Editor's note: Doyin Okupe, a former senior special assistant on public affairs in the administration of the Goodluck Jonathan uses the opportunity of his 67th birthday to look again at what he thinks are some of the challenges facing the country as well as why he is being prosecuted.
Okupe likens the travails of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, to what he is currently passing through believing that their trials are meant to destroy their characters.
I woke up this morning to the news about the trial of Justice Onnoghen and the falsehood that was heaped on him. In spite of the joy of living to see my 67th birthday, I am depressed that there seem to be no place or recognition for honour and character in our nation. Yes corruption is rife and rampant but still there are men and women who still are upright in character amongst us.
Perhaps I am a victim of character assassination like the respected legal luminary.
Many associate high visibility in government with prebendalism and official corruption. Others condemn some of us and pass verdict of guilty just on the basis of corporate association. Yet others believe everything said against us just because we hurt them by vehemently attacking their political heroes or boldly and unsparingly disagreeing with their views, that of their political leanings or parties.
It is for these reasons that the law presumes a man innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
In Nigeria of today the organisations in charge of crime management and prosecution deliberately sponsor malicious publications, gross exaggerations and often, outright falsehood against the accused relying more on media trial rather than proving their cases beyond reasonable doubt.
Personally I have suffered copiously from all of the above.
Today I stand trial for no offence other than that, that I served a duly elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and because I was rendering a special service he instructed his NSA to fund my 23-man staffed office monthly. For which I received N10m monthly for salaries, newspaper publications & adverts, press conferences, research (public perceptions polls) seminars, sponsored weekly TV programs,travels etc.
My other offence was that I criticized this administration consistently and promoted the PDP and its presidential candidate as best as I could.
I know for a fact that my present travails is not unto shame or disgrace but to manifest God's mighty power on my life.
Be that as it may, I deeply regret the state of affairs in our country presently. Three weeks after elections we are yet to conclusively conclude the exercise. There are hues and cries everywhere. So many lives were unjustifiably and painfully wasted and yet majorly we don't care.
INEC attacks the Army who in turn condemns INEC!! What manner of a nation is this.
To make matters worse the manifest level of elitist irresponsibility in our nation is legendary.
Our elites can not stand for anything. Neither for truth nor for Justice!!
Very few are truly concerned with what is fair, right,just or patriotic. Its all about power mongering and personal or ethnic or regional interests.
How else can one explain the insensitive and reckless statement credited to Yerima Shettima of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum that "the north will present a better candidate in 2023."
First that's a direct indictment on President Buhari. Because the statement implies that he is not a good candidate. Is that true?
Secondly, it is understood that we rotate power in this country between the south and the north. Is Shettima giving an advance notice that there will be no power rotation on 2023?
Lastly is this an appropriate time for a lover of the country and a mature leader to make this type of statement?
I came into politics in 1979, today, after 40 years, and on the occasion of my birthday, instead of joy, I am depressed and instead of hope, I feel despair. I regret to say I have grave fears about our nation, Nigeria. I see myself today as an unfilfilled politician and a depressed nationalist.
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Unfulfilled because in 1979, I was all fired up with so much zeal and enthusiasm, believing I will be among those who will change the destiny of this nation for good. Twice I was in the closet of power but yet was never able to achieve that for which I took d long sojourn in politics.
May the Almighty God return our leadership and country to the path of truth, of honour and justice and give us leaders with vision, commitment and patriotic zeal to take us to our desired place among the comity of nations, in the name of Jesus.
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