We know that since Muammar al-Qaddafi took over the realms of governance in Libya over a generation ago despotism has been the norm in governance in that country; and on the international scene he represented anything repugnant. With a rule at home and world-view so off-putting, Libya has consequently been a pariah state for a long, long time. Recently, however, there became a seeming turning point when Condoleezza Rice (with the special role played by Saif Qaddafi, Qaddafi’s son) and Tony Blair helped to open the doors of the nations to Muammar Qaddafi, as world leaders started stretching out cautious hands to Libya.
The recent face-off in Libya has now opened up again the nasty pages of Qaddafi’s past. And, of course, Libya is a well told story of monstrosity! So, what on earth should attract Nigerians to such a place? Nothing! What took Nigerians to Libya? Really, nothing!
With bad governance at home many people jumped off the ship of state thinking of making it to Europe. That is, they were pushed as it were by bad governance at home. Failing to make it to Europe, this is how they found themselves in the lion’s den. Put elaborately: Imagine them sailing in our national ship (the one all of us call Nigeria) and the ship is set on fire, unquenchable fire; unquenchable because it is the captains of this ship themselves that not only occasioned the fire but should proffer solution which they have no clue of or know nothing about. So this group of scary Nigerians took what they thought was a leap of life, but alas! They went from the frying pan to fire. The captains of our national ship and the fire they kindled caused that. No Nigerian with his two eyes opened went to Libya to rake out a living. Therefore, from their sorry stay there these years to this awful climax of return can only be accounted for by our self-styled leaders, especially those who camped in Aso Rock between 1999 and 2007. They caused the tormenting fire and heat that our compatriots went through in Libya, and we reason that they should pay for it anyway possible.
And by the way, should Nigerians be running away to Europe? Should they if we have the Obafemi Awolowos, Jerry Rawlings (Ghana) and Seretse Khama Ian Khama (Botswana) here with us to turn the country around with its huge resources? The good legacy Seretse Khama, founder of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), bequeathed to Botswana after he left office and died in 1979 and 1980 respectively is today well managed. Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, Festus Mogae, and Seretse Khama Ian Khama, son of Seretse Khama, who came after him in that order, did near excellent jobs. Today Botswana, a landlocked country, is an epitome of good governance and economic growth with all indexes of development steadily moving up; and that is besides maintaining the longest continuous multiparty democracy in Africa. Well, I didn’t say we should not be going to Europe. ‘Running away to Europe’ is the phrase, and there is a world of difference between both. Today, Botswanans don’t run to Europe or run away to Europe: Just as Europe come to Botswana, so they go to Europe! And, of course, Libya is not their route.
And really: if not for unexplainable high spirit of patriotism shared by Nigerians except their leaders, what should we be doing here in Nigeria when in eight years all infrastructures collapsed, and economic activities at best a tedious routine. For eight prosperous years Aviation Ministry, Obasanjo/Borishade and our airplanes gave us more deaths than can ever be imagined. Despite the untold amount Obasanjo/Anenih took to supposedly put into our roads they were, at the end, worse than before 1999. We had no water to drink. The health sector that gulped so much could not even take care of a minor ache in Atiku’s leg. OBJ-Atiku even went buying state-of-the-art-machines for our teaching hospitals only to discover there were not enough professionals to handle them. The education sector so ran aground that Ghana became a haven and salvaging destination. And power: Paralysis! You can go on and on; and yet each of these ministries or departments ‘received’ yearly unequaled allocations, historically speaking.
Bad leadership in the midst of plenty is bane of this nation, and undoing of these Nigerians from Libya. Why did they take the leap of death? You will hear stories of poverty, hunger, impoverishment and all their synonyms. Given what God has graciously and abundantly given to this nation no Nigerian should pass that noxious road if there is good and conscientious management of our resources. How did they get to Libya? It is the story of porous borders where there should really be no porous borders in Nigeria, for under OBJ-Atiku we had more than enough to secure our borders. What happened to the 1999-2007 unceasing oil wind-falls!
And by the way, is Gadaffi not a better leader than OBJ/Atiku? How many Libyans are in Nigeria? Are they in their thousands? If they are, are they doing the jobs Nigerians do in Libya? Are we not both oil producing and exporting nations? What is wrong with Nigeria? Sorry: Nothing! What is wrong with the leaders? Everything! And it is so because they are self-styled and make belief leaders. At least that is what OBJ/Atiku robustly was and is.
OBJ-Atiku put all our monies into the power sector but it was apparent not so much got there eventually. Much of that money streamed off from main channel. At the end of the day there was no power. This money that gave us zero power could, under men like Awolowo, give us more than the needed power requirement of all sectors of the economy. So while some individuals soared in wealth (our wealth), the industrial sector is totally in shambles. The result: Exodus! Many Nigerians were pushed to go raking out a living wherever they could. Many took off from the ship called Nigeria, some plunged into troubled seas and the waves took them to places such as Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
OBJ-Atiku could not resuscitate ailing industries they met on ground, could not drive the ones they met thriving but added them to the ailing list. Then they thought out a ‘solution’: They ‘partition’ our industries and parastatals among themselves and friends. They partition our commonwealth! And we watched them scrambling for the various parts. This Berlin revisited, again, multiplied the fire that increased the number of Nigerians that were pushed out of the country.
OBJ and Atiku finally killed the middle-class; they killed the engine of national growth. By this too they bloated the lower class which has to contend for elusive resources. Again, the result was that Nigerians started a shift to our borders which in any case are ever porous, and they drifted away from there.
Compare the wealth of OBJ when he walked out of the prison to Ota with when he walked from Aso Rock to this same Ota (after collecting almost everything he forgot at Dodan Barracks and actually wanted to add whatever he thinks remains with a third term agenda). Even though Atiku and his friends would want to tell you that he (Atiku) may well be as rich as Dangote before he bonded with OBJ in their affront to our nation, we know today of Atiku’s economic empire with intimidating network home and abroad that was not his by 1999. And their friends are no less rich. Not that they can boast of any Carlos Smith in their ancestry whose wealth or estate they inherited. And you hardly see the industries they put up here at home to give good jobs; rather they are helping to develop already developed climes. The result of this double evil is the exodus of our people.
Since Goodluck Jonathan has refused to probe OBJ/Atiku, let him plead with the duo to surrender the ‘articles’ they may have over-collected from Aso Rock when OBJ went back there to collect the things he forgot; and let him (Jonathan) share them among these returnees from Libya, and with the rest of us too. If that fails let him
tell the duo to be philanthropic enough to allow these Nigerians from Libya get paid-up shares in their groups; after all we all ordinarily co-own those things you know!
But more seriously, let Jonathan with or without the pair that bastardized our nation, economy and lives those eight horrible years do something very tangible for these returnees we put in this sorry state in the first! And from henceforth let’s leaders bring conscience into governance. Learn this lesson, and the returnees from Libya and indeed all exploited and endangered Nigerians will not have suffered in vain.