Jonathan Will Be Remembered For Almost Destroying Nigeria- Festus Keyamo Says

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Festus Keyamo has said the president of Nigeria, Goodluck
Jonathan will be remembered for almost destroying Nigeria and his party, PDP, when
he leaves office. Keyamo who said he had to write this very lengthy press
statement titled: “2015: Jonathan Versus Buhari: The Elites Must Not Sit On The
Fence”, so that he can sleep, said he had to come down from his high horse to
speak out because he could no longer bear the propaganda that was raging ahead
of the election. He also challenged leading citizens to speak up for the
betterment of the country. Find the press statement after the cut.

2015: JONATHAN VERSUS BUHARI: THE ELITES MUST NOT SIT ON THE
FENCE.
This is a season of hire-wired deceits, misinformation,
campaign of calumny and spewing of outright falsehood and lies – all to
hoodwink and deceive ordinary and gullible Nigerians for their votes.
I am not worried about these antics of the politicians. It
is their way. For them, their business is politics and their politics is
business. No scruple. My real worry is that many Nigerians who are the elites
can see through some of these outright falsehoods but have decided to sit on
fence and keep an embarrassing silence. They forget that millions of ordinary
Nigerians who are confused and hoodwinked by these falsehoods and who do not
have access to facts depend on their voices and guidance to make their choices.
This is, therefore, a message directed at those silent Nigerian elites who
should speak up at this time. For me, I have decided that enough is enough.
This is the time to speak up.
Unfortunately, many of our elites do not want to speak up
now because they do not want to be caught on the wrong side of any government
in the next four years; they prefer to play safe, not wanting to be tarred with
the brush of partisanship. But, I ask: what is wrong with partisanship in a
country where you and your children have a huge stake? What is wrong in
speaking up and standing up for what your conscience tells you is the right
thing to do? What is wrong in being caught on the wrong side of the government
in the next four years, if only you would be caught on the right side of
posterity?
Except for a few class of persons like INEC officials,
security agencies and those on the Bench, every other Nigerian has a duty –
yes, a duty – to speak up now for our country, and to come down from that fence
on which they are sitting regarding the 2015 general elections. Those elites
who do not speak up now for fear of being branded partisan and losing face upon
defeat are enemies of the people who are looking up to them for guidance.
My message to those silent elites today is that whilst they
are sitting on the fence, people are being killed like flies in some parts of
the country on a daily basis; whilst we are on that fence, our foreign reserves
are going down, corruption is growing like cancer, poverty is growing even in
the face of dubious economic theories and figures, and we continue to live
without adequate power supply. Yet, those who should speak truth to power are
sitting on the fence in anticipation of personal gains. I am sorry, but today I
have come down from that fence because my buttocks are already hurting from
sitting on it.
Do not forget that I am from the Niger-Delta region and all
my close friends and associates are the main supporters and aides of Mr.
President. Two or three Governors who are either my former classmates or
colleagues are the main backers of Mr. President. It is so easy, so convenient
and so seemingly logical for me to get into that political mix and forget about
the good of my country for personal gains. The disgusting message we hear all
over the streets of that region every day at this time – promoted by the
hirelings of the President – is that Goodluck Jonathan is “our son”, so we have
no choice but to support him. In fact, I see some of my “brothers” from the
Niger Delta region these days strutting all over the place, denigrating people
from other regions. It is typical of what the Yorubas call “omo oju ori ola ri”
(a person whose eyes have not seen wealth before).
But the question I ask those who tell me such nonsense and
behave in such a manner is that, after the next four years, what is next for
us? Is our entire future and that of our children dependent on a South-South
President for the next four years?
Kindly note that in getting down from the fence and speaking
up at this critical time, I do not mind if you speak up for Goodluck Jonathan.
Yes, you have a right to do so as a Nigerian. But, as an elite, your stand must
be known so that when the massacres continue because of cluelessness, when the
unrestrained stealing of our public resources continue, when darkness continues
to befall the nation because of lack of power, it is important we all remember
those who betrayed their conscience and the people because of ethnicity and
self-aggrandisement and for posterity to record it as such.
We have a President who has no single appetite to fight
corruption – yes, none. Imagine a campaign that is dominated by the theme of
corruption, yet the President has decided to appoint a person facing trial for
money-laundering as his Director of Media and Publicity. If nobody would say
it, I will say it because I am the one prosecuting the fellow in court and the
case has been adjourned to February 23 and 24 for trial. Part of the lies told
is that the fellow has been freed whereas some of the counts in the Charge were
just struck out and the court held that he has a case to answer on some other
counts. Yet nobody is asking the President these hard questions.
The President only mouths anti-corruption. The other day
(December 23rd, 2014, I think) the President said he would like to erect a Hall
of Shame for Nigerians who engage in corrupt and unwholesome activities that
bring the country to disrepute. But he was the same person who brought a
convicted criminal, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, out of the Hall of Shame to the
Hall of Fame by misusing his power of Prerogative of Mercy when he granted
pardon to this self-confessed ex-convict. Imagine the pain, the efforts and
resources that go into securing a single conviction for corruption in this our
clime. Yet, the President decided to spoil the party for anti-corruption
campaigners. On top of that, he displayed corruption within corruption by
selective pardon when the likes of Tarfa Balogun, Lucky Igbinedion and others
who were convicted about the same period did not enjoy his Presidential pardon.
Yet nobody is asking these hard questions on the campaign
trail. The funny thing is that, nearly six years into his tenure as President,
Goodluck Jonathan said the other day that he is just coming up with a plan to
tackle corruption!! Haba, Jona !
To add insult to injury, President Goodluck Jonathan decided
to tackle the corruption of stealing of our resources in the high seas by
empowering small-time crooks and criminals to police our waterways. This is
because he has no idea as to how to revamp, re-organise and re-invigorate the
Nigeria Navy to perform its constitutional duty. These days, it is an eyesore
to see our military chiefs and officers kowtow to these empowered small-time
crooks and criminals for appointment and promotions and other privileges. The
disaster about this initiative of empowerment of crooks and criminals is that
crude oil theft has never been so high, so rampant in the annals of this
country than it is now. Why? Because the President has put a rat as a watchman
over a morsel of fish. It is sad to say, but the President, by his actions, has
shown no spine, no appetite, no nerve to fight corruption. He just continues to
sink into an abyss of moral debauchery.
The other tragedy of this President is that, even as he is
on the campaign trail, in the last one month, the omnipresent insurgents have
attacked towns like Baga, Damaturu, Biu, Askira-Uba, Konduga, Marte and Gombe.
Even as we speak, the Boko Haram insurgents are in total control of the whole
of Borno State except Maiduguri, Monguno, Dikwa, Konduga and Biu. The
insurgents are in total control of towns like Baga, Bama, Gwoza and Banki.
Before Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Boko Haram was
nothing but a rag-tag group of extremists living in enclaves like Sambisa,
while our proud military boys patrolled the towns. Now, under Jonathan, the
reverse is the case. Our military boys are now in enclaves while Boko Haram
patrol our towns. Is it not shocking that insurgents have a free reign to enter
cities, abduct young girls like in Chibok, burn houses like in Baga, slaughter
people for hours like in Konduga, Gwoza etc, yet our military men are nowhere
to be found and they do not even give hot pursuit to the retreating insurgents?
What is really going on?
One obvious flaw is that our President has lost control of
the military and the top hierarchy of the military is merely feeding fat on
this unfortunate situation and the President seems to be totally helpless in
the face of this.
The only response the President and his handlers can proffer
is to hide this glaring and crass incompetence under political gymnastics; they
blame the opposition on the one hand and in the same breath, they say it is a
world-wide trend and Nigeria is just having its fair share of a global malaise.
Is this true? As President, you are the Commander-In-Chief. If you have
evidence against the opposition, just come out with it and arrest the
ring-leaders. Do not cry like a baby as Commander-in-Chief. Deal with the
situation. That is why you occupy that seat. Till date, no single evidence has
been produced against any of the opposition leaders linking them with the
insurgency. Rather, what we see is a President who is supposedly bent on
fighting insurgency but who is wining and dining with someone who has been
directly linked with sponsoring the insurgents and even traveling with such a
person to Chad at a time when the State Security Services officially invited
that person to answer questions relating to the insurgency.
Another calamity and embarrassment is that our President,
his Service Chiefs and security advisers were all led into wasting public funds
by entering into a phantom cease-fire deal with fake Boko Haram leaders that
left them with bloodied noses. Not to also mention the short-lived public
celebration of the supposed killing of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau,
by the President and his security team, only for the outlaw to appear in
subsequent videos posted online, taunting the Nigerian government. Any four
more years of a Jonathan Presidency can only lead to more carnage by the
insurgents. He just does not have the requisite capacity to tackle this problem
of insecurity. The truth must be told.
Yet you hear the President say that the nation will
appreciate him better after he has left office. I am sorry, but we have seen
enough bloodshed and incompetence in the last six years to know there is
nothing more to expect the next four years and we have seen enough to do an
assessment right now and not in the future.
In all his campaign tours, the President is already sounding
like a broken record. He says he has made the rails to function again. He
mentioned this so much that you imagine that he was primarily elected to revive
a few train lines. It sounds very funny when you hear such things, whereas the
primary duty of government is the protection of lives and properties. If that
primary duty fails, then the government has failed. It is like an undergraduate
hoping to be promoted to the next level by barely scraping through the
‘electives’ and failing the core courses. It will never happen. So, is the
President providing train coaches to be transporting the dead bodies from the
North to the South? Are the trains to be occupied by living human beings or
dead human beings?
Make no mistake about it, like the President always says, it
is true that we have a rise of terrorism around the world. But, we have all
seen how governments around the world respond quickly and decisively to any
attempt for terror to rear its ugly head within their society and how they
quickly crush it. We saw it happen in the United States after 9/11; we saw it
happen in Britain after the July 7, 2005 bus bombing; in the last few days, we
have seen it happen in France and in Belgium. In all these cases, all attempts
were nipped in the bud. Even, here in Nigeria, previous governments have nipped
insurgency in the bud. The ONLY government that has allowed it to fester,
germinate and grow into a full-blown war leading to a successful secession of
some parts of the country is that of President Goodluck Jonathan. It is so bad
that hardly a day passes by without reports of one insurgent activity or the
other leading to loss of lives and limbs.
The President is also quick to mention that his
administration has made the Nigerian economy the number one in Africa. He
forgot to mention two things, though; one, that some of the major sectors of
the Nigerian economy, that is, the telecom sector, financial services and the
Nollywood industry that were taken into account to re-base the economy were
sectors not created or grown by his government. Secondly, he forgot to mention
that the so-called re-basing has no impact at all on the ordinary Nigerian as
the 2014 World Bank Survey still shows that Nigeria is ranked third among world
top five poorest countries with sixty-one percent (61%) of its citizens living
below $1.25 dollar per day. No government can boast of any economic growth or
theory that does not have a direct impact on the lives of its ordinary
citizens. It is like a father coming home to announce and jubilate about a pay
rise and promotion at workplace, yet the wife and children cannot eat or live
better many months later.
The Nigerian people have tolerated too much and taken too
much battering from the PDP-led Federal Government since 1999. Under the
Jonathan Government, the situation in the country has sunk to an all-time low,
except for the few benefitting directly from the government. They are blind to
criticism and blind to healthy opposition. They hurl abuses at anyone who dares
to point out these acts of maladministration. In saner societies, the President
will not be allowed to campaign in many parts of the country. The people will
rise against him and chase his convoy away.
The clear alternative to this monumental mess is the person
of General Muhammadu Buhari. Let us be clear that Buhari does not present the
total package Nigerians want at this time. He is human, he is not perfect. But
at this point in our history, at this time, at this moment, he presents the
only viable option and avenue for the people to vent their frustrations and
anger against an inept and clueless Federal Government. He represents the
rallying point for the frustrated and teeming masses of our people. He reminds
me of MKO Abiola (with some of his imperfections) who became the rallying point
in the struggle against military rule.
That is the change we are talking about. It is not a change
from imperfection to perfection. It is a change from hopelessness and
cluelessness to some hope and to some expectations.
All the personal attacks on the person of Buhari in the last
few weeks have only convinced me that he is the best available option at this
time. Anyone on the weaker side in any argument always resorts to personal
abuses and attacks. Have you noticed that on corruption, the only accusation
against Buhari is that, he was too high-handed in fighting corruption in the
past? In other words, nobody can/has accused him of lacking the courage, zeal
and will to fight corruption. On the other hand, the President eats, sleeps and
wakes up with corruption. In one of his famous interviews, he did not even see
stealing as corruption. That is why he does not see the point why he should not
appoint a person standing trial for corruption as his Director of Media and
Publicity. He just does not care.
So, Nigerians, we must decide what we want. When Buhari
fought corruption and was supposedly high-handed, he was ruling with Decrees.
Now, he has the Constitution, the National Assembly, and the Judiciary without
ouster clauses to guide him. It is therefore only an idiot that will believe
the propaganda that he would throw everyone suspected of corruption into jail.
I feel so sorry at times for the gullible masses of this country who fall for
such cheap propaganda. But it is his type of appetite and revulsion against
corruption that we so dearly need at this time.
You may say whatever you like about Buhari, but in terms of
the character, the steel, the competence to lead the nation out of this period
of insurgency, nobody can compare a Goodluck Jonathan to a General Buhari. Just
imagine the Service Chiefs (who were probably in secondary school when Buhari
and others fought the Civil War) sitting in front of Buhari to brief him about
the situation in the North East, and attempting to mislead him about movements
of artillery, brigades or troops and, the strategy against the enemy!
The attack on Buhari’s certificate is most unfortunate. Only
fools can be deceived that a sworn affidavit in place of a certificate that you
cannot readily produce is not sufficient for certain purposes. What is
important is that the school(s) and dates are mentioned in such affidavits
which can be subject to verification. But unfortunately the President’s team
has carried on as if leadership is a function of academic degrees and qualifications.
This is so sad. Leadership is a divine quality, almost always bestowed at
infancy so much so that even in primary schools, we see traits of leadership
amongst pupils. If it were not so, then there would be no need for elections.
We should just look for the most qualified professor in our Ivory Towers and
make him President because that would be the best material for President.
Besides, what moral right has Jonathan got to discuss
Buhari’s certificate when I have since informed him that his Comptroller-General
of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko forged all his certificates, yet the
President has not even ordered a simple investigation into the matter. He has
turned a willful blind eye to the issue.
The orchestration of the age of Buhari is just another
mischief, symptomatic of the weaker side the President’s team find themselves
in the argument. Agility and strength and good health is not exactly a function
of age. Yar’Adua did not die in power because he was an old man. Abacha did not
die in power because he was an old man. Obasanjo ruled until he was seventy
(70) years and it is the same set of PDP big wigs that are now criticizing the
age of Buhari that were promoting and supporting the third-term bid of Obasanjo
that would have taken him to, perhaps, seventy-eight (78) years as President.
Today, Obasanjo still jumps about at nearly eighty (80) years or perhaps more.
Professor Wole Soyinka, at over eighty (80) years, still travels everywhere,
delivering lectures.
The relevant question here is that, is the age more
important than the character or the character more important than the age? For
those who are Christians, remember that the Bible says in Proverbs 16:31 that
grey-headedness is a crown of beauty if found in the ways of righteousness. It
is idiotic to deride an elderly person who is still agile and upright in
character, instead of us praying that we live up to that age and we are blessed
with such strength at such an age. During the Second Republic, the South-West
and South-East massively voted for Awolowo and Azikiwe respectively who were
both over seventy (70) years old, yet nobody raised an eyebrow.
Finally, this is not the time to adopt the herd mentality by
joining the so-called “winning train” because the ruling party is always
expected to rig elections in its favour. What we are witnessing with the large
followership of Buhari is a revolution, a mass movement, a display of anger by
the people against Jonathan and his government. This is a time for well-meaning
Nigerians, the elites to rise up and speak truth to power, regardless of whose
ox is gored. We can halt the slide to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc by our
simple votes. We must vote out incompetence, cluelessness and corruption.
The epitaph that will be left for the Presidential years of
Goodluck Jonathan is this: HERE IS A PRESIDENT WHO DESTROYED PDP AND ALMOST
DESTROYED NIGERIA.
I have purged my conscience. Now, I can sleep.
FESTUS KEYAMO, ESQ.

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