Tinubu-Blinken chat: Nigeria must die for US to live
Last month, Chimamanda Adichie, the globally-acclaimed Nigerian novelist, wrote a letter to Joe Biden, President of the United States of America, calling him out for his government’s seemingly tacit support to the electoral heist that took place in Nigeria between February and March 2023.
Though the POTUS, was yet to make a personal call on the election, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, had along with UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, congratulated both Nigeria and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election, a development, Adichie frowned at, saying the US, ought to know that the exercises were nothing but a sham.
Days later, she further explained the raison d’etre for writing the letter, when she told Arise Television that one of her main purposes, apart from relating what she knew about the polls, was to expose the US hypocrisy. “I wanted to call out the US for what I consider the two-facedness when it comes to Africa.
“The US has a long history of complicity in non-democratic elections on this continent. Recently, in Congo, two or three years ago, they endorsed an election that was an absolute sham. Then, the same US will turn around and criticise Congo for not being democratic. So, my point was to say, be what you say you are. You cannot cricise African countries for being undemocratic, while at the same time endorsing something that is quite self-evidently, undemocratic.”
Nothing adumbrates this position more poignantly than the revelation that the same Blinken, is already negotiating with Tinubu on how his government would relate with Washington. The two were said to have spoken on phone for 20 minutes on Tuesday. In the move, said to have been initiated by the senior American official, he reportedly emphasised that “democratic and peaceful Nigeria is important to the United States as it is to Africa.”
Mathew Miller, US Department of State spokesperson, said his boss also pledged his “continued commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration, adding: “The secretary noted that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect, Tinubu’s tenure.”
Nobody needs the skills of a diplomat to understand that these are bland niceties, which have probably been repeated a thousand times to different countries, particularly in Africa on on auspicious occasions. The meat is in what was actually discussed between the two that was left unreported. That is what represents the “American Interest.”
For the naïve and uninitiated, when American or most, if not all, Western countries talk about promotion of democracy and stability in Africa, what they really mean is a government made up of officials that would never dare upset the apple-cart in terms of ensuring that Africa retains the short end of the stick.
In this case, American interest is a metaphor for ensuring that Nigeria maintains the status quo of bad governance, poor management of the economy and bad behaviour of government officials. That is the only way to guarantee that a substantial quota of the Nigerian commonwealth ends up in US cities willy-nilly.
Now picture this! Blinken’s conversation with Tinubu, came a day after the selfsame US announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who allegedly disrupted the recently concluded elections in the form of voter threats, results manipulation, physical violence, and other activities that undermined democracy. Imagine the contradiction!
In other words, he knows quite well that the Tinubu he was speaking to came out of an election that was fraught with irregularities and in fact, totally wounded. Yes, he would be or ought to be completely seized of all the facts to the rottenness of the entire exercise. In fact, apart from the hidden cameras of undercover US agents in Nigeria, which would have put every details, including those not known to many Nigerians, on his table, the official reports of observer groups, from the same US, which were quite emphatic about what went down election, would have told the complete story.
Yet, the same person and the people whom he represents, think it does not matter – the same people that are quick to blow their own trumpet of being the biggest democracy in the world. How contradictory! But then, only the naive and imbecilic would fail to understand the rationale.
How else could they exert control over Tinubu and Nigeria under him, if there is nothing to hold against him, if he were elected as the true choice of Nigerians? That is the snag. Fela Anikulapo, saw it long time ago, when he described how they would promote one unscrupulous person from a country, make him so rich and use him as a conduit pipe to milk his people.
Else, which other candidate in the 2023 presidential election presented the type of negative vibes seen in Tinubu? A clearly nebulous past, a shaky present, marked by obvious signs of ill-health and incapacity? Was it not in the same America that Tinubu reportedly forfeited $460,000, reportedly linked with drug business? What could be more damning than such an outcome, with drug being one of the greatest crimes in the US?
Indeed, only an African President, in this case Nigerian President looking for validation that would likely look the other way when economic and social robbers invade his country to commit their heist, knowing that they have enough to blackmail him with, would be ideal.
No Nigerian leader would smell roses before America or the West, by not only talking about it, but manifesting the actual propensity and capacity for ending oil theft in the Niger Delta, which accounts for its attaining the unenvious status of the poverty capital of the world at a time when other oil-producing countries across the world are smiling to the banks.
In fact, such a person instantly becomes not only a person of interest, but an enemy that must be stopped. If a Nigerian President presents the capacity to actually end insurgency in the country, how do the US weapons factories survive? If a Nigerian President decides to promote made in Nigeria vehicles and stops acquiring the latest cars minted from the factories of the US and Asia, where else do they sell them?
Would they be going to Scandinavian countries to sell the latest jeeps when their Presidents go to offices on bicycles. Would the West or America readily applaud a system that would prevent the son of potential Nigerian President from buying a £11million house in the UK, or another from riding a $500,000 motorcycle out of the gates of the Presidential Villa, for which Nigeria is suffered to treat him abroad with scarce foreign exchange in cases of accidents with the same machine?
Who else would sustain the economy of the US and Europe, if African government officials no longer steal their countries dry and stash the money abroad? How could anyone threaten a system that would ensure the steady flow of stolen money from Aso Rock officials, their thieving counterparts in the National Assembly and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the US and hope to get kisses from Washington? Recently, Nigerians saw one Minister in the current government jogging out of one of his houses in the US and boasting to the whole world that it was one of the least out of his several houses there, though, as usual he claimed that he did not acquire same with public funds. However, ask him how many American in his shoes ever owned a hut in Nigeria or could even afford one.
No! Blinken, would never have called a Nigerian President that would boast of his capacity to run the country without foreign loans. The attitude would have been different. If such a person were to emerge, even by accident, especially with the sort of stories surrounding the criminal electoral process the whole world spoke about in that of February 25, it would certainly have been a different kettle of fish.
Till date, many believe that John Magufuli, the fifth President of Tanzania, died in office in mysterious circumstance in 2021, because he refused to pander to foreign interests, including collecting foreign loans, rather than the COVID-19 complications to which it was attributed. Such is the level of treachery that surrounds the issue of not only the US, but the West, in terms of their relationship with Africa.
In fact, the West, which embraced the late Mobutu Sese Seko, of Zaire, later Congo Democratic Republic, after the brutal murder of Patris Lumumba, were the same people that ensured his ouster after they found no use for him any longer. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, went the same way, simply because he decided to cut off excesses and lavish government lifestyle in favour of low profile template that at least limited the country’s scarce resources from being spent in purchasing exotic cars and other items.
Most recently, it was the turn of Mommar Gadaffi. Latching on an uprising, suspected to have been induced from outside, which led to his brutal murder, Libya, a country that was so rich and stable that not only education and healthcare were totally free, but young couples were given free homes under the same Gadaffi, has now become a massive killing field, promoted by warlords that have carved fiefdoms for themselves, using weapons supplied them from foreign factories to prosecute their bloody wars. As this goes on, America, Britain and France, which ensured this, have since returned home to watch from their bedrooms, to watch the bedlam in Benghazi, and Sirte, content that with no one now in charge, they could conveniently milk the riches of the country unchallenged. Mission accomplished!
As part of the booty, for helping Libyans “under bondage of a brutal dictator liberate themselves,” the $500billion Libyan money in foreign banks, were since confiscated and shared among themselves, alongside other billions of dollars worth of assets belonging the country, while the “liberated” Libyans now stew in their own juices.
The pity, is that most people who celebrate Blinken’s call to Tinubu today, are as blind by personal interest as the Libyans who went to the streets to welcome the Americans believing that it was all about them. They believe that it is about love from Washington, forgetting that a cockroach will never find justice in the court of lizards.
Wait till when Tinubu decides to assert himself, assuming the spirit of God enters his heart and he decides to serve Nigeria instead of the US interest by turning the country around. That’s when the true image of Blinken and the US would be made manifest. Because for Washington, as in London or Paris, Africa must die for US to live.
Ekweremadu: The joke is on Buhari, when shame takes flight!
What would President Muhammadu Buhari be discussing today with his colleague Presidents and Heads of State in England as they converge on the country for the coronation of King Charles 111? Would he be aware of the stolen glances, muffled conversations, snide comments, hidden laughter and benign sympathies?
What if one of the bold British reporters walks up to him to pop that important question – Sir, what do you think about your country’s former number six citizen being sent to prison when you’re here? Would he consider it insulting or would he simply dismiss it with the simple answer – do the crime, do the time!?
No one needs to wager a bet that the President would not be perturbed by the implications of what is unfolding before his own eyes in the UK. Of course it would be difficult to ascertain how come the sentencing of Ike Ekweremadu, Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, for such a high crime of organ harvesting, would be happening at the same period Buhari is in the UK. It might well be a coincident or planned to be so. But give or take, the important thing is that the optics. Does it look edifying in anyway?
No matter how it might be waved aside as just a course of events, it is difficult to see how it would be divested from the menu of discussions within the diplomatic circle gathering in London, if not officially, privately. Even as an ordinary citizen, the publicity given to the incident is enough to generate a fair interest, not to talk about a nation’s top citizen – a former number six citizen.
What a diplomatic calamity! Which other President outside Buhari would be proud at this time, standing shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders with such an obscene and ugly scenario playing out before him, in which a top citizen of his country is being dressed in orange dress and being led away to jail, before his very eyes. Only a Nigerian President would suffer such a shame.
Yes, the argument is being made that the British court is no respecter of persons and therefore impervious to Ekweremadu’s status. It is also being argued that the date had been scheduled and could not be altered because of the coronation. But must Buhari be at the event? What is there for him or Nigeria to gain as to make it imperative to be subjected to such an international insult?
In other words, would he claim not to be aware of the implication? Assuming he did not advert his mind to it, would his advisers not have told him? Must he attend the king’s coronation, if it would present an opportunity to throw mud in his face? Must he be in London at this time?
Naturally, this would not be the first time. Using a big event to deliberately smear Nigeria or accentuate its fault, seems to have become the standard in Britain. In May 2016, while foreign leaders were arriving London ahead of an anti-corruption summit held by the UK government, David Cameron, seized an opportunity of an event at the Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the 90th birthday of the late Queen Elizabeth 11, to describe Nigeria as “fantastically-corrupt.”
Though it seemed an unintended faux pass – an off-handed statement made in a private meeting – but many vast in diplomatic circles, suggest that the video clip accompanying it, was deliberately leaked to achieve a major purpose, in the well-orchestrated scheme to demean Nigeria.
Incidentally, to many people, who had assumed that Buhari would have fumed with righteous anger at the deliberate slight by a fellow leader, and probably made a well-deserved protest, were amazed about how he gave more impetus to the obvious insult in his benign retort that he would fight corruption.
Today a more intriguing reaction is coming from the larger Nigerian society to the Ekweremadu saga. Countless number of compatriots, rather than see the hidden implication, have practically rolled out the drums to celebrate what they believe was a victory. One of their “enemies” is down.
He is corrupt. He thought it was Nigeria. He deserves what he got. If he had invested the money he stole in building a befitting hospital, he wouldn’t have been in this mess! On and on, the blame game goes on. But what they fail to realise is that the fate Ekweremadu just suffered has a ripple effect, like throwing a stone into an open market.
They seem not to realise that it may have a direct link to why a Peter Obi, or Wole Soyinka or Yakubu Mahmood with green passport, would be pulled out of a line a the Heathrow Airport in London or JFK in the US and delayed for hours, while their counterparts from Ghana, Togo, Zimbabwe or even the smallest nations in Africa are given easy passage.
Why would the same people not see that the same Oyibo people they are quick to eulogise commit far worse crimes in Africa without consequences. Ekweremadu’s case was attempt at organ harvesting, which is against the law and therefore he had to go in for it. But who punishes the white man for the horrendous atrocities they commit across African countries?
The suggestion is that crimes, local and international are embedded in the African genes only. But do not even look crimes like the slave trade, pillaging of commonwealth of colonised countries and other atrocities centuries ago. Those may have receded far at the back of history. What about many recent events that are still very fresh ?
Remember it was the white man that arranged hazardous wastes packaged and dumped in Koko, Delta State in 1988. It was the same white man that in 1996 illegally used some 200 children as guinea pigs in a vaccine experiment that killed 11 of them and left the rest with various degrees of deformity, including paralysis, in Kano.
Today, not only are some rare artifacts from Nigeria and Africa are decorating many public and private museums in their countries, they are still stealing and carting more of them till date. It is still the same white man that have made their homes havens for child trafficking and prostitution, despite what is there in the open.
You wonder today why not a single dime enters the public till in Nigeria from production and sale of oil, when each day, shiploads of products leave the shores of the Niger Delta to foreign destinations. You don’t need to look deeper to see the imprimatur of the white man in the heist.
Were it just economic crimes alone, it would even be better. It is far worse! They have to kill and maim – in thousands and millions – to achieve their purpose. This is the fatal fate of countries like Congo Democratic Republic (DR), the acclaimed richest enclave in the world in terms of mineral resources. In such places, there is a pattern. Once deposits of mineral resources are discovered using satellite imagery, the next step is to arm vulnerable local youths with guns and drugs and off they go killing each other while they land with their helicopters and mining equipment to steal the minerals.
That is why today the people of Zamfara in Nigeria’s North West bury their dead in tens and hundreds, while reporting the frequent landing and taking off of some flying objects, loaded with gold and other precious minerals, while the official story is that it is all about herdsmen and their cattle.
How many people died in Iraq where the world was told of a certain Saddam Hussein was storing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), only to discover that it was a personal beef and disagreements over mundane issues? Today, what is left of a once proud and beautiful country are relics of the past as the present is buried in misery of biting poverty – people hitherto swimming in opulence now dying of hunger in the midst of continued slaughtering in the streets by religious fanatics or other criminals.
What about Libya? This was a country so rich that on the attainment of 25, a man is ushered into his well-furnished home on government account, where studying from cradle to the highest level of educational attainment is free of charge, including foreign training. This was a country where citizens practically enjoyed a land filled with milk and honey in real terms. But what is Libya today? A wasteland of drugged, gun-bearing youths killing each other on the orders of warlords created by the leadership gap after the mindless blitzkrieg unleashed on the country by the white man.
Now, what has happened to the culprits in these monumental wastage and massive carnage. George W Bush who has long admitted that Iraq was a mistake, has since retired to his ranch in Texas enjoying the status of world leader. Barak Obama, David Cameron, and Nicolas Sarkozy of US, UK and France who teamed up to commit that heinous crime of killing Muommer Gadaffi, are today strutting about the globe in like manner and being accorded red carpet treatments as statesmen by their hosts, when their places should be in jail for causing such human calamity.
So, talk about crimes! It has the colour of Africa. How much have you heard further of the sexual offences case of Prince Andrew, of the British royal house? Through the backdoor channels it has been settled quietly without fuss. But the case of Ekweremadu, a father trying to save his daughter cannot be settled. Of course, before Ekweremadu, was James Ibori, a former Governor. Again, Nigerians rolled out the drums as they’re doing today in celebration. They celebrate because they believe what Nigeria could not do by putting the former Delta State helmsman behind bars had become possible elsewhere.
Before Ibori was the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State, who was lucky to have escaped back to Nigeria after being arrested in London for money laundering. Even the late Chinwoke Mbadinuju of Anambra State, escaped by the whiskers of a cat. His own crime was that he was seen with his traditional elephant tusk. His saving grace was that the tusk turned out to be fake when scientifically examined.
Else, he would have been ferried from the airport where he was caught straight to court and jail. Of course there would have been joy in the land, because like Ekweremadu, Ibori and Alams, Mabadinuju was not smelling roses with his people in Anambra at the time, coupled with the fact that all public officers in Nigeria have enemies who would always wish the worst to happen to them.
So, like every other world leader, Buhari would have his space at the gallery to watch the event of Saturday, May 6, 2023. There would be handshakes, patting on the back, exchange of banters and pleasantries. But the joke would be on him. In the private places, out of earshot, he would be the butt of diplomatic jokes. Then Nigeria will sink further. Then the citizens would taste the outcome – at airports, in foreign lands and elsewhere nationalities take prides of place. That’s the tragedy!
Eight years of hell or the beginning of new country – Nigerians decide
In the next few hours Nigerians will make a major decision. That decision will give answer to the basic question, which has been quite and more prevalent on the political horizon in the last few months – eight years of more suffering or a giant step to the building of a new Nigeria. Let that fact be established from from the outset.
That is what the 2023 presidential election is all about. Of course, the reason for four, instead of eight years is obvious. It is rare, if not impossible to vote out a President by the ballots in this part of the world no matter the records of the occupier of that seat. In fact, but for the serious constitutional obstacle which peg their tenures to a maximum terms of years in office, many African leaders, including Nigeria, would never leave power till they die.
Indeed, many of such leaders, have successfully circumvented that stumbling block by changing their constitution or manipulated same, such that they now enjoy elongated tenures or have become live Presidents. That is why Africa presents a horde of lifetime Presidents today like Teodore Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, who has been in power since 1979, and who is the longest serving President in the world today.
On the stage with him are Paul Biya of Cameroun, who came to power in 1992, Jose Eduardo do Santos of Angola, 1979-2017, Denis Sassou, Republic of Congo, Yoweri Musaveni, 78, who has been in power for 34 years from 1986.
Of course, but for his assassination in April 2021, Idris Deby would still have been the President of Chad till date in the same manner Robert Mugabe, who came into power in 1980, would probably have died in office if not that he was ousted by his own allies, who were instrumental to his decades-long stay in power. Of course, there are still Isaiaas Afwerki of Eritrea, who also makes the list, having been in power since 1991.
Not that Nigeria has not tried to join that league. Had the third term agenda, allegedly plotted by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, succeeded, perhaps he would still have been in power today. But a quick check on that alleged move, has at least reduced the problem of the country to just managing the constitutionally allowed eight years, which President Muhammadu Buhari is enjoying today, even to the astonishment of many people across the world for his abysmally low, if not scandalous outing that has seen the citizens reeling in unimaginable pain.
It is actually Buhari’s miraculous retention of power in 2019 that underscores the apparent picture of the futility of changing a Nigerian President through the ballot box. For despite the angst in the country during that crucial election and the burning desire to shove him out, he still found a way of “winning,” even with wider margin. Today, despite the stamp of authority etched on that outing by even the Supreme Court of Nigeria, not a few citizens are still dazed about how he managed to retain power.
Indeed, nobody needs go further in their stupefaction as to what happened. The only Nigerian President that would not enjoy a second term no matter the record, is the one who could adopt the philosophy of Goodluck Jonathan, in saying that – my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Period! Else, everything would be thrown into it, including all the institutions – security, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the judiciary – to make it work.
This is why Nigerians should not entertain themselves that they would not be stuck with their decisions today in eight years time, assuming there is the need to re-emphasise that again.
Luckily, the lengthy nature of the campaigns for this year’s election, has given Nigerians ample time to hear the arguments and see the candidates for what they are. So, the assessment and concomitant decision in a few hours time, is not for want of cogent and verifiable facts by the electorate. They would vote purely on the basis of their own countenances.
Since June last year, the clear indications have been there about what choices Nigerians would be presented. The voting public were the ones who heard how some of the candidates were still stuck and still are today with either identity issue, or struggling to explain away a single matter of producing a common Primary School certificate or even naming their classmates in either primary or secondary schools or indeed any level of their education.
They have themselves watched and seen demonstrable evidences and clear signs of sickness and inability of some of the candidates to be at grasp with their mental faculties. They have watched the countless gaffes and all the disturbing dramas that came with them.
Yes, they are no strangers to the issues of corruption, with terrifyingly repugnant details that trailed some of the candidates as would flies to a dead meat. In some case, they heard tapes where the candidates themselves owned up to details of how they set up odious enterprises in the name of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to frisk the national purse, thus giving vent to their well-established links with economic brigands that have helped in keeping the country down.
In other words, the character and pedigree of the candidates are an open book, somewhat. What remains is what Nigerians – the electorates do with them. Would the dark past and even the nebulous present of the lives of some of the candidates be brushed aside in favour of primordial sentiments?
With the deadly blow the recourse to nepotism and such other abhorrent considerations have wrought on the system, does ethnicity still present a seductive, alluring and enticing option to Nigerians. That is the question the same Nigerians must answer in a few hours from hence. Whichever way it goes, the consequences would remain – not in four, but – eight years. It’ll however be their choice!
Attack of Obi in Lagos: When Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu’s silence is not golden
Not a few Nigerians were shocked when the news broke out on Saturday that some supporters of Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, were waylaid on their way to the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) venue of the party’s presidential campaign grand finale in Lagos and brutally attacked by some hoodlums.
Shock, in this instance, is a mild word, considering the grievous implications of the development. The incident ought to evoke some serious apprehension and be given a graver reading, if the place of violence in the history of Nigerian politics is dug up and placed on the front burner. Many historians have recorded how the Operation Wetie during the internecine conflagration, of the Wild-Wild-West era, in the Western Region Region, today’s South West, directly triggered off a series of event that brought down Nigeria’s First Republic, thus, largely responsible for then ugly face of Nigeria today.
Regardless the authenticity and credibility, that aspect of the Nigerian historical narrative, the fact that it is being raised at all, whether as mere spin or not, underscores the danger of violence and its concomitant import in the political life of a people. It is simply too dangerous to import it into politics at every level. That is why, everybody ought to be worried. That is why apprehension must replace shock and action must replace docility at this point.
Of course, for sometime now, there seems to have been a buildup to the incident. In various street corners and in the social media, the discourse around the 2023 politics, especially in Lagos, had given vent to some dangerous toxicity that ought to have wrung the bell in some informed and critical ears. The putrid smell had suffused the political firmament before now.
According to reports, the LP supporters were attacked with machetes and other objects as they made their way to Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) where the rally was to be held. In fact, but for the quick intervention of some medical personnel at TBS, who reportedly had their hands full as they attended to the injured, the story might have been different.
Who knows what might have been the fate of those seen in the viral videos and pictures of the incident, seen palpably wounded and in agony with parts of their bodies, heavily bandaged? Some of them could actually have bled to death for all anyone could know.
In fact, the reports say, the incident was a coordinated attack, as the hoodlums were said to have waylaid the LP supporters around Jakande in Lekki and at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) venue of the rally on Lagos Island, destroying their vehicles and inflicting deep machete wounds on them.
How else would anyone underscore the danger it portends, not only to the democratic ethos of the country, but the impact it could have, were it to be mimicked and replicated in other parts of the country.
Who are these people? Who sent them? What is their motive? Of course, fingers are being pointed at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. There is the allegation that the party has forbidden any resident in Lagos to vote any other candidate outside its own at the various levels of political offices at the pain of physical harm or even death.
Those, who carried out the attack and similar ones before now, were enforcers, unleashed to carry out orders in this direction. In fact, the social media is awash with recorded messages, where clear instructions were being dished out to some residents of the state from other parts of the country as to the direction they must vote, at the price of peaceful existence, habitation and business in the state.
In one of such particular tapes, said to emanate from one of the suburbs, the residents were being warned that they must record their choice of votes at the polls with their cameras, regardless that it is criminal offence to do so, just to prove that they voted for the APC candidates.
Of course, these stories, remain at the level of allegations. But real or imagined, the message are not only very clear, but the implications are very dire and dangerous, given that some members of the public, among them political brigands could act on them either as lone loose cannons or at the direction and instruction of higher authorities.
That is why those in authority in the state must come out with decisive, clear messages on where they stand on the dangerous development. It is not edifying that no words have come from the Lagos State Government, where the incident happened or Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor or Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the alter ego of the state and currently the National Leader and presidential candidate of the APC.
Obi, who in his quick reaction, had described the attack as “troubling,” urging the police to fish out those responsible, had given further details, saying: “I received reports that four members of the Obidient Family were attacked and injured in Lagos ahead of today’s rally. That incident, premeditated or not, is deeply troubling. Such act stands vehemently condemned.
“We cannot continue to tolerate attacks on members of the political opposition, often fuelled by the incendiary rhetorics of political leaders. The new Nigeria that we seek is one founded on peace and justice, and the respect for the rule of law. I call on the Lagos State security agencies to fish out those responsible for the attacks.”
Benjamin Hundeyin, spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, who also gave details of the incident, said operatives were already investigating the matter, adding that the attack was regrettable and that witnesses were already helping the police with relevant information.
“The Jakande Ward Chairman of the Labour Party commendably reported an attack on his party members at Ilasan Division. Four injured persons have been given medical attention. The Divisional Police Officer, Ilasan, has commenced preliminary investigations while the State Criminal Investigation Department is to fully take over investigations.
“The injured and other witnesses are assisting the Police with relevant information that would aid the apprehension and prosecution of the attackers. This attack is reprehensible! It is verifiable that the Command had stationed, since yesterday, patrol vehicles and officers at the Tafawa Balewa Square venue of today’s rally. We had already secured the venue to prevent any breakdown of law and order,” Hundeyin said in a series of tweets on Saturday.
Yet for Sanwo-Olu, et al, mum has remained the word. This is not healthy at all. This is not a time to be silent. Yes, silence is said to be golden. But not at this time. Outside politics, this is his state and he is in charge. Nobody should spell out to him that the security and welfare of residents in Lagos, remains his primary duty in office, regardless of who they are and whatever political leaning.
Outside a clear message to rein in such occurrence, either by quickly putting a machinery in place that would lead to the arrest of the hoodlums, he must be conscious of the fact that silence in this case, could mean either a tacit support or full endorsement of the attack, willy-nilly.
Suppose other states took a cue from the narrative in Lagos that residents must vote in one direction and insist that in their own domains as well, non-indigenes must also toe the line, where then lies the value of choice, which is the liv-ewire of democracy via election, as the most critical component? In the first place, would it not be foolish to assume that only Lagos alone is the make or mar state for the victory of the APC?
For us at the WhirlwindNews, it is not only an appeal, but a demand Nigerians and the world at large must make at this point. The powers that be in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, et al, must stand up and speak. Now!
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