Saturday, February 4, 2017


5th February, 2017

Renowned musician, Innocent Ujah Idibia, aka Tuface Idibia, has reportedly called off a protest he was organizing against the Buhari-led administration. The protest which was earlier billed for 6th February, 2017, was called off early today. Tuface allegedly hinged the call-off on security concerns.    

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects Tuface’s cancelled protest and any other planned rally against the Buhari administration on grounds of immorality, irrationality and bad timing. Such planned rallies can only spring from bad faith, malice, greed and avarice. It is inexplicable to protest against a good government.

If Tuface has truly called off his planned rally, what happens to his partners in anger? What happens to some civil society groups that have identified with his rally? Are they also backing out or going ahead. Tuface merely cited security concerns but said nothing about his accomplices. He made no appeal to them to stay action. What of the governor who vowed to join Tuface in the protest?    

Whether they are backing off or not, the fact is that the proposed rally is immoral because there is ample evidence that Tuface had benefitted from the financial impropriety of the immediate past administration.

Is it true or not that Tuface wedding in Dubai was bankrolled by Governor Godswill Akpabio? Is it true that the same governor gave Tuface two SUV cars? Is it also true that the governor sponsored twenty nine (29) people from Akwa Ibom to accompany Tuface to the wedding? Is it equally true that a leading senator from the opposition party bought a Ferrari worth N47 million naira for Tuface?

If the answers to the above questions are positive, then Nigerians are being taken for a ride. Tuface has benefitted immensely from the immediate past but recklessly corrupt government and the proposed protest is nothing but a payback. We can trace Tuface’s anger to the fact that the source of free and easy money has dried up. The fact that a state governor who is seldom rational has shown interest in Tuface’s rally reveals where Tuface is coming from.

The proposed rally is irrational because there is palpable change already. For instance, it is no longer business as usual for corrupt public officials. The Buhari administration is holding people accountable. Leakages are being plugged. Loots are being recovered. Government is no longer spending recklessly.

We admit that times are very hard for Nigerians but the present administration cannot be blamed for Nigeria’s current economic woes. It was caused by the past administration. Have Nigerians forgotten how ex-President Goodluck Jonathan encouraged the stealing of public funds? Have we forgotten his lackadaisical attitude to corruption? Jonathan’s landmark declaration that ‘stealing is not corruption’ is still fresh in our memory.

The fall in the price of crude oil from $110.48 to as low as $27.57 immediately Buhari took over also worsened the economy. Neither did the sponsored sabotage of oil pipes help matters.    

Tuface’s proposed rally is also badly timed. It is being mentored by impatient godfathers. The allies of Tuface should rescind their decision to join him. Neither should they proceed now that he has put his protest vehicle in the reverse gear. This administration made it clear to Nigerians that it met an empty treasury and that it would take some time for the economy to come afloat. It is not up to two years that the Buhari regime came on board. Why can’t we be patient?

A nation in recession needs time to recover. Records have shown that recessions usually last at least three years, not less. It may be more, depending on its management. The worldwide recession of 1930 lasted till 1933. That of 1973 lasted till 1976. There were two others from 1979 to 1983 and from 1990 to 1993. The ricochets of the economic meltdown of 2008 are still being felt in some European countries like Greece and Italy.

But there is hope for Nigerians because whereas the immediate past administration lacked accountability and rollicked with shady characters, the present Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is enthroning financial prudence and good governance. The price of crude oil is also rising steadily and stands at $53.83 as at yesterday. Oil has also been found in commercial quantity outside its troubled traditional enclave.

Tuface’s planned protest is therefore a protest against good governance, a protest against virtue, a protest against transparency, probity and accountability. It doesn’t really add up. Only those who benefitted from the corrupt enrichment of the past and those who want corruption to continue ad infinitum can join such a protest.

In conclusion, MURIC appeals to Nigerians to be patient with the Buhari administration and to massively boycott any rally by Tuface or any of his allies. It is a rally for another Ferrari. No more no less. Only irrational people protest against a good government.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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