Perhaps, the presumed talks with Boko Haram and the publicised truce on Friday were a hoax after all. Were it not so, the abducted Chibok schoolgirls would have been freed on Friday or, latest, Saturday morning. Up until the time of this writing, however, there has been no news of the release of even one defiled girl.

Little wonder most Nigerians were sceptical.  The mark of mischief was made visible by the coincidence of the supposed ceasefire with the “grand finale” rally of the SOT (slaves of transformation) in Abuja on Saturday. Could it be that the “abduction” of 276 girls since April 14 has been a political gimmick all along? Could some presidential campaigners with eyes on the public till have scripted the abduction saga? I don’t know what to believe now. But it is possible the number of girls abducted was nowhere near 100. It is also possible they have been kept in a comfortable place and treated to choice drinks and food while the propaganda machinery of the politicians revs on. The picture of those behind the deceit is getting clearer.

So, parents of Chibok, be of good cheer; your daughters are in safe hands. Governor Kashim Shettima must have understood the true situation when he refused to make any statement on Friday.

If the girls had been released by Saturday morning, they would have been marched to Eagle Square to boost the egos of some mad people that describe themselves as “transformation ambassadors of Nigeria” (TAN). The song at the Square would have changed from “Jonathan who provided roads and railways” to “Jonathan who snatched 200 lambs from the mouths of lions”.

How shameless could some people be? How could professors, PhDs and other university graduates have launched attacks on the psyche of innocent Nigerians so callously? Are these not the same people that universities found “worthy in character and learning”? Anyone seeking evidence of the failure of the education system should go no farther than where the “transformation ambassadors” picked their certificates.

President Jonathan, as I have often stated, has not been a wicked ruler; he is relatively decent. But leadership entails more than these qualities. He should give this thing up and anoint the equivalent of Obama, if need be, to face the electorate next year. For the sake of his health and his good name, he should ignore the hawks that regard him as the mother cow with breasts to be sucked. He has nothing to lose but the chains.

Elections cost money, I know. The national treasury is bleeding. The president should quickly turn off the tap from which these TAN liars are drawing illicit funds. Their campaigns are not doing the president any good. At a time states are refusing to share allocations because of declining oil revenue, the last thing the president should do now is throw money on unproductive activities.

As an advertising student, I was taught that a good advertisement can kill a product. If a product doesn’t measure up to what the advertisement says, consumers would reject it. And common sense would tell one that lies (which some call “pernicious propaganda”) do not change an audience’s view. Candidate Jonathan as a brand is being demolished daily by propagandists that don’t even believe their own lies. All they are after is money obtained by fair or foul means. Many of them don’t have voter cards and have no connection with actual voters.  The media alone provide channels for peddling their falsehood.

Within the confines of Aso Villa, the president can’t hear the truth. These hangers-on can only tell him what they believe pleases him. President, beware the Ides of March! They don’t love you. They are after money because you hold the key to the public treasury. A different world exists out here. Most Nigerians are not going to vote for you in February. So the only thing your spin doctors can do is falsify election results and declare you the winner. But never far away are reminders of the consequences. Since you ignored my advice in 2011, a lot has happened: almost 20, 000 killed, millions displaced; the country is disunited and has not known peace.  Nobody recites the National Anthem or the National Pledge with sincerity anymore.

If only the APC would put its house in order, the PDP would be sent packing. That is the truth, President. As a witness to Nigeria elections since 1979, I know that cabals have always determined election winners here. If votes had counted, the PDP could not have won the presidential election in 2003. It could have won in 2011 but not by a landslide and not at the first ballot. In 2015, it would be thoroughly defeated everywhere else except in the south-south and south-east. And it would be very dangerous to tamper with the votes from the north-east, north-west and parts of the north-central this time round.

If the APC could raise money in time and match the PDP naira-for-naira and rigging-for-rigging, even the votes from the south-east and south-south would be so whittled down that the president would feel betrayed. Thus says the augury! TAN could continue with its mischief forever; it won’t change the outcome of the polls.

So, please, Sir, stop wasting our money on the mischief-makers who compare you with Mandela, Obama, Yew or King on television. Away with these “ambassadors” and their like! In the end, the truth will emerge.



Gowon Comes of Age

Today is the actual 80th birth anniversary of Nigeria’s second military leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon. The celebrations have since started and may not be concluded today. To the former head of state, 1966-1975, we say “80 happy cheers!” once more.

Gowon remains the youngest person to rule Nigeria so far: he was not yet 32 – and not married – at the time he became head of state. Likely, he will hold the trophy until the end of Nigeria.

Many a young Nigerian challenged with political office has often found courage in the fact that Gowon did it at a younger age. Those rooting for gerontocracy have always told the youth to keep quiet because they have had their time. Almost all other military leaders of Nigeria assumed power in their youth.

At 80, the general has since come of age. I have no difficulty in commending him. But I still believe his generation has been the most destructive so far. Had he and contemporaries like Ojukwu, Nzeogwu, Danjuma and Adekunle been in their 40s or 50s by 1966, there would have been no coup or a civil war that killed over one million innocent Nigerians – and reversed our development.

Now that Gowon has entered the “departure lounge” of an airport, I’m sure he sees things differently. Just as generals Aguiyi-Ironsi and Ogundipe at the time were not misled by “youthful exuberance”. Indeed, wisdom comes with age.



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