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Parallels between Zuma and Buhari By Bolanle Bolawole

Ex-President Jacob Zuma of South Africa
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Ex-President Jacob Zuma, who for long constituted himself into a rampaging bull in South Africa’s china shop, finally has been out-manoeuvred, over-powered, overcome, and led out in indignity befitting his many atrocities against his Fatherland. It was not as if the South Africans were not wary and suspicious of Zuma, like we were here of President Muhammadu Buhari, but they decided to give him the benefit of doubt; again, like we did with Buhari.

But like Zuma fell miserably below expectation and his performance in office was abject; so has Buhari. In his valedictory, Zuma washed himself clean, saying he did no wrong, and that he gave his best to his people. I cannot wait to hear Buhari’s own valedictory, for it surely will come, second term or no second term, except natural causes or a violent change of government, none of which we pray for, cut his tenure short. Recently, Buhari, like the proverbial lizard in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” had also given himself a pass mark but like the South Africans who are laughing Zuma to scorn over his fawning self-appraisal, Nigerians who wear the shoe and should know where it pinches know that Buhari’s level best, to be charitable, has not been good enough, quoting reggae artiste Lionel Richie.

There is much rejoicing in South Africa and renewed hope of a new beginning. That alone speaks volumes about how terrible Zuma’s tenure was. A new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has taken the baton from the divisive, garrulous, corrupt, inept, and obstinate Zuma and has promised to stop the hideous larceny of the Zuma era; heal the deep wounds inflicted on the psyche of South Africans as well as on the politics and economy of Nelson Mandela’s home land. Millions of Nigerians will give the whole world to be in the shoes of their South African brothers and sisters right away. Their wish is that they, too, are able to offload Buhari, consign him to the dustbin of history where he rightly belongs with Zuma, and begin the urgent and arduous task of stopping the wanton destruction a purported CHANGE agent had perpetuated on the altar of cronyism, ethnic jingoism, and Janjaweed fundamentalism as well as begin to roll back the carpets of division, hate, anguish, sorrow, tears, death, bestiality, Stone Age wickedness and cruelty he has allowed the country to be whacked with while, like Emperor Nero, he fiddled (“taking my time”, he whimsically called it!).

But we may have to suffer a little bit more. We as a people are not as steeped in struggle as the South Africans who have a rich culture and experience of over a century of struggle against apartheid colonialism. Having attained Independence on a platter, Nigerians generally are laid back and prefer to cut corners rather than confront the realities of their situation. They beg God to do for them what they should roll up their sleeves and do for themselves. Then, of course, our political system is different from the parliamentary system in place in South Africa.

One of the greatest havocs done this country – after the destruction of our federal system of government by successive military dictators – is the change-over from parliamentary to presidential system of government. Apart from its very costly and wasteful nature, the presidential system also leaves awesome powers in the hands of the president and builds nearly insurmountable bulwarks against his fall from office. In a parliamentary system, Buhari would not have got away easily with all the blue murder committed under his watch and would not be sitting pretty as he does today, least of all contemplating elongating our suffering and the possibility of the country’s eventual collapse with his rumoured second term bid.

Nigerians must know what to do: Change the system, which makes restructuring inevitable and a return to the earlier federalist constitutions imperative. Secondly, we must step up on citizen participation and agitations against government misrule if we are to checkmate impunity and build a better society. Thirdly, we must be persistent and never give up. History has once more proven, with the ignominious exit of Zuma, that vile and despicable leaders usually have feet of clay, even while giving the appearance and pretence of invincibility. The fall of one bad ruler elsewhere is sure evidence they will fall here as well. And the time is nigh!

LAST WORD: By the way, what becomes of Imo state Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s statue of Zuma? Babylon is fallen; is fallen; is fallen! Okorocha’s hero is fallen; is fallen; is fallen! Some clown!

FEEDBACK

RE: The gutter language of a distinguished senator

There is nothing distinguished in a senator who engaged in public fighting; who disrespects citizens; who is arrogant and not humble; who refuses to show remorse when upbraided but carried her perfidy many steps forward. What is distinguished in a senator who rains curses on those calling her to order? You were too lenient in your response to her. The title of your piece should have been “The gutter language of an undistinguished senator” or “The gutter language of a ‘distinguished’ senator” – Abbah Andrew, FCT, Abuja

I was flabbergasted that Senator Biodun Olujimi could refer to Gov. Ayo Fayose as your benefactor. Fayose is Olujimi’s benefactor par excellence. Olujimi served as Special Assistant to Fayose; she became House of Representatives member riding on Fayose’s back. Thereafter, she was appointed deputy governor by Fayose. From what we heard, the person she displaced Machiavellian-style Owoseni Ajayi later settled for the post of Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Interestingly, both Olujimi and Owoseni are now in the same anti-Fayose boat. Owoseni had better watch it! As the Yoruba adage puts it “rikisi pa nwon po, nwon d’ore.” How “very loyal” Olujimi was to Fayose – and can be to anyone else – was dramatized by the role she played in the impeachment saga that truncated Fayose’s first term and her subsequent struggle with the then Speaker of the House of Assembly to be installed as substantive governor. That move failed and a sole administrator was imposed on Ekiti. Thereafter, Olujimi joined forces with Engr. Segun Oni and became Commissioner for Works while Fayose, her erstwhile boss and benefactor, went into exile and was in political limbo. Olujimi, however, crawled back to Fayose when the latter returned from exile and began to make political waves again. Fayose gifted her senatorial slot in 2015, the post she occupies till this moment. – Thomas Eniaiyeju, Ado- Ekiti

Why do journalists look down upon their own profession? In those days, journalism was for college drop-outs and diploma holders but these days, highly educated and qualified persons are in the profession. I know this for a fact because some of my classmates in the university work as journalists today. Graduates, post-graduates, and even Ph. D holders and professionals from all works of life are in the profession. How come Senator Biodun Olujimi chose to speak so condescendingly about the right of the practitioners to engage in consultancy like other professionals? Like you rightly said, Sir, nothing stops journalists from being media consultants (since that is their field) in same way as nothing stops other professionals from acting as consultants in their respective fields. – Bunmi Fakayejo, Ibadan.

I want to ask if journalists have a disciplinary body like lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc. If they do, then, Senator Biodun Olujimi should be dragged before it and exemplary punishment meted out to her for degrading a profession she purports to belong to. There can be no doubt she sees herself more as a professional politician than a professional journalist. – Anietie Udok Abasi, Calabar.

Bola, stick to your gun. Egberun (1,000) Senator Biodun Olujimis can do you no harm. Please continue to expose the inadequacies and lack of decency of our so-called honourables.
Your take on the relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is absolutely spot on. It is a use-and-dump relationship. I hope Asiwaju would not allow himself to be bitten twice. We have too many pretenders in APC than loyalists of Asiwaju because silently they envy him because of his political sagacity. Buhari is a pretender; not a lover of Tinubu. Asiwaju should listen to the voice of reason before it is too late. Pa Ayo Adebanjo of NADECO and Afenifere fame ab initio sounded the warning that “Buhari cannot be trusted” The old man is damn right based on what is currently unfolding in our polity under Buhari’s presidency. – Yacoob Abiodun, United States.

She raged and cursed; she used foul and dirty language; yet, she had the temerity to invoke God’s name! With a ‘child of God’ like Senator Biodun Olujimi, no one needs search any further for a child of the devil (apologies, MKO Abiola)! – Rev. Ambrose Nwachukwu, Ughelli.

Scripture says a curse causeless shall not come. Hold on to this and continue the good work. Don’t allow oppressors like Senator Olujimi intimidate you. – Banke Jacobs, Ilorin.

At 76 years, I have seen it all! Olujimi must mend her ways. In all religions, God dislikes those who use their vantage position to oppress others. – Pa Tiamiyu Ajagbe, Ibadan

I write to appreciate you for your great and down-to-earth contributions via this forum. As the momentum gathers towards 2019, especially with regards to the presidential election, I think those of us who are truly children of God should be told that unequal yoke exists not only in marriage but also in politics. If not for the yoke between Osinbajo and Buhari, which carted a greater percentage of the South West’s and RCCG members’ votes to that ticket, I am not sure we would have had this cataclysmic catastrophe of a Buhari presidency. Buhari is hell-bent on turning Nigeria into another Turkey (formally Ephesus) – Olugbenga Moru.

I thank God for you and your column. When the weight of this misrule tends to push me over, I always remember you will be here on Sunday and write the truth. Fayose, Fani-Kayode, and Wike are politicians but you are not. I respect you; I respect your journalism. Whenever I am getting sure that happenings in this country will soon kill me, Sunday will arrive with your features. I thank God you are there; and that somebody knows my pains the way you do reduces the frustration. If I hate Lugard, what do I say of Tinubu? God dey! Write for me every Sunday, I beg you! – Engr. Ahon Jename Martin, Federal Polytechnic, Idah.

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