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Friday, 13 April 2012


For me as a contemporary observer of events in my homeland or rather as a twenty first century political historian and analyst of events around the global community, there is one essential factor that holds true about officials who have captured government institutions and offices in Nigeria-their ever growing penchant for CARELESS TALKS.

From the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria down to the wives of the so-called care taker committees that have captured the 774 Local Government Area Councils, these officials of government have mastered the arts and science of CARELESS TALKS which make sense only to their numerous sycophants but are very irritating to the ears of discernible members of the larger society who are daily insulted by these careless talks that fill the airwaves of both Government and privately run media establishments of both the electronic. The print media is also full of sponsored careless talks about politicians by their fronts who congratulate them on every conceivable dubious birth day celebrations.

This tradition of careless talks by these sets of government officials are even carried too far so much so that these officials still exhibit this despicable tendency of careless talks even when they have left offices. Take for instance the recent interview granted by the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was generously interviewed on Channels Television in Lagos and he used this interview opportunity to wound the sensibilities and intellects [native intelligence] of millions of Nigerians when he denied ever nursing an ambition towards the tail end of his eight year eventful civilian Presidential career for a tenure elongation through an insidious attempt to amend some relevant sections of the Constitution of Nigeria to give him an advantage to run for another term in office as against the constitutionally allowed two terms of four years each and no more.

As I watched the former President make this careless speech on television in his attempt to present himself as a lover of democracy I was further wounded psychologically when he went as far as talking down on Nigerians  by saying that if he indeed nursed the idea of extending his stay in office he would have succeeded because he is a master of the craft of achieving any political goal he ever wanted even as he exceeded the limits of absurdity by bringing in the name of God when he shamelessly said that God would have given him his heart's desire if he wanted a third term. Come to think of it, why are politicians adept at talking down on Nigerians and even abusing the sacred name of God in the process all in an attempt to hoodwink the gullible and religiously drunk Nigerian populace to believe in the rationality of their political game plan? When I heard the former President muttered some incoherent words like stating that God would have delivered third term or tenure elongation to him if he had wanted, I said to myself that does this man not know the popular adage that the voice of the people is the voice of God? I also was at a loss to imagine that former President Obasanjo was unaware that millions of Nigerians never wanted any tenure elongation because it is criminal to make law or amend existing law for purely selfish reason or for self glorification that is completely bereft of selfless service to humanity. Does Obasanjo not know that God is infinitely Good and because of this divine attribute of Goodness and Purity, God would not have and will never support that which is inherently criminal and bad such as amending the constitutional provisions for selfish political goal?

Now to the main issue of our politicians and their penchant for careless talks which started long ago but intensified during this current democratic dispensation that started in 1999. From 1999 to 2007 that Obasanjo held sway, Nigerians were regaled and most often insulted with several careless talks concerning the so-called commitment of the then administration to deliver 10,000 megawatts of electricity power to Nigerian homes from the less than 2000 megawatts that was the in-thing then. To demonstrate how infinitely careless those talks from the then President and his Ministers were, a discerning observer needs to know that what the population of Nigeria needs to sustain any consistency in electricity power supply is 30,000 megawatts of electricity power but the then President promised 10,000 megawatts within a specific time frame which he extended twice and could not fulfill and he left office without any person taking him to task over these careless talks. He even retired into bigger political office because he used his Presidential might to amend his political party's constitution to transform himself into a perpetual Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party that has been in power since 1999. He resigned recently after installing his prodigies as national officials of the party. 

This desperate reluctance on the part of Nigerians to take our political leaders head on, on their legendary penchant for careless talks, has engendered this satanic tradition of careless talks by Government officials. The Minister of Labour/productivity [I am not sure how productive the office is] was in the news recently to say that Government has accepted to adjust the salary wage bill of Federal civil servants to a minimum wage of not less than N18,000, and shockingly for more than a year since he made this statement of commitment after a valid law of the National Assembly on the minimum wage was passed, the Federal Government is yet to commence the implementation of this policy and the labour leaders accused of compromise and connivance with these careless government officials have failed to make good the threats to compel Government through the due process of the law to implement the new minimum wage law. So even the current labour leaders have been bitten by the bug and virus of careless talks.

President Jonathan who has become a master of careless talks recently upped the ante when he told some World leaders on the sidelines of a global meeting on nuclear Arms in South Korea that his administration that has less than two years to end will transform Nigeria's economy to achieve the same kind of development as seen in some Asian nations like Indonesia, Malasia, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan. I ask-how does President Jonathan intend to do this when even his minister coordinating Nigeria's economy has been globe trotting campaigning to become the World Bank President and when he has also announced to Nigerians that he will proceed on vacation for a week as if he does not know that one week in the life of a nation is like a thousand years? He only recently returned from South Korea where he made the empty pledge to transform Nigeria, his deputy the Vice President jetted off to Sudan to attend the Islamic Development Bank's parley and his Minister of Finance has been away to Washington DC, United States politicking to become World Bank President and he never exercised some caution and wait for these persons to return before announcing to bewildered Nigerians that he was proceeding on vacation as if he does not know that Nigerians do not know the difference between when he is on vacation and when he is on the job since innocent Nigerians are still been serially murdered by armed Islamic insurgents? President Jonathan further upped the ante in careless talks when he said Boko Haram attacks will go down in June 2012 as if his Government had captured the kingpins responsible for the funding of this terrorism? His minister of Defence indeed said Boko Haram attacks have considerably weakened but these armed terrorist never allowed him to finish his careless talks when they detonated another powerful car bombs and other improvised explosive devices in the packed streets of Kaduna during the Easter Sunday near two Churches where scores of innocent Nigerians were wasted. I wish these Government officials could be forced to stop engaging in careless talks by facing defeats at elections. That is if the heavily compromised Independent National Electoral Commission will conduct free and fair elections.

*  Emmanuel Onwubiko heads HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and writes from


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