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Kunle Surakat
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The were snookered, they will be snookered!

22 May 2014, 07:30

Oh how I love the game of snooker. The game is played using a cue and twenty-two snooker balls: one white cue ball, fifteen red balls worth one point each, and six balls of different colors: yellow (two points), green (three), brown (four), blue (five), pink (six) and black (seven). The red balls are initially placed in a triangular formation, and the other colored balls on marked locations on the table (they are called ‘spots’). Players execute shots by striking the cue ball with the cue, causing the cue ball to hit a red or colored ball. Points are scored by potting the red and colored balls (that is, knocking them into the pockets) in the correct sequence. A player receives additional points if the opponent commits a foul. A player wins a game of snooker by scoring more points than the opponent. Very interesting game especially when one wants to unwind and generally have a good time with general discussions like politics, religion, business et al.

A player gets to a point in the game when he is not able to make calculated moves because of one difficulty or the other. For example, an opponent can make moves in such a way that it becomes difficult for the other player; the player finds it difficult to knock particular balls in the pockets without committing a foul to his own disadvantage giving points to the opponent. When a player gets to this stage in the game, he is said to be snookered. He has no choice but to keep committing the fouls until he finds a way out of his predicament which may also bring the game to an end, throwing in the towel to the opponent.

I have perambulated using the game of snooker to throw in one or two points about our country. I have noticed that in the history of our great country, our leaders do everything possible (the good, bad and evil) to gain power not because they want to rule but for other obvious reasons known to them. Some did succeed to capture power in the likes of General Aguiyi Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Usman Sagari, General Mohammed Buhari, Ernest Sonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the current Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Some have died (General Murtala Mohammed, General Sanni Abacha, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’a dua) while in power, some in the course of trying to capture power, while some have been hit with so many damnable consequences but failed to seize power, the likes of Chief M. K. O. Abiola.

My interest in this exposé or piece is in the much discussed situation in our great country, Nigeria, viz a viz the #BBOG slogan based on the abduction of the students in Chibok area of Bornu state. At least this is the catalyst that brought us to the limelight again on the international scene, and this time it’s not for another case of corruption but for help because of the popular Boko Haram menace.

Looking back at history, one cannot be convinced that these leaders of ours, led because of the love they have for Nigeria but they led for self-aggrandizements and their quest for power. They had to capture power by any means necessary. Did our past and present leaders see serving our country on the platform of politics or military an opportunity to serve, a platform for development, growth and progress? Most of all, they all became a victim of their own ambitions. One way or the other they were all eliminated by one force or the other seeking dominance too. I am not saying the same for Jonathan, lest I become a “Prophet Charlatan” like we have many today. I am only looking back at our history because to go forward, we must look back, like they say for the purpose of not making the same mistakes that our leaders made.

I have decided to go as far back as the coup d'état when Major General Gowon took power from General Aguiyi Ironsi. He was the Head of State from 1966 till 1975 when there was another coup d’état that brought in Brigadier Murtala Mohammed. Major General Gowon attended an Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit in Kampala and a group of army officers led by Colonel Joe Garba announced Gowon’s overthrow. Usually, radio stations are captured and the Head of State will address the whole nation slamming the ousted one. Most of their broadcasts went thus: “Fellow Nigerians, events of the past few years have indicated that despite our great human and material resources, the government has not been able to fulfill the legitimate expectations of her people. Nigeria has been left to drift. This situation, if not arrested, would inevitably have resulted to chaos and bloodshed. In endeavor to build a strong, united and virile nation…” This was Brigadier Murtala addressing the nation while Lieutenant Colonel Obasanjo sat to his immediate right (his deputy). Nobody knew then that the following year, Murtala would be killed (he was snookered) in another coup d'état bringing in Lieutenant Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo as the new Head of State.

The government of Olusegun Obasanjo handed over power to a democratically elected civilian in person of Shehu Shagari in 1979. He (Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Usman Shagari) would try to perpetuate himself as president but something will happen and he would be snookered. Guess what, because of the quest for this power, the military were back because, according to them, politics and politicians didn’t help in the ruling of the country (the elections of 1983 were seriously manipulated and engineered), lasting for about fifty-one months. General Mohammed Buhari (GMB) became the head of state. It’s the same military and of course some of our leaders were classmates nursing ambitions to take over power unknown to their mates.

The broadcast then again after capturing the radio station was by Sanni Abacha who addressed the nation said, “Fellow Nigerians, you are all living witness to the grave economic predicament and uncertainty which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation for the past four years. I am referring to the harsh and intolerable condition under which we are now living. Our economy has been hopelessly mismanaged. We have become a debtor and a beggar nation…” Nobody knew that Abacha would someday become Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces.

GMB was soon ousted and snookered eighteen months later and Abacha was back at the radio station to announce another coup d'état. He said, “If you will recollect, in my ushering in the military administration, I enumerated the circumstances that necessitated the Armed Forces into taking over the administration of this nation. It is most disheartening that most of the ills that plagued the nation during the civilian regime are still present in our society…” This will set the stage for General Ibrahim Babangida who will make sure that people who had held public offices in the past would not be allowed as he started to lay plans for another change to civil rule (democracy).

IBB will try to also perpetuate himself in power by trying to retire from the military and become a democratically elected president after eight years of military rule. That seat of the number one man in our country is too sweet and no one wants to leave. As usual, he was snookered and his own close and very intimate friend, Chief M.K.O Abiola (MKO) was wooed into contesting for the presidency. Did this go down well with IBB who was nursing an ambition to still remain in power?

MKO was part of the military but didn’t wear a uniform. They sat and ate together and there was nothing going on in Nigeria that did not pass through his table as a business mogul. He was their IMF; he gave more to politics and politicians coupled with the military boys. It got to a pinnacle where the kingmaker became interested in power too. He won on all grounds in his party, Social Democratic Party (SDP), became the presidential candidate against National Republic Convention (NRC). MKO won the election on a landslide victory but was soon snookered because maybe destiny didn’t have him as becoming the President of Nigeria. He soon met with his death and went to the great beyond.

IBB, who was then the president with his ambition of perpetuity, was snookered on all fronts, he had no choice but to throw in the towel unwillingly and head back to his home in Minna. MKO was denied his mandate and Earnest Shonekan became the head of the interim government. We knew he wouldn’t last and with just a phone call (we heard) and the fear of death, he was snookered and ushered out while the radio broadcaster General Sanni Abacha will become the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces (dreams come through, right?). One would have thought the Abacha regime would hand over power to MKO but the reverse was the case. The more alive MKO was, the more troubled Nigeria became and even on the international scene. As fate would have it, they said MKO died of heart attack. This was after Abacha was snookered into his death. That was the only way that regime could be toppled. They said it was the ‘apple’ he ate that killed him. Well, he was also out of that seat and General Abdulsalami Abubakar was ushered in with the intention of handing over to a democratically elected government.

General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (OBJ) won the election on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and soon Nigeria became free from Military junta. According to the constitution, OBJ was to rule for two terms but because that seat was too sweet, he did everything possible to tweak the constitution but was to no avail. He was snookered because the support he garnered was not sufficient. He had to leave the stage unwillingly; he threw an unwilling towel in and decided to hand over power to Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’a dua on the same PDP platform, who was heavily challenged by his health conditions. He took the ticket to run for presidency, having Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as his running mate. Yar’a dua won the elections and before we knew it, his health snookered him and was flown outside the country to receive medical help and attention. The thoughts of many were that he would fight through but the opposite was the case as he unwillingly threw in the towel by death, leaving the stage for Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).

The news of GEJ soon filled the country and many thought God had come down to Nigeria through GEJ. Many new born male children were christened GOODLUCK because many felt it had to be God machinating issues and a boy who never wore a pair of shoes, born into a poverty ridden home, now becomes president. It could only be God. You will hear mantras like “if God could do it for GEJ, sure He can do it for me too.” In less than three years of his being President, many things have happened and are still happening. One of such is this Boko Haram debacle – the bombings and the kidnapping of schoolgirls, which has since been internationalized.

Many Pastors who have dined with the powers that be (government) have since had their prayers appear unanswered; our Prophets have prophesied falsely and all they see is private jets and humongous buildings built from the crumbs falling off the national cake. We have gravitated to the smooth words of men rather than the infallible Word of God.

Many countries are dying to help this “corrupt” country! They have interests? Is it genuine? Is someone about to be snookered? Are some people about to be snookered? Are countries about to be snookered?

Are we trying to prove the real Prophet Fela Anikulapo Kuti right when he sang DEMOCRACY, CRAZY DEMO, DEMOSTRATION OF CRAZE, CRAZY DEMONSTRATION and when he sang TEACHER DON’T TEACH ME NONSENSE. He said when a student makes a mistake, his teachers (in this case is OYINBO) should actually point it out, but the TEACHERS didn’t point it out but rather are in support of whatever happens as long as their interests are protected and it ends up like their teachings have different meanings”!

No one knows it all; your best point might be someone else’s starting point.

As a believer I can only pray that God will snooker our country into a place where His ultimate will becomes the supreme until that Nation is bound in FREEDOM, PEACE and UNITY. 

God will continue to bless Nigeria for I know all these would end well.

Kunle Surakat

May 17 2014

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