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Opinions of Saturday, 3 April 2010

Columnist: Akumey-Affizie, Nunya

“Foot Soldiers or Fool Soldiers”

On 15th January 2010, almost all Nigerians staying in the United Kingdom and Europe gathered in an 'Enough is Enough – Save Nigeria” protest rally in London, demanding good governance in Nigeria, the unfortunate inclusion of Nigeria as a terrorist state and to know the whereabouts of their President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar Adua, whose health conditions and whereabouts have been concealed from Nigerians and the world for 58 days.

Again on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, thousands of Nigerians marched on the capital, Abuja, to demonstrate their frustration with the woes that continue to bedevil their country. The protest was once again organized by “Enough is Enough” a diverse coalition of youth, media, and business leaders. The group marched to the National Assembly building. Some of their demands were:
1. “The Jos situation makes it clear that the Nigerian state is incapable of securing the lives and limbs of its citizens. We demand an urgent overhaul of the security and intelligence apparatus in our country.”
2.” The promise of 6000 megawatts of Electric power was flagrantly broken. We demand that within a month, the government gives a realistic and practical plan to solving this perennial power problem”.
3.” We also demand that President Yar’Adua either resumes or resigns or be removed so that Nigerians would know who their leaders are”.
4. “The Uwais report has been lying between the executive and the legislature for months now, and now election timetables have been released. We demand that all its recommendations be passed and implemented before the next elections”.
(The UWAIS report is a document containing recommendations for making Nigerian Elections more free, fair and transparent).
After hours of waiting and chanting, the crowd switched their strategy to a different mode, they sat on the bare floor insisting that Mr. Dimeji Bankole (Speaker of the House of Representatives) and His Excellency David Mark (Senate President) come out to meet them.
These actions in my candid view are excellent ways of expressing concerns and grievances in a modern democratic dispensation.
Unfortunately, while youths in Nigeria are focused on getting their leaders to address their problems in a civilized manner, some hooligans in Ghana who tagged themselves as “foot soldiers” or for want of a better description “fool soldiers” of NDC are busy seizing toilets and National health insurance offices, locking out their party executives and even threatening to kill others.
My main concern is the definition of a foot soldier. First of all, in the strict sense of the word they are not soldiers not to talk of being on foot. If they see themselves as party activist, they must bear in mind that, their party is only one of the numerous political parties in this country and in that sense cannot hold the entire country to ransom in bid to demand for what they think is their right.
What is more nauseating about these “fool soldiers” is that, most of them are clueless and possess no certificates to work with, no skills training nor even have the zeal to do any meaningful jobs. They are in a state of nostalgia, still swimming in the glory of election victory and are making their presence felt.
One crucial thing they must not forget is that, their so called right ends where the right of others begins.
I am inclined to believe that their agitation stems from the fact that, they were given juicy promises during the 2008 campaign, but they forgot to ask how their party would fulfill them. They also forgot to insist on practical solutions to some of the problems their party promised to resolve on assuming office.
The NDC must also know that sacking an incumbent public officer and replacing him with a political party faithful does not constitute job creation. In short when one man gets a job by the sacking of another, the result is the same.
It is unfortunate that, the “fool soldiers” seem disappointed, battered and humiliated by the harsh economic conditions prevailing in the country but that is not a panacea for creating fear and confusion in the country.
Gradually the Northern part of Ghana is gaining notoriety for these hooliganisms and barbaric acts. They must again know that Ghana is bigger than the North and we would not sit aloof while they plunge the entire country into chaos.
The NDC must as a matter of urgency call those indulging in such criminal acts to order or risk a proliferation of such senseless groups around the country which may culminate into full blown violence.
There is a channel of communication to government and there is law in Ghana. They should know that if there were no laws in Ghana President Rawlings would not have handed over to President Kuffuor and then Kuffuor to President Mills in such a keenly contested election. They should not delude themselves into believing that, having your government in power opens the flood gates for party faithful to misbehave and cause mayhem.
Finally, I have had so much indigestion over the crude method adopted in sacking Mr. Car Wilson or Mr. Carl Wilson (whichever it is).
Clearly the president demonstrated that he doesn’t have a thick skin to soak the pressure from his party people which in my estimation is worrying.
One important question is that, does it mean that the president would be giving in to little ugly noises (credit Mr. Malik Kweku Baako) from his party people no matter the veracity or otherwise of allegations been thrown about? That of course is a recipe for chaos and disaster.
Very funny enough, the president has people who easily explain-off these issues by propounding some voodoo theories from non existent philosophers which end up stoking the fires more. Sometimes people make a lot of sense when they are silent.
The “fool soldiersm” must stop and the NDC must focus on carrying out their campaign promises to the core.
God Bless Ghana.

Author: Akumey-Affizie Nunya
An online Blogger
A member of Concern Journalist Association