In my view, when adults or elders sit back and watch evil thrive because of an embarrassing conceited desire to protect personal, tribal or religious interests, then there is a big question of honour and integrity.
The crisis rocking the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) began when at a meeting of certain Nigerians at the Nigerian High Commission in October 2015 an allegation of electoral fraud was made against the current Chairman by the former Chairman.
One would have thought that an innocent person who in this case, is the current Chairman whose credibility and integrity have been questioned and now gravely pilloried by many discerning members of the community to a point that his reputation as a credible selfless leader may be totally in tatters, would have immediately risen and challenged the allegation with a threat that if the former Chairman did not prove or withdraw his allegation, he would take action. No, there was and not likely to be any such threats.
What we have rather seen is a determined attempt to sweep the allegation under the carpet by the Chairman and some members of the community. In my considered honest opinion, some of these people are indeed the pariahs of dishonesty, injustice and disunity in our community but they have been deftly managing to hide their frightening natural or greed driven acquired dispositions under their incredulous façade of piety and patriotism. How disgraceful?
Funny enough, I hear from the grapevine that the current chairman aided by some people I have come to dismiss as desperate Nigerians has actually sworn that he would rather die than address the allegations in order to clear his name and restore peace and unity to CANUK. (I am not sure how true this may be but feel that if it is indeed true we have a bigger problem in our hands). My reaction is; what a leader and what a group of selfish supporters? Where I come from it is said that a child sent on a robbery spree by his father will usually act with impunity because his father is behind him. This is what I am seeing in this case but how does this unite and show us as credible Nigerians with integrity? I think that it will instead divide us further? Where do this ego driven leader and the adults egging him on see themselves after 2017 when he must go?
I am a founding member of CANUK and had never known the leadership of the organisation to have ever been so rude, malicious and disrespectful towards members and the community or the group ever so divided and embattled. Does this not say something about the competence of the current Chairman as a uniting not divisive leader who can be trusted with greater things? Is divide and rule the new and best system to lead CANUK and where would this take us? Where is his precedent for this and why are some formerly respected members of the community ready to sink a group like CANUK in order to protect a new kid on the block who obviously driven by a dangerous desire to ‘self-aggrandize’ does not care whose ox is gored? This to me is an amazing insight into the true nature of the average Nigerian. Deception and lack of integrity when faced by issues of money, power, tribe and religion may be our greatest downfall. What a pity? The beauty of the whole saga is that it is alleged that while in public the Chairman is putting up a front of confidence, he is seriously embattled and begging people for support. But who in his right mind will encourage the further disrespect of his or her own community?
Interestingly in an effort to douse the flame, a respectable member of the community called a meeting of members to find a way forward. At that meeting some people decided that although the conduct which is registering of fake or ghost groups and using the same to rig elections was immoral under our porous constitution, it was not illegal. For the interest of peace and unity some members present at the meeting agreed that it was best to put down respective grievances by way of a petition and submit the same to the current executive for a response. Well, news from the grapevine reaching me revealed that while the lead person who organised the meeting was busy suing for peace and unity, the current Chairman in his traditional divide and rule tactic may have been busy calling and asking invited members of the community and members of his executive not to attend the meeting. Some people considered his usual pleading a form of emotional blackmail. I hear that he may have also morally blackmailed some people by saying that they were not supporting him and he will report them to the mission. This to me is evidence of the level of the disdain of the man and his level of understanding of what leadership in the community means.
Funny enough, I hear that instead of abating, matters may have actually escalated and he may have lost the confidence of his executive. Therefore, in addition to one such member of his executive who has already resigned, many may follow suit.
It is alleged that at a recent executive meeting of CANUK, attempts to remove a highly recalcitrant co-opted member who is alleged to have actually personally presented the 8 alleged ghost groups for registration met with serious obstacles. Grapevine again has it that the executive members who attended the meeting voted 6-4 to remove this usually aggressive vituperating right hand man of the Chairman but like the PDP Governor’s forum fraud which put the last nail on GEJ’s leadership coffin, 4 may have become greater than 6 and forced the struggling Chairman to veto the move. It is further alleged that when the chairman realised the determination of his executive to proceed with the removal of this co-opted man, he declared the meeting closed and proceeded to walk out with one of his cronies. Well, on being reminded that the meeting could actually continue in his absence under the chairmanship of any of his vice chairpersons, he did an embarrassing u turn and began his usual begging. The meeting eventually drew to a close with members of the executive making clear that the removal of this person remains crucial on the agenda and will be concluded at the next meeting. It is suspected that since after that meeting various attempts to coerce or threaten some members of the executive into supporting the Chairman’s attempt for this person to remain a member of the executive has been going on with usual promises of “whatever” going on behind the scenes. Only God knows what the promises this time are. To me personally, good conscience is priceless. So I am not sure what may persuade anyone to depart from it or put a price on theirs.
Well, while still waiting to find out what the decision of the executive on the petition of those who cared to petition them may be, I found out to my greatest chagrin yesterday that the executive under the leadership of the embattled Chairman has actually dismissed that the issue of registration of ghost groups as something that happened during the last administration and therefore no longer relevant. This in my opinion beggars belief.
This is a very very interesting development and so interesting because it makes a mockery of Buhari’s fight against corruption, greed and indiscipline. If we are to believe this decision, then the question for many of us is why is Buhari bothering to recover our billions stolen by people connected to the last administration and why is our super woman Minister for Finance, Kemi bothering to find and send off ghost workers who have been living off us? They should simply consign it to the past and move on as we are expected to do here.
That said this is totally laughable if you ask me. In my view, an honest conscientious leadership will investigate the allegations and report to the community and like Buhari, expose whoever may have masterminded the fraud on members and disadvantaged other candidates. They may decide not to impose any sanction which is understandable but the attempt at investigating it will be a deterrent and good precedent for the future.
Someone warned me to stay away from this dilemma because when I see the true faces of many Nigerians involved in this matter, I may find it shocking to note that not many Nigerians who speak honour and integrity understands what they mean. Now I see the true faces of many or the average Nigerian in Diaspora who constantly wears the facade of incredulous piety and patriotism while indeed they are the true faces of dishonesty, misogyny and the bad name we have in Diaspora.
Now who can say that Mr. President was wrong when he opined that we are not helping our situation because of our attitudes? Then raise your hand and say why because I am happy to know your reasons.
To the person who warned me to stay away from the palaver, you are a pure genius with better community intelligence than many of us who got it all wrong believing the deceits of many instead of looking deeper than their empty words.
The good news is that I now know who to believe or not believe when I see them running for photo opportunities with politicians. I could not help but laugh when I heard that at a recent community gathering the chairman greeted one person sitting with many others at a table and ignored others many of whom are older than him. That was so hilarious because it says a lot about some people’s maturity as leaders and whatever they think they may have become riding on a questionable mandate. I am not interested in the leadership of any Diaspora organisation but if I ever become interested, I would like a good fight with my peers so that if I win, I can always confidently blow my own trumpet as a leader who is loved and respected by my own people instead of one who got in through a very questionable back door who is loved by a devious minority and loathed by a silent majority.
I must however not fail to conclude by saying that I am really really disappointed that the efforts and grand legacy of two great Nigerians, Kolade and Tafidda along with their very able detribalised community spirited Special Assistant, Mr. Alege have been reduced to nothing. I hope that this will not deter many good Nigerians from standing up for our country and helping PMB to refine and sell the glorious image of true Nigerians to the international community. We deserve better. ©