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2023: Will Tinubu fight or run away?

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 -By Tunde Odesola
With a trap-like mouth comprising 80 spiky teeth, death is the smile on the face of an adult crocodile.
In a dramatised circus that pledged to protect lives, limbs and fatherland, the Nigerian military, on Saturday, October 17, 2020, embraced the crocodile and its smile when it launched Operation Crocodile Smile.
Like the smile of the crocodile which hides evil intentions, the Nigerian military, on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, wore peace-keeping camouflage and uncaged its smiling crocodile of death at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza, Lagos, to eat up innocent Nigerian children.
Ironically, while Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram terrorists and bandits despoil the land round the clock unchecked, cowardly Nigerian soldiers, under the authority of their Commander-in-Chief, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), unleashed death, despair and distress on harmless protesting Lagos youths seeking police reforms.
Nigeria surely has an unblinking General in the old and waning Buhari. And like the crocodile, Buhari is stern, severe and static. Unlike the crocodile, however, Buhari never smiled in public as military Head of State and rarely does as civilian president.
I agree, there’s nothing to cheer in the gloom inherited by All Progressives Congress in 2015 but which has mushroomed into an all-pervading doom under the Buhari preSINdency. The old soja’s ice-cold toughness thaws in the heat of clannishness, nepotism, lethargy and alleged corruption.
So, when Buhari let out a cold-blooded laughter while Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was anxiously briefing him in Aso Rock penultimate week about protesters demanding compensation for the victims of police killings, nobody saw the impending slaughtering of innocent Nigerians children coming.
Nobody, not even his harshest critics, could ever imagine that after Buhari’s Freudian laughter that danced on the graves of the victims killed by SARS, Buhari’s military would release zombie soldiers to mercilessly kill innocent children.
Yet, when his son, Yusuf, smashed his head on hard tar while competing with himself in a pseudo Grand Prix motorcycle race in Abuja despite the pervading fuel scarcity of the time, sympathies poured in endlessly from Nigerians for Buhari. When Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, bit the dust on April 17, 2020, Nigerians mourned with him.
From Lagos to Enugu, Calabar, Jos, Kano etc, there’s no prominent political leader nationwide who hasn’t, naturally, suffered a personal tragedy at one time or the other. In the tragic mix, Nigerians from all walks of life have always stood by their political leaders in their times of personal tragedies.
It, therefore, beggars belief that Nigerian leaders, especially those in the All Progressives Congress, have kept silent after Nigerian soldiers openly killed about 20 children of nobodies during the peaceful protest in Lekki.
It beggars description that despite the admission of Sanwo-Olu that Nigerian soldiers were responsible for the gruesome murder of the defenceless youths, the Presidency, military authorities and a cross-section of the Nigerian leadership have neither condemned the killings nor apologised, let alone seek justice for the innocent souls wasted in pitch darkness.
The public execution of the peaceful youths that occurred on a Black Tuesday in Lekki snatches the Nest-of-Killers title Professor Wole Soyinka bequeathed on the Peoples Democratic Party many years ago, garlanding the APC with the unenviable title, crown, sceptre and all.
Until the Black Tuesday, I never knew there exists a cold-blooded monster much more ruthless than the crocodile.
In a premeditated murder, the lights and cameras at the Lagos State-owned tollgate plaza were removed, setting the stage for crocodiles in military uniforms to move in and feast on the children of the poor.
In Buhari’s lopsided country, soldiers kill harmless southern children in a peaceful protest while the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on October 25, 2020, told the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria that his office cannot prosecute killer herdsmen because their case files were absent.
In Buhari’s next-of-kin country, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra are shot and killed in their tens by security agencies whenever they hold a protest while amnesty is given to the members of Hausa-Fulani Boko Haram terrorists who have killed thousands of innocent Nigerians.
For Sanwo-Olu to wash his hands off the Lekki bloodbath, he should unsay the lie he told that nobody died in the Lekki shooting. Also, the Lagos governor should disclose those who removed the lights and cameras from the tollgate.
I have nothing but pity for the Asiwaju of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, who said he had been reported to the Presidency as being the sponsor of the Lagos protests. Some of Tinubu’s perceived financial interests have been torched by protesters who see Tinubu’s stranglehold on Lagos as suffocating.
Speaking on Channels Television a day after the pogrom, Tinubu said it was wrong for soldiers to use live bullets on innocent citizens, querying, “Why will they use live bullets? I will never, never be part of any carnage. I will never be part of that.”
But in a fresh interview on Saturday, Tinubu said he has asked Sanwo-Olu who ordered the Lekki shooting. If Tinubu had disclosed Sanwo-Olu’s response, he would’ve earned my respect.
For a politician of Tinubu’s stature to ask a STATE  governor who ordered FEDERAL soldiers to go and kill, I grabbed a dictionary, checked the meaning of political subterfuge and watched Tinubu’s horse of political correctness limp down the road to 2023 presidency.
Surely, Tinubu knows Buhari is the one to ask that crucial question and he (Tinubu) knows the answer, but the truth is gagged in the womb of an ambition.
Tragically, Tinubu is the archetypal ostrich that buries its head in the sand of ambition, calling on government to investigate wounded protesters while the killer soldiers that shot the protesters pluck the feathers on its rump unquestioned.
For Tinubu, there are four statements on the wall: One, Buhari is a bad political investment. Two, his major enemies among those he raised in the South-West will stop at nothing to undo him. Three, Buhari and the North won’t back his candidacy. Four, he needs to stand up against Buhari and fight for his political life. Maybe, just maybe it’s not too late.
When the winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, realised that the Ibrahim Babangida blood-letting junta was playing games with his victory, he took up the gauntlet and confronted the military. He lost the battle to become Nigeria’s president but immortalised his name on the national political map as the hero of Nigeria’s modern democracy.
Owing to intra-party buffeting, Tinubu’s political goodwill is ebbing considerably, hence he might be stuck with mending fences with his sworn political godsons and recharging his political machinery in the South-West, nay Nigeria.
The Jagaban Borgu might have been weakened by age and ‘igbadun’ (the good life) such that the prospects of a showdown with Buhari, his political beneficiary, seem unpromising.
For two days, he ate and went to bed when the innocent were being mowed down in their prime, in Lagos. The Governor of Lagos couldn’t reach him for two days while the fifth largest economy in Africa burned. He read a 10-minute speech and never said a word of condolence for families who lost their children to soldiers’ bullets. His government locked up COVID-19 palliatives across the country while the masses wallowed in hunger. Tinubu should remember these credentials when considering his fightback options.
I watched videos of angry masses chasing hunger into palliative warehouses nationwide. Soon, the government will go after the hungry masses, clamping them in jail whereas the government should be the first in jail for locking up foods while starvation ravaged the land.
If my hunch is right, the palliatives would have been ‘re-bagged’ and distributed to an unsuspecting citizenry as incentives for votes during elections – in continuation of the exploitation Nigeria’s democracy has always been.
‘Abuja 2023’ looms on the horizon. Will Tinubu fight or run?
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola
(Published in THE PUNCH, on Monday, October 26, 2020)

Opinion

Buhari rests in London, Nigeria boils by Tunde Odesola

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(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, April 12, 2021)

As a herdsman, ‘yowwa’ is the likeliest gratifying word to escape from the tight-lipped Nigerian President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) if his cows nuzzle their muzzles against him as they eat hay from his outstretched hands during a random visit to his herd.

And as a devout Muslim, ‘Auzubillahi!’ is the likeliest word the President would utter if a dog mistakenly snuggles up against his ankle; Islam forbids human-dog embrace.

Aside from the religious injunction, however, the 78-year-old northern leader is unlikely to prefer the dog to the cow. Quite unlike the slow, witless and clumsy cow, the dog is a very intelligent, friendly, sensitive and witty creature. Universally, the dog is seen as man’s best friend, not the cow. Notwithstanding all these attributes, President Buhari’s preference will still be for the cow, not the dog, any day, anytime – for ancestral reasons.

The age-long ‘yes-sir!’ military mentality that upholds loyalty to superiors over patriotism to Nigeria, predisposes Buhari, a veteran soldier, to choosing the pliant cow over the witty dog.

Surely, the flunkey ‘yes-sir’ mentality is the reason why the Nigerian military, police, DSS and other security agencies put Buhari far above the country and the Constitution, and would shoot at innocent youths at Lekki tollgate even when such an order is in clear breach of the rules of engagement and the Constitution.

Indeed, the distinction between sycophancy and patriotism was what saved the US when subversive forces rose against its democracy on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol as the judiciary, the legislature, the military and all other institutions of government stood in defence of the American Constitution over the shenanigans of former President Donald Trump and his cohorts.

The understanding of the distinction between racism and patriotism is what is currently playing out in the trial of the white police officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on the neck of African-American George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sending him to an early grave in Minneapolis city of Minnesota, USA.

Chauvin’s ongoing public trial, which commenced on March 29, 2021, displays the unquestionable ability of the American nation to reinvent itself when faced with challenges.

For the average Nigerian like me, it beggars belief to think that serving and retired Nigerian police officers would enter the witness box and vehemently condemn one of their own as it’s being done in the trial of Chauvin, who faces up to 40 years in prison if the second degree murder charge, which presupposes that he didn’t intentionally kill Floyd, is upheld.

Since public hearings on police killings and brutality opened in various states of the Nigerian federation, following the #Endsars nationwide protests last year, no ex-security officer or serving security officer has come out to condemn army-police extrajudicial killings.

Public officials’ arrogant misuse of state power against the citizenry is one of the reasons for the overwhelming call for the restructuring of the country.

The monumental failure of the Buhari-led regime in tackling insecurity, corruption, nepotism, poverty, ethnicity and government insensitivity is the fuel to the agitation for the break-up of the federation.

Arrogant, insensitive and utterly reckless, the All Progressives Congress-led Presidency, in 2019, released the picture of Buhari picking his teeth, probably after drinking some (nunu) milk from his cows – while the citizenry groaned under the weight of unemployment, lack and dejection. Only our I-don’t-care President would pick his teeth after drinking milk.

Commenting on the tooth-picking picture, presidential aide on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, displayed the characteristic arrogance and insensitivity of the Buhari regime when he said in a tweet, “It’s hard to understand why some people are genuinely angry because of this innocent pic. When I innocently snapped it on Feb 27 and posted (it) on my Snapchat, it didn’t occur to me that it’s going to give wailers that strong hit…”

As Nigerians have been gnashing their teeth since the beginning in 2015, so shall it be till the end in 2023. Nothing will stop the plunge. Buhari is on an eight-year vacation.

Displaying his nonchalance to public outcry for the umpteenth time, Buhari, on march 30, 2021, embarked upon a two-week medical check-up in London, despite the nationwide strike by medical doctors in public hospitals back home.

Without a word on the plight of millions of sick Nigerians condemned to attend public hospitals nationwide, the President hopped on a plane and zoomed off to England, probably with two toothpicks in his mouth after a meal of tuwo and isi ewu.

Defending Buhari’s shameless medical trips, the most meritless of Buhari’s media aides, Lauretta Onochie, tweeted on April 7, 2021, “NEXT YEAR. PRES. @MBuhari WILL GO FOR A ROUTINE CHECKUP.

  1. We have been here since 2016. Its been the same wailing. So the response will also be the same. At least, once a year, People across the world see their personal Doctors especially one they have seen for about 40 years.’

It’s not hard to distinguish the noise of an empty barrel. So, Buhari, Onochie and the wastrels that make up the Presidency see nothing wrong in wasting Nigeria’s hard currency abroad in the last 40 years?

That Buhari cannot give Nigeria just one hospital he can attend, despite ruling Nigeria for eight years now, summarises his failure as a leader. It’s scandalous that Buhari didn’t feel ashamed about going to England still – for treatment – when he’s in an opportune position, in the last six year, to turn around Nigeria’s health sector.

The latest trip makes it Buhari’s 12th time to run off to London for medical treatment, despite his country having 72,000 registered medical doctors with over 50,000 of them, shamefully, out of the shores of the country due to lack of facilities and adequate welfare packages.

Buhari’s insensitivity doesn’t stop at the medical sector alone, where nurses, physiotherapists, health technologists etc are leaving the country in droves, the lethargy of his regime permeates every fabric of our national life, and holds the country down to slow death.

Even his wife, Aisha, left her matrimonial home, and took off to Dubai for six long months. It’s unheard of anywhere in the world that the wife of the president of a country, which isn’t at war, would go on vacation abroad for six months! Or, could it be that oga madam went on antenatal vacation ni?

Henceforth, I’ll be on the lookout for a bulge in the mid region of the beautiful Aisha. If Aisha gets pregnant penren? Eeeehhh!! Nigerians will put Buhari to the sword online. I bet you, trolls against the Buhari family will burn down the internet!

But seriously speaking, President Buhari won’t touch the dog. I’m sure he won’t touch the pig, either, because he’s a very pious Muslim. However, Buhari is the chichidodo, a bird that passionately hates feces but loves to eat the maggots in feces.

Buhari hates corruption, but corruption has been the signpost of his administration with millions of dollars yearly disappearing into non-working refineries and his former EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, enmeshed in financial scandals.

Buhari promised to stop medical tourism when campaigning to be President, but he and his family have made England, France, Germany, Canada, Dubai and the US their second homes.

Buhari promised to revamp the education sector, but his children never graduated from a Nigerian university.

Buhari, in 1983, promised to build infrastructure when he seized power in a military coup, but he cancelled the lofty Lagos metro line project initiated by the late Lateef Jakande administration, throwing the traffic of the lagoon city into eternal chaos. He came back in March 2019 to inaugurate a bus-stop in Lagos, though. Chai!

The alarming picture just keeps flashing in my head: Nigerian President on the bed of a random London hospital in an age when microchips can be implanted to monitor and control patients. Unmh!

Buhari rests peacefully in London while peace has fled his own country, Nigeria. Terrible.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Video: Nigerian leaders won’t be part of a decision that will take them out of power – Fr. GEORGE EHUSANI

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Demise of Yinka Odumakin, a dependable ally of the masses

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By Lai Olurode

The passing away of Chief Yinka Odumakin was a great loss to this country.

He was committed to a great but restructured Nigeria.

He was a dogged and committed fighter for causes that he believed in. And really, he was committed to fighting whatever would rob off negatively on the masses, no matter their ethno-religious identity.

To my mind, not many living Nigerians are as committed to a restructured Nigeria as he is.

Odumakin was courageous, bold, painstaking in the pursuit of facts and figures.

He had a robust and versatile mind. He speaks fluently and unrelenting and consistent in the pursuit of truth.

He had no permanent friend except in what is just, fair and right

The last time he was in touch with me was a couple of weeks back and in respect of the death of yet a greater Nigerian, Alh. Lateef kayode Jakande. He wanted some clarifications about LKJ’s unbelievably spartan life, which I obliged him.

May the soul of Odumakin rest in peace and may God be with his wife,  Dr. Mrs. Joe-Odumakin and the children he left behind. His death is certainly a devastating loss to the progressive camp and to all lovers of a great and peaceful Nigerian.

 

*Olurode is a former National Commissioner at the INEC and professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos.

April 3 2021

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