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Who should Nigerians trust: Buhari or Rohr?

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By Tunde Odesola
Even in death, the world remains indebted to eternal King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Hailing from a large family of musical greats, Michael didn’t own a patent for his Jackson surname, but with a matchless class of genius, he made his first name the most popular of all Michaels.
His initials, MJ, he distinguishingly owned in a world brimming with millions of people who share the same acronym but not his pizzazz. With 39 Guinness Book of Records milestones, MJ was the most awarded artist in the history of popular music. He was also the ‘Most Successful Entertainer of All Time’.
Call him the king of music, lord of entertainment and god of dance, you won’t be charged with blasphemy. Michael popularised the ‘Moonwalk’ dance, also known as ‘Backslide’ or ‘Glide’ in his hit song, Billie Jean, in 1982.
Moonwalk is a dance move wherein the dancer glides backwards while appearing to be walking forward. Lord, rest his soul; Michael was more melodious than music and smoother than dance. Michael understood the unspoken language that vitalises the soul and body – dance.
Since May 29,  2015 when it bumbled into  power, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been moonwalking along the path of tyranny and confusion, yet pretending to be on a roller skate to integrity and democracy made in Katsina. Painfully, there are no moments of accidental brilliance in an administration blighted by hypocrisy, impunity, insensitivity, clannishness and fruitlessness.
The number of fresh skulls at Golgotha climbed up yearly since 2015, spiralling in 2020 with unaccounted deaths from Boko Haram terrorists, kidnappers, cultists, bandits and the recent #ENDSARS protests.
Despite the promised Midas touch by President Buhari, Nigeria’s economy hasn’t turned to gold but dust has continued to swirl from the cracks and fragments of a crumbling economy. Sadly, the nosedive in all segments of the national economy appears unpreventable by the President and his uncreative team.
Virtually, no segment of Nigeria’s growth indices hasn’t witnessed decline since 2015 when Buhari took over the reins of power with Nigeria winning the global capital of poverty title under his watch in  2018.
Just as governance has been on the decline since 1999, sports have not fared any better in the last few years. Nigerian football, especially, has clattered down the peak of honour and prestige since 2013 when the departed Stephen Okechukwu Keshi shockingly guided the Super Eagles to win the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, land of the Madiba.
The competence of the current manager of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, was questioned when the team pathetically surrendered a 4-0 lead to the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Benin a few days ago during a Group L, African Nations Cup qualifying match, drawing 4-4.
Before the shameful show in Benin City, the senior national team, since 2014, had been a lackluster convocation of wingless, beakless and clawless Eagles, flocking on land with chickens.
In the same year that Buhari became president, the land-dwelling Eagles failed to qualify for AFCON to defend the title they won in 2013. They also failed to qualify for AFCON in 2017.
But there is a point of divergence between the Buhari-led team and the roar-less team led by Rohr.
Whereas Buhari built his federal executive cabinet team with the best brains within the All Progressives Congress, Rohr inherited a team whose best players made insignificant impacts in their respective clubs.
Disenchanted by the horrendous 4-4 draw against Sierra Leone at home and 0-0 draw away, Nigeria’s best sports minister in decades, Sunday Dare, apologised for the disaster, tweeting that Nigeria deserves a better coach.
Similarly, a member of the 1980 AFCON-winning Eagles, Segun Odegbami, and a  member of the 1994 AFCON-winning team, Daniel Amokachi, expressed the frustration of Nigerians with the 4-4 draw against Leone Stars, calling for the sacking of the German, who had won 29 matches, drew 14 and lost 10.
Popularly called ‘Mathematical’ because of his pin-point touchline dribbling runs, an exasperated Odegbami lamented, “He (Rohr) may be a good coach but what are his credentials? My belief is that anyone who will coach the Eagles must make the team a world class team capable of winning the World Cup.
The trained engineer added, “Rohr cannot deliver that. He’s not the world class coach we are looking for. We’ve seen him work for four years, and what we saw in two critical moments in Russia and Egypt, he convinced me that he’s not the one to lead Nigeria tio Eldorado.”
Amokachi, who featured in two World Cups, said: “Football these days, there’s no patience. It’s the result that matters. The person (Rohr) has been in charge of the team for five years, but you cannot write anything about those years he has been in charge. Is he the right person to take Nigeria in the right direction, I don’t think so.”
But a popular football pundit and CEO, Elegbete TV/Radio, Eseoghene Edafe, backed Rohr to stay on the job, saying sacking Rohr, a former Bayern Munich player and former manager of Bordeaux FC of France, wasn’t in the interest of the country.
A mechanical engineer from the University of Port Harcourt and former Sharks FC player, Edafe said, “Nigeria runs a football system that is poorly funded. We used to have players that played regularly for Inter Milan, Ajax, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Everton, Dortmund, Monaco etc but not anymore.
“When Rohr came, we didn’t have a league, our leagues were ending abruptly. Our players have not been consistent in the last four years in Europe. You can’t put our players side-by-side with those of top African players like Mane, Salah, Aubemeyang, Mahrez, whose teams have been together in the past eight years. Osimhen is a good player but he needs to settle in, he has played for five clubs in the last three seasons.”
“We should consider the fact that three key players, Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo, have left the team. When Rohr saw the inconsistency of the team, he began to invite Nigerian players of foreign descent. Take a look at our defence, you will see that the players we have are struggling – Kenneth Omeruo is battling with injury, Leon Balogun didn’t play for an entire 10 months, and Troost Ekong is neither here nor there.
“Who among our keepers today can bench any of these our former keepers, Peter Rufai, Ike Shorunmu, Wilfred Agbonavbare, Alloy Agu and Vincent Enyeama, who all played regularly for their respective first division clubs in Europe? Nowadays, our keepers play for second, third and fourth divisions of unknown leagues.
Edafe said the Eagles midfield lacks bite because there’s no creativity, insisting that Keshi won the AFCON because he had an admixture of very good home-based players and Europe-based pros, which he said is lacking today.
He said such options were available when Clemens Westerhof had the likes of home-based players such as Chidi Nwanu, Friday Elahor, Edema Fuludu, Isaac Semitoje, Humphrey Edebor etc who could bench Europe-based players.
Now, I ask: if Nigeria sacks Rohr, can she afford to pay his $50,000 monthly salary for the remainder of his three-year contract, which is $1.8million, if we add that of his assistants to it, it will come down to roughly $3.5million?
If the country negotiates an out-of-court settlement and the money comes down to say $2.5million, Nigeria that couldn’t send her athletes to major competitions can’t pay such money and hire a new coach.
I’ll choose Rohr over Buhari. Each time Nigerians looked up to Team Buhari and chorused, “All we are saying, give us one goal,” the ever-disappointing team booted the ball out of the entire stadium. Begging scoring chances in security, economy, education, infrastructure etc sectors had been wasted by the captain and his lame team.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, November 23, 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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