The Nigerians They Don’t Give a Damn About – by Ayo Sogunro @ayosogunro

Published:29 Aug, 2012

The Nigerians They Don’t Give a Damn About – by Ayo Sogunro

“They” in this title refers to all the defense men, the pen-brandishing king’s men, the unrelenting, self-appointed applauders, the cozy and established, comfortable, myopic and collective children of corruption, the distant crowd of Presidential addicts, the any-government-in-power cinema crowd of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to achieve the favours of President Goodluck Jonathan.

This army of sponsored and self-appointed sycophants is so diverse; many of them don’t even know why or how they should defend the President and neither do they understand, or “give a damn” about, the views or complaints of Nigerians.

The clear danger to public affairs commentary is that we have a lot of intelligent people initiating stupid clichés and too many unintelligent persons wasting public funds occupying offices established to lend relevance to these thoughtless clichés.  Hold on. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I am not saying nobody should defend the Nigerian President. I’ve spent some time understanding that social maxim: “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. Public position comes with its own share of sycophancy and grovelling. But the defending, praise singing, “Special Advisers” and “Senior Special Assistants” crowd of the Jonathan regime must be guided by facts.

Let us gather our well rounded stones. I have spent all my life as a Nigerian. I have watched the leadership of this country since I was capable of understanding such things. I can write a whole book on the Occupy Nigeria movement, but you won’t get to read that until much later.  I am certain that some government people will not buy the book if it gets written. Well, your choice. What I can state, for now is, that President Jonathan and his praise singers grossly misunderstand Nigerians. They think Nigerians are unfair to them. They criticize Nigerians as “ignorant”. They accuse everyday Nigerians as mischievous. And when Nigerians dare to protest, they simply attribute it to the work of the opposition parties. How unfair!

Nigerians say he is a clueless President.  A paid employee in the service of the President says Nigerians are wrong.  Between Nigerians and the employee, who then is clueless?  Nobody is more committed to the Nigerian Project than Nigerians themselves. In spite of unforeseen challenges, in spite of decades of brutal military rule, in spite of a bloody civil war, in spite of continuous government corruption, Nigerians have done their best to remain one and fend for themselves both in private and public enterprise.  And this year alone, President Jonathan has done his utmost best to increase the burden of Nigerians with a fuel price increase and its attendant consequences. Ordinary Nigerians protested against this.  Let it be known now that those parading themselves as “special advisers” to the President, and who claim that the President still has the support of Nigerians, represent only themselves and their selfish salaried interests.

They say President Jonathan is a clever, methodical and intelligent man, and yet he is very adept at wrong footing majority of Nigerians, confusing the issues and distracting from the main agenda. They say he understands the complexity of Nigeria, but he uses it to his advantage— for example, by turning May 29 into an opportunity to raise unneeded dust over June 12. But that aside, Nigerians do not care about his acutely conscious sense of history nor his personal reflection as a representative of all common persons. Nigerians only care about the results of his government policy-making processes. Nigerians are not interested in sentimental expressions about the children of all blue collar workers who never wore shoes or got a chance to eat three-square meals, and whose mothers and aunties could never be part of policy-making processes.

And yet they say he understands Nigerians.

When Nigerians deride Jonathan about not wearing shoes as a child, they meant that as a metaphor for the irony of the President’s purported penurious past contrasted to his clearly comfortable present, and the urgent need to redress such social inequalities. But I have read a “Special Adviser” responding literally that Nigerians meant that people should never vote for a man who never wore shoes. How simplistic! Attention needs to be drawn to the fact that a party-sourced President who has given no indication of how to transform Nigeria, and yet who campaigned on a platform of transformation, will always definitely be defended by those who consider themselves the children of  the new regime, those who think that their descendants  will inherit Nigeria. Wrong.

The Ijaws, the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, have as much right to have their son as President as do the Nupe, the Tiv, the Efiks, the Ibibio and so many others—and nobody expects Jonathan to dwell on this. He may never have uttered an ethnic statement and he is not expected to do so. Must Nigerians applaud him for this? He is expected to see himself as the President of all Nigerians, which is why he lives in Aso Rock and not Bayelsa. He is expected to be at home with every group which is why he should listen to writings such as this.

They say he is focused on the challenges of nation-building but what about reinstating the President of the Court of Appeal? They say he wants to transform Nigeria, but this is based on an agenda only he knows about. They say he wants to unite the country but yet he is creating avenues for popular protests, strikes and demonstrations. They say Nigerians want regular power supply and that he is working at it—but Nigerians don’t want to cross 4, 400 MW on paper, they want to see it everywhere with their eyes.

Nigerians want infrastructure not a President who knows they want it. Nigerians want the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway fixed not an empty threat to the contractors. Nigerians want the East-West road fixed quickly not a mysterious directive to a particular nameless minister. Nigerians want to see corrupt people in jail, not just ineffective directives to government agencies. Nigeria’s have no issue with foreign relations—they want charity to begin at home. They say he is transforming the agriculture sector, yet Nigerians still suffer expensive food items. The reason Nigerians do not go into a song and dance routine for President Jonathan is because they know that true rebranding of a nation is the actualisation of positive things—things that are already happening and not just a projection.

They say he is not ‘tribalistic’. True. But how many Ijaws voted for President Jonathan compared to the rest of the country? Very few, I can tell you. Jonathan was voted in by Nigerians. Well, there are of course, all kinds of persons, special advisers and the like, who go about telling people that they have the President’s ears and eyes. I have since learnt that some Nigerians consider it fashionable to wear the false garments created by public office.

They say the Presidency qua Presidency is staffed by key officials from all parts of the country, but are these officials efficient? They say the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is from Ebonyi State—but is he the best man for the job? They say the Chief of Staff and the Head of the President’s Secretariat are both from Edo, but do they realise they have a wasteful budget? They say the Protocol Liaison Officer and Principal Private Secretary are from Adamawa, the Chief Detail is from Borno, the Aide De Camp (ADC) is from Kogi, the Perm Sec, State House is from Benue, the State Chief of Protocol is from Kwara, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity is from Ogun, the Chief Physician to the President is from Rivers—but Nigerians want to know the criteria for their selection! They say only the Chief Security Officer, the Special Assistant, Domestic and the Special Adviser, Research and Strategy are from Bayelsa but Nigerians don’t care about where they come from—Nigerians only care about what they have achieved!

They say when the President is in the office, he gets there early every day, and works till very late, and that he is exposed to all categories of Nigerians, but the same is true for even the market woman, especially the market woman.  They say he runs a modern and open Presidency and yet he sends soldiers to the streets of Lagos. If he is on Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, BB, and reads like they say, then he would realise that he has lost the approval of his initial support base—the people they call “idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria”. This is not even a provincial President—he is a cabal president. The purported intelligentsia in his immediate community should advise him to step out of office.

They say President Jonathan is the first Nigerian leader to appoint a woman as his Chief Economic Adviser as well as the Nigerian leader who opened up the Nigerian Defence Academy to women, but is this the meaning of progress? They say he took affirmative action in political appointments to a higher level by reserving 35 per cent of all appointive positions in government for the women folk, but is this why the First Lady must take a post as Permanent Secretary?

All these facts they point out may be incontrovertible but they are very irrelevant. Nigerians are not interested in whether a man occupies a position or whether a woman occupies it. Nigerians are not stupid! If it is a goat that will do the job well, Nigerians are happy to support the goat as a Minister! It will certainly not do any worse than the current ones are doing. They say the President’s commitment to Nigeria is total, but what about his appointees? They say the President’s children school in Nigeria, but do the children of his Ministers? Let the President wear any attire he enjoys, it is not his dress code that will promote Nigeria.

They say the President doesn’t drink. Well, maybe he had better start drinking if that would make the administration more effective—what with all the choice drinks on every trip.  What’s the use of people who are not allowed to touch alcohol and yet have nothing to show for it? Alcohol is not served during official duties, but neither is it served at anyone’s workplace either. Should we applaud the President for not drinking on the job? Even a student knows not to take alcohol in the classroom. Now they praise the President for not drinking alcohol and try to distort the issues at hand.

The budget states that the Presidential household intends to spend millions on feeding. Well, I have not enjoyed the privilege of eating at the President’s table. But they say he eats fish pepper soup, Cassava Bread, slices of yam, rice, boiled plantain, fruits and vegetables.  If this is the case, then why does the budget require millions of naira for his table? They sat he fasts when he chooses, and fasts all month during Ramadan and Lent—this is all good, but we have our Bishops and Imams to do that for us.   Nigerians do not care about his culinary habits or physical fitness regime. Let him drink kain kain if it will make him stronger, let him drink water if that would boost him. Let him fast if it will strengthen his arm, let him eat roasted turkey, and every delicacy under the sun if it would fire him up.  Nigerians are not concerned whether the President is a glutton or not. Nigerians want a disciplined, hardworking president who has an effective plan for the country without burdening the people further.

Here is a man who started a New Year with indiscretion and insensitivity. The thing about the President’s men is that they just cannot accept that Nigerians are intelligent enough to know what is right and what is wrong.  This is the King George Complex. King George of England could not accept the fact that the simple colonial Americans were sophisticated enough to decide how they wanted to be governed. And just like the colonial Americans gave chase to King George and his army of redcoats, Nigerians will eventually throw away these yes-men and promote a nation with men of integrity at the helm.

Let me end by saying that Nigerians, especially the “idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging” Nigerians may be a simple people but simplicity is not naivety. If simplicity were to be naivety then the world would not be where it is today. It is simple people who gave shape to the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Kwame Nkrumah, simple people gave a mission to men who listened to the voice of the people—even when the special advisers around them were cajoling otherwise.

 

Ayo Sogunro

Follow @ayosogunro on twitter

  • @iL_legall

    Wow! There are so many gems scattered all over this article, but the phrase about the market woman dealing with all types of Nigerians from early morning till late night stood out for me. Had me chuckling, giggling, pondering and reflecting all through. Abati needs to read this. Again I say wow. Well done Sogunro.

  • musa

    Good piece Ayo. Thank u for speaking the mind of masses

  • Jerry Fadipe

    We don’t care if he confesses himself as the most criticized president or better still, a World-Wide-Wuss. We deserve and demand economic progression and not the purposeless projection or perdition ‘they’ force into our mouth. Bright writer, i must commend.

  • buy soma carisoprodol high feeling – withdrawal from carisoprodol

  • You realize therefore drastically when it comes to that subject matter, forced me to in my opinion think about the item at a wide range of many aspects. The for instance people are certainly not interested right until it is something to try and do by using Kesha! Your things good. On a regular basis tackle it!

Related Posts

Recent Posts

BREAKING: CBN Governor’s Wife Released Barely 24 Hours After Her Kidnap

According to a report by ThisDay, barely 24 hours after the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) Governor, Mrs Margaret Emefiele, was kidnapped and held for ransom, she was released in the early hours of Saturday morning. Although the kidnappers had demanded for N1.5 billion before her release could be secured, she was rescued by a joint operation comprising the Nigerian Armed Forces, the police and local intelligence at the...

BREAKING: Wife of Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Emefiele, Kidnapped.

We have learned that a group of heavily armed kidnappers yesterday abducted Margaret Emefiele, the wife of Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.   A source close to Mr. Emefiele told our correspondent that Mrs. Emefiele was kidnapped along the Benin-Agbor Road. Our source disclosed that the kidnappers have made contact with their victim’s husband, adding that they were demanding a huge sum in ransom.   Mrs. Emefiele’s kidnap represents one of the most high-profile kidnap cases in 2016   Our effort to reach the...

EFCC Opposes Fayose’s Request For N5 Billion Damages

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged a Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti to reject Governor Ayo Fayose’s request for N5 billion damages over the freezing of his personal bank accounts at Zenith Bank. The anti-graft agency through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, at the resumed hearing of the suit on Friday urged the court to strike out Fayose’s further affidavit in response to its (EFCC’s) affidavit filed without leave of the court. The...

New Jersey Train Wreck Shocks Nation

A commuter train crashed into one of the busiest train stations in the New York area during the morning rush on Thursday, killing at least one person, injuring dozens of others and creating a scene of chaos and destruction, the authorities and witnesses said. The crash occurred around 8:45 a.m., when a commuter train slammed into the Hoboken Terminal building, Jim Smith, a spokesman for

Ayade To Buratai: We Need Heavy Military Presence In Cross River

Governor Ben Ayade of  Cross River State on Wednesday demanded heavy presence of the military in Calabar, in order to sustain peace in the state. He made the appeal when the Chief of army of  staff COAS, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai paid him a courtesy visit in Calabar. Represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, Ayade applauded the COAS’s sterling leadership qualities, describing him as a delight in Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

Putin Signs Decree To Draft 152,000 Men Into Army By Year-end

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to draft 152,000 young Russians into the Russian army before the end of the year. Government spokesman said on Friday in Kremlin that the military draft would be carried out from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 concerning Russian citizens aged 18-27 who are not in reserve and are subject to the military draft under the law. He said that in accordance with the law,...

FG To Disburse N200m Each To 8 States To Empower Women

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Aisha Alhassan, said N200 million would be disbursed to eight pilot states each through the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) to empower women at the grassroots. Alhassan said this during a media briefing on the take-off of the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in Abuja. She said the eight pilot states are Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Akwa...

Tight Monetary Policy Will Help Stabilise Naira, Attract Foreign Investors- World Bank

The World Bank has sanctioned Nigeria’s tight monetary policy environment, saying it would help stabilise the naira, strengthen real interest rates, and encourage a return of international investment in the economy. The Bank also stated that Nigeria’s exchange rate adjustment which was effected in June this year, coupled with the modest improvement in oil prices would help boost the country’s oil revenues in naira terms. This, in turn, should enable the federal and state governments...

I Will Continue To Blame My Predecessors For Nigeria’s Woes– Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said despite the criticisms of many, he would continue to blame his predecessors for Nigeria’s woes. He said passing the buck, which people have been frowning at, was important in order for Nigerians to know what went wrong with the country. Buhari spoke at an event tagged, “The Conversation: An evening with creative youths,” held inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The event, attended also...

Egyptian Lawmaker Ridiculed For Proposing College Virginity Tests

An Egyptian member of parliament is facing ridicule for saying that universities should perform virginity tests on female students. Elhamy Agina reportedly told an Egyptian newspaper on Thursday that virginity should be a prerequisite for admission to university. He argued that it would help to end the practice of unregistered “customary” marriages that appeal to Egyptian youths who cannot afford formal weddings.“Any girl who enters university must be examined to prove she is a maiden,”...

How Abba Moro, Others Cut Cost Causing NIS Recruitment Tragedy– Witness

Despite raking in about N1 billion from sale of forms, only N45 million was released for the conduct of the tragic 2014 immigration recruitment exercise, a witness told the court on Friday Tabugn Sylvanus, a retired Director and Secretary of the Board of the National Immigration Service, NIS, said N201 million was actually required for a proper conduct of the exercise. Mr. Sylvanus also told the Federal High Court that a last minute adjustment made...

MTN Allegedly Lays Off Over 4000 Contract Staff

MTN Nigeria laying off Contract Staff without been paid their full salary. No gratuity, no pension, no thank you mail to people who have spent at least 5 years to like 14 years of their life. They did the worst last week by telling them to do photocopy of their ID cards and return the main ID'S with the staff left with a sheet of paper without been paid and still expected to work. They also harassed the contract staffs...

75,000 Children Could Die In Nigeria In 2017 – UNICEF

U.N. Children’s Fund warns that about 75,000 children will die next year in Nigeria. The horrible prediction is based on famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram if donors don’t respond quickly. The Fund stresses that’s far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising. Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria, notes that the severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst...

UNILAG Shut Over Students’ Protest

The authorities of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, have ordered the closure of the gates of the main campus at Akoka due to protest by students. The aggrieved students were said to be protesting against the rustication of some members of the students' union. The rusticated students were leaders of the students body that led a protest in April over poor electricity and water supply in the community, and the difficulty faced by a large number of students living off campus...

Jumia Nigeria Is Launching Jumia Local To Sell Made-In-Nigeria Products

Jumia Nigeria is marking Nigeria’s 56th independence day anniversary this year by introducing an online store dedicated to products made in Nigeria. They’re calling it Jumia Local and the official launch is this Saturday, October 1, 2016 . Jumia Local is Jumia’s way of supporting local entrepreneurs and brands that manufacture or assemble their products in Nigeria. Merchants on the site will be able to sell their products on at 0% commission, and their products will be promoted through Jumia’s...

2face Becomes ‘Violence Free’ Ambassador

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has appointed pop singer, 2face innocent Idibia, ace comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka 1st and entertainment entrepreneur, Cally Ikpe as the ambassadors of his new initiative, Violence Free World. The revered monarch disclosed this on Thursday at his palace. “I want to stress that you should understand that this role you are given should not be taken with a pinch of salt. You have all shown exemplary acts in the...

Oshiomole has given Edo state a worthy successor – Timipre Sylva

Former governor of Bayelsa State and All Progressives Congress candidate in the last governorship election in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, has congratulated Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Governor-Elect Godwin Obaseki, and the people of Edo State on the victory of APC at the 28 September governorship election.   In a congratulatory message on Friday in Yenagoa signed by his media adviser, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, Sylva specially praised Oshiomhole for “a worthy cause to deliver a worthy successor to the...

FG to Pay States On Rehabilitated Roads – Fashola

The Federal Government is set to pay states that have used their resources to rehabilitate federal roads in their areas. Speaking Thursday in Katsina State, Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said President Muhammadu Buhari has assured to pay the debt. Fashola, who was speaking at the 22nd meeting of National Council of Works, said a committee was set up under his leadership and recommendations have been made to the government on...

Edo Elections: My View – Inibehe Effiong

It is clear from the just concluded gubernatorial election in Edo State that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has devised an intelligent policy in order to uphold the integrity of elections and the Card Reader. INEC has resorted to cancelling results from polling units where the total votes cast exceeded the total of voters accredited by the Card Reader. This practically leaves those opposed to credible elections with the aid of the Card Reader with a fait accompli. By...

Again, SSS Fails To Produce Dasuki In Court.

The Federal Government has again failed to produce the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, before an Abuja High-Court for trial. Mr. Dasuki is accused of money laundering and corruption. He was charged along with five others before Justice Peter Affen, and was granted bail. He was re-arrested and kept in custody of the State Security since December 2015. Others being prosecuted along with the former NSA include a former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, a...

Oil Prices Surge 6% After OPEC Cuts Production For First Time Since 2008

The world's leading oil nations - known as Opec - have struck a landmark deal at talks in Algeria that sees the countries agree to cut output and lift prices. Oversupply has been dogging the world's oil markets and hopes are that the first deal between the nations since 2008 will mark the end of the 'dumping' strategy previously favoured by the organisation's members. Immediately after the deal was agreed oil prices rose, with Brent Crude - the international benchmark -...