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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

BUHARI, Apologies and his identical twin brother - Part2

By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA-    

It was with complete “sang froid” that President MuhammaduBuhari (Retired General) now the Commander-In-Chief of The Armed Forces of Nigeria faced down Prime Minister David Cameron (ex-Eton College and Oxford University) that he was not in London to collect an apology (whether or not one was on offer) regarding the slagging off of Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” by Cameron in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the Archbishop of Canterbury The Rt. Revd. Justin Welby as a witness who was sufficiently provoked to at least make an intercession.  In any case it was Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden who took up the gauntlet on our behalf:

Barely 24 hours to the celebrated Anti-Corruption Summit in London, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and convener of the event, in a moment of indiscretion, and in the presence of the Queen of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, verbalised his true evaluation of Nigeria, in the following damning words: “We have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain- Nigeria and Afghanistan”, he whispers conspiratorially to his audience. He then intoned further, “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”.
Being in the presence of Her Majesty, the Queen and His Holiness, the Archbishop –perhaps, in obeisance to God, symbolised by the priest and country, embodied by the crown -the PM must have let down his guards and was therefore oblivious of the omnipresence of cameras.
We became outraged, at the insolence, as l believe our no-nonsense President, Muhammadu  Buhari, would have felt deeply embarrassed by such an undeserved  negative characterisation.
Although the affable archbishop managed to deflect a bit of the damage, by chipping in a few good words-that Buhari is not corrupt-what happened in the Buckingham Palace smacks of the typical British duplicity-a smiling face when you are looking and sneering behind your back.
How could the British PM  lump Nigeria, which is rated no 136 together with Afghanistan rated 166-just one step ahead of Somalia, a joint last, with North Korea, on the list of Transparency International corruption index?
It is simply because of the “fantastic” amounts of money claimed to have been stolen by the previous government, that the current rulers have been bandying around to score cheap political points, but to the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.
So, what Cameron simply did,  was to interchange Somalia which is at the bottom of the list ,with Nigeria, since Nigerian officials themselves, through glib talk, have been raking up muck and in the process rating their country worse than TI’s valuation.”

Unknown to the generality of the public both Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden (ex-CIA consultant) have been strutting up and down Oxford Street, London shopping madly disguised as Nigerians.

Both of them claim that it was the hostility of the British press, with “The Mail On Sunday” newspaper at the head of the pack, that prompted them to weigh in on the side of President Buhari and Nigeria.
On its front page of 8th May 2016, the paper had carried the following headline:

Luxurious mansions owned by some Nigerians, including those standing trial for corruption, in the United Kingdom, have been exposed.
President MuhammaduBuhari and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, are billed to depart Nigeria tomorrow(Tuesday) for an anti-graft summit in London.
In a report entitled: ‘Palaces of Corruption’, The Mail on Sunday, published pictures and locations of houses belonging to two late former governors, who faced graft charges in their lifetime.
They are DiepreyeAlamieyeseigha, who governed Bayelsa State between 1999 and 2005, and AbubakarAudu, two-term governor of Kogi State, who was seeking a return to the government house at the time of his death. Both men died in 2015.
The property of James Ibori, former Delta State governor, who is currently serving a jail term, was also included in the report, in addition to that of Jimoh Ibrahim, lawyer and billionaire businessman. Ibrahim, though not a politician and has never been investigated for corruption, he is believed to be heavily indebted to the banks.
Nigerians were not the only ones listed in the report.
The children of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan dictator; Omar Bongo, late president of Gabon; IlhamAliyev, Azerbaijan’s leader; and KurmanbekBakiyev, Kyrgyzstan president, were also included.
“Properties bought with dirty money often sit empty for long periods. Those living nearby have no idea who their neighbours are, undermining any sense of community. Most importantly, those properties are taken off the market, further squeezing housing supply,” the report read.
Nigerians are known to have properties in choice locations across the world.”
Several media outlets also carried negative stories which claimed that the officials and people around the President are afraid of him and petrified to run foul of his “body language”.  Consequently, he was being poorly served.
In its determination to be thoroughly professional, Cable News Network [CNN] posted on its website both what David Cameron said:

Speaking with CNN, President MohammaduBuhari has finally spoken out on David Cameron's controversial comments caught on video this week about Nigeria being 'fantastically corrupt.' 
In an exclusive interview with Christine Amanpour, CNN's senior international correspondent, President Buhari has spoken about the controversial comment made by British Prime Minister, David Cameron, where he was filmed saying that Nigeria is a 'fantastically corrupt' country.

During a conversation with Queen Elizabeth II that was captured on camera on Tuesday, Cameron declared Nigeria and Afghanistan "possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world."

In the interview which was premiered last night, President Buhari said; "I think he (David Cameron) is being honest about it. He is talking about what he knows about the two of us, Afghanistan and Nigeria and by what we are doing in Nigeria by the day. I don't think you can fault him. I hope he did not address the press. He said it privately and somehow we got to know it, " he said, adding that his main focus is to fight corruption and not to merely talk about it.

Speaking on the missing Chibok girls, President Buhari said he had not seen the clip that was released by CNN last month that showed some of the girls in hiding. He added that even if he had seen the clip, he would not show it to the parents of the missing Chibok girls.

"How can we show it to them when we don't know where they are? If we know where they are then we can organize to secure them. If they are divided into 5, 10 groups all over the region, there's no way we can spontaneously and simultaneously attack all those locations. The important thing is to get them alive," he said.

And the riposte by President Buhari:
“I think Prime Minister David Cameron is being honest.  I don’t think you can fault him.  When it comes to tackling corruption, the international community has unfortunately looked away for too long.  We need to step up and tackle this evil together.

Corruption creates a system whereby resources are shared by a small elite while the majority wallows in poverty.  Corruption also undermines the ability of countries to finance development.
Ultimately, it is a legacy issue that was encapsulated in Nigeria’s old national anthem which challenged us to hand on to our children a banner without stain.  Permit me to quote Mark Twain.

“It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”
At the National Liberal Club, at:
          1 Whitehall Pl
          London SW1A 2HE
which is within a stone throw of the Nigeria High Commission at:
          9 Northumberland Avenue
          London WC2N 5BX
President Muhammadu’s identical twin brother (a professor of surgery) launched his autobiography with elan – wine and cheese only.  He did not invite the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.  Rather, he lavished commendations on his devoted andloving wife Folasade as his own unique way of apologising for any shortcomings (if any):
(i)                “When she finished with her studies, Folasade returned to Nigeria and started working with the University of Lagos as a librarian in 1972.  She did well there but at a point in time, she felt her progress was being tampered by a lack of research and publications in journals even though she was working very hard and was productive.  At that time, our children were young and she had very little time for research and publication which were requirements for academic staff at the University of Lagos.
In August, 2002, she became the first woman to be appointed the university’s registrar.  She retired as registrar at the age of sixty two, after a rewarding career that spanned a total of thirty four years at the University of Lagos.  I am very proud of her.
She truly excelled as a librarian because she took it upon herself to read every book under her custody in the university’s library.”
(ii)             “When I was away, Folasade took good care of our children.  She was fantastically incredible.”
(iii)           “I am not sure there is anything more important than the family which God, in His kindness, brings into our lives.”
(iv)           “Marriage is about making adjustments and readjustments, it is a give and take relationship, a friendship.  I remember some of our children used to say they wondered how the two of us could have pulled it off because of the differences in our characters, personalities and make ups.
Folasade can be both outgoing and reserved.  I am a natural introvert.  While she seems happiest in the company of very boisterous people, I will likely participate superficially in such a clime.  That is how different we are but with the right kind of adjustments, we have been able to live well together.  I believe that a critical key for success in marriage is how best you can adjust to different circumstances and personal dispositions.”
(v)             “Saudi Arabia, however, introduced another dimension to our family affairs since it meant leaving my wife alone with the children in Nigeria.  Deep down me, I didn’t feel too good about it but I knew my wife was competent and capable of coping with the modification of status quo.  Being cognizant of our situation, I appreciated that the circumstances would not be unduly strenuous on her.  The children’s school was on the university campus where we lived.  Folasade’s office was on the spot, I had relatives around, my mother lived less than a mile away from us and I also planned to come home at intervals.”
The author did not omit to pay a most heartwarming tribute to his benefactor:
“In AlhajiLateefJakande (Governor of Lagos State) I saw signs of a visionary; a man who had his grip on the state; a dreamer, yet a pragmatist.
That he considered appointing me when I was competing against two Muslims with equally impressive track records, said a lot about how liberal he was despite being remoured to possess a tendency to favour only Muslims like himself.  He must have seen something in me and was determined not to allow religion becloud his judgement.”
He offered no apologies for not inviting his twin brother.  Neither did he apologise for spilling the beans:
(i)                “University education is not and cannot be cheap.  It cannot be free except you are on scholarship.  But we need to get the society involved in university education because government alone cannot sponsor it.  I don’t believe in cheap university education.  We have to pay well qualified teachers, not incompetent ones who are not devoted and who do not take the job seriously.  There is no free lunch.  Quality education is expensive and the money has to come from somewhere.  A country that takes education of its children seriously and looks after its teachers will produce well educated children and consequently well-educated citizens.  It is the best antidote for corruption.”
(ii)             “Folasade and I introduced each other to our parents and even though we had not talked about marriage, it was clear to most observers who were close to us that we might be heading in that direction.  When we started out, I was qualified and working as a medical doctor while she was eight years younger and still in higher school.  Many people wondered at our age difference and some expressed it aloud.  They thought I was unserious  considering how many more years she still needed to study in a university.  But their insinuation was wrong.  Folasade was good looking, God fearing, intelligent, from a fine family, someone I could influence in a positive way and perhaps most importantly, she seemed absolutely certain we were meant to be together.  I thought she was perfect for me, so I took things seriously.”
(iii)           “I had a most memorable bachelor’s eve with FelaRansome-Kuti who played well into the night!  Fela was like a younger brother to us back then and many people do not realize how highly disciplined he was as musician.  His practice sessions  were intense and his work ethics were amazing.  People thought he was casual and merely sang for the sake of it.  On the contrary, Fela was a committed, well trained musician and over the decades, his output reflected it.”
(iv)           “Folasade’s uncle, the iconic educator and social critic, Tai Solarin was present and he made his presence felt particularly at the reception at the Island Club, Lagos by dancing on to the stage.”
(v)             “Music is such an important part of my life that whenever I am bothered or excited, I get on the piano or pick up my book of poems, and I promptly find calm and serenity.”
Before the evening was over, the author paid well deserved tributes to Ayo Bankole; Professor Ade Elebute; Professor J.T.K. Duncan; OtunbaSubomiBalogun; late A.K. Amu; late Emmanuel Ifejiana; and a host of others.

Throughout the event the music of the King of Afrobeat, FelaAnikulapo-Kuti played in the background.  Suddenly, it was time for the national anthem.  Nigeria’s acting High Commissioner in London insisted on relaying a special 80th Birthday message from the President and Commander-In-Chief Armed Forces of Nigeria to his identical twin brother:
“Eighty years is for the strong.
Ninety years is for the stubborn.
I have no apologies to make to
those who accuse me of being stubborn.”
As we made our exit, the club gave us free copies of “Business Day” newspaper Tuesday 17th May 2016 which carried on its front page a beaming Mrs.OlajumokeOduwole, Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Trade and Investment.  According to the story on its back page, Olajumoke is the daughter of Professor and Mrs.FolabiOlumide.

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