Blame game and bleak Christmas

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, took the blame game to a ridiculous level last week

Casmir Igbokwe

Recently, Oluoma gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl. A bundle of joy you might say. Yes. But this young woman cannot feed her babies. Her breast milk is not the problem. Money is. She desperately needs financial assistance.

The big question: Can humans have babies on planet Mars?

On a regular basis, I receive calls from known and unknown people who need such help. No doubt, hardship has visited many Nigerian families today. Hitherto, people looked forward to Christmas and end-of-year activities. It is a period of conviviality and sharing of gifts. By November, hampers will have filled many shops and supermarkets. We are in December. So, take your time and move round the supermarkets in your area. Check how many hampers you see on display.

Also move round the major markets in your locality. Compare the volume of traffic in the market now and a few years ago. You don’t need to be a statistical wizard like Peter Obi to see the difference between those good old days and now.

Obi, the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, reeled out statistics to indicate the dire situation of the economy at the recent vice presidential debate. Some individuals busied themselves fishing for errors in his statistical submissions. Talk of chasing rats when one’s house is on fire!

Pray, was Obi’s submission not in tune with the reality on ground? Are we not living witnesses to the loss of jobs and closure of many companies in Nigeria today? In the latest figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the rate of unemployment has even increased from 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

Mainly those feeding fat from the current system defend the indefensible. The majority of them are government appointees and their relatives and friends. No matter what, these people will never see anything wrong with this current system. It’s self preservation at work.

The other group of supporters happens to be the President’s kinsmen. This group sees President Muhammadu Buhari as a good champion of northern interests. He professes the same religion and speaks the same language with them. And his major political and security appointments are from the north. It does not matter whether the majority of the northern masses are dying of hunger or not.

The third group comprises ruling party members and those who hope to gain one thing or the other if the status quo remains. This is where some of my Igbo brothers fall in. When I read the story of Governor Willie Obiano’s aide, Chido Obidiegwu, leading the campaign for Buhari’s re-election in Anambra State, I laughed. I can swear that sterling performance is the least of their reasons for supporting Buhari.

Together, these groups see no wrong in the present killings in the country. They strongly believe that Buhari is fighting corruption even when the owner of the $42 million Ikoyi apartment cash, for instance, remains a top secret. And they will tell you that the PDP government caused almost all the present scams and failures in the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, took the blame game to a ridiculous level last week. Speaking on Channels Television, Shehu said former President Goodluck Jonathan was the cause of the delay in the appointment of ministers by Buhari. According to him, the outgoing government in 2015 gave the President handover notes 48 hours to the handover of power. Recall that it took the President about six months to appoint his ministers when he took over power in 2015.

Recall that it also took him some months to enter his office in the Villa after he returned from three-month medical vacation in the United Kingdom in August last year. It was this same Shehu who informed the world then that Buhari couldn’t use his office because rats had occupied and damaged the place.

Even the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, was not left out in the blame game. As far as Fashola is concerned, the power sector has been privatised and as such, Nigerians should not blame the government for poor electricity supply in their homes.

The excuses and buck passing continued a few days ago when the All Progressives Congress blamed the PDP for the protest by National Assembly workers. The ruling party through its spokesman, Mallam Lanre Issa-Oniru, said “the PDP’s 16-year rule was characterised by such incidences of unpaid salaries, ghost workers and a shocking disdain for workers’ welfare…”

Agreed, the PDP caused some havoc during its 16-year rule. But is there any fundamental difference between the PDP and the APC? Were APC chieftains like Rotimi Amaechi, Godswill Akpabio and a host of others not PDP members? Was the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, not an APC member? Were current PDP stalwarts like Bukola Saraki, Aminu Tambuwal, Musa Kwankwaso and Dino Melaye not members of the APC a few weeks ago?

Truth is, there is no difference between the two major parties in Nigeria. Membership of any one of them is dependent on where one feels one’s bread will be buttered better at any material time. So, blaming the PDP for almost all Nigeria’s ills amounts to the Catholic Bishop of Enugu blaming the church for allowing Ejike Mbaka make undue political statements on the altar of God.

Most Nigerians are wiser now. The forthcoming presidential election is not about Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi versus Muhammadu Buhari/Yemi Osinbajo. It is not also about PDP versus APC or even Hausa versus Igbo or Yoruba. It is about the urgent need to rescue Nigeria from total collapse.

President Buhari, who just marked his 76th birthday, has asked Nigerians for more time and prayers to fix Nigeria.

I am seriously praying for him to go for a deserved rest in his hometown, Daura. I am also praying for a free and fair contest next year. For those who wish to mortgage their conscience and future for a crumb, I wish them luck. But in the interest of the majority of Nigerians, especially the little twins dying of hunger, a change is inevitable.

Merry Christmas!

***

Re: Cry, the beloved South-East

Cry, the beloved South-East

Cash, apropos your column 17th Dec; two popular sayings strongly support Igbo and South-East position to massively vote PDP in the Atiku/Obi presidential ticket: 1. “It’s got to get worse to get better”. 2. “You gotta cry to laugh”. We will no longer cry ourselves hoarse, because, all said, the Nigerian system cannot unleash any worst, bitterest treatment and hatred on Igbo and people of the South-East and South-South. In the olden days, the village pregnant woman did not starve to death for lack of cucumber. Stupid!

Dr Chuka Nwosu, Port Harcourt, +2348085914645

Casmir, please continue to write the truth about lopsidedness, cheating, injustice and the wickedness in this country especially in this regime.

Hofnar, +2348059576140

Casmir, your write-up regarding President Buhari’s appointment of EFCC board should not worry Igbo true sons and daughters because Nigerians know that Buhari hates the Igbo. My advice to my Igbo brothers and sisters is that if Nigeria fails to vote Atiku or any other candidate and make the mistake of voting Buhari in and APC during presidential election of 2019, let those who see it my way join me to follow Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB.

Anaekwe P.O. +2348037275839

Senator Victor Umeh spoke well about marginalisation of Ndigbo in this government but what about the time Ndigbo were in key positions in past govt? What did they use their positions to bring for lgbo land? Were they not there for their own selfish interest, not interest of Ndigbo? No infrastructural development in spite of our lgbo leaders in key positions in past govt. We must hold our past leaders responsible for infrastructural decay in southeast states.

Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

My beloved South-East! Thank you for synopsis of marginalization against Ndigbo in Nigeria. There is no way PMB can change: the cabal are resolute in conquering everything. You can only defeat them using a superior art of violence. It is so sad Casmir. I am very angry!

Col RN Oputa Retd +2348033206191

Dear Casmir, your article was very sound and clear. We Igbos are seriously being marginalised in this country. We are crying and the rest of Nigerians seem not to care. But, how will we make them care when some of us are ready to sell their mother for Hausa man to answer his greetings. Or what will you call somebody like Osita Okechukwu who is trying to betray all the Igbos to satisfy his paymasters. He wants to be the best boy to Buhari and IBB at the same time. Hear Osita in The Sun Newspaper on Monday 17:12:18 page 41: “Though the South-East did not vote for Buhari, his administration has invested massively in the second Niger Bridge and other federal roads. Please, can somebody tell Osita Okechukwu that second Niger Bridge does not belong to people of South-East but to the people of Nigeria. Come to think of it, what does how we voted connect to his praise singing? By this, one can know where some of the problems of people of South-East are coming from. If Okechukwu wants to fight for his stomach as we can see he is trying to do, let him do it without reminding his masters how we voted in 2015. Almost 4 years now. IGBO NA EGBU ONWEHA!

Anonymous, +2348063392297

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