Before Things Fall Apart In Nigeria

Reading through Dr Reuben Abati’s piece titled ‘The Presidency And A So-Called Arewa Agenda’ published in The Guardian of September 21st, 2008, broke my heart as it must have chilled  the  many who still believe that Nigeria is worth preserving. It is beyond belief. The plan of the cabal according to Dr Abati’s piece which was anchored on another piece in The Sun Newspaper is that if the President is unable to continue in office, the cabal will not let the Vice President succeed him as is constitutionally provided and required. To sabotage the constitution and succession, this cabal plan to use the Supreme Court to void the Presidential election and pave the way for the North to bring out another Northern candidate for a fresh Presidential poll. If former President Obasanjo had become incapacitated to continue in office, would this cabal have called for another Yoruba man to succeed him or the then constitutionally elected Vice President?  If it is true that such a plot exists, it will only amplify the cry of those calling for the splitting of Nigeria along ethnic lines. The mindset of this cabal represents a dangerous precedent and the fastest road to perdition in today’s Nigeria. 

It is widely alleged that the former Secretary to the Federal government lost his job because he was positioning himself to be the successor to the incumbent President. If this is also true, it means that Babagana Kingibe is a member of this cabal or at the very least knows who they are. And if so called insiders like the former secretary and the cabal were and are still plotting the succession of a President who is alive and in power, their body language suggests that the they know something the rest of us do not know, which means the President’s medical condition may be worst than speculated. The whole world is watching and their conclusion would be that there is more to all the plotting than meets the eyes.
Should  President Yar’Adua for any reason become incapable of continuing in office and the cabal has its way and sweeps Vice President Goodluck Jonathan aside, it will be one coup too many. The ultimate casualty may well be the Nigerian nation as we know it, possibly bringing to pass the prediction of the United States Intelligence Estimate that Nigeria is an accident waiting to explode.
In the past, there were things we thought were common in other countries that will never happen in Nigeria. Until we came face to face with Nigerian Presidents and military Heads of State who did not want to leave office. Until the first letter bomb killed Dele Giwa. Until the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election. Until ethnic cleansing of other nationalities from the civil service by General Abacha. Until phantom coups. Until Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was murdered   in Abacha’s prison. Until the ‘five fingers of a leprous hand’ political parties. Until the assassination of Kudirat Abiola and Pa Rewane. Until MKO Abiola ‘died’ in detention. Until third term seekers. No wonder John McCain specifically mentioned Nigeria as one of the countries whose crude oil the United States should work hard to do without because our ways and standards are below accepted international norm. Make no mistake about this, the unpredictable and unacceptably high political risk is keeping away many foreign investors from Nigeria.
If the unthinkable happens, will the Supreme Court actually do the bidding of this cabal and void the presidential election according to their script? We would be foolish to think this cabal does not mean business. They know what they want and are ruthless enough to engineer circumstances to fall into place. Before now the Supreme Court stood as a bulwark against injustice. It is now going to be the most watched court in the land and perhaps all over the world. We want to see if a cabal of unelected tribal leaders have as much power as they claim. We want to see if Nigeria will live or die because men who have no loyalty to any one but themselves will always have their way. These are men and women who do not care if Nigeria lives or dies as long as their loots are in saner climes.
Reuben Abati in the same write up called the issue of the president’s health the undeclared ‘eighth agenda.’ It is in recent times the most discussed issue by citizens who are not better informed today than they were a month ago. This health issue is the cause of the cabal’s unbridled mischief. Its latest victims NAN and Channels Television have also exposed government’s inability to manage crisis and in fact blow them out of proportion. Government’s rules of engagement are so predictable they are nauseating.  If it is the Niger Delta, start another round of talking that will deliver more confusion. If a public office building is burnt down to destroy evidence of massive corruption, it is described as the will of God, as if God is an arsonist and then set up a board of inquiry to find out the immediate and remote causes of God’s fire!  If you criticize government, you are a miscreant. If as in the case of NAN and Channels Television, bring the Federal hammer down to obliterate real and imagined enemies. If the AFP and BBC were Nigerian establishments, they too would have experienced the Federal might!  According to the director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Channels Television’s broadcasting of the ‘unwholesome news item’ was considered ‘detrimental to national interest and lead or likely lead to a break down of law and order in the country.’ What then would be said of the cabal and its very divisive and explosive agenda?
It is interesting that it was at the same time that the Republican Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin had her ‘executive’ e-mail address hacked into and compromised. If it had happened in Nigeria, Yahoo would have lost its license and perhaps be charged for treason. In the Nigerian instance, the NBC that suspended the license of Channels Television made the suspension look like the amorphous typically Nigerian ‘orders from above,’ which I believe was also eventually required to restore the same license. Because of the damage the handling of this obvious hacking has had in Nigeria, the mischief makers will try again. And there is no guarantee they will not succeed once more. There is no telling what kind of ‘news’ they will send next. Perhaps, this time the hackers ‘news’ will be that the Niger Delta militants have declared an independent ‘Republic of Niger Delta.’  Only utmost vigilance will defeat future attempts.
We always manage to put the wrong foot forward while South Africa continues to show that not all of Africa is backward. If it was Nigeria, Thabo Mbeki would be called Baba, the father of the nation, the leader of the party, the alpha and omega, the prosecutor, judge and jury of real and imagined enemies. Who would have dared to challenge him, talk less of tossing him out of office by his own party men and women, because he tried to mould the party in his own image? Thabo Mbeki obviously has not heard of the persuasive power of Ghana-must-go bags stuffed with their equivalent of the Naira, the Rand. This is also happening when the talk is on how to sustain the dominion of a cabal in Nigeria through foul means. The difference is clear. The hope of the vast majority of Nigerians  who wish President Yar’Adua well is that he and the National Assembly will give full meaning to his most recognisable catch phrase: ‘rule of law and due process,’ and make them unmistakeably inviolate.
The reason for the alleged plans of the cabal is to stop at any cost the sitting Vice President, a son of the Niger Delta. The militants and Niger Delta elders have previously and publicly stated that they know their son is powerless and effectively castrated. The uncouth and arrogant behaviour and utterances of the cabal will therefore always play into the hands of militants. Their swashbuckling creates absolutely no reason to trust the North whom I believe the cabal falsely claim to represent. Their actions undermine the Nigerian nation. It is perhaps an additional reason the militants believe dialogue will not be fruitful.
When the former President Olusegun Obasanjo went from prison to Aso Rock, it was hoped that he would rehabilitate and overhaul the prisons but he did nothing. There is no way of knowing how many Nigerians suffering the same ailment as President Yar’Adua have died because they have no access to the kind of medical attention he has received and continues to receive. The truth is, so many, who could have lived, died and still die from even easily curable ailments. Let this be the impetus for this President to pay particular attention to the issue of none existent medical facilities, such that Nigerians will see some good come out of his condition.
The whole world heaved a sigh of relief when the governments of the United States, Great Britain and other developed nations acted fast to protect their banking sectors and stock markets from collapse. This culminated in the take over of AIG and the taking over of $700 billion toxic mortgage loans by the United States government. These toxic risk assets and short selling of shares by predators were largely to blame for the fall of Lehman Brothers and the easy picking of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. There are many in Nigeria notably Bismarck Rewane who thinks investors in the Nigerian Stock market should be hung out to dry. The inventors of the free market system have shown that it is irresponsible not to protect your citizens from economic melt down that could wipe out savings, pensions and stock values on a massive scale. A different mix of scenarios in Nigeria wiped out more than N3.5 trillion from the stock market, decapitating investors in hitherto unheard of scale.
The United States and Britain further banned shorting or short-selling of shares. Short-selling in the arcane language of international finance is a practice where companies receive shares on loan for a small fee, with a proviso to return the same quantity of shares at a later date. The companies then sell the shares at current price and some of them actively go out to spread rumours and undermine in different ways the company whose shares they borrowed,  including offloading some of the shares to create more panic. The goal is to drive down the price of the shares, then buy them back to replace the loaned or borrowed shares at the new rock bottom price. If they sold the shares when they received them as loaned or borrowed shares and succeeded in bringing down their prices with rumours and other activities, the difference between the original price and the new lower price is their profit. Imagine getting shares loaned to you at N10:00 per share and selling them off at the same price. Thereafter, through rumours and other activities orchestrated by you, the price falls to N4:00 per share. You then buy them at the new price of N4:00 per share to replace the borrowed shares.  You walk away with a profit of N6:00 per share. Apart from a small fee you paid when you borrowed the shares, there is no other investment required from you.
Short-sellers only make profit when the price of the shares they borrowed falls. This is what this cabal wants to do to Nigeria. They want to short-sell and undermine us.  Nigeria would then end up like Lehman Brothers with no buyers or takers. But then like every one involved in short-selling, they really do not care what happens to the companies they brought down and destroyed. Shame on them and their tribal and political equivalent in Nigeria. The flip side for short-sellers is that if the price of the shares they borrowed goes up rather than down, they lose money.  If we do not make the price of idiotic thinking high enough, this cabal will not stop trying to short sell Nigeria. Our nation is worth preserving and no price should be considered too high to pay to call this cabal to order. And the only one who can do it is President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua whose political and existential obituary the cabal has scripted and waiting to play out. He is the only one who can shoot down these circling vultures. One way of doing this, is as I wrote in an earlier article titled ‘The Nine Lives of President Yar’Adua,’ is for the President to hand over to the Vice President and a supporting team of competent technocrats to hold forth while he travels out to get medical treatment any where for as long as is required, then return to take over and conclude his mandate. Any thing less, the cabal will win and Nigeria may well implode.
CSN: 68623-2008-14-08

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