The ongoing imbroglio engendered by Dr. Kachikwu and Mr. Baru as an effect of the archaic and ineffective leadership chic of Mr. President should set every well meaning Nigerian into cavernous and deep thinking. It is so easy (for those who understand how the civil service systems are being run in our clime) to know that no one can quickly see the bottom of a dirty and deep sea the way the bottom of a flowing stream can be seen. The truth is, the NNPC is still the cash cow of a few sacred cows and it would forlornly and dejectedly remain so until the strong wind of true change blows through the length and breadth of our greatly valued nation.
When I woke up in the wee hours of today, being the 10th of October, 2017, while still yawning and stretching my arms and legs, I heard that the presidency backs Mr. Baru’s response to Dr. Kachikwu’s clear allegations; I opened my mouth wide as river Jordan during a raining season. It is clear as water that Baru is the voice, arm and leg of Mr. President in the NNPC. But one question I have been asking myself and every non-partisan Nigerian is this: “is it that Dr. Kachikwu (at his level) did not know what he was saying through the leaked memo? Why would he play to the gallery? Why would he lie? When the contract proposals in contention were taken to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for an approval, where was Kachikwu, because only supervising ministers are allowed to get that done?” What I do know is that what is lurking in a corner today shall surely end up dancing naked in the market at noon time in the days to come.
Before I lay this issue to the final rest, I have a few thoughts to pass on to Mr. President: One, the law that makes it faulty and incorrect for a Group Managing Director to be accountable to a Minister of State and someone who heads the Board of same organization is an insensitive one and I strongly opine that it should be amended. Two, when Mr. President took ill and was flown abroad, who precisely was acting as the Petroleum Minister? I advise that President Muhammadu Buhari should step down and appoint someone he trusts as the substantive Petroleum Minister, so as not to lose the modicum and ounce of trust that he has left. Nigerians do not trust him as much as they did before he assumed the highest leadership position in our dear country. He should not let those professional politicians—who surround him for what to eat lie to him. Personally, my perspective on Mr. President has changed. I now see him more of a sectional leader than a national one. And what Nigeria needs now is someone—who can galvanize all of us, not further divide us. Currently, Nigeria is heavily divided under the watch of Mr. President and it’s quite very sad.
This is where I am coming. I see Nigeria as the cash cow of a few sacred cows. How do I mean? Kindly follow my line of thinking. This is it: Many years ago, when China was grappling with her food crisis, the political elite were served the choicest and safest delicacies. They got hormones-free beef from the grass lands of inner Mongolia, organic tea from the foothills of Tibet and rice watered by melted mountain snow. And it was all supplied by a special government outfit that provides all-organic goods from farms working under the strictest guidelines. And the secured food supply stood in stark contrast to the frustrations of ordinary citizens who have faced recurring food scandals—vegetables with harmful pesticide residue, fish tainted with cancer-causing chemical eggs colored with industrial dye.
Additionally, the former Soviet Union’s ruling class also ate food that was unavailable to the masses. In North Korea, where withering famines have seen tens of thousands starve in those days, leader Kim Jong II was known for his love of lobster, shark’s fin soup and sushi. Food was unavailable to the masses, but the biggest sacred cow in the country was feeding fat—feeding fat at the expense of the people he was governing. It is the same story in every developing country today.
As it was in China, North Korea and former Soviet Union so it is in Nigeria. In the days of Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), it only affected the led; it did not affect the leaders a hoot. From 1960 till this moment that I am penning this article, no economic policy has ever affected the sacred cows adversely, it is the masses—who do bear the brunt of it all. And the sacred cows I am talking about are untouchables, though President Buhari politically said that all past and current corrupt officials—who have illegally obtained monies meant for the good of the masses will not be spared as the anti-corruption agencies have been re-positioned to undertake the legal battle against them. Over the years, how many sacred cows, who daily use Nigeria as their cash cows have been thrown to jail? Since the crisis began in our dear country, many States cannot pay their workers, but all our political leaders have been smiling to the bank, including Mr. President and his vice!
Natural resources become a curse when the citizens are not treated with justice, fairness and equity. A nation like Nigeria that is heavily rich in natural resources is full of poor citizens. Natural resources, rather than contributing to freedom, broadly shared growth, and social peace, are now bringing poverty, power-outage, bad roads, misery, and insecurity to us as a people.
As I round off for today, the cash cow is still being kept as ‘one’ today, not because the sacred cows like it, but because they are yet to have their fills. In any nation where the country becomes the cash cow of a few sacred cows, the law the binds the poor will always set the rich free.