From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja The decision to retain health maintenance organisations (HMOs) as part of the country’s health insurance programme caused a major disagreement between the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services and the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman. Usman, at the just concluded two-day investigative hearing…
If my memory serves me right, we, in Nigeria, have never been known to elect the best amongst us into public office. Our best brains have never made it to the highest offices in the land. Or is that not why we have such concepts as ‘the best president Nigeria never had’?
So, how come the politicians of today get into office and begin to, not only arrogate stupendous intellect to themselves, but also assume that we, the people, don’t know what is good for us anymore? Or that, simply because we do not hold the strings to government purses or move around in convoys that have enough security to serve an entire nation state, we no longer know what is going on?
How come they now think we’re all fools? How come they think we’re too stupid to see through their lies?
Even when the facts of any matter stares us all in the face, the politicians insist the opposite is the case. Is this the government magic Fela once sang about?
Take the case of the recent Ondo election for instance. It is not in doubt as to which godfather worked for which candidate. But now that the election has been won and lost, strange congratulatory messages are flying all over the place. Most are laden with hidden meanings – whether from Buhari, Tinubu, Odigie-Oyegun, Akeredolu or Mimiko. But they are all telling us it’s not what we think. That we should not read any meaning into the fact that certain persons, who should have joined the APC campaign train refused (sorry, were unable) to join Akeredolu’s rallies.
It was only Jimoh Ibrahim, who spelt out his message explicitly (to mock Mimiko), even though he too did not tell us if he was contracted by the Presidency to do what he did to PDP.
Similarly, INEC and APC (used interchangeably with ‘presidency’) would swear on national television that they did not borrow a leaf from Commey’s CIA in their dealings with PDP’s Eyitayo Jegede. But we all know that this idea of criminally disqualifying a candidate and clearing him just a few hours to the election bears so much semblance to what CIA did to Hilary Clinton in the run-up to the last presidential election in the United States. Or is it more similar to what OBJ did to Atiku in 2007? Well, we’re too dumb to decode these shenanigans, right?
I guess I’m too daft to comprehend all these.
Even in Rivers State, where a re-run election holds in a few days, nobody seems to be listening to Gov. Nyesom Wike’s cries of police intimidation and unfathomable abuse of the proverbial federal might. APC is still hanging on to the tired narrative of insecurity. We’re told it’s not true that the APC is desperate to win a major oil-producing South-South state (please, don’t say anything about the Edo that produces only a few gallons of crude oil). Even as all the machinery put in place to rig the said election stares us all in the face, nobody wants to do anything. I guess it’s because the rigging would favour the party preferred by INEC. But they are telling us all is well. Of course, who are we to think otherwise? We’re not supposed to have any brains!
Wike says he has no hands in the refusal of the Speaker to swear in duly elected APC members of the state House of Assembly? Tell it to the birds. I’ll believe that when I believe that Buhari and APC had no hand in the refusal of INEC to hold the re-run election all this while. I’ll believe that when I’m convinced that insecurity was really the reason for the delay. Me, I no know book o!
But that’s not the only instance where they think we’re fools: As crises are tearing APC to tatters, they’re still telling us there’s no problem between Tinubu and Buhari. That El-Rufai does not think Shenu Sani wants to contest governorship in 2019. That Gov. Ganduje’s only interest in stopping a mass wedding in Kano was purely for security reason – that there was no Kwankwaso in the equation. That Gov. Mohammed Umar Jibrilla Bindow cannot be supporting Buhari and still be at peace with Atiku (a prominent citizen of his state). That the sudden rapprochement between PMB and Saraki (and the anointing of new political warrant chiefs within the South-West APC, by the Presidency) has nothing to do with the desperation to forge new alliances and create new power blocs exclusive of Tinubu. They want us to believe that Odigie-Oyegun suddenly grew balls overnight and can now look Asiwaju in the face and tell him to go to hell. Hmmm!
Well, in the part of the country where I come from, whenever we suddenly see a coward dancing in the middle of the road, we know there is someone, behind the bushes, beating the drum for him. But we, the governed masses, are not supposed to decipher all these, since we are all fools.
Not even on the issue of the evolving new mega party are we being told the truth. Virtually everyone who is anybody in the new alliance is telling us there is no such thing. Thank God for old fox Obasanjo, who recently warned that he would support the new party as long as it does not make Atiku its presidential candidate.
Well, I see nothing, I hear nothing, I say nothing and, therefore, I know nothing.
I remain the fool, I am, until the politicians tell me what to believe. And what to think.
A long time ago, when I first heard the phrase ‘Ways and Means”, it didn’t strike me as anything other than a rhythmic rhyme in Bob Marley’s “Survival” hit track. Marley, in that song, talked about how ‘some people had ways and means’, while the rest of us just had ‘hopes and dreams’. How ‘some people got everything’ and ‘some people got nothing’. For me, it was just what it was; song.
However, the last few days have brought out the real meaning to WAYS and MEANS, as the Federal Government, the central bank, and former central bank governor and current Emir of Kano, HRM Muhammadu Sanusi II, seek to outshine themselves over who ‘better’ mismanaged the Nigerian economy.
Is the CBN claim on the Federal Govern- ment the N4.7 trillion Sanusi alleged? Or is it a lower figure as alleged by the Federal Government (a figure they have refused to name)? How much has the Federal Govern- ment borrowed from the CBN? How legit is it? What is the legal limit prescribed by our statutes?
And then, there is the N1.47 trillion neatly entered under a rather omnibus ‘WAYS AND MEANS’ heading – whatever that means. All I can tell is that these people are talking to themselves. When they want to talk to the rest of us, they will speak the language we understand, and stop using these pedantic terminologies.
For me, a layman, all I want to know is: Do we still have any money left in our account? If we have a credit balance of N1.193 trillion in our TSA account, why are we still this hungry? If PMB’s government borrowed N4.7 trillion (or even N1.467 trillion) from CBN, what did they use the money for?
Some people, definitely, have WAYS AND MEANS!
So, while the rest of us battle for survival against unfriendly and inclement market forces, the people in government continue to live large – while telling us we have to make the sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. Of course, they don’t feel the pangs of hunger as we do. They have ways and means!! Their bills (including children’s school fees, family holidays, medical trips abroad) are picked by the state – our taxes.
Unfortunately, nobody is keen on telling us the real truth. And now that Emir Sanusi has ruffled a few feathers with his utterances (even if, as always, his figures are not pin-point correct), I expect he’d run into a little problem soon.
….To be continued next week.