In the grammar of Nigerian politics, things are easier said than done. The declaration by this administration that it proposes to transform Nigeria tacitly implies that past Nigerian governments had failed to seriously confront political, economic and social development challenges in our country.
The history of political theory deals with concepts like liberalism, capitalism and socialism as instruments for building socio-economic systems in human societies. For all the turmoil and imperfections in the Nigerian political economy, the nation has managed to engage in eclectic permutations in running the state.
Contact with British colonial systems of statecraft acquainted Nigerians with notions of free speech, a free press, parliamentary democracy, which was later unceremoniously abandoned for the expensive American political order, which our economy cannot sustain.
The Labour Unions have given notice that they would embark on a general strike for three days, in the first instance over the N18, 000 minimum wage defaults by some states. The fact is that these states that have refused to pay the minimum wage are actually violating the law.
There is evidence of lack of life-giving and life-sustaining programmes that lead a society to gain acceleration in the right direction. A few things have been responsible for our political, legal and economic under-development.
There has never been a consensus about the system of socio-economic path, which we want to tread. Until recently, the majority nation-states have disregarded the interests of minority nation states. There has been disproportionate allocation of resources and government appointments, leading to discontent and rebellion.
Now that a confederal republic has emerged, in which a measure of equality and fairness and equity is manifesting, it is important to remember, “Equality, which knitted friends to friends, cities to cities, allies unto allies. Man’s law of nature is equality”.
Before this, one would need clarifications on the transformation agenda. How is it going to be different from the manifold reforms introduced under the double impact of the IMF and World Bank prescriptions?
How will Islamic Banking and CBN dictates on cash withdrawals, which is violation of the contractual relationship between a bank and its clients going to promote economic, capitalist development. Since Sanusi has become an oracle, how will the Minister of Finance relate to his oracular ingenuity? How can an economy based on maximum wages pay-out to law-breakers be reconciled with the paltry take-home pay of over-worked workers? How can we reconcile greed, avariciousness, impunity, corruption, mindless violence, appeasement with peaceful development that the transformation process requires?
Is the promised transformation transference, a transmutation, a transfusion, a genetically modified society brought about by political transgenic strategies?
Factual pronouncements that cannot be evidentially verified could be regarded as fictions of the speech-writers imagination or flights of his learned fancies.
I am puzzled that in spite of the beneficent outpouring of the Zodiac and God’s bountiful endowments, Nigeria is still given to insipidity, superstition and slowness.
The spirit of truth is absent; flattery and demagogy always take center-piece. Some well-placed people are disdainful of the poor and under-achievers. Since life in Nigeria is not conditioned by social justice but the survival of the fittest, there is an element of brewing discontent, which often manifests in rebellion, by political mal-contents.
The Rubicon by the docile, apolitical group in societies “is crossed slowly, silently and without proclamation” The dissidents of the North and in the Niger Delta supply the evidence of this statement.
No Nigerian government had listened to the voice of those, who had suffered in silence. The groups we granted Amnesty to and are willing to negotiate with have been with us.
Now that we are ready to acknowledge them and answer their upward call, they must be part of the transformation agenda.They must be fully integrated. This is why we keep calling for a Confederal dialogue of Nigerian nationalities, where constructive suggestions will be aired, documented and processed as national policies and ethos.
I am not talking of a “sovereign national conference”, which could be subversive, ill-motivated and ill-defined. It could be the hatchet assembly of political mal-contents, who want a reversion to the majority-states hegemonic hierarchy, in which only their leaders pass for heroes to be celebrated by all, even when such political heroes are deficient in every material particular. Only their persons should be canonized, deified and glorified. What a ton of hypocrisy?
The new Confederal Republic of Nigeria is wedged on the concerns of the ALMAGIRIS, the Zamfara, Bornu, Edo, Katsina, Benue, indigenes etc. The lives of people in Fugar, Okigwe, Zungeru, Kaura Namoda, Otueke, Ojigono, Opobo etc, must improve.
We must build a bridge across the River Niger, from Idah to Agenebode and save billions of Naira, we waste on petrol by travelling from Onitsha to Asaba, past Umunede before steering to Auchi, then to the North!!!
The transformation process must start today! The process must encamp on the side of fairness, social justice, equity and reasonableness.
There will no longer be second-class citizens in the Confederal Republic of Nigeria. Protestations by loud-mouthed people will be ignored in future, because if we all begin to agitate for booties, the cacophony will dwarf our forward march.
When I lived in Portharcourt in the 1960’s, I used to take boat rides to neighbouring, beautiful coastal areas of Rivers State. When I visited the late Dr Obi Wali, in 1974, he took me to the polluted riverside beaches. It then dawned on me why Ken Saro Wiwa was agonizing.
No positive action was taken by any government to remedy the situation, except by gun-boat actions that failed. The transformation should begin by manifold restitution, restoration and development.
Every child should be in school by January next year. Schools, colleges, universities should become functional by next year. All retired teachers should be recalled. In some developed nations, they put in service, experienced and tested teachers.
In Nigeria, where we do not have enough teachers at all levels, we waste human intelligence by adhering to colonial habits of mind.
A society can only meaningfully be transformed by trained, human intelligence, not by “lazy, yawning drones’, who sit in idle parliaments, civil service outfits and chambers, where they think less and earn a lot.
It has become an eye-sore for Nigerian top officials to beg visiting junior ministers and people from overseas to come over to (Macedonia) Nigeria, and help us! It shows lack of self-respect, self-knowledge and self-restraint.
We should understudy nations, how they have advanced and cooperate in the field of trade and other areas.
We shall discover that their legislators do not cream off the treasury, earn unheard-of salaries, make speeches, which remain hortatory, award inflated contracts to friends, professional colleagues and cronies.
China became independent in 1949 and Nigeria got her independence in 1960. China did not beg other nations to come and help them. They are now the undisputable leaders of the world practicing socialism.
In 1998, I wrote an article which was published in the Nigerian Guardian, entitled,” China, the Giant of the 21st Century”. During my professorial endeavours at Shandong University of Science and Technology, School of Law,(2005-2008), I marveled at the rate of Chinese national development. In Nanjing, they manufacture from pin to airplanes.
The transformation in China is on-going, rapid, measured, systemic and it is under the able management of the Chinese Communist Party, which has been in charge since 1911.
Our political parties are fractious and are not guided by any ideology. So, m
embers use political parties as instruments for self-promotion and quickly decamp to other parties, if their ambitions are not met.
This is why, we doubt whether political opportunism will not hinder the promised transformation process. Recently, it was announced that top politicians in the ruling party have decamped to other parties.
Certainly, this heliocentric political harlotry creates the impression of a party in disarray, whose center may not hold for four years.
It is quintessentially and manifestly evident that there are only a few political thinkers in today’s Nigeria.
In the past, we recognize Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Rt Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Adegoke Adelabu, Muokugo Okoye, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Bala Usman, Dr. Segun Osoba, Professor Omafume Onoge and the gurus at Uncial and Uniport.
In the political journalist cadre are Lai Mohammed and Mohammed Garba. A country that is bereft of thinkers, inventors and patriots, is not likely to succeed with the transformation, evinced in our national expectations.
We should therefore put on “the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness” Then we can have quietness and assurance. We should be “swift to hear, slow to speak”. We shall also be “set on a high place, where serenity will be our portion. We shall be armed with strength.
Are we utterly cast down? Why we are not blessed with peace? Why do we not find rest in our souls? The answers are to be found in our stars. We are yet “to hear the voice of the turtle dove” Isaiah 12:3. We still have to remove idols from our minds.
We do not practice virtues that satiate the weary soul. Armed robberies, looting state funds, kidnapping of compatriots, do not confer on anyone, glory, honour and power, but have only ushered in the season of the melting rocks.
The dry leaves, we are told cannot rejuvenate the tree, but green leaves do. So, why do we put old wine in new wine-skin? Why do we populate governance with faded jeans? This is why each time we want to transform, old demonic forces take over in keeping with old Covenants sworn or pledged to Mammonic forces.
Unknown to us, our past always becomes our future as we resurrect old silhouettes to join the Assembly of the new “saints”.
In our quest for material abundance, we are set back by unpaid, cultic debts owed by our political ancestors to the infernal conglomerate. This is why we are troubled.
The government’s approach to conflict resolution must include an admission that injustice had been perpetrated against minority nation states for over fifty years and that there is need for contriteness on the part of the authorities.
Governance should no longer be propelled by chance happenings, amateurish and otiose proclamations, quackery, zoographic personality cleavages and bonded friendships, and mammary gland affiliations.
If projects are ear-marked for known beneficiaries, the performance of such contracts suffers from poor performance to non-performance. Godfathers and influence peddlers are very conscious of the harvest they hope to reap from their public relations. They do not suffer their efforts to be in vain. They can also revenge like wounded lions, where they are snubbed. They join the fifth columnists, join another political group, disclose secret information of the former party to the press or go on a smear campaign.
The transformation process could be stultified by astronomically rising prices in Nigeria. Under the shibboleth of “free market forces”, the citizens are complaining of rising prices and the inability of any government agency to do anything about price control.
This is what I was saying earlier, we do not nip emergencies in the bud, but wait for them to become cancerous before we undertake belated, fire-brigade action.
I have seen soldiers searching for bombs with bare-hands, without considering the incendiary nature of the objects of their search!
National security has become a subject of interest in Nigeria as a result of the actions of disgruntled people within the polity.
Before the Nigerian Security Organization and now the State Security Service, there existed the Nigerian Research Center, which served as the intellectual arm of the “I” Branch of the Nigerian Police Force. The Inspector General of Police then was Alhaji M.D Yusuf. Prof. Ajato Gandonu was the Director and this writer was the Administrator-General of the Center. We gathered intelligence especially on the Nigerian-Cameroun boundary and territorial dispute and allied matters.
The Gowon administration was well-served by its security outfit, until Col Joe Nanven Garba and his fellow Colonels struck. The Nigerian Research Center had to be closed down by the Murtala/Obasanjo regime. The Nigerian Research Center recruited eight university dons, in various fields of intelligence.
The Nigerian Security Organisation, which was run by Rafindadi, was later replaced by General Ibrahim Babangida by the Nigerian Security Organisation, which was headed by Shinkafi.
The Police intelligence Unit was headed by a Chief Superintendent (named with-held). They were well-trained, some, like my father, at the Metropolitan Police College at Scotland Yard, London.
The Nigerian institution that suffered most, as a result of Nigeria’s political instability, was the military itself. As a result of the re-curing military coups, well-trained senior officers, directors of military intelligence had to retire, each time a younger officer took over state power.
Had the Nigerian Research Center, the intelligence formations and the civil service under General Yakubu Gowon, been in place till Gowon handed over, the state of this nation and its national security, would, perhaps have been in better shape..
We can now calmly evaluate the rascally military adventures that had thrown Nigeria into a cauldron, whose vortex is now in need of transformation.
The conditions of police life were good. Now, they are in need of better life, training and exposure. The failure of governance is often attributed to the failure of national security agents. This is unfortunate.
When national security is in jeopardy that is when government should mobilize its intellectuals, past security personnel and citizens. A conscious effort must be made to find out the remote and immediate causes of the opposition’s discontent. To dismiss them as rebels and proceed on a war no-one ever wins is not the right strategy.
To declare that “we should not negotiate with rebels” is hard talk that melts before gun-fire. Since the rebels are Nigerians, we must find out the reasons for their actions, because there is no effect without a cause.
In America, there was the talk about not negotiating with rebels. Now, America wants to talk to the Taliban. But why now, after so much damage had been done? I learnt that the Delta militants are again threatening to commence action.
No-one can destroy this country. The Cherubs and Seraphs are now in control of our country. The agents of the anti-Christ, who hate our Christ inheritance, will fail. Allah is holding our country in his hands and He will bring about our reconciliation.
I have read tendentious and sensational reports in some Nigerian newspapers and magazine about how some people intend to “use terrorists, grind governance to a halt, and incite the military” These are fictions, harmful imaginations and mental poisoning of the populace.
It is true that there are disgruntled persons in our polity, who are frustrated with the outcome of the last elections. If they destroy the country, they will not have future elections to participate in and no country to call their own. So, why the desperation to cause havoc?
There is no doubt that rational thinking; rational political behaviour is key to national stability. This is why the Government must move quickly to put in place socio-economic measures that would lead to social justice for all. Delay may defeat good intentions about our societal transformation.
*This Article is dedicated to Mrs. Sarah Jubril, who is poised to start an
ethical transformation in Nigeria.