As we move closer to handover day to a brand new Federal Government of Nigeria on 29 May 2015, with a mixture of optimism and trepidation, if Nigerians (whether you voted for Buhari or not) think that the problems that have besieged and dragged Nigeria down for several inglorious decades are going to disappear into the air with a wave of a magic wand, we have another think coming, like the Americans will say.
Our expectations, are, expectably and understandably high. But while most of us are optimistic, there are saboteurs and agents provocateurs lurking and waiting for the promised change not to come to pass.
That is the reality. It is not going to happen. We will have to endure some more wrenching agonies and suffering before it gets better. In fact, the suffering will only ease a little after the first four years of Mr Buhari’s presidency.
The country, Nigeria, and her people, have been subjected to decades of appalling deprivation, degradation, dilapidation and desperation as a result of gross and criminal mismanagement and crass corruption and impunity for so long, that it will be a herculean task by even the most sincere and ruthless of men and women to even attempt a rescue operation. Therefore, I do not see Mr Buhari, the President-elect of 2015 doing it in the short term. Sincere men like him need longer, because he’s definitely not a magician or miracle-maker. And that is the fact, despite both gullible and cynical people expecting wonders from him, even before he has been sworn in.
The rot, the ruin, the rape, the looting, the impunity, disregard for humaneness and degradation of over forty years simply cannot be undone in a short four years. However, if we, as a people, are sincere with ourselves and approach the task of “change” with a certain degree of altruism, and want the best for ourselves, our children and future generation, it would serve us best to have all hands on deck to approach the massive and onerous, and believe me, mostly painful tasks ahead and support any sincere politicians and government, at federal, state and local government levels that affirm to want to try their best.
There is therefore the need for mediocre, corrupt and purposeless politicians and other public servants to be kicked out, excluded and expunged; prosecuted and jailed when and if found guilty of having partaken or collaborated in the raping and looting of this potentially great country of ours. This is the time when no Nigerian must be above the laws and norms of the country; no “bigman-nism”, no sacred cows. All cows must be slaughtered.
We do away with drug dealers, 419 fraudsters, murderers and other criminals making our laws for us. We do not want dishonest politicians calling the shots from the state houses and from the corridors of power. We must reject in its totality, mediocre and political-jobbers as ministers, commissioners and other appointees. We do not want situations and environments where political leaders reward mediocrity but sacrifice and neglect merit.
A bad disease requires a bad medicine; that is what Nigeria’s ailment has become and needs. By all means, let there be PROSECUTIONS, but no PERSECUTION. This is want the Rule of Law, accountability, probity and good governance are all about. There is a real need to prosecute and severely punish corrupt high-ranking government officials and political office holders who had arrogated illegally to themselves alone the common wealth of this country, taken undue advantage of, and have abused the positions and authority entrusted to them and who had cause, directly and indirectly, millions of deaths and suffering to our people. They must not be allowed to go scot-free. No way! There must be actions to deter others who think it is their right, or do not see anything wrong, in plundering government treasuries and taking us for granted.
Since Independence in 1960, and perhaps even before, what we have seen in Nigeria is a pervasive desire for power, status, fame, recognition and unimaginable wealth. In the political arena, the corridors of history are littered with much destruction, pain and suffering because of the unrestrained lust for power and wealth. Thousands and millions of our people have suffered and dying and are still suffering and dying because of the despotic and undemocratic rule and the whims and fancies of corrupt, insincere, clueless, self-centred, conscienceless and insensitive leaders and their acolytes, owing to unending political and social instability as a result of endless jostling for power and all kinds of political manoeuvres.
Politicians lie to us because the people want to be lied to and the people, psychosomatically, do not usually want to hear the truth, because Truth, as the saying goes, hurts and no one wants to hear things that threaten their existence, their beliefs, or words that will make them uncomfortable. It is decidedly better for politicians to tell people what makes them feel comfortable. People also always expect too much. Politicians know their followers will believe them, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. If a lie is told enough times, people will accept it is true. It is not a stretch to understand why people would believe something if they hear it enough. People expect that lies will be disproved and fade away. So if the lies continue to be heard, people assume, then they must be true.
Leaders and followers make a country; great leaders and great followers make a great nation. Sincere leaders and a critical, thinking followership make for a progressive and developed nation. This is what every Nigeria yearns for, I am very sure, but we have been too lazy, nay, laid back to work for, and achieve what we ideally want for ourselves. Herein lay the problem.
We call on God to do our work for us. God will not work for us; He will expect us to work for ourselves, and then bless our work and make it succeed.
True patriots are what we need. It galls me when I see and hear a lot of those who have looted raped and is still looting and raping Nigeria to day still being able to hold up their heads in public and declare themselves or pose to us as patriots and doing their best for the country conscientiously. They are evil hypocrites. These people even organise seminars and workshops on probity, patriotism, leadership, accountability, nation building, etc.
This is not a matter of ascribing blames on anybody. What happened in the last sixteen years could perhaps be a punishment. We have to suffer before we enjoy, so this is part of our ups and downs, only we should be careful to ensure that when we are down, we are able to get up. If we stay down, then we are not worth being called a people – it doesn’t matter what ethnic or religious group you belong to, you are a failure. In 1999, the People’s Democratic Party was as unprepared as the rest of the country, but they got lucky because those politicians who had been ruling Nigeria since Independence managed to get together and weld again a conservative union, whose main aim has always been to oppress their own people. That spell has now been broken, and I hope, for good.
I read on Facebook a comment a person made, who has seen nothing good, or of benefit, in being a Nigerian; he wants to leave Nigeria and create a Biafra, he cried. I laughed at the idiocy in his statement. Where in the world would he be allowed to create Biafra? Would he be allowed to create it in America, UK or China or in Cameroon for that matter? He can only create it in what is called Nigeria, but then he won’t be allowed to do that either, would he? Nigeria has come to stay.
Yima Sen, a former United Nations official and two-time Presidential aide in Nigeria, wrote, in his “Manifesto of Nigeria’s Poor” that “So should we abandon Nigeria or go with the rather asinine refrain that “Nigeria will break up” or “Nigeria will become history”? The point is that a break-up of Nigeria will never create better national or state entities. In fact some of them will be afflicted by worse maladies related to state and societal failure: 419, drug trade, cultism, armed robbery, kidnappings, crudeness, and a general march away from civilization, by any definition. In other words, we will get fragments of mal-development, degradation and retrogression. What hope then? Two perspectives are illuminating. One, from Chinua Achebe and the second from Lee Kuan Yew. According to Achebe, one of Nigeria’s and Africa’s leading story tellers, in his nonfiction work on the problem with Nigeria, it is leadership. So also says the Asian leader Yew: that leadership makes the difference under any circumstances”.
Yima Sen concluded, while hoping for a new President to emerge at the 2015 Elections, that “He or she could be a politician, professional, an activist, an academic, or a patriot with a responsible background. He or she should be mature, exposed, courageous and firm, even revolutionary. He or she should not hate some sections of Nigeria. He or she should know Nigeria, understand Africa and appreciate where the world is today. God, please give us this person as President of Nigeria in 2015. Amen”.
Compatriots, I am not in way implying or asserting that Mr Buhari fits into all the above ideals, but he sure has most of those characteristics and he’s the closest that gives us the best hope. It may even be, in some eyes, that Mr Buhari is none of the above, but at least we are all agreed that he’s a better choice than the outgoing President. That is why we voted him in. Mr Buhari and his team have to be, simply, ruthless. How they want to intertwine and integrate this with a democratic system of government, I really do not know, but ruthless they must be, otherwise, we will be back to square one and the hopes of Nigerians will again be dashed.
Let the Truth be said always!!!!