President Bola Tinubu.

Charles Etimette

Those familiar with ‘the book’ will probably recall where and why the above title emanates from, but don’t blame me if I fail to recast the whole story here, only that the headline fittingly sits on our situation in discourse. Tongues are wagging and, for good reasons. They say it is the inaugural speech of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu that caused the upset to our already bad situation and sent everything tumbling down. I have no cogent position to oppose what is fast becoming a peoples’ rally. But if you ask my candid and honest opinion, I cannot blame the President alone and I tell you why.

Let us reason together: First, let us all agree that Nigeria has been long in big and perennial socio-economic and political mess. But have we ever asked ourselves as to how Nigeria as a nation started into all this? Nigeria is rated the world’s fifth largest producer of oil, meaning that Nigeria ranks among the world most powerful nations as far as oil is concerned. But it occurred that while we watched we have gotten into a situation we lost one refinery, we lost the second, the third until we lost all. This is what got us into the situation we now find ourselves. Bola Tinubu may or may not have been then involved.

A country that is providentially endowed with a commodity that is a blessing to others only for evil hands among us to drag her into compulsory frog jump with the same products that elevate others. That is the unfortunate and precarious situation Nigeria finds herself. In case you have forgotten, it started decades ago. The cartel made it that Nigeria resorts to importation of her own crude-refining same outside and then bringing back the refined products, from where Nigerians are pinned to the fuel subsidy story. Who says Nigeria is not a great nation with good people? The population is made up of extremely good people on the one side and and a clique on the other side with great negative sense of manipulation. God must be exceedingly merciful with Nigerians.

We are still surviving as a nation because God wants us to survive for a purpose. Otherwise with the way things have been going we probably would have been sold out to another country by now. With such evil mines daily at work the nation would have been no more. Isn’t it difficult to believe that it was ordinary or coincidental that we were watching, the country’s refineries started dying one after another?

Imagine that a country endowed by providence with all it takes, human and material, for her to be holding out for other African countries and spread her embers on the world is now blindly crawling in search of direction. That the country has been subjected to a malicious scam in the oil sector for so long as perpetrated by same Nigerians the nation, holds in high esteem is to say the least a curse. Sadly, efforts aimed at ensuring a Turn Around Maintenance, (TAM). On the dead refineries were either wrongly channelled or the head was not sincere. This is something that should rent our hearts that such drummed noise to breathe life back into our refineries yielded no fruits.

It was not as though our leaders preferred compulsory mum or deliberately complacent with the abnormality. the foot-dragging on the issue as has been revealed was induced. When President Goodluck Jonathan first opted to do away with fuel subsidy, the system revolted against it and then the man held a compulsive break. But even as the issue was opposed, it was equally a big thorn in the flesh as the same system was groaning under the yoke of the scam. That President Buhari endured through his eight year tenure can mean that either he saw the power play in the sector as being above his power or he deliberately struck a compromise with the cartel or both.

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The revelations are daunting, that a country can be scandalously exposed to eternal ridicule with the same natural gift that elevates others and we believe the omen should continue living in us and with us? With President Tinubu having his tentacles in many sectors including oil where he is said to maintain a more than passive interest, the President cannot be said to be innocent. A man with just a lay man’s interest in the subsidy’s perennial problem cannot confront the cartel. That the president had to embellish the fuel subsidy removal in his inaugural speech from where our problems sprang, should be informative that he knows beyond ordinary. Nigerians should only be patient enough to tell Tinubu, like they did to Jesus Christ: physician heal thyself.

You see, Nigerians have been through a lot, perpetually in gnashing of teeth. It is clear revelation that even the lady of justice has long started squinting from one side of the blindfold. She no longer depends on the weight of the crime to judge; it sees the face and finds the oily face and greasy palms of her clients as alluring. It has been that each time the society jerks some people who feel they represent the voiceless will stir up, sometimes, in stage-managed pretence of defending the defenceless. But sometimes their voices get lost in the vortex and rumbles of murmuring compromise with the system, and negotiations wii yield little or no benefits for the suffering masses. And once again, the truce was observed for “the interest of the nation”.

It was an American historian, playwright and philosopher, Howard Zinn who once postulated that, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Problem is not that people all over the world have obeyed the orders of leaders…” He said, “Millions have killed because of this disobedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obediently filling our jails full of petty thieves while the grand thieves are running the country. That is our problem”.

And I re-emphasize that people are obediently filling our jails full of petty thieves while the grand thieves are running the country. Come to look at it, it seems nothing can be truer than this. If stories of the subsidy scam are as true as corroborated by Nigerians including former minister of finance, Dr Nkozi Okonji Iweala whose mother was allegedly kidnapped because she offended the fuel subsidy cartel by failing to pay them, then something worse can happen in Nigeria to Nigerians.

But again, the judges all over the world are lenient but cruel people. If judges who are licenced to put criminals out from the society either through death or permanent incarceration were to be doing their duty and conscientiously our society would now be populated by angels. But no. The judges are busy sending the wrong persons to the collage or to RIP. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu therefore has an overwhelming task to act and act decisively and. fast too, for the sake of history and posterity. The fuel subsidy brouhaha, we want to be sure is gone and for good but what matters would be how the President cleans the stable?

President Tinubu and his economic think-tank must know that the transportation system in any country holds the swing of all activities and, if transportation system goes druggy, all other sectors and activities must necessarily draw their dead warrant there from. There is something I like about Tinubu’s hold on issue. His tenacity and resolve in pursuing a course knows no truce. I remember him as Lagos State governor and how he measured shoulders with the then President Obasanjo. His resolve in creating and maintaining what he tagged Local Development Centres, as against strong opposition by President Obasanjo, was novelty.

Tinubu, after weathering all such storms, scaling obstacles and crucibles is believed to be well abreast of the trouble with Nigeria and the way to offload them. The greater burden is on the President. Having put in motion such an incurable fight to be the country’s President through fair or foul means cannot afford to disappoint. I believe the President is not without the knowledge that the battle before him is s battle of wits and valour; one with many battle fronts. He is certainly not Jesus Christ to be asked to heal himself but through the cooperation and support of Nigerians he can be asked to rescue Nigeria from ‘Nigerians’ for Nigerians.

To say at the stage we are that Nigeria has been ruined is like not knowing anything about Nigeria. If you say that Nigeria has gone beyond the precipice, where attempt to go forward is as dangerous as going backward you will be right. The President ought to know that fighting to dislodge an old order is not a tea party affair. The cartel will always have a way of rejuvenating itself, possibly with additional vigour and cunning. Ours is a situation where nothing works, corruption has eaten deep into the marrow and fabric of the Nigerian system.

The Central Bank Nigeria, (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, has been put on the lead. Contrary to running public opinion about Tinibu’s pathological dislike for Emefiele, I have written before that if Emefiele continues to work with whoever would succeed Buhari, then Emefiele must be a cerebral native doctor himself. In the piece I have said that Emefiele’s walk to detention from his CBN office was shorter and saver than to his home. I was not wrong. Beyond Emefiele’s puzzle with the last currency swap, it will be discovered that he has many battles to surmount. Suits and ties do not make gentlemen, just like only the hood does not make a monk. The President may know more than we think about Nigeria. The battle has only just begun.