WE must thank DAILY TRUST for the investigative piece of Thursday, September 11, 2014, titled “161 pro-Jonathan billboards in Abuja”. The nut and bolt of the piece was that Abuja has literally become swamped in a surfeit of billboards “praising President Goodluck Jonathan’s achievements and urging him to seek re-election in 2015”.
The tally compiled by the newspaper showed that the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) not surprisingly, had the largest number of these billboards, at least 63; TAN is followed by the bizarrely named GEJITES with 50 of those boards. Leaders of the Goodluck Initiative for Transformation (GIFT) said they have placed 30 billboards in the city; while another group, Youth Development Transformation and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria (YODETSIN) placed two billboards; The Alliance for National Transformation (ALNAT) contributed one billboard just like the Niger Delta Youth Leaders Council for Jonathan 2015 and The Goodluck Support Group who also placed one each.
And to show how pride in their effort, the leaders of TAN contacted by DAILY TRUST said they have up to 100 pro-Jonathan billboards in the city. And these billboards cost a tidy sum and are placed strategically in an in-your-face manner all over the FCT: Maitama, Asokoro, Garki, Utako, Wuse, Life Camp, Gwarimpa and many areas of the city centre.
In a country where millions of able-bodied, educated young people cannot find gainful employment, the sycophantic Jonathan 2015 campaign is becoming the biggest industry in Nigeria.
The TAN crowd proudly announced that millions of Nigerians have been mobilized for Jonathan. Not that they have secured employment and are participating in the development of the nation’s productive forces.
No! They have become part of a motley crowd, the political flotsam and jetsam, that is in the real sense, hopeless about the Nigerian condition and their place in it, but are cynically exploiting Goodluck Jonathan’s political ambition as their own platform to get a cut of the Nigerian cake. Everybody is aware that the electioneering period offers the best opportunity to make unearned money!
And so serious has the business of sycophancy become, that the President’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Professor Rufa’i Alkali, has now been given the duty of coordinating these disparate groups. On Tuesday this week, these groups that should better be collectively known as “SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED” took over the Eagle Square in Abuja, ostensibly because they were in town from all over Nigeria, for their “Transformation Agenda” of sycophancy to be streamlined!
The August 31, 2014 edition of SUNDAY TRUST had carried a cover story on the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), as its train was moving around Nigeria in zonal rallies to collate signatures endorsing President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections. While TAN claims to be a non-political, non-governmental body, it is instructive that top leaders of the government regularly attend its rallies.
These include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim; Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala; Works Minister, Mike Olomemenen and Nyeson Wike. Anyim’s physical presence in these rallies underscores the strategic place of TAN in the political agenda of the Jonathan administration.
Similarly, Diezani Allison Maduekwe, the powerful but controversial Petroleum Minister, is described as one of the powerful forces behind TAN, along with Ifeanyi Uba, the young Anambra businessman, described as “one of the financial backbones of TAN”; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy House Speaker; Emeka Wogu; Prof. Chinedu Nebo; Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu and former FRSC Boss and new Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka.
The Northern Nigerian wing of sycophancy is also well-oiled, having individuals like the ubiquitous Jerry Gana (who has rightly earned the Nigerian COPYRIGHT for Sycophancy) and Senator Saidu Kumo, who are both visible as leaders in VITALDI. And if there was an initial doubt about the Northern detachment of “SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED”, not anymore, because pro-Jonathan groups have similarly mushroomed rapidly in our neck of the wood too: Old man Tanko Yakasai has his Northern Elders Council, ever willing to battle the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), on Jonathan’s behalf. There are also in place: Northern Youth Coalition for Jonathan; Mothers of Vision Initiative; Northern Youths for Jonathan 2015; Friends of Jonathan.
And to reflect the “Federal Character of Sycophancy”, there is also the Yoruba Coalition for Jonathan; there are Liberal Eagles and the Green White Green Vanguard. Nigeria has been suitably transformed by the Transformation Agenda in a most uniquely Nigerian manner: the economy is not creating decent jobs; but there is sycophantic job aplenty in the land.
Those smart Alecs know Nigeria better than most Nigerians dedicated to building a livelihood based on hard work within settings of workplaces; members of “SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED” have no business with the hunt for earned livelihood.
There is far more money to make and a greater opportunity to peddle influence or get recruited into the inner recesses of power, by taking up membership in one of the many groups that Professor Alkali is now devoting his professorial abilities to coordinate! They will put up with the small inconveniences that come with the territory, including the near-fatal collapses of podiums as witnessed in Minna, Niger State at the weekend, when the locomotive train of sycophancy rolled into town for the North Central rally. Luckily, the ample frame of Anyim Pius Anyim was not rolled over! And its in the nature of the beast we are dealing with, that even the Niger State Governor, Dr. Aliyu Babangida, the Chief Servant (once described as the “most microphone addicted governor in Nigeria”, by Garbadeen Muhammed), saw a “divine” side to the collapse! He was reported to have described the collapse as an indicator of Jonathan’s acceptability by Nigerians! Now, can any line be a better summary of the credo of sycophancy?
SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED suffered a major faux pas last week, when an absurd hash tag #BRING BACK JONATHAN 2015, was issued to parody the #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS campaign. The disgust that was triggered spread around the world, including the international media and the social media network. Nigerians were appalled that such a crude level of insensitivity could issue forth from those in the camp of sycophancy; a very embarrassed Goodluck Jonathan was forced by the outcry to request that the offensive advertisement hash tag be pulled down. Nevertheless, Abuja continues to literally sink under the weight of the pro-Goodluck Jonathan billboards.
As DAILY TRUST reported: “The Unity Fountain in Maitama could be mistaken for the campaign headquarters of President Goodluck Jonathan, given the number of wheel-driven campaign posters. About 50 of such banners are displayed round the fountain, as well as an electronic mobile outdoor advertising vehicle stationed there, all sponsored by a group known as the ‘GEJITES’”. What must not be forgotten is that the Unity Fountain has been the scene of the peaceful #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS campaign, long regarded as an embarrassment by the Jonathan administration and its security forces and thugs they sent to try to break the campaign. When they did not succeed, they decided to flood the place with the Jonathan billboards.
The campaigns and billboards project are an elaborate effort at sidestepping the Electoral Law, which disallows political parties from campaigns before November. With TAN and its sister organizations, SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED, has given President Jonathan a head start against other candidates. They are exploiting visibility and imposing their candidate on the Nigerian consciousness, mischievously walking the blind alleys of law.
Unfortunately, as they pound the country for 4 more years of freebies under President Jonathan, the Chibok Girls have spent over 150 days in captivity; the people of Borno and the Northeast continue to bleed; Nigeria loses huge swathes of territory to the Boko Haram insurgency; over Two Trillion Naira went down the “Defense” drain while our troops remain badly provisioned and hundreds of soldiers “tactically maneuver” away from fighting! For SYCOPHANCY INCORPORATED and sponsors, the only game in town is Jonathan’s 2015 ambition. Nigeria May go down under for all they care. THEY DON’T GIVE A DAMN!