THE NIGERIAN ROAD TO SERFDOM — 1
“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains ans slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
I thought it was a joke or fake news being spread by the perceived enemies of the Buhari administration. Now, I know that authentic news released by the real friends of the APC ruling party concerning this government can be more destructive of our social welfare than any lies ever invented by its detractors. I was at my Club in Lagos when the argument broke out about Operation Positive Identification broke out. One of our members, a retired officer, had announced and advised everybody present to be sure that they carry some sort of identity card with them from November 1, 2019 or risk arrest by the soldiers. I made no comment because, to me, it must certainly be another one of the fake news which gain traction very quickly. The retired officer was taken up by a fellow known to argue blindly on most occasions. The fellow announced that he would not produce an ID card if asked by soldiers because checking ID cards was not part of their constitutional duties when the nation was engaged in a formally war. Still thinking the entire report was a joke, I had joined in telling the fellow what will happen to him if he dared soldiers. As it turned out, the joke was on me and the others. The Nigerian Army had actually, under General Buratai, declared the beginning of Operation Positive Identification starting November 1, 2019.
Four things shocked me most about the announcement. The first was President Buhari’s role in this atrocity and blatant assault on the rights of all Nigeria citizens bearing in mind his oath of office which made it mandatory to defend those rights. The second was the obvious complicity of all the leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in this rape of democracy. The third was the silence, so far, of Professor Sagay, on this serious violation of our collective rights – which is the Mother of all Corruption in what is supposed to be a democracy. The fourth one is the silence of the graveyard which had greeted this announcement from Northern leaders irrespective of political party, ethnicity, religion or gender.
“I am beginning to wonder how many fools it takes to make the term “My Fellow Citizens.” Honore De Balzac, 1799-1850 in LOST ILLUSIONS.
I Nigerians had been under the mistaken illusion that the APC intended to run a democratic regime, this measure should now erase that self-deceit. We are headed for a full-blown dictatorship unless this first step is successfully resisted. For a start, Nigerians can forget about the Chairman, the National Leader, the APC members of the National Assembly or APC Governors fighting for them. The safest thing is to assume that those characters, including those we had hitherto admired, have joined the enemies of the peoples’ fundamental rights. We should have noticed that democracy was absent in their own domains when they headed organisations or were governors. All they have done is to transfer to the national stage their own tendencies for absolute power in their respective domains. They were political wolves in sheep’s clothing. Permit me to start from my astonishment of the Northern leaders’ silence on this matter.
Rightly, or wrongly, it is generally believed that the majority of Nigerians live in the North – especially in the rural areas. As a frequent travellers to the North, who makes it a point of duty to stop and investigate matters of public interest, I can state authoritatively that close to sixty per cent of Northerners have no identity card to carry around. Even the Voters’ Cards which politicians provide to rig elections are frequently taken from them after “voting”. Obviously, if this programme is to be rigidly and uniformly enforced nationwide, Northerners by the millions will constitute the largest number of victims.
Meanwhile, if uniformity of enforcement is to be guaranteed, the Army, in its infinite “wisdom” has not told us how they will handle Muslim women with veils. Even if they have ID cards to show, will they be compelled to lift the veil? If not, how would the soldiers at the check points determine if the person behind the veil is the same as the one whose picture appears on the ID? For that matter, how would they determine if the person behind the cover is actually a female and not a man in disguise? Commonsense is not common; that is why most initiatives by Nigerians in positions of power often make no sense and some are even insane. Before long, unless stopped by a court of law, Nigerians will soon experience whether this idea is simply misguided or outright lunacy. One thing is certain; several innocent people will be shot at those army check points. Mark my words.
“If you can keep your head while others around you are losing theirs…”
Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936.
Kipling thought there was virtue in being unruffled while others are in uproar over an issue. It never occurred to the Nobel Prize winning English writer that it could be because you don’t have a full grasp of the tragedy unfolding or you literally have your plate full and your mouth stuffed.
Since it finally dawned on me that the Operation is real, I had read all the papers and condemnations of the initiative by various notable individuals. This article is being written on Saturday, November 2, 2019. To the best of my knowledge, Professor Sagay, the Chairman of PACAC had said nothing. A move to put Nigerians in chains and install a mindless dictatorship is slowly unfolding. Yet and our Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, keeps quiet. This is incredible. What can be responsible? Your guess is as good as mine. But, let me stop here for now and lay something to rest today.
LAST WORDS ON PROF. SAGAY.
“Abuse of Forum”. Prince Tony Momoh. Ex-Minister of Information.
When he was still writing articles weekly Senior Momoh was engaged in controversy with someone whose name escapes me now. After three exchanges, Prince terminated the verbal warfare. He gave not wanting to be guilty of abuse of forum as his reason. Every regular columnist should learn from Momoh’s edict – for lack of a better name to give what he wrote.
These are absolutely my last words on Professor Sagay I don’t want be found guilty of abuse of forum. I had written an article pointing to Sagay’s falsification of Nigerian history on corruption. He had not written a point-by-point rejoinder. Instead he had indirectly sent his reply while answering a question in an interview with a DAILY INDEPENDENT reporter. He was asked to comment on my article. In his reply, the erudite professor said not a word about corruption. He did not refute any of my points. He offered no proof that IBB’s regime entrenched corruption. Instead he resorted to personal attacks. Even then he was inaccurate and evasive in two respects.
First he gave the impression that I am his senior in age. It is not true. He was born on December 20, 1940. I arrived on May 8, 1944. Second, he took exception to the use of the words “come and eat” as applied to all those who have secured government jobs with budgets attached. That is funny to me.
PACAC which the good professor now heads was created by the Buhari administration and will probably expire with it. Sagay is the first head of that unit. Unless Prof can prove that he is funding the unit himself, his appointment represents the perfect example of “come and eat”, It is not a crime to have a table set before you and for your cup to run over. But, I have never known of anyone seating at the table who has failed to sing the praises of his benetactor. Again, there is nothing wrong with joining the Halleluyah chorus ater a hearty meal. The problem starts when the diner makes pronouncements which he expects others to accept as the gospel truth. There is only one remedy for that. Prof cant quit. As they say in good old USA “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Finally, until Sagay opened fire on Oshiomhole, I never knew he was an APC party member. I had assumed that he was just a die-hard Buhari supporter. Discovering that he is a lawyer and politician makes the case worse. None of those two professions promote good conduct and I am not alone in saying so.
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” (William Shakespeare, 1564-1616). And my favourite quotation with respect to politicians remains: “You can’t adopt politics as a profession and remain honest.” (Loius , Howe, 1871-1936. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 192). Unfortunately, both lawyers and politicians expect to be taken seriously. They generally amuse me as long as they are not distorting history.
PROMOTING READING CULTURE
“Books are the carriers of civilisation. Without books history is silent, literature dumb, desire crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. “
Professor Barbara Tuchman, Harvard University Historian, VBQ p 23.
One of the greatest lamentations in Nigeria today is related to what adults ascribe to the loss of reading culture among Nigerian youth. But, I can state authoritatively that even adults no longer read. The internet is the major culprit for this state of affairs among the male population. African Magic and Zee World on Nigerian television add to the distraction for the female population. Nigerian youth are rapidly falling far behind their counterparts in foreign countries. But, there is another reason why reading is not encouraged. The prices of books in Nigeria is comparatively higher than anywhere in advanced countries. Something needs to be done. I don’t have all the answers; but there is new initiative aimed at solving the money problem.
By the time you read this copies of IBRAHIM B BABANGIDA 1985-1992: LETTING A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM would have reached the Librarians of all accredited Nigerian universities. They will join ATTAH ON RESOURCE CONTROL and IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.
Furthermore, we have created a platform which now makes it possible for prospective readers of several books in our collection to gain access to the books for as little as N100. Now, you can read any time, anywhere and on the go.
Just go to our website: WWW. DELESOBOWALE.COM
Authors of books wanting to send books to universities and later Polytechnics and to put them on our platform are invited to get in touch.
At least, let us start by making the books available and affordable and see how far we can go.
Finally, we are working on another initiative READ AND GROW RICH. It is designed to exploit people’s innate need to read with most people’s instinct for gambling. Reading might soon provide as much opportunity for winning money as any form of gambling. Any sponsors? Please get in touch.