My Random Reflections @ 41
I write this personal series since I turned 36 in 2008 not to impress but to constantly remind myself and those that care that a country that has the potential to be probably the greatest in the world turned out to be among the worst places to live on earth. The Niger Delta of Nigeria is enriched with deposits that can cater for the entire sub-Saharan African but some of the world’s poorest people live there.
If critics stop writing almost every country in the world will go down and posterity will not forgive both the people who are responsible for the calamities and those who stood still and did nothing at all. What we write today in books and on the web will continue to shape the world now and the things to come albeit imperfectly.
On a very personal note, in the last 365 days many things have happened to deepen the gap between me and Nigeria. Deepen in the sense that I’d lost touch with my blog updates and essays here in the Village square. Even in the last one month, terrible things have happened. For example some criminals have been executed in the south of Nigeria.
Governor Adams Oshiomole justified that use of the gallows as stipulated in the Nigerian Book of the Laws. It is Oshiomole’s mates in the past military and all civilian administrations that should be executed because they are the real thieves. But he who pays the pipers dictates the tune therefore the real criminals in political offices especially get away with all types of crimes that have sent millions of Nigerians to their early graves.
The cowards in the ranks of Boko Haram have stormed a secondary school and murdered more than 40 children. Nigeria was recently rated as the worst place to have a child. It may also be the worst place to raise a child considering that more than 10,5 million children have no access to education or school facility and those who manage to get one are massacred in the far north. Before the latest massacre hundreds of schools have been razed to ashes in Northern Nigeria.
In River State, Mr. and Mrs. “Smith” Jonathan have unleashed anarchy. They may deny this allegation but the precedents will get them entangled. Nigeria’s ruler Mr. Goodluck Jonathan has replaced democracy with both autocracy and tyranny. Mr. Jonathan has hired many liars as his communication cronies. He may soon buy real bull-dogs to tell his stories. Who does not know that the stories belong to the marines?
With the present order of things, Nigeria is a failed country. In several essays I have argued about people who become successful in Nigeria (either through genuine means or criminally) and their lack of understanding of the functions and obligations of the state to all and sundry. I will not over-flog here.
What I know is that the failure of Nigeria as a country has been attributed to several factors. We have constantly reminded ourselves of the unholy matrimony in 1914 between a resource-filled southern Nigerian and a resource-deficient Northern Nigerian for the pleasure of the queen of England.
Many writers have cited corruption, nepotism, greed, primitive accumulation and all sorts of crimes that have been committed by both the civilian and illegal military governments in Nigeria. The blame game and the faults are inexhaustible. Summarily though both civilian and military governments have aided in demolishing Nigeria.
Both systems have been mainly supervised by crooks and criminals since 1959. The military juntas and their civilian accomplices hastily destroyed all the institutions and arms of governance and paved way for the failed unitary system that persists till date. The longer Nigeria is hinged on the (now volatile) unitary system that concentrates power at the middle, the nearer she moves towards a violent disintegration.
What we must not forget is that those who fought for the independence of Nigeria are mostly intelligent people. Indeed during the 1959 elections and after the celebration of independence in 1960, something fundamental went wrong. It may be the promotion of tribalism or nepotism. It may be the nature of power or just that urge to promote self or one’s nationality above the rest.
In any case the disunity of Nigeria became obvious and the survival of the fittest became the norm. It is what reigns in Nigeria today. People live in a rat race in that country near the equator. Several years after the civil war, Nigeria remains in a state of both intra-tribal and inter-tribal warfare.
All the problems with Nigeria will not be solved by one magic approach. Before it gets too late, some amelioration can be sought. There are modern ways to pursue political reforms. Conducting referenda and engaging nationalities in National Conferences are very popular globally.
It does not matter how long the Nigerian elites and gangsters in the PDP, APC or other political groups hold on to the status quo. The mad politics in Nigeria today that puts the wealth of the country in the pockets of a few male and female tropical gangsters will fall someday. All the people will not be fooled all the time.
One addition though as to how we may have lost the plot. We must also not forget that Nigeria now suffers from a deep-rooted intellectual deficiency at all strata of governance and in several facets of our lives. Across board, it is people with low level of cognitive capabilities that reign. The few intelligent people in government have been drawn down (by greed or primitive-accumulation tendency) and they became even bigger and uglier monsters.
To be sure, the speeches (that is the promises) of Nigerian politicians, gangster dictators and public office holders have never really converged with their actions (abilities to deliver). If this convergence-according to Vygotskij-is the most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, then Nigeria has always invariably been in the hands of mostly mad people, since the British left.
Nigerian rulers past and present have inflicted on the system wounds that may never heal. That is why in the midst of heavy military presence, Boko Haram could still infiltrate, cause severe havoc and unleash terror. There are allegations that the former Northern military elites are members of Boko Haram-that the sect came into existence when they lost their grip on the military and their civilian arm lost the rulership of Nigeria. How many allegations and counter allegations can trail one notorious terrorist group? In a predominantly uneducated north, anything is possible I dare say.
In the North there is fire in the desert. In the south there is fire in the forest. In the middle, there is fire on the mountain. We can all attest now that those who make positive, progressive changes impossible in the North, South, East and West are also being consumed by the different monsters that they created. It is only a question of time before the flame spread all-round.
Unemployment in Nigeria is in a world of its own. Public education is at a halt and many social infrastructures are over stretched or absent. The list of all that is wrong with Nigeria surpasses a 4-unit course at the University of Lagos. Sadly, things are getting worse as these useless politicians continue to amass wealth to buy property in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Dubai and all over the world. When they are not abroad to buy property they are throwing parties or receiving treatments for all kinds of ailment ranging from headache to fracture and severe ones. It’s all madness!
Churches in Lagos now have military guards. Pastors fly in Jets and Helicopters. They ride, like the politicians, in armored vehicles. Since the spate of kidnapping has now spread even to Lagos, not many politicians sleep with both eyes closed at night. Armored vehicles during the day and sleepless dark nights-where is the peace for the wicked rulers?
Where is our bragging about Lagos? We boasted that kidnapping will remain the pastime of the Niger Delta militants created by Odili and Obasanjo. Ha ha! Our braggings fell flat now because the system continues to downspin and is now totally rotten. Everybody wants to get rich quickly, just like the poli-thieves too who encouraged mediocrity over diligence. People are lost!
The problems with Nigeria are many. There will not be a magic pill to solve them. Jet-flying pastors or Imams sitting on leather mats in mosques will never be successful as prayer warriors to intercede and solve the problems.
Nigerians will have to sit down, reason together and talk like human beings in the 21st century and not like the lunatics in River State. They will need to go beyond the Egyptian approach. We don’t need a yearly revolution or intermittent epileptic interventions.
No magic pill, but for a start Nigeria needs reforms that will bring about long term, sustainable political structures that will eliminate the unitary system and empower the regions. Such reforms will give regional autonomy or re-instate regional governments like the Western Region, Eastern Region and so on.
Nigeria needs a system that we revitalize the arms and institutions of government through power separations. Some of these changes must take place now. Nigerian politicians are not seeking these changes or any change at all because politics for them is a form of livelihood rather than service. If you don’t know, read it here now that 99 % of Nigerian politicians are crooks. They are so few yet they ride on the majority who keep running to churches and mosques.
If we don’t change the present order of things or if we don’t successfully make a demand for the changes, Boko Haram and recently River State are giving us dress rehearsals of the things to come as we approach 2015 the predicted exit year of Nigeria. It is Rotimi Amaechi who is feeling the heat now. He is not a saint. Many people have been eliminated by the actions or ineptitude of the different governments.
Terror across the country should make Nigerians wiser. The worst may come when the political class eventually self-destructs completely. People will attribute it to divine intervention yet at that time there will be nowhere to run, just like Asa sang in fire on the Mountain.
There is no better time for the people of Nigeria (irrespective of tribe/nationality within Nigeria) than now to demand for the changes that will usher in 2015 in a fashion that removes power from the center and place them in the hands of the people in the different regions. This is not the magic pill but it is a better way to go than allow Mr. and Mrs. “Smith” Jonathan to direct the 2015 tropical gangster wars aka jagajaga (s)elections.
These are my very random thoughts today July 12 2013.