Nigeria @ 50: No Compromise, No Surrender

It was Kongi, the word smith in 1983 during the less celebrated Second Republic headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari who wrote this satire about the Nigerian politicians and government.

I love my Country, I no go lie,
Na inside am, I go live and die,
When he push me so, I push am so,
He push me, I push am, I no go go.

When you still 10 Kobo,
They put you for prison,
They still 10 Million,
Na patriotism.
They give you chieftancy& national honor;
Na so demon-crazy be for our country.

This satire is a sad reminder of the pervasiveness of the Nigerian government and its political system since independent. Poor leadership,corruption, nepotism, maladministration, violence and political thuggery, kidnapping, deportation, assassination etc remains the order of the day.

Twenty seven years after Professor Akinwole Soyinka’s criticism of the political system, the show of shame continue to glow stronger and wider. Thieves, Opportunists, Lunatics, Ignoble etc continue to force themselves into the corridor of power through the barrel of gun or selective-elections. They consolidate themselves in office in a demagog tradition. Upon legitimization, they reflect their true colors as political bugs who have nothing to offer the system than to suck it dry.

This pervasiveness became a subculture of every successive administration, which quite frankly is a negation of the founding fathers principles and goals. While the former envisioned a great country that is united in diversity for the good of all, the latter is a conglomeration of looters whose goal is to bankrupt the nation’s treasury and set one tribe against another in a divide and rule tactics. This atrocities were not unnoticed. In fact, it was consciously questioned and challenged by few patriotic individuals who believe in united Nigeria and share the view of the founding fathers. Unfortunately, this few nationalists became the target of the corrupt government and their repressive machineries. They were sought after for vilification and often time assassinated.

The change in the concept of government and the characteristics of the people in charge of the government business discourages the participation of patriots, good intentioned, visionary, credentialed, and potential public office holders. Some of whom have to flee the country and take refugee or self exile status in foreign countries for their safety and that of their family. Those who were unable to relocate to other countries were forcefully silenced. Some were killed by government mercenaries or target assassins, others disappeared without trace, some were roped into one form of fabricated criminal charges or another, yet few others were paid-up to compromise their conscience and refrain from criticizing the government.

This was the modus and model of government in Nigeria since independent. Reflections on the consequence of this model on the people of Nigeria is heart troubling, suffice is to say that it spells monumental catastrophe on the socio-political and economic structures and infrastructures that supposed to augment the nation and improve the welfare of the citizens. It is against this background that close minded individuals and subjective school of thought concluded that nothing good can never come out of Nigeria.

Contrarily, while I agree that Nigeria’s 50 years of independence have little to show for its strength and age, writing it off as a failed nation-state is erroneous, misleading and reflects impaired judgment. After all, head-cut is not the solution to headache. An average individual questioned Nigeria’s post independent achievement and condemn its slow pace of development. This is resultant of self designed expectations. There is nothing wrong in having great expectation of one’s fatherland, but when such expectation is unrealistic and overrated, failure and disappointments are inevitable. This on the other hand breeds discouragement and frustration. When this happen, the solution is to reflect on the standard of expectations and realistically re-evaluate the metric.

Fifty years is a long time in the life of a man, yet it is not an age of hopelessness. Golden jubilee is a long period in matrimonial relationship yet it is not a guarantee of success or great accomplishments. In the life of a nation, 50 years may sounds big but it is infinitesimal. World history is indicative of countries that are far older than Nigeria in term of political independence, yet their citizens demand for better life continue to be on the increase. The citizens neither as result of such demand or poor government put their nation into disrepute nor underrate its potential for greatness. The leadership is always the focus of criticism and condemnation. Such procedure hold the leaders accountable for their stewardship. Fulfillment of electoral promises and improvements in the social, political and economy of the nation usually guarantee re-elections; while contrary attracts rejection at the pool.

In the year 2010 alone a dozen countries in Africa continent turned fifty years old post independent. Reflections on their existence shows the nature and level of their developments. A lot have happened to different countries since independence. Inter and intra tribal wars, pestilence, famine, corruption poor leadership, maladministration, under develop economy and poor political structures are few of their experiences, only few countries are able to stand the test of time. Wars have reduced some countries to rubbles, some are encapsulated in corruption and despotism, political and economic servitude were prevalence in others. Only very few are able to fly the flag of a nation with responsible government. Therefore it is not appropriate to evaluate and judge all the independent nations with one standard, especially a borrowed standard. Country’s development and growth should be considered on each merit given clues to social, economic, political and cultural index as well as relevance in global politics.

To Nigeria my beloved country, I know that the best time is yet to come and the messiah might be far from been near. That does not imply that Nigeria will remain and maintains the present status-quo. The country had fought many battles in many fronts and have won them all. It remain indefatigable and indivisible entity to the dismay of its enemies. Though the nation have been bedeviled by many satanic leaders and evil genius with monstrous onslaught; we as a people have witnessed their best; which has dragged the nation into the mud and slowed the nations pace of development. This catalog of robbers diverted the resources that are meant to improve the welfare of the citizens into their personal accounts and carelessly derailed the destiny of many Nigerians. They continue to facelessly parade themselves as the states men and seek to retain political power without the approval of the electorates, trusting in their ill gotten wealth and stolen riches. Posterity will never forgive them neither will history erase their misadventures. They will pay heavily for their mischiefs in this life and life after.

Certainly most of the people who are 50 years old now might not be around or at least be relevant in 50 years to come, but the country will continue to thrive if the cabals and the cronies of selfish leaders did not succeed in forcing the country into secession. At the moment, while the country remain Federal Republic of Nigeria or Democratic Republic of Nigeria or United States of Nigeria, the people should focus on the unity of the country by demanding for the implementation of the principles of the founding fathers and nationalists. All informed individuals and groups, within and in diaspora should begin to make concerted effort to educate the citizens at all level, starting f

rom the wards including the schools, the local governments, state governments and the nation at large on the need to wrestle the destiny of our nation from the hands of the few self centered, vicious and vision less leadership.

We have trusted them in the past but they failed us repeatedly. We can no longer afford to be taken for ride. This is the time to take our destiny in our hand and say to those spineless political rogues that Nigeria is bigger than all of them and their interests. We need to confront and challenge their recklessness and misadventures. Culture of fear must be repudiated and our safety must not be traded for liberty. A government that is not able to provide the basic needs of its people need not be tolerated nor supported. They have for long played the game of zones, tribes, quota-system, religion, etc to suit and promote their selfish agenda, and disgracing the collective psyche of Nigerians. Now their game is up and as a people, we will neither compromise our safety nor surrender our freedom, and right to a healthy and dignify life.

Written by
Tunde Ali
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