Friday, August 19, 2022
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Integrity is negotiable, Buhari suggests

In just one week, these are some of the images Nigeria offered:

  • Terrorists overrunning the Kaduna International Airport.
  • Bombing ofthe Abuja-Kaduna rail line, followed by maiming and looting, killing and abductions.
  • Suspected herdsmen attacking farming communities in three local government areas in Benue State, with several people killed.
  • Yet another attack on communities in Southern Kaduna State, with about 50 persons feared killed, homes and property burned, and cattle rustled.
  • Continuing electricity failure nationwide.
  • University teachers strike unresolved
  • Widespread diesel shortage nationwide.

And yet none of these was the most important event in Nigeria last week.  Not even close.

President Muhammadu Buhari responded to the rail bombing, as he always does, by gathering his blanket around him: his security chiefs. And as always, mistaking uniforms for security and proclamations for efficacy, he fired instructions.

According to a statement by spokesman Garba Shehu, Buhari:

  • Directed “the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line and that this be extended to cover the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.”
  • Directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation management to speedily repair the damaged lines and resume normal service without delay;
  • Directed the security chiefs to bring back all passengers kidnapped and ensure that each of the callous terrorists are hunted down and made to face justice; and
  • Re-directed the military to “deal ruthlessly with terrorists and not spare anyone unlawfully wielding the AK 47 weapon.”

Buhari did not say what constitutes the “integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line,” nor how long it has been a policy item.

Keep in mind that earlier, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, had lamented that he foresaw that awful train bombing and planned for it but had been prevented from laying his hands on the N3bn he needed.

“…I warned that lives would be lost. Now, lives are lost. Eight persons dead, 25 persons in the hospital; we don’t know how many persons have been kidnapped. And the cost of that equipment is just N3 billion. The cost of what we’ve lost is more than N3 billion…”

He then indicted his own government: “When you come with sincerity to government and your colleagues and people are stopping you, it is annoying!”

It was unclear if the phantom equipment Amaechi was referring to is the same as the one Buhari wiggled and wriggled in tongues about: “immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation” of.

Naturally, Amaechi would have loved to lay his hands on billions more to manipulate, just as he shamelessly asked ordinary Nigerians to raise funds to treat those injured in the train attack.

That callous attitude illustrates the size of Nigeria’s problem.  Amaechi’s “new” trains are legendary for breaking down all the time, including one which recently ran out of diesel in a forest.

Think about it: if Amaechi wanted N3bn for “security” on the 186km Abuja-Kaduna rail, did he somehow forget to request billions more for the 250km Kano-Meradi, perchance?  Could he not have had, say N50bn, to secure the national network?

The vast wasteland that is governance in Nigeria was further illustrated last week by Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai, who wondered why the Federal Government continues to take no pre-emptive action against bandits and kidnappers. The governor himself once admitted to having paid off some Fulani herdsmen allegedly to stop the bloodletting in Southern Kaduna, where the people are being wiped out.

“We know what they (terrorists) are planning,” he said. “We get the reports. The problem is for the agencies to take action. Don’t wait until they attack before you respond. The Army should go after their enclaves to wipe them out. Let the Air Force bomb them.”

By that time, the situation in Kaduna and around the country had deteriorated.  The terrorists had seized the Kaduna-Abuja Road.  The commercial airlines announced that they were considering suspending operations, warning that uncertainties in the northern axis had thrown business into great risk.  Translation: life and the economy being squeezed into irrelevance.

But these events paled in significance last week to President Buhari’s admission that his war against corruption is bogus.

The clarification appeared in a statement in which he sought to justify his imposition on the APC of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who has a fraud case of N15billion before a court, as National Chairman.

According to presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, who somehow mutated into APC spokesman, Adamu and others are sinners who have repented. “Do the Scriptures not teach us of the virtue of sinners who repent and change their ways?”

They certainly do.  But repentance involves not only admission of the sin of which one repents, but also restitution.  There is no repentance without restitution.  If we are to believe Buhari, therefore, Adamu has admitted his fraud in the N15bn case against him AND returned the money.  In the Bible, Zaccheus told the Lord Jesus Christ, “… if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”

Buhari’s revelation demonstrates what Nigerians have worried about since he took power in 2015: that for someone who claims to be a man of character, he has surrounded himself with a troop of monkeys and swum in mud.

It confirms the viewpoint that by continuing to import the rottenest of the elite of the PDP—a party APC claims superiority to—the ruling party is a shameless hypocrite.  It explains why so-called fraud cases of APC members exist by the so-called anti-corruption agencies take forever.

By confirming his real character and instincts, Buhari endorses the very kleptocracy he swore to fight.  He encourages thieves everywhere to loot on because as long as they swear by an APC broom, they will be safe.

Buhari’s confession is the most important event of last week because Nigerians can see that there is no cavalry in the executive office.  It turns out that former party chairman Adams Oshiomhole was telling the truth when he declared that the sins of all opponents who joined the APC would be forgiven.

What all of this means is that there is really no reason for Nigerians to hope.  In the Buhari Years, dishonest people and “repented sinners” will always be elevated over the capable, the patriotic and the honest.

Buhari’s final 14 months will be an era in which to be honest would be foolish.  People will starve or be killed in the most horrendous conditions, such as the Kaduna train attack, and towns and cities will become prisons.

Buhari, confirmed his indifference before the Nigeria menace, will revel inempty speeches. Collaborating legislators will grant him more loans.  Power and champagne-drunk governors and their wives will dance naked.

Because it is official: with Buhari, integrity is a myth and the Nigerian people can go to hell!

[Actually, Buhari’s admission was not last week’s biggest scandal.  The mainstream media choosing to ignore it, was].

  • This column welcomes rebuttals from interested government officials.

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