Nigeria Matters

'One Nigeria': To Be Or Not To Be? (4)

III. POLITICAL PRAGMATISM.

Do you want to take part in a joint venture where the probability of your heading it is practically equal to zero despite the fact that your contribution to the venture is substantial? Do you want your ethnic group to be part of a country even if the probability of your ethnic group producing the president is practically equal to zero despite the fact that your contribution in terms of human and mineral resources is substantial? Do you want to be a stakeholder in a company that is run by an incompetent president or management? Do you want your ethnic group to be part of a country that is run by incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt leaders right from independence? What if I tell you the following:

1. If 10 presidential elections are held in the next 40 years in Nigeria, a northerner will emerge winner at least in 7.

2. If 5 presidential elections are held in the next 20 years in Nigeria, the probability of a northerner emerging winner in all the 5 is almost equal to 1, i.e. almost 100% guaranteed.

3. The probability of Nigeria electing a competent, uncorrupt and morally upright leader with vision in the nearest future is practically equal to zero?

Unarguably, in order to resolve all the enormous economic and political problems that Nigeria is presently facing, there is the need for a competent leader with vision. Sadly, I regret to say that given the present political structure, it is practically impossible to elect a competent leader capable of providing solutions to the complex problems the country is deeply immersed in.

The development of a country is a team work in which all levels of government must be actively involved. You will surely agree with me that in order for any country to develop, it’s of utmost importance that she is represented at all levels by the best of the best among her citizens. The development of a country, in a way, could be likened to giving examinations where it is necessary to have at least a pass in most or all the subjects in order to have an overall pass mark and be promoted to a higher class or gain admission into a higher institution. Effective leadership is about taking and implementing the right economic and political decisions, at least most of the time. Effective leadership starts from a country choosing not just a competent president, but choosing from among the best of the best. The president in turn is expected to form a very strong cabinet of ministers, who must also rank among the best of the best in their respective fields, and assign them with various tasks or projects, the implementation of which will make a significant impact on the lives of the citizens. The ministers in turn are supposed to appoint different professionals, who should also rank among the best, that will work with them to implement various tasks and projects. Thus, the administration of a country is not only a top – down approach but also involves having the best of the best at all levels. It’s only in such a setting that success can be guaranteed. In addition, a lot, undoubtedly, depend on the values, personality and competence of an elected president. His actions or decisions can either weaken or strengthen democratic institutions which are prerequisites for the economic development of a country. His action, inaction and decisions will undoubtedly have either a very serious positive or negative consequence for the economic development of his country. Therefore, if a country, especially a developing country like Nigeria with very weak democracy and democratic institutions, makes the mistake of electing the wrong people for a long period of time as the presidents, the consequence, politically and economically undoubtedly will be grave. If you start building a house with a shaky foundation, sooner or later the house is banned to collapse. Thus, a corrupt, incompetent, visionless and morally bankrupt president will equally appoint corrupt, incompetent, visionless and morally bankrupt ministers. They too in turn will appoint incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt personnel as their assistants. Before you know it, you have incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt bureaucrats at all levels running the country. A country in such a situation, like the house with a shaky foundation, is doomed to fail. No miracle can save her – not even the accidental appointments of a few competent and non corrupt professionals. Their efforts will not be enough to produce the desired result. Their efforts will not be enough to block the numerous big holes that have been inflicted by these army of incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt managers, on the economy of the country

It’s worth noting that Nigeria, since independence, has been ruled by incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt leaders all of whom are from the north and military respectively. In order to turn things around for the better, there is an urgent need for a competent, uncorrupt and morally upright leader with vision. Sadly, based on my forecast, Nigeria can NEVER have such a leader. IT IS A WISH OR DREAM THAT CAN NEVER COME TRUE! For almost 50 years, we live under the illusion that one day, God, in his everlasting mercy, will give Nigeria a real leader who will solve all our problems overnight. If wishes were horses, beggars will definitely ride. Unfortunately, in Africa, we ignore reality and science, and rely instead more on wishful thinking. Science, unlike wishful thinking or prayers, is a more reliable tool or instrument for predicting or forecasting the future. The same God, in his everlasting mercy, has given us science not only to peep into the future, but as well control or influence it. But, it is disheartening to admit that science has taken the back seat in Nigeria, and given way to wishful thinking.

I made the above 3 assertions or predictions for the following reasons:

1. Analysis of statistical fact and political events in Nigeria.

Statistics is a science that records past events. Statistics is a branch of mathematical science which deals with the collection, classification and use of facts in the form of numbers. Numbers that are, or can be collected or calculated and presented in such a way that they show useful facts. Probability is based on statistical analysis of past events. Probability is related to statistics inasmuch as statistics is used to describe the behaviour of a variable – which determines the frequencies of events, the average and the variance. Probability is used to determine the likelihood that an event or set of events will occur from a universe of possible events or outcomes. Thus, there is a natural relationship between describing the behaviour of a variable and asking the probability that a particular value of the variable will occur. Therefore, based on the results of past events, we can precisely predict or calculate the probability of the occurrence of certain event(s) provided that the variables and/or conditions that led to the past events remain constant or obey a certain function or equation. Health insurance companies rely on statistical records of births and deaths in order to calculate the average longevity or life expectancy in a country. These statistical data are very powerful tools that allow them not only to calculate precisely the probability of a client living up to, or dying before a particular age or within an age range, but working out as well the correct actuarial calculation and insurance premiums.

Going by statistics, practically all the leaders of Nigeria come from the north. The only Nigerian from the south that ever ruled Nigeria was made the president sole handedly by the north. In addition, all the leaders that has ruled Nigeria since independence, starting from Gowon to Yaradua, are not only incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt, but as well either imposed themselves on us, or were imposed on us by northern kingmakers. For almost 50 years, Nigeria has NEVER had any ‘real’ leader! For almost 50 years, Nigeria has only had just 2 real civilian regimes! This is a very important and valuable information in our analysis and forecast. The first civilian regime headed by Shehu Shagari, a northerner, ended in catastrophe. Definitely, Obasanjo’s reign can not be regarded as a civilian regime. It was an extension of the military regime camouflaged as a civilian regime. Since Obasanjo was sole handedly made the president by the northern calibre, it will be no exaggeration to assert that his regime was also an extension of the northern rule, defacto! It could be compared to when Babangida, alias evil genius, changed his military khaki as a military Head of State overnight for babariga, and opted for the title of president, nevertheless continued to rule as a military dictator. All Obasanjo too did was change his military uniform into agbada. Unfortunately for Nigeria and Nigerians, the attire was a camouflage. It was only the dress that changed but the person in the agbada never changed. Obasanjo was still the same military officer who never went through any transformation; just like Babangida. He still had the same military mentality in him which is impossible to get rid of. Therefore, it was not surprising that he ruled with brutality and complete disregard for the rule of law like his predecessors.

Gowon, despite the fact that he was very low in rank and not qualified to take the mantle of power after the unsuccessful Nzeogwu coup, nevertheless, was imposed on Nigerians by the northern military junta. Gowon, after almost 10 years in power, was shoved outside by Murtala Muhammad. Another imposition.

Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was contented being a school teacher was forced by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) to be the president of Nigeria in 1979. Another imposition. To say that Shagari was not qualified and totally unprepared for the gigantic task he was called upon to solve is to say the least. He was a very weak president who knew nothing about public administration and lost total control of everything and everybody around him.

Buhari emerged president through a coup detat. Another imposition. It has now being revealed by Richard Osuolale Akinjide, the former Attorney-General of the federation, under Shagari, that the main purpose of the 1983 coup was to prevent a southerner from taking over from Shagari.

Babangida, after acting as the main architects of many coups, finally decided to be at the helms of power himself. A palace coup was hatched while Tunde Idiagbon was away on hajj. Without Idiagbon, Babangida’s task became much simpler. Another imposition. Through hook and crook methods, he hung on to power for almost 10 years.

In 1999, Obasanjo, after miraculously escaping Sanni Abacha’s gallow was lobbied by Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma and the rest of the northern political elites to be Nigeria’s president. They lavishly bankrolled his presidential campaign from the Niger delta loots. Another imposition. Obasanjo, like his predecessors, was also incompetent, corrupt, visionless and morally bankrupt. Like his predecessors, he was completely unprepared for the daunting task that he was called upon to tackle. Therefore, it was not surprising that his reign camouflaged as civilian regime turned out to be disastrous for the country. He terrorised the country for 8 years and without any improvement in the lives of Nigerians. He left Nigerians poorer than they were in 1999.

Yaradua, after 8 unimpressive years as the governor of Katsina state, instead of allowing the poor guy to go into retirement and concentrate on his health, was lured by the ruling party, PDP, into contesting the 2007 presidential election. The fact that he never had any presidential ambition, and was completely unprepared too for the Herculean task of being Nigeria’s president was ignored. Yaradua eventually emerged president in the worst election ever conducted in the history of the country. Another brazen imposition!

However, the most disappointing and saddening aspect of the presidential election was the fact that all of the 3 leading candidates, Yaradua, Atiku and Buhari, were not only from the north but should not had even contested for the presidency under normal circumstances. Atiku, the former Vice President and a product of the Nigerian customs, regarded as the second most corrupt government institution after the army, was openly accused by his boss, Obasanjo, of corruption, and was also indicted by the EFCC of corruption. Buhari, a retired military officer and former military Head of state, who came to power through a coup detat, punishable by death, and notorious for brutality and total disregard for the rule of law including Nigeria’s legal system. It’s unfortunate that out of a population of 140 million Nigerians, people with these kind of terrible biographies were the leading presidential candidates in the 21st century – almost 50 years after independence. In a normal society, they would not even be allowed to stand for elections, but not in Nigeria.

After a year at the helms of affairs, I can confirm that Yaradua is another incompetent and visionless leader who does not have neither a concrete program nor direction as regards to the development of Nigeria. A leader can be judged by the decisions that he makes or does not make, and the consequence. There is more than enough grounds now to assert boldly that Yaradua is far from being the messiah that will lead us out of the political, military, social and economic crises that the country has been deeply immersed in for decades.

In many developed countries, public administrators contest, or are lobbied to contest for the highest political post in the country after they must have excelled in lower administrative positions, for example, in the capacity of governor. This compels us to enquire about the achievements or performance of Yaradua as governor of Katsina state for 8 good(?) years. In other words, how has the reign of Yaradua in the capacity of the governor of Katsina improved the lives of the indigenes vis-a-vis the indigenes of other states? If you don’t mind me asking you a little favour. Before reading on, can you please name just ONE economic or social program successfully implemented by Yaradua in the capacity of Katsina state governor for eight years to justify his contesting for the presidential election talkless of becoming the president of Nigeria? What was the percentage of federal government funds or allocation given to Katsina state compared to other states? How effective was this money used? How many power stations did he construct within those 8 years? How many water dams, to provide water for the indigenes, did he build? How many roads did he construct in Katsina state? How many new schools did he build? What is the ratio or percentage of the indigenes within enrollment and/or secondary school age enrolled in primary schools or continued their education in the secondary schools compared to other states in Nigeria? What percentage of the indigenes within graduating age graduated from Universities within those 8 years compared to other states in Nigeria? How competitive are the graduates of katsina state compared to graduates from other states? How many social and economic programs did Yaradua successfully implement in order to reduce the level of poverty and raise the standard of living in Katsina state? What was the level of poverty in Katsina state compared to other states in Nigeria when Yaradua left office? How many factories did he build? How many jobs did he create for the indigenes of his state? What percentage of the indigenes have access to affordable and reliable health care service? What percentage of the indigenes of Katsina state have regular access to pipe borne water and electricity at the end of his 8 year term as governor? How independent and effective were the democratic institutions when he was governor? How much regard did he have for the rule of law, that he now so much talks about, when he was the governor of Katsina state? What was the level of human and civil rights in the state? How transparent was his government financially and politically? How much has the wealth of Yaradua increased by the time he left office, compared to when he became the governor? How was his wealth acquired? To what extent was Sharia introduced or implemented in the state then? How transparent was his administration then in general? What was the level of security of lives and properties? How was the overall performance of Yaradua compared to other 35 states?

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