By Remi Oyeyemi
“ ….there is need for the competence and character of public men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny…”- Chief Obafemi Awolowo
“Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.”- Daniel O’Connell.
One of the challenges of building a country or if you like as in the case of Nigeria – a Nation- State is the inability of all the players to agree on the definition of political lexicons such as fairness, good, bad, consistency among several others. The dishonest desire to apply different definitions and rules in all situations that concern segments of the same people in the same country is what often causes problems and challenges for the building of a prosperous and united country.
The recent Dele Momodu’s article on the subject above really raises the spectre of partiality and unfairness as an instrument of political management of and in our polity. The article, an epitome in subtle double-speak, dexterous meandering as well as an exemplification in flagrant double standard is also an invitation to lowering the standard of integrity in public offices in the name of political correctness. Coming from a respected colleague like Mr. Momodu is very disappointing, and indeed very scary.
I am sure that Mr. Momodu would agree with me that there are universal basic definitions of “good”, “bad”, “fairness”, “treachery”, “greed”, “perfidy”, and other lexicons. So, it should not be difficult to identify any “bad” and “treacherous” behavior(s) for what they are. Thus for Mr. Momodu to suggest in the referenced article that the victims of the treachery of Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara have the responsibility of allowing peace to reign in the APC and the country is not only disappointing, it is shocking. Rather than address the real issues and the implications of treachery and undue brinksmanship, Mr. Momodu was speaking in “tongues” from all sides of the issue at stake.
If political correctness is the path that people like Mr. Momodu are championing in rectifying the impasse that are evolving within the APC and the country at large in the glare of all, then it is either he is not sincere in his admonitions or he is really angling for the destruction of the APC house that took the sweat of many to build. The ability to speak the truth “as is” is a challenge that those who sincerely wish President Mohammadu Buhari success must adopt and practice. Even, those who are going to be his critics could not afford to be pejorative or propagandist, since such would devalue from the integrity of the issues at stake.
“I have had the honour and privilege of sitting with the two principal actors in the middle of this raging imbroglio, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara and I’m reasonably assured and definitely convinced that they both love their Party despite the storms in the tea-cups that almost damaged their relationships irreparably. Though labelled as modern day Judases, they both continue to plead for the understanding of those who might not have known what actually transpired behind the scenes.”
When Mr. Momodu sat down with his friends what did he stress to them as what ought to be the course of action moving forward? Did he underscore the need to put the interest of the country above their selfish interests? Did he implore them to really let the “sleeping dog lie” and negotiate with others by giving some after they had taken some? Was he very forthright in letting them see the damages they are doing to the country, their party and the Presidency of Buhari by their acts of treachery and uncontrolled greed? Is Momodu suggesting that Saraki and Dogara are not Judases? Is Mr. Momodu trying to launder the soiled and dirty reputations for these two perfidious elements?
Then Mr, Momodu wrote:- “For now, they are willing and ready to bear their crosses courageously till that auspicious moment when the jigsaw would fit into place. For myself, I am aware that all the contending factions have points that would justify their position and this is the more reason that the swords should be sheathed without further delay. Nobody can come out of this smelling of roses as all the contending forces acted selfishly including the party supremacists!”
The question Mr. Momodu failed to address is how to forgive treachery and perfidy? As contended by the Bologna Socialist Party of old, “He who betrayed once, will do it again,” could Saraki and Dogara be meaningful partners going forward given the sort of exudation we have witnessed from them so far? How do you forgive an intruder who came into your house and took the valuables you have sweated for? How do you reason with such a perfidious element when he is not even considering remorse? How do you move on when such treacherous element as in Bukola Saraki and his accomplice in the Federal House of Representative are refusing to even negotiate and give some after they had taken some? Since Saraki has stolen the Senate Presidency why was he not willing to concede the post of principal officials to the “party supremacists” as Mr. Momodu called them?
What exactly is Mr. Momodu advocating? So when Momodu sat with Saraki, a serial bank robber, why did he not prevail on him to give and take in the name of peace and progress of the country? Why did Momodu not help Saraki see the need to not be too greedy and consider other interests in the party? Why did Momodu fail to impress it on his “greedy” friends to find a way to bring everyone together for the interest of President Buhari who has a task to accomplish?
Rather than be blunt and honest with his friends when he sat with them, Mr. Momodu did not do that. But Mr. Momodu was more comfortable to provide the following preposterous counsel:-
“My candid advice to the APC leadership is to urgently put its house in order because if united they will stand proudly but if divided they will fall miserably. Such is the sad reality I foresee if members of the same party find it impossible to forgive even if they cannot forget.”
What Mr. Momodu did in that article is like blaming the victims of armed robbery who did not wish to be robbed. He is blaming the victims and advising the victims not to fight back even when the victims have the means and wherewithal to do so. Instead of speaking the truth to his friends and call their attention to the effects of their greed, Mr. Momodu is advising the victims to accept their fate and move on when they (the victims) have the means to stand up and fight for their rights? What makes Mr. Momodu think that there could be peace without justice? How could Mr. Momodu not know that justice is a precondition to peace and progress?
Mr. Momodu’s position in the referenced article is an example of why Nigeria would never make it. The inability to be candid, honest and forthright in matters of concern to all and sundry is creating enmity, bad blood and a sense of unfair treatment to some. Instead of us all to come together and condemn the condemnable, Mr. Momodu is advocating the tolerance and acceptance of perfidy and treachery. Mr. Momodu is advocating that we should just leave them alone and allow their travesty to stand regardless of the implications of such to the country and to the party. Mr. Momodu is advocating allowing shenanigans to be part of our public behaviors, discourse and administration. He is trying to validate all the wrong things for the right reasons.
In that article, Mr. Momodu is creating a serious foreboding. He is sending dangerous signals to anxious Nigerians who want to fight corruption. He is sending perplexing indication for fraud, shenanigans and perfidy to be tolerated and accepted as part and parcel of our public life. Mr. Momodu is sending signals that if tomorrow, President Mohammdu Buhari wakes up and wanted to know what happened in the Societe Generale Bank looted by Bukola Saraki and his sisters, Trade Bank owned by Kwara and Kogi States but looted to liquidation by Saraki and the Intercontinental Banks where he colluded with Sanusi Lamido to write off about 40 billion naira loan, he (Mr. Momodu) would plead that President Buhari should not go forward with it? Yet the sage Obafemi Awolow advised “…there is need for the competence and character of public men to be subjected to severer and stricter scrutiny…” Is it that Mr. Momodu does not buy into this principle?
In every situation where there are no consequences for negative behaviors, that is an open invitation to others to engage in such behaviors again. It is an open validation of wrong doing and that wrong doing would be acceptable. Mr. Momodu should go back and sit down with Saraki and Dogara once again and tell them the truth. He should not sugarcoat their perfidy to them. He should go and tell them that they are destroying the country and the APC. Mr.Momodu should point out to them that since they have stolen the Senate Presidency and the Speakership from the “party supremacists”, they should concede the principal offices of the NASS to them for the sake of peace, unity and progress of the country and their political party.
Mr. Momodu should not blame the victims here. He should not engage in subtle rebuke of Chief Bisi Akande who is well known to be a very serious mind. Chief Akande is not a frivolous person. He does not fool around. He is a man of integrity. Rather Mr. Momodu should develop a backbone to tell his friends (Saraki and Dogara) the home truth and let them know that they are Judases as implied by their conducts. He should warn his friends to moderate their greed and be more considerate of others. He should advise them to make sacrifices if they are genuine “patriots” and allow peace to reign in the country and APC. Mr. Momodu should stop beating around the bush and desist from speaking from all sides of the issue. I plead with him in the name of justice, progress and peace. This is because as contended above by Daniel O’Connell, “Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.”
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.” –John F. Kennedy
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Remi Oyeyemi/PM News. Follow this writer on Twitter: @OyeyemiRemi