Few weeks after Wole Soyinka, one of the few Africans globally respected, facilitated a mass protest against Yar’adua’s northern retrogression of the Nigerian nation, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) has as well instigated some of the most unpopular figures in the Nigerian history into a deceptive pretense of cajoling Nigerians to believe he is speaking out for the interests of the masses and therefore a true statesman. The unfolding of this later event had awakened some suspicions of whether Gowon is out to imitate the obvious universal altruism of Professor Soyinka. And thus pretend to be a voice of reason in a time of political crises.
But Nigerians are not fooled. We know what both two personalities had always stood for. Soyinka has been with ‘the people’ in the dark days of military ills. On the other hand, Gowon was part of the military class that destroyed the hopes for a good life for the Nigerian people. And this is the different between the two, Soyinka and Gowon. As usual, Soyinka called on ’the people’ for a moral protest in Abuja. But Gowon had proceeded to constituted a group of corrupt and unpopular Nigerian political class to issue confused statement on Yar’adua’s prolonged absence in office.
Nigerians knew that he is man of quick shrewd when it comes to political stratagem. Though, a professed Christian, he belongs to the intelligentsias of the northern establishment. That is, to the caliphate and its hegemonistic political machines. I have no doubt he is adored by the north. For one thing, the retired general had fought a victorious bloody battle, intended never to keep Nigeria as one, but to keep the northern fat-bellied economic leaches perpetually hooked to the rest of the country’s blood-supply arteries.
I cringe when people refer to Gowon as a ‘statesman‘. In the Nigerian socio-political culture, tittles are like rare gold coins. In the sense that statesmanship titles had become lavishly poured on anyone who had tested power and had retired, no matter his kind and character. That is why the OBJs, the Shagaris, and the Babangidas are all decorated with this title. Gowon is not a statesman. He does neither has the national character nor the international quality of statesmanship. A statesman is reputable for his unbiased moral stands on issues of truth, equality, human right, dignity, injustice and so on and so forth. For the obvious reason, the retired general does not possess the ethical equilibrium to speak against any form of political assassination in a global scale. He lacks the audacity to condemn mass starvation of innocent children using sheer political will-force. Gowon would have been a life ruler if not for the precise decision of Murtala Muhammed. Therefore, he cannot speak against dictatorship, life presidency and the suppression of the will of the people by a cabal of monotonous political entities as we have especially in Africa.
The General’s led Eminent Elders Group (EEG) had belatedly reacted to Yar’adua’s absence in office in a manner that seemingly betrays a hidden agenda than of real concern for the Nigerian people. One wonders where the ex-General had been since the president got ‘missing’ in office. Gowon’s EEG had made a public statement that Yar’adua should transmit a letter of ‘medical vacation’ to the National Assembly in line with session 145 of the Constitution. And that the VP should be allowed to act temporarily.
Here, Gowon’s group is not being straight to the Nigerian people. Reading the General’s authorized statement, I got fed up with the hypocrisy of the dominant political establishment. And here is the analyses. The timing of the statement released by EEG is very late, the tone is weak and unnecessarily apologetic in structure and content. It tends to harbor the obvious interest of the northern political domination and interest. This is because it goes a long way to accommodating Yar’adua’s insult on the Nigerian people by leaving his official duties without notice whatsoever. Those of us who live and work in the western world knew very well how high work ethics is held. Absence from work without notice has a high price.
Should EEG be begging the president for a letter to transmit his duties to the VP or should they be looking at the supremacy of the Constitution in this matter? The constitution had already conferred presidential official duties to the VP in the event that the president is temporarily incapable. The use of the word ‘temporary presidential power to his deputy, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck to enable him function as acting president’ by EEG is uncalled for. Does it means if the president refuses to ‘transmit a letter’ that Nigeria would remain forever without president. It hurts when the elders, who ought to be the paragon of wisdom and honesty act as if they are crooked.
Again, the use of the term ‘medical vacation’ by EEG appeals to Yar’adua’s interest more than it does to the national interest. EEG is seeking to provide a deceptive terminology under which the insensitivity of the president is pitiably accepted by Nigerians. In place of “medical vacation”, negligent abandonment of office provides a better perspective. If Yar’adua and his scion of kitchen cabinets did not provide the Nigerian people with the information of his whereabouts, Nigerians will not be under any obligation to swallow Gowon’s mandated ‘medical vacation’ promptings.
Again, if EEG is truly an elder-sanctioned group. They should speak out the truth to the Nigerian people and ask Yar’adua to resigned or face his deserved constitutional impeachment. That is the kind of truth we expect from Gowon’s led elders. Anything bereft of this is a sheer orchestrated deception of the people.