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Nigeria’s Crises And Things Nigerians May Have Long Forgotten


Steve Orji, United Kingdom

Those who are no longer amused by Nigeria’s crises, simply make them out as last-ditch signs of a failed state.

Such expression is natural to people who have had long wait on their nation to come round.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria has been a theatre of perennial crises. The biggest being the civil war which claimed thousands of lives, inspired longstanding suspicion within the soul and mind of corporate Nigeria.

The war was itself a devastating interlude of sort, opening the nation’s corridors to yet many future crises.

The recent political crises in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has come with lots of tension in the air, the violent incursion of the BOKO HARAM into Nigeria’s social stream, are landmark incidents, which go to simply confirm what almost every Nigerian have so easily come to expect.

The common scapegoat of the nation’s many crises would be the ruling party-PDP. There have been several expressions of outrage over the incompetence of the central government. PDP seems to be the identified linchpin in this entire misadventure.

The long-held wishes of many people to see the disintegration, and possible demise of the PDP, seem to be paying off handsomely, with defections of many PDP stalwarts and the emergence of a coalition-APC.

Politicians of worth seem to have found a “Muster Point” in this new coalition arrangement-a formation which they believe will oust the monstrosity of the PDP nightmare and enthrone efficient political machinery at the centre. This look pretty much like a familiar equation in Nigeria’s political chemistry.

What things have we rightly or wrongly forgotten?

For one, Nigeria’s problems go beyond the PDP.   What we fail to do or have failed all along to do as a nation is give fundamental and sensible definition of the origin and nature of Nigeria’s crises.

Albert Einstein’s definition of a fool, finds a robust feel in Nigeria’s own context. He says, “a fool is one who hopes to get a different result by doing the same thing over and over again”.

We have always made wrong diagnostics of Nigeria’s crises, and as much, had always treated the symptoms and not the root causes.

PDP and its accomplice BOKO HARAM, is long ignored volcano warnings, sitting beneath Nigeria’s ruptured social and political surface-breathing heavy,  patiently waiting on the countdown clock to national catastrophe. PDP manifests the character of its native creator, more genetically, its parent, Nigeria. PDP was only a clever-going child that picked up rather too quickly, Nigeria’s essential traits.

What things have we forgotten?  That no nation thrives well, standing on wrong foundations. For all we care to know, APC with all its fine props and slogans, could never be better political asset than PDP has ever been. APC like its threatened counterpart PDP are offspring’s of the same parent-Nigeria.

Nigeria had changed its national anthem from the one it inherited from the colonial government and replaced it with one written by its nationals, with the later brandishing profuse words of patriotism and greatness. The new anthem with all the beauty of fine phrasing produces a horde of disillusioned, unpatriotic and cynical Nigerians.

Nigeria had equally in time, soulfully renamed its electricity company from its original name-Electricity Corporation of Nigeria,(ECN) to the one of National Electric Power Authority(NEPA)achieving only a marginal gain in efficiency, put in the reverse, from steady light, to permanent darkness. So was Nigeria Airways, NITEL and many other conspicuous public entities.

Change in Nigeria has always come with dramatic fanfare, however, with little or no dividends.

What things have we forgotten?

Change must come from the inside to be able to positively affect the external dynamics of the people its desired for.

Working on the foundation of anything, be it a physical structure or nation-building is no rush job. Nigeria has put so much effort in driving lofty goals with the aspiration of achieving important global development ratings.

Technicolor magic formula has been the trademark of Nigeria’s national undertakings.

Solutions to Nigeria’s crises should call to work a more sober approach. Pragmatic, well-measured actions.

President Jonathan should look away from the distracting job of pretending to manage or trying to provide answers to the multifaceted crises in the Nigeria system.  Nigeria’s problems are older than the PDP or BOKO HARAM.

Nigeria’s crises have been an aggregation of many years of neglected and unsolved questions, we only managed to sweep under the carpet. Nigeria’s crises are not new ones per se; they are new-born’s, given birth by old ones and fed to maturity, given masculine agility, by our sheer self-indulgence.

What things have we forgotten?

To build institutions with sufficient authority vested in them, without interference by managers of the political system would solve so many, but by no means all of Nigeria’s social and development problems.

Allowing the law and judicial system, in its raw and unhindered elements, run its course-fully aware that the poor and the rich, the powerful and the common man share the same fundamental rights and privileges, would create a profuse sense of personal and national security.

This will inspire confidence and sense of national pride within the rank and file of Nigerians, and for once, prop them to start relating to Nigeria as their own.

Would someone wish to destroy something he rightfully own?  Nigeria’s leaders may have by their actions or inactions interpreted to the masses a grave sense of alienation-a complete sense of dispossession. Normal, if the people’s leaders own everything at the expense of the people’s rightful deservings.

State-protection of corrupt officials would only encourage corruption and till raiding at every level.

Have we forgotten that so long identified corrupt persons, and public personnel with stained records are accorded high standing in society, Nigeria’s psyche would remain a bleeding wound.

We must never forget that when leaders lead by everyday example, the common people in the streets would naturally fall behind them.

President Jonathan’s important task is to help lay a new foundation for Nigeria. The foundations of justice, equity and ethical transparency, else the crises go on end.

This is my hearty prayer for Nigeria, that we all, leaders and the led, wake up sooner to this sobering, yet compelling realities.

Like the Bible says: “If the foundation be destroyed what will the righteous do”-Psalms 11:3.

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