The Battle of the Generals: Myths, manipulations and 2011

by Paul Ogwu Okwuchukwu

Nigeria is an interesting country. We seem to have defiled all political permutations and theories. 2011 election will not only mark our water shed but also will be an interesting political manoeuvre and battle of supremacy among some of the individuals who have played a prominent role in the making and unmaking of the Nigerian state. These characters have played prominent roles in the Nigeria state since 1966. They also have some other equally important characters that have joined them along the line. These include other generals, ex- military personnel, civilians and their foot soldiers. The most unfortunate thing is that these Generals continue to have influence in the political and economic evolution of the Nigerian state. The question is how do we assess and deal with their roles in the making and unmaking of a perennial logjam that have characterised the Nigeria state. These generals have been a blessing and more of a curse to the emergence of the Nigeria state. In all, we the Nigeria masses have been like a pawn and chess game in the battlefield of the generals.

It is curious that since the advent of Nigeria as a nation and its political development that these same generals have been in control of the country. These characters have played a central and peripheral role in the administration and control of the country. They played a role in the countless coups, counter- coups, civil war, maladministration, and miss governance of the country. These generals in their late sixtes and seventies still besiege the governance of this country and still want to play a dominant role in the emergence of the leadership of the country. Their egos and body language depicts people lording over a conquered territory. They see Nigeria and its masses as a tool and chiefdom. Their claim of patriotism cannot really hold water as we have being in a fix for many years of their control. They are in a perpetual mindset of having fought to keep Nigeria one and as such are entitled in life to continue to rape our collective destiny. It is also important to know that they are central figures since 1966, in the emergence of any regime and leadership of the country. How long shall we be slaves to their manipulation? They take turns in the rape of our country and seem to have continued to share our collective patrimony. In their leaderships and regimes, they have managed to make corruption and bad governance a way of life. It is also curious that most of our ruling elites are more or less their beneficiaries and foot soldiers. It is high time we do away with their outdated mindsets and enthrone modern methods of building an egalitarian country and society.

We are increasingly in a world ruled by people who are in their late forties and early fifties but these retired generals still manipulate our country in their seventies and sixties. We wants to see them allow their children to come to the field and play roles in the governance of the country .They are in the stage in their lives when they should be in retirement and enjoy their looted wealth and pension instead of sabotaging our collective destiny. Their claim of experience in governance has not really benefited the people because you cannot use an outdated ideas and mindset in building a modern society. It is high time we the population start asking questions about the level of wealth these individuals control and how it was acquired because we are being used as tools for their personal aggrandisement. If what we can only boost as a nation is that we are still one indivisible entity then we need to sit down and reflect on the journey so far.

As we are in the mood for the celebration of our golden jubilee and approaches 2011, we should re-examine our self and liberate ourselves from the manipulation of these central figures that are mostly fighting for their selfish and class interest. It appears that these retired generals who have always had a common interest, ideology and similar mindset are about to engage in a struggle towards the control of the soul of the country. In other words, an internal conflict have ensured among these real ruling elites. In addition, to complicate issues, there are also some other forces that have converged to make 2011 election an interesting but increasingly volatile issue. Although there are some other forces real and imagined that seems to be shaping the forth-coming election, but we have these retired generals as central figures. They are engaged in a power play on the control of the political base of the country. Unfortunately, in Nigeria the opposition party seems to be diverse and scattered. We seem not to have any viable opposition and that leaves us with only one political party the PDP.

The self-confessed biggest party in Africa seems to be generating lots of interest in the up coming election 2011. In this election, some contending forces are fighting for the control of the political forces in the country. Apart from the president who emerges into leadership position by fate, the main contending forces in the control of the political and economic force of the country are IBB and OBJ, not neglecting their foot soldiers scattered everywhere in the country. These central figures are indeed giants and elephants in both the building and destruction of Nigeria. They also have some lesser figures that are also central characters in the Nigeria nationhood. We cannot neglect the roles of Danjuma and Gusua and others.

The PDP fight seems to be a fight between these two contending forces for the continued control of the political forces in the country. We should critical examine the role of these figures in the governance, manipulation and destruction of the life of 150 million Nigerians. Apart from having been in power for 19 years, which is almost 38 % in our nationhood, they have had a say in all other regimes with few exemption. In total close to 40% of our nationhood have also had their contribution so this makes it close to 80% of our nationhood .If they were good administrators, why are we in such deplorable state.

As we match towards our golden jubilee and the 2011 election, we should reflect on our history and critical examine if we should allow these forces to still clog our way to progress.

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