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Sylva scores off Jonathan
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has many elderly advisers and the impression one gets is of a callow prince unprepared for the throne. An unscrupulous council of regents tries to manipulate the president. One of the council members is a man of Faustian desperation and will do just about anything to remain close to power. He vigorously licked the boots of military dictators and did a diabolical deal with one of them. A shameless flatterer cannot be a leader.
It is obvious that the president is often given bad advice. Ethelred, who became king of England in 978 at the age of nine, was nicknamed ‘The Unready’ because he acted on bad advice. But Ethelred was a mere boy and did not know any better. The Danes repeatedly invaded England during Ethelred’s reign and installed their own king in the country after his death.
President Jonathan is not about to lose a country, though devastating violence rules in some states in the North. Who advised the president to more than double the price of petrol on New Year’s Day? Workers went on strike and thugs seized many city streets. Rioters destroyed cars in Kano and set buildings on fire in Minna. The police shot dead many protesters, including an innocent passer-by in Ilorin and a man kicking a ball and not butts in Lagos.
The president’s stony resolution proved to be a flimsy façade and it crumbled only a week into the street demonstrations. He was forced to reduce the price of petrol from N141 to N97, a humiliating climbdown. The president then deployed troops in Lagos, apparently on someone’s advice, and his men scrambled for excuses, some of them laughably Orwellian—a falsehood is a fact—when the action was criticised.
Troops were deployed in an area of soughing quiet in Oyo State in late January, ostensibly to provide security during a House of Representatives rerun. A junior minister said the troops were deployed to stop a political party from rigging the election. This was a claim of yawn-inducing predictability and did no credit to ‘an intellectual snob.’
Yenagoa swarmed with soldiers and was like an occupied town during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in November. The then governor, Mr Timpre Sylva, was excluded from the ballot and a court order stopping the primary was ignored by the PDP leadership.
Mr Seriake Dickson, a member of the House of Representatives, was declared winner of the primary, a predetermined result, according to the other candidates. Most of the candidates refused to participate in the primary, saying that the cards were fraudulently stacked against them.
Mr Sylva accused an Abuja Federal High Court judge of giving an order favourable to Mr Dickson in the night. A court is not a coven and there should be no nocturnal proceedings. A judge is free to write her judgment in the witching hour if this aids concentration and sharpens contemplation, but it should not be delivered in the night. Justice Bassey Ikpeme did this in the ABN case with deadly consequences for the country.
Mr Sylva’s allegation has not been denied, let alone rebutted. The judge in question is a Mrs Olotu and Bassey Ikpeme was also a woman, as is the former judge who tried to review a Supreme Court decision in the Ladoja case. Ikpeme’s order and General Ibrahim Babangida’s megalomania led to the death of hundreds of innocent Nigerians, including the winner of the presidential election.
General Babangida has announced his retirement from elective politics. His two attempts at the presidency ended in a disgraceful debacle. He was in untidy retreat in 2007, claiming that he had been unsettled by the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s lugubrious visage. He said he could not run against a man whose face reminded him so much of his late elder brother, Babangida’s senior in the army. But the general is apparently not afraid of vengeful ghosts, the ghosts of men shot at the stake.
President Jonathan was in Bayelsa State, his home state, on Friday, February 3, to campaign for Mr Dickson who is his party’s candidate in the February 11 governorship election. Indeed, Mr Dickson is said to be the president’s hand-picked candidate and the primary was held to give it a veneer of legitimacy.
The president abandoned the serious affairs of state to engage in partisan boosterism. Boko Haram has continued to bomb police stations and kill defenceless people in their homes after its huge assault on Kano on January 20. A suicide bomber was killed while trying to drive into the headquarters of 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna on Tuesday. There were two other explosions in the city and Boko Haram’s murderous momentum in Maiduguri has never flagged.
President Jonathan spoke with helpless plaintiveness when he was interviewed by Reuters. He said he would negotiate with the leaders of Boko Haram if they came in from the cold of vicious anonymity and clearly stated their demands. But they have always done so: they are opposed to democracy and decency; they hate books written in English or French and love body-shattering bombs. They want a country of sectarian severity, of ayatollah-like certainty and no flexibility. They demand a country without Christians.
President Jonathan should be giving Boko Haram a pasting, but he picked on Mr Sylva in Yenagoa at the rally to promote Mr Dickson’s candidature. He called Mr Sylva a bungler and said he did not deserve a second term as governor. He said the clearest evidence of Mr Sylva’s failure was the uncompleted Tower Hotel, which was begun by the Alamieyeseigha administration. President Jonathan was Alamieyeseigha’s deputy and became governor after his boss’s impeachment. But why does Bayelsa, something of a backwater, need a 17-floor hotel?
President Jonathan kicked Sylva when he was already down, a display of a mean streak. He knocked the man to the ground and then stomped on him, a red card offence in football.
But Sylva did not stay down. He showed great debating skills and destroyed the president’s claims. Sylva, like a black belt in judo, used the weight of the president’s argument that the stoning of a politician is a measure of his popularity, to floor him. The president must have egg all over his face. And Sylva appears in the mood to spill smelly beans.
The reader’s view published on February 3, 2012, totally negates the true teachings of Islam as stated in the Holy Koran 9:5. 6. 29. 111; 47:4, which states: ‘And if any idolater seeks for your protection so that he may hear the word of Allah then convey him to his place of security.’ There is no place in the Holy Koran where a Muslim was asked to kill a Christian.
Engr Tijani Rasaq
I am sure the reader who quoted Koran Ayaats did so to try to tell us that Boko Haram jamat (members) are acting according to the Koran which is erroneous. Truly, such quotations are in the Koran but they are followed before and after by some Ayaats which explain these Ayaats better. Part of it is that these Ayaats are talking or referring to the time of war (also jihad). Also jihad must be led by someone known and recognised as an Islamic leader, not the leader of a sect (such as Boko Haram). Many more things are attached to it. Please let us understand the meaning of Koran deeply before quoting it.
I am a practising Muslim by God’s Grace. The Quranic quotation is so wrong.
On blacks in America
A revealing, intelligent and stimulating article. Well done.
Louis I. Okoroma, Abuja