Senator-Enang

I still cannot understand what Buhari has in common with Enang, and where they met. Maybe it’s all polictics and we were fooled. But anyone who, under Jonathan, sought to undermine the unity of this country should not be in this government. Anyone who never bothered whether their actions and utterances could set the country on fire should not be allowed anywhere near a ‘change’ government.

Politics is always a mysterious thing. Senator Ita Enang was one of the first appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari. The appointment came in the early days when there were complaints about neglect of the South East – even though, being from Akwa Ibom State, Enang was from the South South.

Until a few weeks to his appointment, the man was solidly in the PDP. He was one of their leading lights, and one of the best debaters in the Senate. But there were many brilliant ex-Senators from everywhere. So why Enang? I believed that if a more rigorous exercise was performed, a different name could have been put forward; perhaps of someone who took the risk of joining the APC coalition when it mattered. Enang felt hard-done-by by Akpabio who had other ideas about who should take the senatorial seat that he – Enang – had occupied. That was his only grouse with the PDP, a party he helped build.

I felt that even if the appointment was done to please the ‘East’, the least that could be done is to rummage through the entire political haystack and, even in Nigeria, one Igbo person would have been found. After all, there were Igbos at very high echelons of the party, who worked hard in the secretariat.

I wondered why the ‘Change’ government should be rewarding non-patriots when there were millions of people – politicians and professionals all – who put their heads, careers and businesses on the chopping-board for this ‘Change’.

But the real reason I complained to my circle immediately Enang was appointed by the President was that for me, Enang is not a patriot. And I wondered why the ‘Change’ government should be rewarding non-patriots when there were millions of people – politicians and professionals all – who put their heads, careers and businesses on the chopping-board for this ‘Change’. What was the message being passed across? Is it that it is just good to be a smart Alec, to know when to crossover from the side of oppression to the side of the people when it mattered most? Other notable appointments include that of Senator Heineken Lokpobiri as a Minister from Bayelsa State. Until two weeks to that appointment, he was solidly in the PDP. Ditto Senator Udo Udoma, again from Akwa Ibom State, among others. As at this moment too, hundreds of Jonathan appointees are still in office; making some APC stalwarts from the South-West finally complain last week about their total neglect.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Well, get me wrong if you want. My own thinking is that patriotism is very important if this country must move forward. I believe there was an asset that could be tapped into at that early stage of this government. It isn’t about appointing people to go and earn money in government. Certainly, I don’t mean that people should go and steal in government. God forbid. But ‘Change’ is a mindset. Therefore, more ‘Change’ can be achieved by tapping into the energy, enthusiasm, painstaking sacrifices, and if you like, innocence and naivety of those who struggled to achieve that change when it was not convenient or even likely to happen. Now I’m not so sure that asset is still there. With the recent crossover of Senator Uche Ekwunife to the APC and her attempt to clinch the APC ticket for her constituency – which was thankfully truncated at the last minute – we may no longer know who really had Nigeria (and not the power and money they sought) in mind when it really mattered. That is why Ekwunife was begging whoever that she was sorry for calling the APC a terrorist party. She should also add that she called the APC, Boko Haram, Janjaweed, Al Qaeda, cattle-rearer party, ngbati-ngbati party. All the others – including Enang said the same. It was a harrowing time for right-thinking Nigerians.

What is the reward of defending Nigeria’s unity as contained in our National Pledge when those who undermine it get rewarded? What are our children learning from all these?

I still cannot understand what Buhari has in common with Enang, and where they met. Maybe it’s all polictics and we were fooled. But anyone who, under Jonathan, sought to undermine the unity of this country should not be in this government. Anyone who never bothered whether their actions and utterances could set the country on fire should not be allowed anywhere near a ‘change’ government.

But back to Enang. This fiery debater is someone who uses every instrument he can lay his hands on, in any fight he chooses. When the heat was on between PDP and APC, Enang claimed that 83 percent of Nigeria’s crude oil wells – and perhaps reserves – were held by ‘Northerners. On social media they call it ‘Awusa-Fool-ani’. This man also brought the same claim, as a bill, to the floor of the Senate and argued stridently. The whole idea was to show how ‘wasteful’ they were in the North, and how greedy too. From the get go, I saw through the scam. How on earth could a region own 83 percent of a resource? Where did Enang get his figures from?

This guy made the country boil. Till date, millions believe the nonsense that he peddled and nothing can change their minds. I wrote to disprove him. So also did Olusegun Adeniyi of ThisDay – who found the breakdown of all the ownerships of our indigenous oil company where we could see that most of the companies had the usual suspects – from all the ‘tribes and clans’ of Nigeria – as Directors. Toyin Akinosho – ex-Chevron Executive also wrote, disproving Enang. We were all called names by a certain section of Nigeria. So Enang also deflected the real argument – and the minds of Nigerians – from what truly mattered; the wicked and brutal inequality in the land, foisted by our political elites of which he is a prominent part. Best to knock the people’s heads together and get them hating each other. Where possible, let them kill themselves. To the likes of Enang, it is all politics. What is the reward of defending Nigeria’s unity as contained in our National Pledge when those who undermine it get rewarded? What are our children learning from all these?

As we survived under Jonathan, with Buhari’s good policies, and with the recovery of loots presently going on, chances are we will survive even better. But ‘Change’ should be ‘Change’.

I still want to know whether Hausa-Fulanis really own 83 percent of Nigeria’s crude deposits. And whether Enang explained his position to Buhari, and Buhari concurred.

It is therefore not a surprise that for the first time in our democratic history, a budget is disappearing and reappearing, and getting substituted in the Senate, and Enang is in the middle of it. This is what the Senate had to say about the issue:

“We have discovered that what he brought is different from the version presented by Mr. President. We have resolved to consider only the version presented by Mr. President as soon as we receive a soft copy of the original… some projects which were not included in the budget document before were smuggled in to cater for certain hidden interests… in some cases a certain amount of money was allocated to do two projects… more projects were included in what that amount was voted for initially… we are taking the first one; we left the second one because we think it’s not good for Nigeria.”

Enang should clear himself – at least with his conscience. The president should also consult with himself in his own privacy. We don’t need any explanation from him. I personally am not seeking for any appointments from him. As we survived under Jonathan, with Buhari’s good policies, and with the recovery of loots presently going on, chances are we will survive even better. But ‘Change’ should be ‘Change’.

‘Tope Fasua, an economist and consultant, is CEO of Global Analytics Consulting.