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Where did we go wrong?

Tunde Ali

Pondering on the ever intriguing political situation in Nigeria has never seized to be disturbing. Since independence, Nigeria’s geographical landscape has witnessed varieties of governance that is detrimental to the wishes and aspirations of its people.

When the late elder statesman and nationalist moved a motion for Nigeria’s independence during the 1953 constitutional conference in London, it was with a sincerity of purpose. It was with the conviction that Nigerians are politically prepared, matured and capable of ruling themselves. Though this request was not granted until 1960, it gave the British Imperialists enough time to scheme and plant the seed of discord that would destabilize the various groups who would eventually emerge as a Nigerian nation.

The British knew that the ethnic groups were broadly divided along religion and western civilization adaptability, yet because of their self seeking glory and expansionist agenda, they merged the North with the South in a marriage of inconvenience, similar to the way which the European powers scrambled for and partitioned Africa in the 19th century.  Since then, peace which was an inevitable characteristic of the land has departed and with no sign of return.

Each government in power from 1962 to date has built on the previous political inadequacies. Their goals were not to outsmart their predecessor in terms of good governance, but to outperform them in a race and rage to riches. This abnormality goes unchecked and unpunished. It has therefore become an acceptable vice in our political dictum. Suffice is to say that any political leader who attempts to serve differently albeit “the right way” is considered stupid, naive and crazy. This absurdity has therefore ensured the normalization of abnormality.

The political and economic situation since General Obasanjo’s second coming in 1993 has been terrible and terrifying. The emergence and the taking over of the reign of government by some of the so-called “new breed” politicians, to say the least, is disastrous. Greed is not sufficient to describe their insatiable lust for power and accumulation of wealth. Clinically speaking, they are cognitively impaired and mentally deranged.  The only therapeutic option for their madness is to confine them to a closed psychiatric facility.

A product of this new breed is the incumbent President BadLuck Jonathan. Did I just say badluck? Yes, his regime has actually brought monumental bad luck to the citizens of Nigeria, both young and old. I had thought that the regime of the treacherous Sanni Abacha would be the worst that would ever rule the beloved Nigeria, alas, I was wrong. He has a superior. Sanni has no vision, Jonathan has blurry vision. Neither of them is a competent candidate for political leadership.

Nigeria’s political leaders have redefined politics. To them, political office is not an avenue to serve but to be served. They personify leadership without followership. To them, politics is an avenue of wealth accumulation. It is only in Nigeria that an intellectually docile person can become a political leader and overnight become incredibly and unquestionably rich. It is also in Nigeria among the civilized nations of the world that an economically obscure person can be rigged into political office and within the first two years in office be transformed into the holder of a mega financial empire.They steal money from all levels and all tiers of government with impunity. They fly the world like birds and builds houses like nests across the globe. They launder the stolen money and save their loot in different complicit western countries of the world while their people continue to languish in abject poverty.

The money that could be used to develop the country and make it habitable for its citizens are being laundered abroad. Hungry citizens are looking for, and thinking about how to survive one day at a time, without a promise of tomorrow. Poverty promotes jungle justice where survival is of the fittest. Women began to use what they have to procure what they need. Men became mean, wicked, and desperate. Armed robbery, kidnapping and the pathetic commercialization of human parts are the order of the day. No one is safe. Human life has no value, and its dignity has been kicked above the bar. The state of hopelessness and helplessness are renewed every day.

The gap between the citizen’s hopelessness and the government’s helplessness was explored by a dastard Boko Haram insurgent group. The group engages in the perpetual unleashing of terror on innocent people. Government was passively aggressive and inconsistent, even in its strategy of carrot and stick. President Jonathan appears confused on the best way to approach and deal with the situation. On one hand, he declared a total war on the insurgent group and on the other hand he shamelessly resolved to negotiate with the terrorists who have not only committed crime against our sovereignty but also against humanity.

The husband of Madam “G-o-d-u-u – dey-oo” should be reminded that nobody needs PSC (Pass Staff College) credentials to know that once you declare total war on your enemy, neither compromise nor negotiation is an option until the enemy surrenders without condition. Once again, Mr. President has judged incorrectly; a phenomenon that is typical of his administration.

While the country is in the state of topsy-turvy, President Jonathan is preoccupied with schemes to perpetrate himself as the Aso-Rock tenant –in-chief in 2015. The nation witnesses many appointments, dismissals, recruitments of government and party officers as self –consolidating strategy. The money that could be used to promote the social –welfare and capital structures of the nation and improve the quality of life of the people continues to find its way to the pockets of his remaining few sycophants who continue to thrive from the president’s poor perception and analysis of the Nigerians socio-political and economic reality.

Where did we go wrong as a people? Where did we go wrong as a nation? Was it the confrontation of the imperialists by our yesteryears nationalists and the demand for political independence; which in any case is our fundamental human right? Was it our decision to chase the khaki boys back to the barrack and educate them that legitimate political power comes from the people and not from the barrel of guns? Or was it our collective will to join the civilized nations of the world to practice democracy and benefits from its values? Where did we go wrong? What wrong did we do to our leaders, those whom we loved and entrusted with our rights, who decided to maltreat, abuse, and mock us to our face?

When we enthroned the famous, we were shamed by their actions. When the civilized and the scholars were voted into office, we were disappointed, when the religious were elected, hell was let loose. What else can we do?

Nigerians have leaned on their own understandings and have failed woefully. Isn’t it the right time for us to cry to the Lord who created the oppressed and the oppressors? Shouldn’t we pray for divine intervention from all these catastrophes? Shouldn’t we pray to God to give us our own Moses and raise men who will rule according to His heart?

The suffering is enough. The time to stop the era of suffering and smiling is now, let us not defer or delay it again.  2015 is around the corner, let every conscience awake and reflect on the magnitude of suffering with which this regime has plagued us. We cannot afford the mistakes of the past, neither should we engage in the attitude of passivity or mute indifference.

Nigerians should begin to demand accountability from their leaders. They were elected to serve, hence they owe the people feedback about their stewardship. Any leader who becomes rich or observed to be living above his means has a question to answer, and such public leaders should not be spare of the “hot spot”. Corruption must be fought to extinction in all tiers of government. Anyone that is found wanton must be exterminated or at least ostracized like an infectious leper.

Let the people rise, educate, organize and struggle to liberate themselves from the thieves turned chiefs who parades our streets as men and women of honor. Nigerians need to move beyond the rhetoric of adulterated public relations and elect people who are credible, tested and found worthy of the responsibilities of the office they are seeking.  We have had enough of political parasites; it is time to look for and elect credible, visionary and God fearing leaders who are genuinely interested in serving and making life better for the people. After all, righteousness exalts a nation.

Dr. Tunde Ali is the President of Citizens for Good Government & Accountability – (CIGGAC).



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