WEEKEND GINGER: Tokunboh cars tariff and the President’s men!

President Jonathan-Goodluck

…As Jonathan engages several enemies to speak for him!

President Goodluck Jonathan may have hit the bull’s eye, when he compelled the National Automotive Council (NAC) to postpone the implementation of the policy which hiked tariff on fairly used car, as earlier slated for January 1, 2015. The implementation would have ensured that a man who did not have shoes as a youth, effectively denied several Nigerians, who would vote in February this year, some chances of owning their own cars!

General Muhammadu Buhari
General Muhammadu Buhari

It was a policy several Nigerians have described as anti-people. The Customs agents, importers, port users and a good percentage of the masses have complained about. Some even threatened to down tool if the policy was implemented. But rather than step it down, the policy was merely postponed.


The Maritime First has it on good record that it was not Goodluck Jonathan that was in love with the policy; it was some of the people he appointed that wanted it implemented, because they perfectly understand that the policy could effectively reduce the growing statistics of imported fairly used or tokunboh cars. The policy would indirectly assist them to reduce gridlock on Nigerian roads, particularly in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Ibadan. From their calculations, the policy was a ‘lazy-man’s solution, to a vexing issue! Subsequently, those groups of people took every available opportunity to drum into his ears, the need for the policy’s immediate implementation! If the President had not intervened and called them to order; his image would have further plummeted: the President’s men are in most cases, his worst enemies!

A teacher, at Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS), King’s Point, New York, Prof.  Gerhardt Muller was lecturing a few students, four years ago, when he suddenly stopped, to make disturbing revelation.

“I guess you guys are from Nigeria and you are journalists?” He continued when the response he got was an affirmative.

“When you get home, please tell your Government that crude oil prices would crash in the next five years. In the next eight years, it won’t be worth your lot any longer. Is that okay?” and then he continued the subject of his teaching which was somehow on the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code.

We exchanged glances; we were disturbed. David Ogah of the Guardian was there, same as John Iwori of Thisday; Biodun Oladunjoye, presently at the Presidency was there; same as Dele Aderibigbe of the then Nigerian Tribune. Three days later, the celebrated hurricane Katrina swept through New York, hurting two; just about the same time the uncelebrated ‘Omiyale’ Ogunpa flood tore through Ibadan, killing more than 40 persons!

On arrival, the Nigerian Tribune did a page publication, calling attention to what an informed teacher said at the GMATS. Several persons at the seat of Government said it was a false alarm!

Yet, when Prof. Muller’s prediction came to manifestation last year, the first reaction of Jonathan’s choice men was to gleefully alert the poor masses of a looming Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which in reality means another ‘belt-tightening’ measure for the already, emaciated and hungry citizens.

If a maritime teacher in the US, knew this much about Nigeria, why do we still respect our highly paid, highly celebrated figure-heads, who would rather continually misinform the President, rather than ‘earn’ the money they were paid?!The President’s men are his worst enemies!

But what of the activities of the President’s men at the Nigerian University Commission? Were they not the people who would recklessly grant approval to private universities to commence certain courses, only to wait till the university is ready to graduate its first set of products before they start talking of accreditation?

Somebody said they learnt from the workers at the Ibadan Northeast Local Government Planning Authority that it would wait until a property was fully developed before it moves in to mark it red bold ink a ‘X’ complemented by the two letters TP. From that point, you know you would either have to settle, or the property is pulled down. Of course, it enables the negotiable value of settlement to hit the roof-top!

One of the President’s men recently described General Buhari as a semi-literate. Another described the bulk of northerners as “ungrateful” parasites; etc. Were they helping the cause of Mr. President? Another said a Buhari Presidency would be a danger to the Christian community at a time when a renowned Catholic Priest, was reportedly, publicly offering prayers for the General!

One could go on and on, without mentioning the alleged corrupt enrichment through either bullet proof cars at the Aviation sector or, the alleged missing billions at the petroleum industry.  Yet in all these, it had been the President’s men, drawing negative publicity to Jonathan.

One only needs to see the haphazard manner the Chibok girls’ imbroglio was handled to become convinced that the President’s men were in deed, his worst enemies.  The King has only three jobs. The first is to Protect the people. The second is to feed them. The third is to find and engage those who would assist him to perform both assignments with credibility! Or is that not the content of Jean Jack Rousseau’s social contract sermon? Yet, Mr. President trusts them all, including his ‘town crier’, forgetting that even a man’s shadow may outrun him, at his hour of darkness!

For some of us, we have begun to pray for Mr. President, counting on his good-luck to pull surprises.  What can we do, more so, when the INEC has denied us of the opportunity to vote for him, having ensured that we could not register, despite several attempts.

But we will continue to pray, going by statistics of registered voters just made available to us.  Even as we plead that he pleads with the crowd of enemies he has engaged, to be his mouth piece, presently.

The statistics which we hope were wrong, because they were frighteningly ominous put the total number of INEC Nigeria registered voters in each state in perspective; aside from providing a reader a clue as to the possible outcome of the Nigeria presidential election.

South East:

Abia 1,481,191

Anambra 1,758,220

Enugu 1,301,185

Imo 1,611,715

Ebonyi 876,249

Total 7,028,560

South West:

Lagos 6,247,845

Ogun 1,869,326

Osun 1,293,967

Ondo 1,558,975

Ekiti 750,753

Oyo 2,577,490

Total 14,298,356

South South:

Edo 1,412;225

Delta 1,900,055

Bayelsa 472,389

Akwa Ib 1,714,781

RIvers 2,419,057

C/Rivers 1,018,550

Total 8,937,057

North Central:

Benue 1,415,162

Kogi 1,215,405

Kwara 1,115,665

Nassarawa 1,224,206

Niger 721,478

Plateau 1,983,453

Total 7,675,369

North East:

Adamawa 1,714,860

Bauchi 1,835,562

Borno 2,730,368

Gombe 1,266,993

Taraba 1,308,106

Yobe 1,182,230

Total 10,038,119

North West:

Jigawa 1,852,698

Kano 5,135,415

Katsina 2,931,668

Kaduna 3,565,762

Kebbi 1,603,468

Sokoto 2,065,508

Zamfara 1,746,024

Total 18,900,543.

Nigerians, in the meantime are asking what did the country do with the oil windfall when it sold as black liquid gold in the international market? Perhaps, the easiest way to answer the question might be to pay occasional visits to the Abuja and Kaduna Airports, where sometimes, the number of private jets parked glistering in the tropical sunlight do show them as out-numbering the number of cars in the premises!

If those who love the President cannot vote because they have been denied of voters card registration; if Catholic Rev’d Fathers are now praying for Muslim candidates, because the President, through his men has disappointed Nigerians; and if my friend from Ogwashi Uku, a Christian, is now vigorously campaigning for Buhari, even when he has not met the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) General beyond mere facial contacts on television screens, then one can only wish Mr. President one thing: Good Luck!