To a people addicted to the tragic luxury of self-delusion, truth hurts badly. But then, truth always refuses to go away. It lingers around to perpetually taunt and haunt those that loathe and despise its face.
Now, the truth we can no longer afford to deny today is that anybody, in fact, any animal can rule Nigeria. I mean that even a baboon can be Nigeria’s president or governor. It is that simple! All it will take, after all, is for the baboon to get a Maurice Iwu to rig him in and then learn the simple art of stuffing dirty bags with dirty naira notes and delivering them at the appropriate quarters and at the appropriate time, and Nigeria is his to pillage and desecrate as he likes any day!
And if he is lucky enough to be blessed with the kind of morally challenged characters presently encumbering our political space, and the tragically light-minded National Assembly headed today by David Mark and his cousin, Dimeji Bankole, he can as well wrap the entire country up, confidently put it away in one of the folds of his wife’s wrapper and retire to an oxygen bed for a long, refreshing sleep. And the heavens will not fall!
Instead, supposedly sane and rational human beings would unleash their revolting selves on the citizenry, with convoluted, toxic arguments about how Nigeria would immediately cease to exist if the baboon suddenly picked offense and retrieved Nigeria from where it was rotting away and gave it back to the Nigerian people. It is not a new malaise, mind you. Mr. Alao Aka-Bashrun, the esteemed former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stated it more elegantly many years ago when he said that even if some armed robbers got together and seized power in Nigeria that he knew some of his colleagues who would immediately rush in with their CVs to seek to “serve” in the regime of those bandits. A country whose political elite is driven mainly by self-serving considerations rather than ennobling altruism is a country that that will go nowhere. And that is why Nigeria is yet to demonstrate any signs that it is going anywhere.
There is something called self-esteem, and it is very sad that it remains grossly in short supply in Nigeria, especially in the pool from which Nigeria is, most unfortunately, drawing its irredeemably greedy rulers. Time was when all a leader wanted was to leave a glorious name and sterling legacy behind. But the set we have been stuck with for sometime now does not appear to care about such things. Call them thieves to their faces, and they would not even blush. All that excite them are the fat accounts and choice properties they have criminally accumulated across the world. And when they advance any opinion, one searches in vain for the slightest hint of conviction and principles. Sadly, such terms, it would seem, are totally alien to their entire worldview. They appear driven by only the expected immediate gain to be carted away, and clearly lack the capacity to even appreciate that Nigeria needs to remain there till tomorrow for them to even find something more to steal.
How a society became so unlucky as to leave its destiny in the hands of mostly dregs and scum in its midst is one dilemma that might engage the most learned sociologists and experts on behavioural studies for ages? When then would Nigeria’s reclamation commence? Can the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, be relied upon to represent the beginning of the much awaited recovery?
Nigeria always fills any sane and decent person with unqualified sadness and even despair. At no time in our history has a country been so badly diminished by raw greed.
As I watched in utter disgust the series of poorly scripted and unsightly drama periodically unleashed on the polity by a bunch of ultra selfish and unpatriotic entities led by Mrs. Turai Yar’Adua to discourage any attempt by Nigeria to get on its feet again after being horribly crippled by her husband’s lamentable lack of vision and gross inertia even long before his evacuation for medical resuscitation; as they undertook several desperate moves to destabilize the country by instigating ethnic and religious tensions just to maintain their stranglehold on the country’s resources, it was just unbelievable that men and women empowered by law and paid from the public purse to put a halt to the whole nauseating nuisance were sitting passively and watching helplessly, as the hideous activities of an irresponsible few threatened the peace and stability of the country and further diminished it before the rest of the world. In which civilized country can such bunch of low creatures dare to stretch impunity beyond its malleable limit like that and get away with it? These are some of the factors that deepen the enduring feelings of hopelessness and despair in Nigeria!
Now, were there no persons and institutions empowered by law in Nigeria to investigate the sources of the alleged limitless resources with which the crude, dangerous desperation flaunted by those fellows was being generously funded? There were suspicions that the slush fund flowing around like polluted rivers had ensured the silence and passivity of those who ought to do something. And so the nauseating dramas kept being enacted to the shame and embarrassment of all of us. There were also several ungodly alliances that we were told must be maintained at the expense of the country and its long-suffering masses. What a tragedy! For goodness sake, how long shall we continue to hide under the debasing excuse that this is a badly run country where anything is permissible, and where decency and development would continue to remain elusive to a long suffering people? When shall we lay claim to a better testimonial? How long shall a country greatly endowed like Nigeria remain grossly diminished before those it ought to be better than?
No doubt, the consequences have been enormous. Because of the kind fellows we allow to take charge of our affairs in this country, there is decay everywhere, because they lack the capacity to appreciate the need to build enduring features for posterity. The only language they understand is grab-and-plunder, which has caused the country to bleed profusely and die gradually. Consequently, Nigerians are fleeing their country in droves daily as if it is involved in a very devastating war. In all manner of countries they are being subjected to all manner of unimaginable humiliations and debasing deportations.
Did you hear that Nigerians are also now being deported from Sudan, of all places? How low can a country sink before it decides to seek self-rediscovery? Which day will the timid majority resolve to confront the tiny gaggle of defeatable thieving minority and rescue the country from their cursed hands? When shall we all stand up and bellow a big ‘No More!’ to their hellish determination to never even minimize their mindless plunder of the country’s resources?
Public officers and rich Nigerians now send their children to schools in Benin Republic, imagine that? Our rulers have deemed it fit to watch the schools here to rot away, while they carted away the funds that could have turned the institutions in Nigeria into international centres of excellence.
I felt deflated the other day while attending a forum at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, when I found out that Americans, Britishers, Chinese and people from diverse nations of the world were proudly studying there. In 1993, I met an America Professor of Economics who proudly announced to me that while he studied for his Masters Degree at the University College, Ibadan, (UCI) in 1958, he stayed at Kuti Hall. I wonder if he can advise any American child today to get near that same Kuti Hall he spoke so glowingly about, or encourage the child of his worst enemy to attend a Nigerian University.
While a friend and I took a walk around midnight on a Saturday at
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, we felt so safe, despite the several trees in the well landscaped and beautified compound that lent the school its serenity, but which could also provide cover for cultists to strike. As we stood on a walkway, about eight American youths hopped across, chattering, laughing and feeling so much at home and happy with themselves.
Children of countless Nigerian government officials are enrolled in this school, generating huge funds for Ghana with which it offers divers scholarships to its own citizens. These prodigal rulers would prefer paying all the money to Ghana than improving and making our own schools qualitative and safe so that youths from several parts of the world can also come to Nigeria (as used to be the case) to study.
Nigeria has enough resources to buy up the entire Ghana. No doubt, Ghanaians do not have the drive and innovativeness of Nigerians. Under sincere and honest leaders whose eyes and hearts are not focused only on the treasury, nothing can stop Nigeria from becoming one of the greatest countries in the world? It offends me each time anyone attempts comparing Nigeria with Europe or America. From Swaziland, Botswana to Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia to Uganda, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast to the Gambia, Nigeria is, perhaps, the only country in the whole of Africa that is yet to achieve stability in its energy supply. What a pity.
Maybe, there is a silver lining on the horizon, although doubts still abound. Dr. Jonathan, instead of making himself the head of Petroleum Ministry (Nigeria’s cash cow) has elected to be the Minister of Power. Let’s hope that this is really a sincere effort which will mark the end of debilitating, pitch darkness in Nigeria which has killed industries and left the country prostrate.
But sometimes, one wonders whether Nigerian masses are even worth fighting for? The same people who are exploited and oppressed daily by heartless and godless public officers are the same people who would eagerly agree to be rented as brainless crowds to demonstrate and whip up support for sinking corrupt and/or incompetent officers. When will Nigerian masses see their oppressors for who they are and learn to distance themselves from them, no matter the peanuts they offer each time any of them is being made to account for his or her role while in office? Those who agree to be rented are using their own hands to perpetuate their own slavery. When shall we learn?