by Stanley Azuakola
I do not even need faith to predict that next week is going to be an eventful week. Really, I don’t. This is Nigeria – every week is pregnant. All I can do is look forward to it the same way Lai Mohammed looks forward to writing press statements.
Our politicians and policy makers create things out of nothing and even when they want to keep things low, nature ensures that there’s a good story for newshounds like us. How else can we explain the fact that sickness chose to afflict the president a day after he turned 56 in faraway London. Then remarkably, as if he had T.B Joshua in his entourage, the president’s ailment went back from whence it came in less than 24 hours, making some to suggest – nonsensically, according to Abati – that the president was only suffering from a hangover. Anyway, all that was for the outgoing week, and old things have passed away so we look forward to the new that next week brings.
For the coming week, here are five things that I will be looking forward to and following very closely.
1. What ASUU will say when they’re done hiding:
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike is in its fourth month and for Nigerian students it’s been four utterly frustrating months. We hear that ASUU has been meeting “nicodemously” and their discussions have been top secret. I’m hoping that the union accepts the FG’s new offer and calls off the strike (we wouldn’t want Mr. President’s 13 hours of meeting with them to come to naught). But even if the union chooses not to accept the offer, can they please just say something for goodness sake so that students who wish to marry can simply go ahead? The one week of mourning over the sad sad death of the inimitable Festus Iyayi is over; now it’s time for ASUU to say something and let’s get a step closer to ensuring Nigerian students are back in their classrooms and labs.
President Jonathan is relying on the famed fickleness and forgetfulness of Nigerians in his handling of #Stellagate – the affair involving his beloved minister of aviation, Stella Oduah, who directed an agency under her supervision to purchase two bullet proof vehicles worth N225 million for her. Well, I for one am waiting for the president. Say something sir – or better still: DO SOMETHING. Apart from the insensitivity involved in the car purchase, it was illegal because the House of Representatives had removed that expenditure from the budget and approving such a sum was above the minister’s legal limits. A committee in the national assembly which investigated the issue has reportedly recommended Oduah’s sack. The president set up his own committee to investigate and they have secretly submitted their report but he has chosen to be mute. That’s not cool Mr. President.
Jonathan needs to come on the record – by either taking action against the minister or keeping her in his cabinet with reasons. But silence is just not an option. Soon – they hope – new developments in the aviation sector would be announced (like a new national carrier which I hear would be announced in the coming week) and then Nigerians would forget. I’m looking forward to hearing the president’s decision this week as regards #Stellagate.
3. Choose ye this day – Peace or War?:
Look, I’m sick of the endless peace talks between President Jonathan and the G7 governors. If the men want to leave the party, they should make up their mind already. I understand that not all of the 7 governors are enthusiastic about dumping the PDP while some have made up their minds to leave. The governors want to leave the PDP or stay behind as a collective and not, otherwise their bargaining power (whether in the PDP or APC) would be greatly diminished. But after the president’s meeting on Sunday with the G7 governors, they have to arrive at a decision and end this dizzying dance. Grow some balls, guys!
4. APC, how far?:
The All Progressives Congress (APC) needs to learn to talk in a measured tone. Hyperbole is accepted sometimes in the art of political propaganda but outright lies are upsetting. Lai Mohammed repeatedly said before the registration of the APC that the party was only waiting for Jega’s INEC to register them, after which they were going to receive eleven PDP governors in their fold. He spoke with the sureness of one who was sitting on top a binder filled with application letters from PDP governors. Several months after the registration, not a single governor has switched camp to the APC. Instead the party has been on a “Please join us” campaign. I’m hoping to hear something new on that score.
The same thing applies to the new PDP, which has been copying from the APC playbook and claiming that since it broke away that it is ready to receive five more PDP governors. The new PDP has even set up a reception committee to receive the elusive governors. But up till date they have received a grand total of ZERO new governors. How far, people?
5. #Anambra2013; incompetence truly stinks:
INEC messed up badly. I am one of those who feel that APGA’s Willie Obiano would have won the Anambra governorship poll cleanly. I mean he was the only one who ran anything close to a competent campaign. PDP’s Tony Nwoye had less than two weeks of campaigning before the election, while Chris Ngige ran the most incompetent campaign operation I’ve witnessed since Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s 2011 presidential run. Yet, INEC has given these men a lifeline as a result of its incompetence. The losing candidates now have very strong cases both in the public court and in the court of law. Anyway, we are looking forward to the November 30 supplementary election. How many parties will boycott? Will it even hold? Will it have any credibility (especially because the APC, for one, will do everything possible to ensure that nobody takes that election seriously)? See what INEC has caused!
Intriguing week ahead and my eyes would closely follow these five issues.
Do you have any other issue you think we should be watching out for next week? Let’s hear them.
See you next time.