FEMI ADEOTI COLUMN
Alhaji Lai Mohammed is Minister of Information and Culture. He was on our neck early this week. He was impatiently waiting on us. And it was for the wrong reason.
He was in his habitual eerie element. That is given. A leopard won’t change its spots. The much-taunted “Change” mantra notwithstanding.
He took us for a rough ride. He still relied on his crude arsenal, talking down on us. He was ferociously blaming us.
We took his wild and weird outburst with a pinch of salt. He held us responsible for every misstep of this government. That is the regime he serves and represents.
He has an enormous challenge. From his parochial perspective, all government critics are haters. They are just too “unpatriotic” for his liking. Pity his frustration. It’s overwhelmingly written all over him. And he was forced to voice it out:
“It is unfortunate today that many people are waiting for the country to disintegrate. Many of them are disappointed that we are still standing on our feet.”
Really? This Lai sha! He stubbornly forged ahead: “We will continue to wax stronger because these detractors and vocal nay-sayers are in the minority.”
That’s his myopic view of critics. The anger in him began to gain unsteady momentum: “When you look at some write-ups in our newspapers and social media, you begin to wonder whether the writers are patriots. If you don’t live in Nigeria and you are reading what they are writing, you will think every part of Nigeria is at war.”
He was actually spoiling for war. And he didn’t care a hoot. The reason he derailed one more time. Confusion set in:
“We are not saying don’t criticise the government, you are at liberty to do so. However, stop de-marketing Nigeria. Stop setting one ethnic group or religion against the other and have the courage to be honest and forthright.”
And that exactly is what government and its top officials know how to do the best. Arrogating importance to a particular tiny ethnic group over the rest of us.
They disdainfully do this by their bloody body language, actions and inactions. They de-market Nigeria at will. And with the greatest ease, home and abroad.
Lai would have succeeded in rubbishing us. He would have had his way in sealing our fate and aspirations. He would have completely written us off, almost unchallenged.
He was hell-bent on making a huge mess of us. The reckless manner he talked down us! He was certainly paving the way for another miserable moment for us.
Thank heavens his plan collapsed like a house of loose cards. He never succeeded; he never made it. He couldn’t have. He didn’t wish us well from start to finish.
We were not naïve not to know this. Neither were we ignorant of his bad intentions. We could read his lips accurately well. It’s not today. We are quite conversant with his countless shenanigans. Not even tomorrow.
And it came from the blues. We got an unexpected bailout from unexpected quarters. Sure, at the unexpected time.
Yes, from the Senate came the “redeemer.” The lawmakers did not align with Lai. They saw differently. The senators wisely parted ways with him. They did it loud and clear.
These federal legislators brought back our hope.
To be candid, the House of Representatives did it much earlier. They have long moved past that stage. They are far ahead of their so-called senior colleagues. They aligned with us. Far back in July 2021, the House approved electronic transmission of election results.
But the Senate rose stoutly against it then. It flatly rejected its committee’s report, which gave its nod to electronic transmission of election results.
Today, the senators have seen the light. And the light has made them wise. The Senate willingly swallowed its dirty and stinking vomit. It bowed and caved in. It elected to bury its greedy pride.
Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, told us what informed their new stance: “After critical examination of the bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, some fundamental issues, which require fresh legislative action on clauses 43, 52, 63 and 87, were observed.
“Desirous of the need to address the observations by the committee and make necessary amendments, and relying on Order 1(b) and 53(6) of the Senate Standing Order, accordingly resolves to rescind its decision on the affected clauses of the bill as passed and re-commit same to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.”
That singular act practically breathed life into us. And our fumbling and fragile democracy came alive again. It was a timely intervention.
What a badly needed respite! And we got it at the right time, even without asking for it. It couldn’t have come at any other period but now.
We cherish it with relish. We sincerely pray they would have the liver and the will to sustain the momentum. That is our fervent prayer.
For now, even if for once, we are coasting home with them. We are proud. It is a brilliant step in the right direction.
They should not rest on their oars yet. It is not yet over until it is totally over. We are asking for more because we deserve more.
The National Assembly needs to make further moves. It must go the extra mile. It should be bold enough to right other wrongs in other areas.
Petroleum Industrial Act (PIA) perfectly suits the bill. It is one such daring area. It needs to be revisited immediately. That is our desire. We do not want anything less.
What they did to e-transmission of election results should be applied on PIA even now. What is good for e-transmission of election results is good for PIA.
We know Lai would be internally pained and eternally disappointed. He did not get what he wanted from us. He desired our pound of flesh. That is wishful thinking. He would never get it.
Continue to talk down on us with utmost arrogance. The more you talk, the more we are emboldened to resist you. We won’t give up; for we have given up on you.
You showcased haughtiness in the manner you chose to address us. It was one sad way of how not to begin a new week. We wish you never crossed our path. Unfortunately, you did. Great pity!
You goofed and erred at the same time. Come off it. Critics meant well. They couldn’t have wished Nigeria to extinguish.
That is the prayer and handiwork of the bootlickers, hangers-on, yes-sayers, sycophants and their likes.
From us to Lai: Waiting for Nigeria to exist, not to exit. Clear?