Frank Nweke Jnr.: The Marines Are Out and Ready Fortales

Frank Nweke Jnr.: The Marines Are Out and Ready Fortales


Kelechi Eme

I read with utter disbelieve the rejoinder on the editorial of The New York Times of 26th March, 2006 entiltled, IN NIGERIA THINGS FALL APART written by Mr.Frank Nweke Jnr., Minister of Information and National Orientation, published on My initial reaction was that probably the Honourable Minister thought he was actually communicating to a world audience devoid of Nigerians.On a second appraisal, I realized he knew what he was up to considering that in Nigeria the absurd is coveted by those in authority.He only tickled himself and laughed and we all know that such a practice is an exercise in self deceit.My intention in this piece is to reply Mr.Nweke Jnr. Point by point, with the hope that he will understand the problems facing Nigerians and advise his boss to retrace his third term step.

The Minister referred to Prof.Chinua Achebe as an illustrious son of Nigeria and differed on the point that things have fallen apart in Nigeria.He should know that our memories are not that short.The old Professor was castigated and called names for bravely rejecting a national award on the ground that his home state of Anambra was thrown into avoidable crises by agents of power brokers in Abuja.The emotional torture and physical destruction the state was subjected to by these political charlatans remains unparalleled in the history of our country.In Nigeria today, things have not only fallen apart but they are indeed scattered.

It is indeed laughable and unexpected display of myopic appreciation of American foreign Policy for the Minister to surmise that the presence of Chevron, ExxonMobil, Conoco Philips, etc connotes peace and stability.The Minister should have known that a country that prospects and drills crude oil in a country like Iraq will definitely consider Nigeria a haven of peace.Our country is a huge market and the multinational companies will definitely not resist the temptation to invest and conduct business here.

The boom in the GSM telephone system has been trumpeted as the biggest achievement of the Obasanjo’s presidency.Well, I beg to differ because improvement of telephone network is an evolutionary process and there was no policy risk in embarking on the process.In anycase neighbouring countries like Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkinafaso are all GSM compliant.It is worthy to note that a failed state like Somalia achieved GSM status before Nigeria.It is extremely ridiculous to posit that 19 Integrated Power Projects under construction should be celebrated by Nigerians when the administration has about one year to leave office.What happened to billions of dollars appropriated for the rehabilitation of NEPA? The Minister should explain to Nigerians the wisdom in exchanging US$12billion for US$1billion.Is this not a case of bartering a cow for a rabbit?Is he telling Nigerians that investing US$12billion in infrastructural development will not generate more than US$2billion in GDP annually?Who wouldn’t cancel 60% of a very bad debt if he is sure of receiving 40% of the total debt?The so called ratings of Fitch and Fitch and the rest are meaningless to the average Nigerian whose stomach is the determinant factor in assessing the performance of any government.The Minister should know that when the hyena is praising the goat, the later is seriously endangered.Flowery languages pandered by foreign institutions on our government does not represent the true state of affairs considering the fact that those are standard diplomatic niceties.

Is Nigeria really growing in leaps and bounds?I wonder if any sane Nigerian will accept this description of the state of things in the country.For the first time ethnic militias are parading the length and breadth of the country.Political killings are now prevalent.The Nigerian Football Association is in shambles.Unemployment level is unprecedented. National Census exercise was bungled.The electoral process has degenerated to an abysmal level.The condition of Niger Delta deteriorates by the day.Eastern roads remain death traps.Education and health are nothing to write home about.Agricultural sector is dead.The list is simply endless.Please Mr.Minister use your tongue to count your teeth.

I agree with Mr.Nweke Jnr. that it is misleading and wicked to attribute the death of Alhaji Rimi’s wife to politics.However the non-resolution of the death of prominent political leaders leaves much to be desired.The federal government controls all the law and order agencies and must take responsibility for security lapses.Security of lives and property remains one of the cardinal barometer used in measuring the performance of any government.Are Nigerians better protected now? The anti-graft war of the government can only be taken seriously when pro-third term campaigners and presidential court jesters are subjected to the same level of investigation as the anti-third term group.The fight against corruption requires the zeal of a religious fanatic and I doubt if this devotion is attached to graft eradication in the country.With the exception of Tafa Balogun who received a six months slap on the wrist, I want the Minister to tell Nigerians whether the anti-corruption drive has yielded another conviction.

Constitutional amendment is a democratic exercise and the government reserves the right to propose amendments to the National Assembly.I must state however that proposing 118 amendments in one swoop is unacceptable.The smuggling of tenure extension into the amendment is not only bizarre but fraudulent. Nweke Jnr. and his cohorts are big time jokers if they believe that Nigerians bought the charade that took place in the zones and PortHarcourt..The Average Nigerian is intelligent contrary to the thinking of the third term protagonists.In 1998, the President told us he was ambushed and had to surrender to those who clamoured for his return to power.In 2002 he changed style and informed us he was seeking the face of God.He even asked us to pray because his decision then was going to have a monumental effect on the nation.We are now in 2006 and the President is again waiting for God’s guidance when he should be embarking on farewell tours across the country and Africa.I am now an object of ridicule before my friends because of my moral support to the President’s campaign in 1999.As for the greedy governors, they should understand that the President has never kept one political agreement in the past seven years, hence 2006 and 2007 will not be an exception.In the unlikely event that the third term succeeds, we will never listen to them when they are whipped by their master.

I will never accept The New York Times dictating to Nigeria on how to run its affairs, but our leaders should stop playing Nkrumah when they are criticized by foreign institutions.The late Nkrumah would never have accepted ephemeral economic prescriptions dished out by foreign agencies and institutions as our leaders do today.If you accept their praises, you must as well live with their umbrage.

In conclusion, Mr.Frank Nweke Jnr. kindly reserve your rejoinder to the marines because they only can believe your cock and bull tales.

Mr.Kelechi Eme National Coordinator, Movement For Restoration and Renewal of Nigeria(MRRN) (  

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