Of maximum rulers and civilian power mongers
by Chin Ce
Nigeria prior to the civil war of 1967-70 was running a balanced tripod of sprawling northern, eastern and western regions. Healthy competition in education and agriculture insured regional advancements within a high degree of independent resource control. While the north with its feudal structure, nevertheless, maintained marginal lead in groundnut production, the sophisticated west was to excel in cocoa exports, and the enterprising east was the reserve of sprawling palm oil plantations for which the emerging Malaysia nation came to borrow a seed.
Those years of 1956-1966 marked the golden age of Nigerian economic and political history, necessitating present strident calls to restructure the debilitated federation along the original vision of the nation’s founding fathers, a call desperately resisted by the parasites of a fascist ‘Nigeria’ led by President Muhammadu Buhari and his fistful of adherents at state and federal assemblies.
THE ERA OF THIEVING GENERALS
It is still a subject of much consternation that the military putsch of 1966 brought in a general Ironsi to the table, and he deemed it expedient in his ‘six-foot of foolishness'(1) to annex the regions and foist a strange form of centralism that was typical of poor military education in political economy, which never sees beyond the force of command and violence for solution.
Although strictly of buccaneer mentality during his brief megalomaniac era, Ironsi’s abolition of the regions was in itself thievery and rape of the Nigerian constitutional federation, having set the stage for the wild state of centralised looting by blood thirsty vampires in his wake.
With Ironsi’s execution came a meretricious jack named colonel Gowon. His emergence was a worse form of thievery in military hierarchy, resulting to his colleague, colonel Ojukwu of the eastern region, refusing to recognize him. Then overnight, by sheer northern audacity, the uneducated co conspirator was made general to command civil war police action against the east, which had opted not to rejoin a federation that had assumed unitarian tyranny.
After the war, oil exportation began and this man felt money was not the problem with Nigeria but how to spend it. Consequently the general ran a mendacious military, a slew of corrupt bureaucrats and an injudicious government that neglected agriculture. Fela Kuti, the irrepressible voice of the people at that time was relentless in exposing this profligate head of state. But we can hear Gowon today, now an octogenarian in spite of the hindsight of history, passing off himself as a model of frugality by the same art of public lying which he employed to run Nigeria aground in his youth(2). But history remains certain that this man was kicked out in 1976 by his cohorts for corruption and ineptitude. And Nigeria was led by another genocidal maniac in the person of Murtala Mohammed.
Executioner and mass murderer in the war with the east, this veritable footsoldier of the oligarchy whose head dots a national paper was easily a hero of the north. By then, every northerner without a school certificate was guaranteed general in the Nigerian army. Murtala Mohammed’s looting began from the civil war years when he raided the central bank of Benin in mid western Nigeria. Although he was later to make a tendentious gesture of returning the looted funds, his anti corruption war against his immediate predecessor was barbaric in travesty, sprinkled with mindless robotic phraseology: ‘with immediate effect.’ Yet, in spite of his vaunted fanatical religiosity, honoured by similar intellectual lackeys like Buhari himself, the law of karma proved exacting as a middle belt colonel, named Dimka, was on hand to blast him out of office barely six months months into his pseudo nationalist revolution.
Murtala’s reluctant second-in-command named general Obasanjo ran a lame duck regime from 1976-1979 deluding itself of greatness. Nigeria was to become a world power, he boasted, while mounting a controversial election and handing off the baton to a civilian order bound to fail by its unworkable constitution which was never written by the people or for the people. Obasanjo’s stash included a humongous bank loan and the amassment of a whole colony at Otta, ostensibly for farming. Here the era of generals, robbing and raping their country bloody and dumb, enjoyed a brief interregnum in a civilian democracy.
Even in so called democracy, Nigerian unitarianism triumphed with a witless document scribbled by the army and called the 1979 constitution. The school teacher who became president had no vision other than running for reelection under this corrupted form of democracy that still managed to morph onto every dispensation. Ministers, public servants, legislators all ran amuck with stealing from the mineral resources of the Niger delta. In his waning year in office, Shagari was forced to acknowledge, in his own words, ‘the mounting rubbish of corruption’ (2) but did nothing decisive enough to end it.
ANOTHER ERA OF THE GENERALS
Shagari was kicked out in December 1983, paving the way for a horde of northern irredentists and raving lunatics symbolic of general Buhari to jostle and compete for the authority to plunder the nation’s wealth anew. By this time a surfeit of generals from the deserts of Chad and Niger republics had littered the barracks of Nigerian army. There was nothing else to do then but drink local ‘pepper soup’ at the barracks and plan coups d’etat.(3)
A trail of retrenchments, poverty and draconian decrees followed the brief era of this tyrant and his deputy by name general Idiagbon. They had come with a vengeance, promising that certain people, like the celebrated legend, Fela Kuti, who had loudly likened them to ‘zombies’, were going to rot in jail. Insensitive to Nigerian multi religious, multi ethnic temperament, Buhari ran his Muslim-Muslim government with his Idiagbon crony, quite unabashedly, and was proceeding upon their vain, arrogant Islamist project before he was locked out by his military colleagues who were on the queue for a taste of the thieving spree.
Probably the most ambitious of Nigeria’s kleptomaniac generals, this head of state via the palace coup of 1985 had the singular impetus to call himself a president while in office. A long spell of eight harrowing years filled with corruption, cronyism, perpetual self glorification, hedonism, manic looting of public resources, media persecution and horrendous murders was the legacy of Ibrahim Babangida’s regime to Nigerians. In the end he annulled the very election that was to return the country to civilised conduct in 1993 and passed off the baton to his northern illiterate folk’s man, general Sani Abacha.
The agreement to keep an armed Abacha in office after Babangida’s rather unceremonious exit was in order to boot out an interloper history will remember as the Shonekan shenanigan. Only in Nigeria could Africa have witnessed a civilian head of state appointed by a discredited military junta. Like Ironsi, there was no time for Shonekan to loot the nation as he remained a pariah during his brief epiphany of ‘leadership.’
Described by Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, as ‘the most insensitive creature'(4) to preside over the Nigerian nation, Abacha was easily winner of the trophy for murderous psychopaths in the history of Nigeria’s thieving heads of state. This man brutally executed hundreds of the opposition, laundered Nigeria’s petro dollars, sent thousands on exile and liquidated Nigerian economy by massive looting and stashing of state funds in foreign coffers. Supported by his folks man, Muhammadu Buhari, who was empowered to run some queer petroleum trust fund under his regime, Abacha earned a place in the hall of infamy as hell priest of the dark age of an African nation.
After five years of eclipse, Abacha died in office, 1998, paving the way for more serial looting in the hands of General Abubakar. The darkness did not wane, rather more billions were swindled under this regime, along with cohorts working as service chiefs and supporters of the administration. Under this new band of looters, the winner of the June 1993 elections, MKO Abiola, was murdered, CIA style, in prison – the northern cabal’s Nazi equivalent of a final solution to the Jewish question, preventing the ill fated Abiola from claiming his mandate ever after.
NEW ERA OF CIVIL LOOTING
In 1999, the era of civil looting began anew under the second coming of no less a military brigand as Obasanjo. The filthy document of 1979 was rehashed by another siege of thieving army generals into what is now glibly touted as ‘1999 constitution, as amended.’ But all it offered was the corrupt suzerainty of an amorphous centre to the pauperisation of states and other municipal stakes in government. These generals, now retired, having amassed their stolen wealth for politics, proceeded to fill the slots of senators, legislators, ministers, governors and the countless expensive offices of the Nigerian state designed for patronage and aggrandisement.
Thus, emboldened as a civilian president who won a rigged election, Obasanjo superintended the millennial impoverishment of his country through corruption, bribery, sale of public assets, impunity, brute executive mindlessness and destruction of democratic institutions to the last base of municipal and state infrastructure.
Messrs Yar’adua and Jonathan
With the exorbitant multi party politics of gun running and violence, which the handful of armed dracos had scribbled upon their constitution, the duo of Yar’adua and Jonathan coasted ahead of Obasanjo as next of the infamous personages of treasury hunters. Like Abacha, Yar’adua died in office paving the way for the man Jonathan to lead the pirate band of politicians. Until he lost out to Buhari in 2015, Goodluck enriched every sycophant in the firmament and turned billionaires of every audacious warlord from his Niger delta conclave. Corruption and impunity soared, and the nation reeled in grinding poverty, insecurity and economic misdirection.
The second coming of the ex general three decades later was initially greeted with rejoicing which, sooner than it began, turned into wailing in the mouths of citizens. Barely one year in office Mr Buhari, like Mr Obasanjo, proved a fiasco. Weak, inept and deeply noxious about self improvement and learning, Buhari as civilian president failed to provide security and unite the country under justice and rule of law. Unknown to the Nigerian people, the cattle rearer was in a pact to protect his Muslim kinsmen and their murderous herder squads at the expense of the rest of the country, leaving anarchy to loom on the nation’s horizon – without a pluck of conscience. Corruption, impunity and flagrant disregard for court rulings proved worse under his party government. Like Gowon, public posturing on national issues became his gambit. The persecution of perceived political opponents and the protection of his corrupt minions, which had always been his stock in trade from military years, summarised his second attempt at leadership. Added to rising corruption by the cabal behind his watch, his ailing health and secrecy of humongous funding expended on his perennial oversea medical tours lent credence to suspicions about the true nature of his ailment, putting his behavioural tendencies firmly under the speculative purview of CLONED SATANIC LEADERS.
(1) Actually Her Majesty’s slur for the Zik of Africa, deemed appropriate as well for his kinsman, under the discourse.
(2) Gowon’s recent art of public lying goes thus: Daily Trust, May 15 2018, ‘Former military Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), said on Monday that his regime never experienced anything such as corruption for the nine years it was in power.’ https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/we-didn-t-know-corruption-during-our-time-gowon-250658.html
(3) It had taken Shagari five years, while swearing in his insane flock of 36 ministers, to publicly acknowledge the mounting rubbish of corruption in his government of the time.
(4) Police commissioner Alozie Ogubuaja was frustrated out of the rotten Nigeria Police system for exposing the Nigerian military as lazy, redolent, specialists only in cowardly coups d’etat.
(5) Soyinka escaped the Abacha gulag by the whiskers and proceeded on self exile to Europe where he mounted pressure for sanctions against the deranged kleptomania of Nigerian military under general Abacha.