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By: Chris Onyishi

Published September 19th, 2010

I watched the President’s declaration with some fun fair. I was amused because of several funny behaviors of man which is usually exhibited when man wants to create false impression. And this is usually played out during political rallies such as in declaration arena of this kind.

First, I must confess that the President did much more than I expected. He gave an unwritten speech and the speech was smooth. He could have memorized it but, in all, it was an excellent job very well delivered. The President, generally, does not and did not exude the kind of confidence one would have expected but he was forth with convincing rhetoric. Vice President Sambo, is definitely, more charismatic and stable but his speech was written. As I said, the President articulated beyond my expectation but I keep saying that the President cannot offer Nigeria and Nigerians any thing because I always see a hand of Esor in a Jacob’s voice in his activities.

From Alhaji Bamanga Turko , Bernabas Gemade, through to all the governors, present and past government functionaries, that addressed the gathering, one was astonished as to the level of energy they dissipated shouting “PDP” power into the public address system’s microphone. Some of them turned outright musicians and even did not allow Nigerian artists, who were on hand, the opportunity to do the singing.

The arena, once more, demonstrated how ridiculous politicians are. One governor after another spoke how his state was 100% behind the President’s anticipated declaration – even those who cannot pay salaries in their states not to talk of any meaningful road network. I just imagined if after all these rubbish the President had stood up to say he was no longer interested. And my breath seized momentarily when after a few words the President asked his wife to hold on when she unfolded the cloth, she clutched all the while, and wanted to hang same over the shoulder of the President. I had thought the President wanted to renounce his ambition. And you would have seen how all those people who have been rallying behind him would have just quickly switched tents.

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Most politicians in Nigeria do not do or say anything because they believe in it. They are all driven by selfish desire to belong and amass wealth. So all their support for President Jonathan’s candidacy was not because they believe in his ability to turn the system round after all they do not understand the meaning of development outside their pockets. What have they done in their respective states?

If politicians are ever genuine and trustworthy, one would have imagined that these people will move the mountain whenever they come to power judging by the strength they exhibited when they spoke in the Eagle Square - The President’s declaration arena. But ssome of us are too old to take them seriously. The very people who shouted them selves out are the very same people we have seen severally in similar occasions in the past from 1979 to date. And most of them are still in leadership and you cannot relate their shouting at the arena with their performance in the office both now and in the past. So what is the basis of their noise making?

Take the case of ubiquitous Tony Anenih as an example. Our smooth operator was on hand, as usual, to tell us that - as an elder - we should believe him and give our support to Mr. President by 2011. And when you remember that this is the same Chief Anenih of recent past, who used over 496 billion naira to construct more ditches on our roads across the federation (during the big masquerade’s eight dark years), you will tend to be lost as to his sincerity. All of them who spoke are the very people who brought and kept us where we are today and they were all in unison that there is need for rebirth because the past was wasted. And my question to them was who is fooling who?

Some of the speakers did not mince words when they spoke to the crowd in telling them that they were not educated enough by addressing them in a mix of real and pigeon English. These speakers included - but not limited to - the governor of Cross River State, Lyel Imoke and the women affairs Minister, our own dear Mrs. Anenih whose idea of development is that his fellow women were tying beautiful wrappers and umbrella-like “geles”. Usually, electorates are seen and regarded as the ordinary people who are not very educated and addressing them in borrowed English is usually used by some politicians to imply that they are down to earth with them.

And when you do some simple analysis, you will discover that these electorates remain ordinary because of the activities of these politicians who will never use their good offices to genuinely empower them. And the irony of it is that these same half or none educated people see the politicians who address them so scornfully as being sympathetic with their course or as being down to earth with them.

One other intriguing moment caught my admiration during the declaration. The NTA crew was at their best when they captured and synchronized the wriggling of one madam, whom I suspected was our branding officer, and the dismayed countenance of the first lady. I think, it was Samy Okposo who was performing while one madam danced profusely to the rhythm. While the madam was dancing, the NTA camera beamed on our first lady, Dame Jonathan Goodluck, as she watched contemptuously as to the cause and meaning of these uncontrolled dancing steps. I am not sure the President noticed this scenario neither did he observe that first lady by his left was not comfortable with madam’s rendition.

One ridiculous aspect of Nigeria’s democracy is that a President wields so much power that no one dares look into his face even when one does not believe in him. And this derives from the fact that our system encourages personal enrichment over and above infrastructural development. And since the president has a strangling hold over who gets what, in defiance to the constitutional provisions, he can squeeze an unyielding governor. Contrast this with the American system where a Senator or a governor of state can go ahead and challenge the President on virtually anything even within the same party. Where the President is not personally powerful, he must be having the backing of a very powerful cabal. So it is not surprising that all PDP governors have become so stigmatized about President Jonathan who was, not long ago, one of them.

In all, I still remain adamant with my position that President Goodluck will not do anything strange because, it is still the old wine in slightly new skin or what I term Jacob’s voice in Esor’s body. If most of the people who milled around him in the declaration arena are the very people from where he will pick his team whenever he is voted into power, then we have not moved an inch from our headache. And if we extrapolate by the open air ramblings of these men and women, and their attestation that Mr. President is a listening person, we will then come to a conclusion that our trouble has just been re-enacted. The President who will deliver Nigeria should not be a listening one, and if he should be listening at all, he should not listen to the advice of the very irresponsible and inordinate people who have helped in all ways in bringing and keeping us in this devastation.

Chris Onyishi

Nsukka, Nigeria

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