I do not like writing about public figures or governments because people will think one is doing so in order to be rewarded with either a political appointment or monetary gift. Indeed, in my forty – four years of writing a weekly article in a newspaper I had done so only thrice and it was when the leaders concerned did what was good for the greatest number of people in the country.
The first was in the late 1980s when General Ibrahim Babangida, Military Head of State (1985 – 93), established the Peoples Bank to give interest – free – loan to poor citizens to establish or run their businesses. I commended him for bringing joy to the masses who lived with difficulty.
The second time was in March last year when I penned the series: God bless Pastor Muoka. This was after I read in a newspaper that during a service in his church’s national headquarters in Lagos he placed a curse on anyone who would bring money acquired through stealing, bribery and other corrupt practices as tithe or offering to his church. For me, that shows that he is a pastor who runs a church in the ideal way expected of a Christian prelate for people to make Heaven and not one out to acquire wealth and live luxuriously, like many of his Pentecostal colleagues do.
The third occasion was late last year (October 4 through November 1) when I wrote a piece after the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, visited Pa Aliyu Giwa, a 92 – year – old herbalist, after he cured a traditional ruler in Abia State of prostate cancer. That day he promised that the Federal Government would give a vehicle to the old man, build him a four – bedroom clinic in his village and assist him in the production and marketing of his drugs within the country and abroad.
In the article I titled: Buhari’s promotion of herbal medicine I praised the president’s administration for showing interest in making medical treatment and cure available to the underprivileged who cannot afford to pay huge bills in orthodox hospitals and pharmacies.
From these three articles it can be seen that I wrote on political leaders who did extraordinary things to help the poor and a prelate who preaches salvation for people to make the Kingdom of God and not to run after money to live prosperously and comfortably in the world. I also need to draw attention to my column of December 13, last year in which I disclosed that in 1988 I declined appointment as a commissioner in the cabinet of Navy Captain Olabode George when he was the Military Governor of Ondo State.
I also did the same thing in 1994 when General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, then the General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army, told me to submit my curriculum vitae for consideration by General Sani Abacha in the appointment of Nigeria’s ambassadors abroad or membership in the Board of Directors of a Federal Government agency or parastatals. And in 1995 for consideration in the appointment of ministers.
These are proven evidences that I do not write on public figures with the ulterior motive of getting a reward from them. I am not a businessman or hustler and I will be 74 on September 4, so I cannot be writing this because I want political appointment from the Lagos State Government or monetary gift from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
I am doing so on his 66th birth anniversary for the altruistic reason of making people to learn lessons about good leadership from the man who when he was the Governor of Lagos State (1999 – 2007) laid the foundation of a greater Lagos, that has been work in progress for nineteen years now. And in which his successors have been doing better than the person they took over from.
To be continued next Wednesday
General Danjuma’s clarion call on herdsmen’s menace
I was very happy two Saturdays ago when I saw Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) on a television news transmission urging the people of his Taraba State and the citizens of other states in the country to start fighting back if attacked by herdsmen who are believed to be mainly Fulani and Hausa. I too had since last year seen this as the only way to stop the northern cowboys from their callous, senseless and genoicidal attacks on farmers and communities in the North and South.
Indeed, nine months ago, in June, when commiserating with Chief Olu Falae after a large portion of his farm in Akure had been set ablaze by Fulani herdsmen, I had suggested that he gets Afenifere leaders to meet the Governors in the six states in the South – West to take such a decision. I canvassed that they be advised to set up vigilante groups and give the members AK – 47 rifles to man the villages and communities vulnerable to herdsmen attack in each of the states.
Let’s face it there is no alternative to such a self – defence policy and commitment. The Fulani and Hausa herdsmen attack people with AK – 47 rifles. Without such a weapon how can their victims face them, let alone stop them? Is it with Dane guns, arrows, cutlasses, knives and sticks that they can defend themselves and overpower the herdsmen?
As a former Chief of Army Staff (1975 – 79) and Minister of Defence (1999 – 2001), it is doubtful if General Danjuma would have come out to indict the officers of the Army, an institution which he once headed professionally and politically, if he did not have unassailable facts of their partiality and support for the herdsmen in their attacks on people.
The story has been on for two or three years now that many military officers, serving and retired, are into the cattle business. And that this is why herdsmen who for several decades had been using sticks to control their cows, have since President Muhammadu Buhari came into power been going about with AK – 47 rifles to stop people stealing their animals. Where will herdsmen get money to buy AK – 47 rifles if not that some rich people purchased and gave it to them? Otherwise, what they would have been carrying would have been Dane guns.