Essay from Ayokunle Adeleye

Me AND Now

Few years ago I conducted a study wherein I asked my FB friends to
translate a simple sentence starting with “You and I” into as many
languages as they are able to. (Not) Surprisingly, while non-African
languages typically place “You” before “I”, African languages
typically place the Speaker, “I”, before the Other, “You”! Where is
our chivalry? You and I are a selfish lot!

Sometime last year, I “boarded” a bike only to realise, some two to
three hundred metres to the agreed destination that the road would be
bad further on, having rained heavily the previous night. So I took it
upon myself to alight prematurely and save the bike man avoidable
trouble: slips, falls, and mud. But when I paid him what was
commensurate with my new stop, he refused flatly and said I had to pay
him for the whole journey, a journey I will now complete on foot out
of consideration for the ingrate! I and you are a selfish lot!

Just last month, I was regaled with tales of how Buhari formed the WAI
Brigade during his (in)famous reign of terror, of how a few civilian
youths would patrol the streets and hand over defaulters to the
soldiers for (inhuman) discipline, of how they were themselves terror
in the community, respected, nay, feared! And the kicker was that the
narrator was routing for General so he could dust his uniform of
thirty years and resume his delusions of authority, summarily! That
was his reason for singing Buhari to the polls; even after I told him
we are in saner times!


As for my Ògá, she believes we need highhandedness, hence Buhari. “We
need discipline”, she says, even as she admits that she will survive
either way. Yet, how many of us can survive Buhari’s brand of
discipline? How many of us has disciplined himself? The average
Nigerian is selfish and self-centred; that is the truth! The average
Nigerian is all about himself and the present; “me” and “now”!

And what moral justification does a Buhari who would not go back to
school and set his certification in order since 2003, or who cannot
afford a Nomination Form despite his handsome pensions and simple
lifestyle, have to tell a fellow Nigerian how to run his affairs? Pray

My Ògá’s main grouse with the current administration, in my entitled
opinion, is the falling Exchange Rate which, truth is, is
understandable once we ignore the pervasive attitude of calling a dog
a bad name simply to gift him to Ògún! We all know we have an
oil-based economy; and for a long time before Jonathan. Now that oil
prices have crashed, the Naira must slide if we must continue to
subsist on oil! IF a barrel was $100 and $1 was N150, then when the
barrel becomes $50, $1 must become N300!; otherwise we won’t have
sufficient income! IF $1 < N300 (in this example), then we must
appreciate GEJ for diversifying our economy by some 30% in his 5 (NOT
6) years!

But the elites will not. They would rather we all starved at the
expense of the Dollar so they can continue to travel out as they see
fit and use dem overseas hospitals and hotels, and attend dem
exclusive Dubai parties beyond our reach! They are quick to forget
that any society that cannot save the poor, cannot save the rich…

They are quick to back Buhari, yet IF Buhari comes in, there will be a
lot of collateral damage as there was in ’84 and, as my Ògá rightly
opined, the rich will survive (unlike in the current blinded regime),
since they, and their connections, will be in charge. Yet, Justice
must be blind, as must fairness.

Autocracy will be promoted as the only solution to Nigeria’s age-old
problems. Yet, “the problem with autocracy is that once the atmosphere
has been established or allowed by the leader, many tin gods at the
various levels of the strata will for any number of reasons, exploit
the situation for the purpose of settling personal and petty scores
including disputations over girlfriends!”

There will be dictatorship, no doubt. Democracy is slow, as Buhari
will soon find out. And democracy is expensive. Since democracy is a
game of numbers, the rule of the majority, and the practice of (a lot
of) give-and-take so that to execute a $20b project may require
spending $180b to pacify opposition and smoothen the rails, especially
in Nigeria where there are powers behind every throne, post, and mole
hill. Yet, “the irony of dictatorship is that a leader can be so
conscientiously wrong in his crusading mission.”


Recently, I read that abduction of (Christian) girls had always taken
place in the north, and that previous regimes had gagged the press and
downplayed the problems until a group of miscreants became so
emboldened that they could kidnap innocent Nigerians in their
hundreds! In fact, the man went on to say the modus operandi was to go
to the King and beg for the release of some! In this our Nigeria!
Please, was that Jonathan as well?

What d’you do when you have in-laws that want the truth but do not
love the truth? You learn to lie so well that even the truth becomes a
lie… Ditto for citizens that do not believe that it takes time to
quench insurgency by your own countrymen and in a democracy: first,
you must exhaust all means of peaceful resolution lest you be liable
for genocide; then you must recruit military operatives lest you be
overrun from without while you face the battle within; then you must
acquire up-to-date weaponry, a process that is vulnerable to
international politicking; then you must get your neighbours to attack
as you do lest they become sanctuaries for the fleeing rebels, a
source of perpetual reinfection!

It takes a lot of time, diplomacy and commitment to achieve these, and
a lot of patience (transitorily termed “cluelessness”); why d’you
think the US is always signing backroom deals with rebels?

But Jonathan has done it!
Now don’t be selfish!

Ayk Fowosire.

Still on blind Justice, and fairness to all, the greatest achievement
of Jonathan’s regime has been Freedom (of Information). That is why we
have a thriving opposition party, that is why we can rally against him
(unlike in the Obj days of his tenure), that is why APC can win
elections! In fact, IF APC wins this Presidential Elections, it will
have been due to President Jonathan’s truly liberal democracy, and
nothing else.

Freedom is why we know money is stolen, lost, embezzled, or not at
all; it is how we know girls are always kidnapped despite our false
sense of security of yesteryears; it is how we see monthly allocations
in the newspapers each month. Idi-Amin once seized a plane ferrying
cash from Nigeria, back in the days of militocracy; but you didn’t
know that! And left to Buhari, we will all be gagged by Decrees 2 and

Just Vote Jonathan. Vote Freedom.