Our Country is again sliding towards a dangerous precipice and it is pertinent to call the political class to order to stop this descent to anarchy. It is unfortunate to see the political class bickering between one another over mundane issues bothering on personal ego and aggrandizement while governance is put in abeyance across the Country, irrespective of the political party in control.
As we speak, things are unfolding in droves at various layers and spheres of government that call for serious concern. We therefore wish to call attention of the Citizens to some of these issues and their implications for our dear nation.
Governor Danbaba Suntai and the political Machinations in Taraba State:
Finally, on Sunday 25th August, 2013 Governor Danbaba DanFulani Suntai of Taraba State was returned to the Country after a 10 month medical sojourn abroad, following an unfortunate plane crash involving himself and his aides on 25th October, 2012.
Whereas we sympathise with the Suntais and the entire people of Taraba State over this unfortunate incident and sincerely wish the ailing Governor full recovery, we however condemn unequivocally the attempt by some political vultures within and outside the State who are bent on holding a whole State to ransom and make effective governance once again unrealistic.
These charlatans have desperately kept trying to cling to political power and by extension the resources of Taraba State through series of craftily woven plots of deceits, meant to hoodwink the Nigeria public in a manner similar to the unfortunate Turai-Yar’Adua saga. Deliberately and shamelessly, these people continue to feed the public with lies (sometimes garnished with half-truths) about the true state of health of Governor D D Suntai. Every indication and reports since his unfortunate plane crash leaves no one in doubt that Mr. Suntai is medically brain damaged and is thus unfit to discharge his constitutional duties according to the Nigerian constitution.
By plotting this deceit and subterfuge around his supposed recovery, the architects of this evil plot are able to cling to power and rule Taraba State by proxy in the name of the innocent Governor Suntai whilst they pillage the State’s resources for themselves and their cronies in Taraba and Abuja.
It is unfortunate, to say the least, that Nigeria’s political elites have refused to learn from a recent history enacted by this same elite where some cabal of treasury looters held the Country to ransom by failing to allow a proper handing over and transition from the then ailing President Umaru Musa Yar Adua (now late) to President Goodluck Jonathan (then acting) and by so doing effectively constraining the latter from acquiring the stipulated constitutional powers, duties, obligations and privileges required for that office.
The polity was heated up and all sorts of groupings and political alignments seized the opportunity. A similar scenario is now unfolding and playing out in Taraba State as some people are bent on criminally exploiting the misfortune of Governor Suntai for their own selfish purposes. We consider this wicked, inhuman, and unconscionable act an affront on the good people of Taraba State and the entire Country. It is indeed a brazen and condemnable violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
It is very clear that there is an Acting Governor in Taraba state who it is true is being constrained in the performanace of the duties of the office of the governor as required by the constitution by this self serving cabal; It is therefore very important to send out a very strong message that the return of a still ailing governor will not become the ruse with which to effectively cripple governance in the state for the benefit of a few.
Until there is an independent, medically certified prove of the effective recovery of the ailing governor, it is very important in the interest of ordinary citizens, that no obstacles are placed in the part of effective discharge of the duties of the office of the Governor by the Acting Governor.
ASUU AND HEALTH WORKERS’ STRIKE
The present administration like others preceding it have failed to honour agreements freely entered into with various labour unions; recall the still lingering minimum wage saga. We watch with sadness as the political class trivialize the lives of our young people and the future of this Country by refusing to honour its agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Health Workers’ Union; as well as for three months previously with respect to the Academic Staff Union Of Polytechnics [ASUP].
For six weeks now (and counting), young, virile, sound-minded and able bodied Nigerians have once again been kept idle and hopeless as the political elite display its lack of respect and concern for the youth of this Country by its failure to meet the legitimate and pragmatic demands of the striking lecturers. This is most unfortunate and a further proof that the ruling elite in Nigeria is tyrannical, wicked, unpatriotic and profligate.
It is instructive to note that not a single member of the Federal Government’s negotiating team in the FG/ASUU face off have their child (ren) in any public university/Politechnic in Nigeria. Since they are not personally affected, and can afford at our expense through illegitimate earnings to procure the education of their children in private institutions at home and abroad. they seem to be unconcerned about the completely derelict, comatose and unsavoury state of public education in the country.
What is most amazing, and an effective prove of their lack of patriotic concern is that there is a report by a Presidential Monitoring Team on the state of public universities in the country, issued since July 2012; which paints a totally dismal picture of the state of our Universities; and according to which none of our Universities meets the minimum conditions for learning and research for such institutions worldwide!
One would think that with the evidence provided by their own committee, a serious government will take very seriously the near collapse of public education in Nigeria and take immediate, concrete, and effective remedial and rehabilitative action. Alas in the midst of these pile of evidence the political elite is once again playing a game of musical chairs with the education of our youths, and thus the future of our country.
It is common sensical that the level of advancement and development of a country, the level of productivity of its economy, and the degree of competitiveness of its economy is virtually dependent on the state of education; its quality; and the the degree of accessibility of quality education.
The case that ASUU, ASUP and all the unions in education have been making for years, has been very clearly substantiated by the report of government’s own assessment committee since July 2012; what possible reasons, other than greed, and lack of patriotism can be responsible for government’s and the political elite’s non charlant attitude towards resolving the crisis in education?
Worse still is the shamelessness with which the political elite run abroad to treat even mere headaches and coughs or common fever, after having decimated (which they continue to ceaselessly do) the health sector in Nigeria to the detriment of the citizens. It is tantamount to wickedness, mischief, and the violation of the fundamental right to life of citizens for an administration that established 9 new federally owned University, to satisfy political and corrupt considerations, to complain of lack of money to fund existing Universities and public healthcare delivery institutions in the Country.
Equally worrisome and disheartening is the escalating level of discontent among citizens some of which is finding expression in violence and criminality. While the Nigerian security establishment continues to battle with the insurgencies in the Northwest, North Central and Niger Delta areas, albeit behind iron curtains, the problems of insecurity, violent attacks and economic crimes continue to increase across the Country unabated.
The Country can definitely not be expected to continue on this perilous path towards self-immolation, as occurrences in the Arab world and some other parts of Africa and Asia give ample evidences that the outcomes of this level of failure of governance and government’s breach of public trust ultimately have catastrophic end and politicians and their cronies are not spared the consequences.
It is thus critical that conscious, conscientious, active and patriotic citizens in the Country once again rise up to the historical responsibility of preventing the reckless, rudderless, vane and corrupt political class from plunging the Country into an abyss strife and turmoil.
We demand that;
The unfolding charade in Taraba State is brought to an end and the Acting Governor be either allowed to continue to discharge the duties of the governor unfettered, or be duly sworn in and recognized as the substantive Governor of the State following the unfortunate fate that has befallen Governor Suntai. That the Federal Government without any further delay acquiesce to the legitimate demands of ASUU and the health workers; implement the agreements entered into with these unions; and in particular implement the recommendations of the report of the assessment team on the state of Nigerian public universities.
That all active citizens should take immediate practical steps, including steps towards recall of responsible political office holders, to compel government and the political class to acede to these legitimate demands.
Messers Ezenwa Nwagwu of the Say NO Campaign Nigeria; Jaye Gaskia of the United Action for Democracy; and Olanrewaju Suraj of the Civil Society Network against Corruption read this statement at a press conference in Abuja Monday on the state of the nation.
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