at the announcement of Peter Obi in the meeting makes me sad. I am opposed to all extreme, unreasonable, and fanatical behaviours whether in Islam or Christianity. Both are dangerous to our national survival.
*Assessment & Conclusion*
Many Christians see the coming election as a contest between one white Christian sheep versus two black Muslim goats. Sorry, what we have are three he-goats of different colour stripes – white, brown, and black. A goat is still a goat whether white, brownish, or black. Each of the candidates portends danger to Nigeria but not to the same degree.
So what then is to be done?
To all my fans, followers, admirers, and disciples here is a word of advice. First I advise you to pray, pray and pray for Nigeria. This nation is in the hands of wicked men; in the very grip of malevolent forces and pharaohs. And God must rescue Nigeria.
So what is to be done in February? As you know I don’t insult people’s sensibilities. So I won’t tell you who to vote for but I can advise and make the issues clearer so you can make your decisions easier.
*Option 1: Tinubu Ticket*
Let me also say this: I don’t hate Tinubu as a person. I think I even like his guts. That another Yoruba man has risen from outside Egba- Ijebu ethnic cocoon and is a force to reckon with even makes me happy. At least that has deflated the pride of some people about Egba or Ijebu’s exceptionalism. For the very first time, another Yoruba man from outside these two tribes is about to break the jinx of ruling Nigeria. Really, I wish I could support Tinubu’s ambition or project but I can’t in all true conscience.
The Muslim clerics have just spoken that to them this is their option because it is jihad. They have informed us publicly that it is jihad. So it is no more about competency but about jihad. Perhaps that is why it is a Muslim- Muslim ticket so that in the unlikely event of death a Muslim would still be president. So why should I as a Christian and patriot support jihad against my own country and people?
So I consider this ticket the worst option and the most dangerous. I would not say more. Nigerians should avoid tragedy while they can.
*Option 2: Atiku*- *Okowa Ticket*
Atiku as a person may be good and cosmopolitan. At least he is likely to be free of the incorrigible insularity for which Buhari was famous. But this option is also dangerous for us. The same PDP hounds who looted Nigeria to the ground and who have been kept out of power for years and are now famished will see their return as another offer to eat. This option is dangerous for so many reasons.
*Option 3: Obi-Datti Ticket*
Peter Obi appears serious and full of ideas. Although he too portends danger as I have shown but not to the same degree. Also, he cannot be a law to himself because the Catholic Church, a very responsible organization could call him to order and temper him.
Also, all things being equal, the kind of rampant corruption and looting that we saw under PDP and which has been made worse under APC in the last 7 years would not occur under Obi. That much is certain.
Also, he is not likely going to treat terrorists with kid gloves as this ruling party has done for 7 years. ( We have a funny government, if we may call this a government – and also a fluke of a party – that is demolishing IDP camps while at the same time rehabilitating terrorists whose actions were responsible for the IDP in the first instance).
Sure he portends danger too in certain respects but it is a danger that can be handled, I hope.
Above all, pray, pray, and pray. The people who have committed monumental fraud in the last 7 years would do anything and everything to ensure that their nakedness is not seen – you bet. So pray that we shall have a free and fair election.
God save Nigeria.
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January 7, 2023
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