Monday, July 21, 2008
UMARU YARADUA: JUST ANOTHER SHEHU SHAGARI WITHOUT AN UMARU DIKKO!
Is it fate playing a game of Russian roulette again with Nigeria that within our lifetime two exact presidents who share the same traits are foist upon Nigeria to rule them? Their shared similarities are so glaringly apparent and legion that it could easily pass for a tragic Roman classic. These Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar'Adua are metaphorical speaking, just two Siamese twins littered on the same day by the same mother. The foreboding is not a sweet melody - what it holds for Nigeria is not bright judging from the Shagari experience of 1979 to 1983. Also where both men came from and how they became presidents of Nigeria is all too concerted to be merely an accident of happenstance. It does not bode well for Nigerians and it is scary indeed. It does not look nice and smacks of an ill-wind that will blow no one any good. Over 365 days into office and counting, yet Umaru Yar'Adua is yet to figure out what it takes to govern Nigeria. That is what happens when an unprepared student goes to an examination - he fails; but Icheoku will like to be proved wrong by Umaru Yar'Adua.
Former President Shehu Shagari and incumbent "President" Umaru Yar'Adua are both from the Northwestern part of Nigeria, of formerly Sokoto Caliphate later balkanized into Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi States. Both of them were handed power on a platter without winning 12 2/3 of the States as in the case of Shehu Shagari in 1979 election and in the case of Umaru Yar'Adua without any credible election whatsoever in May 2007. Both of them were anointed by the same man - the Babalawo of Otta Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo and given power without questions asked and answered. Both of these presidents are known weaklings - in the case of Shehu Shagari, Umaru Dikko took notice early enough and hijacked the presidency, constituting himself into the de-facto president of Nigeria while that government lasted; with the questionable rice contract scandals which led to his being forced inside a Lagos bound crate at Gatwick Airport but for the Scotland Yard. Then at least there was an apparent hijacker of governance but with Umaru Yar'Adua no one knows who calls the shots.
This apparent lack of a clear hijacker of the present government makes it extremely difficult to know who the go to-man is and in whom the power really lies; especially whenever Umaru Yar'Adua takes up his usual residency at his life-saver of a German hospital. The apparent grinding to a near halt of Nigeria under the present government has bequeathed on President Umaru YarAdua the unflattering nickname of "Mr. Slow-man". President Shehu Shagari and President Umaru Yar'Adua are both aloof Presidents and regarding the business of governance, they both seem very nonchalant and do not particularly seem interested in their job at the presidency. They both appear to be mere prop-ups of some other third party interest who has a lot to benefit with their stage-presence as "inactive, dormant Presidents of Nigeria. President Shehu Shagari and President Umaru Yar'Adua are both very humble men; somewhat too humble for the office of Nigerian Presidency that they both come across as timid men. Have you ever seen or watched any of these men at any international meet with other world dignitaries and see them practically genuflect and bow for other leaders. Both men it appears do not have independent mindedness and look very much like push-around Presidents. They lack guts! They look like deer in a headlight! They look lost in the maze of Nigeria shark-infested waters of politics! They look like marooned person on an isolated island somewhere in the pacific! They appear like they are afraid of something sinister! They look too fragile and does not in any way aspire anybody! They mental state of anxiety compares to a beached whale! Would resignation have been a preferred option?
What will Nigeria get in return for this reincarnated President Shehu Shagari of a President Umaru YarAdua? Nothing spectacular! The hand-writing on the wall reads that Nigerians will be shortchanged again as usual; and peradventure another General Muhammadu Buhari will be lurking somewhere in the shadows, to emerge one December 31st down the road to announce "Fellow Nigerians" with a marshal music in the background. However in as much as Icheoku is an ardent democracy advocacy, supporting and activism portal, the magnitude of docility of the present Nigeria's President Umaru YarAdua's government is such that needs to be prodded! If left in the present doldrums and it continues on its current trajectory for another year, Nigeria may come to a full screeching halt. Nothing seems to have gotten track ever since President Umaru YarAdua's misadventure unto the presidency and there is no light on the horizon to suggest that a change of course is in the offing. Only a true democracy and free elections will save Nigerians from this type of a foist, unprepared leader, who is not ready to be president on day one! They were so many other credible, well prepared and ready to be president candidates that attempted to run but the medicine man of Otta preferred a not well disposed and enthused President Umaru YarAdua for Nigerians! Now Nigerians are asking President Umaru Yar'Adua and demanding to know if the president has any policy-direction, template or blueprint for Nigeria? Icheoku will like to ask, does Mr. President plan to take Nigeria anywhere within the near future or is this present state of anomie the paradigm of his presidency? Will "Mr Slow-man" be the epitaph of his presidency? Will Umaru Yar'Adua be known as a mere reincarnation of President Shehu Shagari or what? Only time will tell but all indicators presently point at that conclusion. Prove Nigerians wrong, President Umaru Yar'Adua! Engage the gears of your presidency to a drive position and move Nigeria forward!