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Behold, more ‘writings on the wall’

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Buhari. Photo; TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

On September 13, 2020, on this page, I looked into the seeds of time again and reported some revelations from an oracle that I should recast my (February 16, 2020) message to the authorities here. There was a revelation then, for instance, that the constituted authorities were failing to read ‘the writings on the walls’ all over the place. Accordingly, the oracle had then noted that they should get cracking to read the writing, which had become more visible on the walls, lest the nation would be in a crisis of some sort. The conclusion then was that before it would be too late, “the one who has authority over the most populous black nation on earth should put on some magnifying lens to read the writings on the walls…”

It will be recalled too that the concern raised here in February, 2020 centred on the consequences of ‘the writing on the wall’ that our leader and his men and women might not have bothered to read at that time. It was revealed then that, “He (our leader) doesn’t seem to like anyone raising any alarms around him, even if they are of national security dimension.”

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As often clarified in all the articles on this, the expression ‘the writing is on the wall’ is often used whenever an imminent danger has become apparent.  What’s the origin of the phrase ‘The writing is on the wall’? The classical expression is also sometimes expressed as ‘the handwriting is on the wall’ or as ‘mene mene’. The first of those variations is an obvious synonym but what does ‘mene mene’ mean? This is a shortening of ‘mene mene tekel upharsin’, which is of Aramaic origin. Read details via ‘Buhari and ‘the writing on the wall’ (2)/ https://guardian.ng/opinion/buhari-and-the-writing-on-the-wall-part-2/

Barely a month after the September 13, 2020 caveat, specifically on Sunday October 18, 2020, the oracle sent warning signals through #EndSARS: ‘Writings, cracks on the wall’ ignored/https://guardian.ng/opinion/endsars-writings-cracks-on-the-wall-ignored/

That was the time the authorities in the country failed to read the sound of an augury of anger of the youth who had for years been warning about police atrocities. So, when the #EndSARS protesters struck then, it was written here: ‘Now, the arrogant powers in Abuja would have by now felt the power of the young people they once derided as lazy and unthinking. The ones they once claimed are too young to rule are firmly in charge. And they have come up with a powerful idea whose time has really come. And some oracles are already talking about ‘revolt of the youth, at last’. Just as others are talking about ‘#ENDSARS, a revolution foretold’. Now the defiant powers that have specialised in denigrating even suggestions of restructuring in good faith, are now aware that the young ones are ready to say ‘enough is enough’ of their oppression, after all…

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But it now seems that after the deadly #EndSARS storm, no lesson has been learnt as the god of systemic impunity in the country has regained power. The police formations in Lagos, for instance, can’t remember what their failure caused the nation: They are everywhere extorting and harassing again. The authorities have since launched a curious community policing mechanism within a federal police system – to spend some N13 billion naira procured for the special purpose – instead of decentralising police authorities as part of restructuring of the federation.  As I had asked here several times, how many editorials will the country’s newspapers write about the country’s challenges before the authorities would listen? How many protests from the civil society organisations would make Nigerian leaders at all levels change their minds about how Nigeria can lead the black race? How many people are supposed to die in regions ruled by insurgents and bandits before the security and defence and security chiefs could be changed? How many critical interviews would a First Lady grant against the presidency before the president would listen to the voice of reason of his wife? How many articles will (opinion) columnists write about presidential inertia and procrastinations before the president would do things right and do the right thing? How many reports can be submitted to the presidency on police reforms and modern policing before the authorities in a country can realise that it is expedient to reform the police service? How many proposals can a country’s non-governmental organisations submit before its leader will spot the danger in borrowing and borrowing for consumption?

I ask again too: How many protests by regional leaders will a national leader needs to receive before he/she can respect the federal character provisions in the organic law of the land? How many insults do a country’s university teachers need to absorb before a country’s leader can recognise them as the intellectual power base without which there will be no development? How many articles do the oracles in the media need to write before a country’s leader realises the danger in using nominees the Senate has rejected? How many protests do the non-governmental organisations and opposition elements need to stage before a developing country’s leader can note that the country’s legislators are overpaid even in a time of recession? How many acidic messages does a leader need to receive before realising that it is a reproach that no teaching hospital is worth its name in a country of about 200 million people? How many times will NGOs and indeed the media remind a country’s leader in a year about a constitutional provision that, ‘welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’ – before he can act?

New Writings On The Wall
Again, the oracle is at work trying to draw attention to so many ‘writings on the wall’ the constituted authorities are ignoring about welfare and security of the people, which the organic law of the land warns constantly about as the primary purpose of government. Now there is a ‘writing on the wall’ of Transparency International, which reads:

‘Nigeria gets its worst corruption perception rating since 2015’

In the 2020 index released last Thursday, the country scored 25 out of 100 points — with zero signifying the worst performing countries and 100, the best-ranked. It also dropped to 149 out of the 180 countries surveyed, making it the second most corrupt country in West Africa. The 2020 rating is one point below that of 2019 when the country scored 26 points, and two points below its ranking in 2018 and 2017 when it got 27 points. It is also the worst ranking the country has got in five years.  It scored 26 points in 2015 and 28 points in 2016.A subtext on the wall reads: Nigeria’s rating is below Africa’s average.

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On a sub-regional basis, Nigeria is among the worst performing countries in West Africa, only second to Guinea-Bissau, which was ranked 165. This is a ‘writing on the wall’ for both government and the people. For the authorities in Abuja and 36 state capitals, the verdict has landed again that five years of waging war on corruption have not produced any tangible result beyond meretricious victory awarded self on the social media and pages of some not-so-independent newspapers. We don’t need a Daniel to read this writing. Even on the wall of the most prominent anti-graft agency, the EFCC, you can understand the perception index better: The Chairman of the anti-graft agency, who has been acting since November, 2015 is facing corruption charges at the moment. The Senate twice rejected the president’s nominee since 2017 but the president has kept him in power until July 7, 2020 when he was suspended. The EFCC hasn’t got any substantive Chairman since 2015.

What is more, in December, 2020, there was a damning official report by another anti-graft agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which confirms Nigeria’s kingship when it comes to corruption indices.

The report entitled, ‘Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a Pilot Survey’, measured the activities of corruption in four sectors, including the executive, legislature, the judiciary, and the private business enterprise.

The methodology was experienced-based rather than perception-related questions of corruption, as measured from a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing “Absolutely not corrupt and 100 indicating “Absolutely Corrupt”. The ICPC index also featured data collection on corrupt practices based on monetary and non-monetary offers from personnel of government Ministries Department and Agencies MDA’s who took part in the survey. Specifically, the report says ‘lawyers were mostly responsible for offering bribes for favourable judgments mostly in electoral and political matters’.

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According to the report published by the ICPC, an estimated N9.4 billion was exchanged in a bribe-for-judgment scheme in Nigeria’s judicial sector between 2018 and 2020, the ICPC said in the new report.

What else do we need to confirm our emblem of shame that the ruling party hasn’t tackled despite noises and promises since 2015?

PIB’s Writing On The Wall…
Have you also seen the other ‘writing on the wall’ of the Niger Deltans? Last Thursday, Niger Delta stakeholders defended their opposition to the current Petroleum Industry (PIB), which government officials generally believe is the solution to the complex challenges confronting the volatile region. The Niger Delta representatives spoke just as some community leaders from the region threw caution to the wind when they engaged in fisticuffs during a public hearing on the 15-year-old oil bill. Trouble began inside a National Assembly chamber when Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) was called to the podium to present their position. There was disagreement amongst the members, leading to exchange of blows until security operatives intervened. Here is a clear ‘writing on the wall’ containing the oldest bill in Nigeria’s federal legislature: At the hearing, some oil companies, including Shell and Chevron adopted the position of the Oil Producing Trade Section (OPTS), which held that the PIB could not encourage competition and investment in the oil sector. Meanwhile, let’s find out from some ‘writings on the walls’ of the international oil companies (IOCs) and Nigeria’s Petroleum Resources Minister, sorry the President if they are truly committed to the passage of the PIB to save Nigeria’s vital oil and gas industry.

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