Probe CAN, TAN, Super-rich Nigerians, Anglican Bishop Urges Buhari

Bishop of the Kaduna Diocese of Anglican Diocese, Most Revd Josiah Idowu Fearon, has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to go after super-rich Nigerians who, during the Jonathan administration, were accused of receiving money for political campaigns.

tanFearon mentioned Transformational Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in particular, and some public and private office holders, saying Buhari should use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate them even as he advised the president  to sanitize the armed forces, get them well equipped, and flush out Boko Haram insurgents within his first six months in office.

The bishop said Buhari cannot afford to fail Nigerians as the situation he has inherited is so bad that
he should not expect any period of honeymoon. He spoke in Kaduna during the diocese’s  20th synod.

He advised the president to be careful on the composition of his cabinet, adding that he should guard against powerful individuals who would shield him from what is going on in the country, and  those  in politics to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation.

“We want to give the President some ideas for his consideration and action. It is obvious, the stakes are high; Nigerians have a high expectation. You cannot afford to fail by disappointing,”the bishop said. “The situation you are inheriting is so bad that you should not expect any period of honey moon: security is not there, power supply is at its lowest level, queues at our filling stations, hardly ever disappear in spite of the payment of subsidy to those importing fuel, we hear that in some states and some Federal Government departments, salaries have not been paid for months”.

Sole Candidacy : Jonathan’s Victory before Election?

“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”~ Sun Tzu

The man Mr Jonathan is someone that doesn’t feel comfortable with contests. His rise to power already reflects that. Thus, as much as possible GEJ only submits himself to contests that are seemingly inevitable. Talking about knowing how to fight and run away? You are thinking Big Joe.

 Thus, few days ago the National Executive Council of his party, PDP adopted him (Goodluck Jonathan) as the Sole-Candidate for 2015 Presidential election basing their logic in accordance with the American style of Incumbent Rights of First Refusal. In the words of Adamu Muazu, NEC “unanimously without any reservation decided to endorse the sole candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election”. Senator David Mark, the Senate President also corroborated this decision saying, ““At the PDP Caucus of the National Assembly, we have decided that a sitting and performing president should be given a chance to continue to perform even better?.”

As if to say that this came as a surprise? By calculation GEJ seemed convinced that to win his party’s Presidential Primary would be pyrrhic.  He would need to compromise so many things which changing his running mate may be one of. He won’t want to be held hostage by powerful adversaries like OBJ and others. Also, to gamble with a uniting Northern front can be suicidal. He would have been a fool to have envisaged a smooth ride with several “mind-prepared” ambushes waiting expectantly.

What’s more to add? An assessment of Jonathan’s tactics so far has always thread in that direction. It’s becoming so natural that it looks like the new scripture for morning devotion in Aso Rock is none but Sun Tzu’ s Art of War. This man is really picking his battles wisely and it seems to be performing the magic.

With all the tantrums that he could employ, including subtle threats of punishment, Big Joe made sure that the endorsements were overwhelming. So compelling  that the likes of Governors Sule Lamido, Aliyu Babangida and the rests who were hitherto anti-Jonathan suddenly turned soft-critics with equivocal sermons. Somehow GEJ, at least within the PDP, has achieved what Sun Tzu suggested in Chapter 3 of  the Art of War. According to Tzu; “the best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities… It is best to win without fighting.”

Hence, by choosing the battle and the climate, he holds a firm grip on his party and a soft ride to concentrate fully on crushing the opposition totally. Like an examiner, one can judge from all indications that Jonathan is learning so fast!

But then what’s hard not to learn when the environment is enticing? Power is magnetic enough to drag necessary resources to fight any cause irrespective of it’s morality. Mr President is stopping at nothing to make his re-election dream come true. Is this end not worthy enough to justify any means?

Consequently, political strategies have been reduced to how to beat the system and flaunt orders, and politicians are trying their best to think outside “legitimate boxes” without tampering legality. Organisations like Transformation Agenda of Nigeria or TAN now runs like a political party with membership base and flag bearer for 2015. Perhaps, if TAN had shown keen interest in “walking alone” in 2015 it could have applied to INEC for registration.  But for the now it will exist as a unit of the PDP Conglomerate. That’s good news,too to men like Orji Uzor Kalu who sees the party as a viable investment should it go public.

TAN may be the big fish, but there are also Small scale political groups that have bought the GEJ/TAN franchise which are running into over 8,000 in numbers as one associate revealed. Business is real good selling emotions.  It is big hustle and who is to say what becomes of us if we don’t support this man?

There are several issues in the Art of War that are now evident but who dares to point out?  Only one factor is hanging in tomorrow because of the unknown which is never dictated by the whims and caprices of men’s actions. It is Night and Day and with internal and external reactions waiting we earnestly await the becoming.

*Showunmi Rex ( @remirex)

Views Expressed are Solely Author’s

#KakandaTemple ~ The Dangerous Shows for 2015

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As the period running up to the 2011 presidential election portended omens of tragedy for intuitive citizens, the current period, four years later, should rattle even those who were then indifferent. This must be a phase for overcoming whatever instigated their moral dilemma.

My concern about Nigeria became disturbed this week on sighting a Borno Express cross-country bus with a poster of Governor Kashim Shettima, seeking re-election, seemingly seeking another term of terrorised living in office. How is it that our politicians, crying that their Office threatens their existence and sanity, are desperate to remain in that same Office? It must be a sort of greed for the trappings of State Power.

The main culprit of this dangerous greed is the President, under whom the country has lost its bearing, so much so that even his most indecorous media aides, confused in the social media, are now calling on “God”, advising citizens to “pray” for an end to what such aides’ principals were elected, and granted enormous State resources, to curb. And for lack of explanations for their principals’ legendary cluelessness, they’ve been tweeting verses from the Bible, to appeal to the sentiments of the gullible.

But a show of greed and shame, even more indicative and damning than the President and the Governor’s desperate bid to remain in power is clearly that of the citizens “procured”, as Dr. Oby Ezekwesili once said of hired protesters, to champion the re-election campaign of the same President Goodluck Jonathan whose administration, for seeming incapability, has not heeded the plea to rescue the hundreds of his subjects who have been in captivity for the past 150 days! And to highlight their inhumanity, these procured protesters launched #BringBackGoodluck2015 billboards, signs and hashtags to ridicule the demands of unrelenting #BringBackOurGirls.

That unpardonable blasphemy drew the outrage of the civil society, the main opposition party and even the fence-sitting observers. But it was Washington Post’s globalisation of the undermined citizens’ outrage in its coverage of that PR blunder, referring to it as “the most inappropriate political hashtag of the year”, that finally jostled the presidency, forcing the President to react – to lie, that is – that he was ignorant of that well-publicised campaign for his re-election, even though the campaign was officially recognised by the Presidency, having been fanatically promoted by the President’s politically rash Senior Special Assistant Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe.

What further frustrates the possibility of ousting the cunning government or having citizens forming alliances against it, are the divisive publications on the complicity of some friends and allies of the government revealed by an Australian named Stephen Davis, and uncritically popularised by some prominent elements of the main opposition party, the APC.

Instead of having Davis’ so-called revelations adopted for careful analysis, Nigerians, including a prominent and prominently diminutive member of the opposition, contributed to the confusion by not only endorsing the Australian’s claims that certain people, both Muslim and Christian, were responsible for funding of the Boko Haram insurgents, but that the sect also has political and Christian variants, backing the claims up with lame inferences that can only appeal to the senses of a unintelligent conspiracy theorist, an unthinking escapist.

Sadly, some of these people practice, or have backgrounds in, Law. This makes me wonder, why would a lawyer, trained in challenging facts, also embark on adopting uncorroborated claims, conspiracy theories, as proofs or confirmations of certain suspicions? Even in the court of law, circumstantial evidences are not adopted as unchallenged proofs, so sharing inferences as proofs is a clear mischief. You don’t spend these five years in the department of Law, and then memorably torturous months at the law school, only to end up going against the ethics of your training in such an outrageous way. I thought lawyers should be our models in obsessing about evidences and the absence of them, even in our public discourse?

If a lawyer’s mindset had been employed in assessing these confusing claims, even Davis wouldn’t have made a newspaper headline. And this instinct would’ve challenged us to ask whether Boko Haram that operates in secret, would reveal the sources of its funds to a negotiating stranger – especially to a white man who, as Christian or atheist, western, and believer in liberal democracy, is a portrait of all they aspire to crush? The Boko Haram didn’t remain elusive this long by being tactically stupid, as portrayed by Davis. And if its leaders were as careless with details of their operations as also portrayed by Davis, they would’ve been crushed long ago!

There’s a need for us, and especially the opposition party, to employ reason, instead of sentiments, in promoting some of these embarrassingly petty conspiracy theories. The opposition must understand that if you fight this government with flawed statistics and hearsays and polarisation, you’re just making the return to Aso Rock easier for GEJ. If they want to replace GEJ, whose Ph.D I now suspect is in divisive politics, on the back of polarising sentiments, then they must be very prepared for an embarrassing defeat in 2015. What keeps APC going are sympathies, sympathies of a people in need of change, sympathies of a people willing to give them a chance despite obvious flaws. But it needs men of model conduct representing its interests in the media.

My only fear, which has become a looming apparition now, is the memory of the gory revolts that followed the announcements of the results of 2011 presidential election in the north. We must not prepare these impressionable members of the lower-class for another horror history, which is what some of these politicians do by promoting unverified claims to gain relevance and be seen as “rights ambassadors”, whereas they’re everything but selfless in their pursuits of political power.

But the underclass is not the only trouble with electing ideal candidates in Nigeria. While poverty dispossesses the underclass of ability to be rational, sycophancy ravages the middle-class. This way, with these syndromes, the sycophantic members of the middle-class contracted by the government to form about 8000 pro-Jonathan campaign groups, also procured the cheaper under-class as foot-soldiers of Transformation Actors of Nigeria, which they prefer to call “Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria”, and other 7999 groups.

Today, in its nearly 64 years in existence, the main thriving industry in Nigeria, with productivity higher than the Oil industry, is Sycophancy. It represses existing and proposed political resistance. The poverty of the underclass and the sycophancy of the middle-class are the reason idealism is DOA in Nigeria. Sometimes, in pursuits of idealism, you go out campaigning for core visionary leaders, and return home only to realise that your lunch was made with “gifts” by, or bought with money given, by a fraudulently prebendal politician.

This is how the two social classes betray promising leaders.

The last time Gani Fawehinmi aspired to lead this country, our rejection of his bid was almost unanimous. And I doubt if there has ever been a politically awakened individual who had stood up for the masses, in the race to the Office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, comparable to the model civil rights advocate.

In fact, if our politics is sincerely all about “personality”, Buhari himself cannot beat Gani, who resisted even the military extremisms of the Buharis. We’re in a country where idealism is a myth, but this shouldn’t be an excuse to allow hired paupers and contracted sycophants forestall our struggle for change.

So, we need to task our presidential candidates to offer us something other than romanticisations of their personalities, something concrete, an implementable development plan for redeeming this changing Nigeria. This “I did not steal a kobo” campaign is beginning to sound like GEJ’s “I had no shoes” scam of that unfortunate 2011. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda on Twitter