2015: The Nigerian tragicomedy

by Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai

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The registration of a coalition of some Nigerian political parties signals a dramatic turn in the politics of business as usual, of no vacancy in Aso Rock, of brutal imposition of subjective choice, rigging elections and of Supreme Court enthronement of persons.

The Nigerian story corresponds in essentials to a tragi-comedy as narrated by St Frumentius, who in cooperation with his brother, Aedesius introduced Christianity to Ethiopia in 4th century.
Here is a state under the Lord Lugard curse, but which is celebrated as a Federal Republic, as a result of ideological brain washing, imposition of an alien culture, removal of Nigerians’ native languages, ethos and culture.

Under the regional confederacy arrangement, the various nationalities harnessed their God-given talents, cultivated the land, used herbs to heal diseases, staged vibrant cultural displays and recognized their ancestral deities as intercessors with the Universal Might.

There was respect for elders; marriages were celebrated with gaiety and social festivities. A hierarchical order of age-group associations was very instrumental to village solidarity and harmony.
The Lord Lugard curse destroyed all that. European adventurists, who were commissioned to seek out new markets for manufactured goods were accompanied by missionaries, who preached the synoptic gospels by day, but assisted in the looting of raw materials and the people’s resources
by night.

The Mission Cathechists served as chief informants to the priesthood, who transmitted useful intelligence to the District Officers. The police would then move against political agitators and political mal-contents.

Confessions to priest received absolution and also could be used in evidence in closed courts. These and other stratagems served well to assist in efficient colonial administration.
The colonial officers used “niggers to catch niggers.” Some foreign powers still do.
After flag independence, the Nigerian state has not been completely freed from foreign manipulations and control.

At times, Nigerian citizens freely offer themselves to foreign nations, where they do menial jobs, hanging around in smoky bars and joints, where they engage in drug use and prostitution.
Many are put under secret surveillance, allowed to operate until their arrest, prosecution and induction into the “watch your brother for us brigade”

I have been told stories by many Nigerians, who find themselves in critical circumstances. “Wetin man go do? “ Home no get head”
In some situations, BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Bradford Office paid repatriation fees for the most desperate compatriots.

The organization of the Nigerian state must be geared towards societal growth, not endless constitution-making, meaningless agendas, endless committee meetings, awarding and rewarding of the same contracts, inter-party squabbles, self-congratulatory advertisements, glorifying meager achievements and other reactionary- minded tendencies.

To build a social edifice that will sustain the continued existence of Nigeria, the most potent issues now are minority rights, social and economic rights, the broadening of political and civil rights, proper governance, discipline and strategies to overcome corrupt practices in national life.
The theory of statecraft suffers from lack of intellectual advancement.
In the field of law, the second generation of colonially trained lawyers seem to restrict their erudition to learned regurgitation of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases, formal, boring and uncritical comparing of one constitution with another, over flogging the facts in Nigeria’s constitutional development.

A classic example of this tendency is the recently published “NIGERIA: A Century of Constitutional Evolution”. It is a compendium of the learned, legal interpretation of Nigeria’s colonial legal heritage and its attempt to evolve a Nigerian jurisprudence.

Bravo! The authors represent the right- wing sector of the legal academia.
The development of Nigeria’ political thought has long been left to governmental policy statements, interviews by ex-political actors, the manifestos of political parties and occasional publications by erudite Nigerians.
Unlike the United States and Europe, where it is customary for leaders to write books, in Nigeria, the practice has to move further.

In the economic field, our choice of the capitalist mode of development has inflicted on Nigeria, the world-views of authors of the world’s most influential books like “ The Tipping Point, Barbarians at the Gate, Jack: Straight from the Gut, Getting things done, and Now Discover Your Strength, as well as other such business and management intelligence.
We benefit from the intellectual prowess of World Bank/IMF gurus.

Our economy is wedged upon an import/export culture. The Indigenization Acts of 1974 and 1977 and other legislations geared towards preserving the commanding heights of the Nigerian economy for Nigerians; there is acute subversion of the spirit and letters of the relevant legislation by back door corporate perversions by foreign operators and their Nigerian business partners.

Although we earned a lot of revenue from oil, there is hard evidence of lack of prudent expenditure and official corruption as documented by Transparency International, foreign bank reports and other independent monitoring.

The new APC Party has vowed to combat corrupt practices as far back as possible and this is its selling point.

The condition of life of our citizens, who are not in government or in private business, is most unsatisfactory.

There is unsteady electricity, drinkable water costs a lot, motorable roads are few and far between, slow train movements and morbid fear resulting from insecurity.

Amidst these interlocking circles of misery, we are saddled with a very expensive presidential system, which gulps a lot of funds, leaving little for infrastructural development and social engineering.
There is need for a National Dialogue on the way forward. Those, who miseducate the government about the National Conference, are making ignorant assertions.

There are many issues that must be tabled and discussed frankly. The ostrich approach is postponing chaos.

The campaign against rebellion has also put a weight on our Republic.

How can any government perform in the face of ebullient rebellion, insurrection and social dislocation?
The auk family in the Niger Delta must reconcile their differences. It is not wise for them to display unnecessary hostilities towards one another. This is their chance!

We are waiting for the Glory of the Messiah reign in Nigeria. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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