By MICHAEL ODIGBE
OUR introduction today is the improvised verbal explosive device of Efe Osafuomwan, MAN AROUND TOWN programme anchor of Independent Radio, Benin. Hear what he said on August 6, 2010:
“Dem no day see person still day write de person letter.”
The quote is pertinent today because our political class are now all the place campaigning as 2015 election draws near. Like rabbits, the smoke of the coming election has forced them out of their closets. Before now, you hardly see them. Since we can now access them, here are some of the improvised verbal explosive devices that members of the public has been firing at them. Happy reading.
Hey politicians!! Don’t deceive yourself thinking that what you are practicing is democracy. This is far from the truth. The belief of a contribution to Mr. Godwin Egbe’s KALEIDOSCOPE programme of November 21, 2014 on EBS, Benin is entirely different. For him, what obtains in Nigeria today is not a consolidated democracy but agberocracy. Most Nigerians agree with this contribution. Why? It is simply because our democracy largely services agbero interests, ignoring Cicero’s counsel that: “The good of the people is the chief law!! Cicero was ancient Roman orator and statesman. But over here we have only oratorial sophists without statesmanship, argued a friend of mine last week. They tell you one thing and do another.
Dividends of Democracy
In Nigeria, even some political leaders agree that we haven’t arrived our destination in the area of providing durable dividends of democracy to the electorate. Governor Godswill Akpabio on August 26, 2014 fired an improvised verbal explosive device at his peers on this subject. During his appearance on GOOD MORNING NIGERIA, he said in response to a question by Claire Adelabu Razak Bello, an anchor of the programme: “It is no use building political roads that smile at you after you build them in a few months. Instead build legacy roads.”
Good talk. I don’t have accurate statistics of road development in the country. however, I can vouch for this. Most roads in Nigeria are built during first tenures for political, impressionistic reasons to secure second tenures for our political leaders. Any project without electoral glitter is ignored. This explains why there is an over politicization of governance in Nigeria. A lot of money is squandered on white elephant projects with no relevance for putting food on the people’s table, so to speak.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007) has attacked this ugly development. In August 2014, he exploded his improvised verbal device at President Goodluck Jonathan using the platform of Radio Nigeria. He told listeners that our state and federal governments have completely destroyed the middle class in Nigeria. Without mincing words, he recounted the story of his family friend whose grandfather, father and son are all medical doctors but they cannot afford a car in the family.
Barr. Okhedion of EBS, Benin in WAKA Programme on August 25, 2014 reacted to Obasanjo’s lachrymose diatribe in this way with this verbal explosive device. “politicians say that they are giving us dividends of democracy. Well, we don’t need the dividends again. Because we haven’t seen them. Let them give us democracy alone. They can keep the dividends.”
At this juncture, can one say Obasanjo is a friend of the middle class for speaking on their behalf. Someone says No. He states that Obasanjo does not know the meaning of friendship. Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN) – our Mr. Two – Third Mathematician – is on the same page with this persons. For instance, on Saturday Sun of November 22, 2008, Akinjide observed: “If you have Obasanjo as a friend, you don’t need an enemy. That is the summary of my assessment of him.”
Akinjide’s vibes at Obasanjo is understandable. He was one of the sponsors of Obasanjo in 1998. unfortunately, behaving like most politicians, Obasanjo on becoming president ditched him and eloped with fair-weather, opportunistic friends which, anyway, abandoned him later on.
Still talking about dividends of democracy, we must not ignore the barbs of Mrs. Omogui Ifueko-Odaro, former Federal Inland Revenue Service boss. During an NTA Benin interview on December 27, 2013, she launched a verbal missile at tax administrators. She stated: “To justify taxation, governments should be beyond showing off general dividends of democracy like roads, electricity and so on. Also, they should provide specific dividends of democracy in the immediate environment of tax payers.
All she is saying is that genuine town hall meetings should be held in communities for an assessment of the specific dividends of democracy they need in their immediate environment. After this has been done, efforts should be made to provide them. But what do we find these days? Our political leaders sit in government houses where they generate ego-based general dividends of democracy in state capital leaving out rural and urban communities requiring one form of social infrastructure or the other. How then do you expect such neglected communities to willingly pay their taxes? Argues Mrs. Omogui Ifueko – Odaro.
People like Remi Yusuf, compere of a public discussion programme every Saturday on Independent Radio, Benin isn’t surprised by our leadership failures. While anchoring the programme on July 19, 2014, he noted that what Nigeria has are wheelers and dealers – not political leaders. In his submission, Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor, on his part declares that why Nigeria isn’t delivering holistic dividends of democracy is because we parade stomach infrastructure politicians.
Enter a man who identified himself as OLD SOLDIER. On November 28, 2014, he called into a political discussion programme of RAYPOWER 105.4. In his acerbic contribution, he explained that our leaders are not delivering dividends of democracy because of their “spirit of forgetful myelitis.” He posited that as soon as they get into office, they forget the electorate. Therefore, with the 2015 general elections at hand, voter’s should flush out these good-for-nothing politicians. Yes, no basket for rotten mangoes, he advocates. Such politicians should be given red card with the PVC.
Chameleon, a crew member of RUSH HOUR programme of Independent Radio, Benin on November 24, 2014 further drives home the point that people should understand why local government could have joined the bandwagon of non-performers in the political process. His contention is that what we have today is not local government council but local government cancel.
Meanwhile, as we prepare to vote in the 2015 general election, someone finally dropped this explosive device. The choice is between yam and cocoyam. Take your pick but remember there is yam also in cocoyam.