“The future will have no pity for those men who possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors, have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and sometimes of cold complicity” so said Frantz Fanon. Edmund Burke in support of Fanon said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” We have integrity when what people see is the same as who we say we are. It is a matter of common of common sense that the values we hold and remain true to are intertwined with the well-being of ourselves as both individuals and as communities. I pray that most of our ancestors will not turn in their graves for our iniquities and curse our nation with venom. According to proverbial saying, “When you are down, the only way out is up” Nigeria will never down again. Nigerians will never their eat their vomits despite ravaging poverty.
The recent declaration of the former military leader, General Babangida at the Eagle Square in Abuja of his intention to contest the 2011 Presidency should not be seen as a surprise to all Nigerians. I think, we should no longer be surprised to what a man can do. Man is the only animal that eats when he is not hungry and the only creature that drinks when he is not thirsty. Babangida first attempt after stepping aside was on the 8th of November, 2006, when he picked a nomination from the Peoples Democratic Party Headquarters in Abuja. He was later shown the way out. Firstly, as a citizen of Nigeria who has not been found guilty of any criminal offence by the court of the land, he is eligible to contest in any national election. He is definitely exercising his political right. Even, late General Sanni Abacha would have done the same thing by now had it not been “a coup from heaven” that took his life. The whole world is watching the recycling of our past leaders and administrators with disgust.
Secondly, we should not be surprised about his declaration as we are living in one of the most corrupted nations of the world. The corruption that has robs Nigeria children of a better future. The corruption which he himself institutionalised-“the kick-backs and “ten-percentages”. Is IBB exposing himself to ridicule or he wants people following him to have their own share? Do you think that this can happen in a developed and civilized world? His families and kings-men must have called him to order and ask him what does he wants in the office again ! He was there for eight years and he had no solutions to any of all the problems that brought this country into crisis in his declaration speech; “Today, the reality of our present circumstances is that our country is in a crisis. We cry over the economy; and we agonise our state of our educational system as well as organized crime. Our infrastructure has collapsed and we continue to live with epileptic supply of electricity. We bicker over the never-ending issue of subsidy”. Twenty-five years ago, General Babangida in the last four lines of October 1, 1985 independence speech .He said; “I assure you that this administration is determine to face the challenges squarely. The time for action is NOW . We count on your understanding, cooperation and support. Let us all work together for brighter future under the banner of ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SELF-RELIANCE”. By the time he stepped aside on August 27, 1993, the Africa’s leading oil producer, one of the potentially richest nations in the world, the land of food basket was in ruin, crumbling on its knees and at the brink of disintegration. Who is know fooling who? According to the one of greatest American statesman, Abraham Lincoln; “You can fool some of the people some of the time; you can fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
Moreover, we should not be surprised that this is happening in a country where over 70 percent of Nigerians live below poverty level. Poverty is the condition of being poor, need, indigence and lack of means of substance. This is as a result of lack of consistency and effective implementations of government policies to the letter. The traces of poverty is seen everywhere, even it manifests on our so called rich men. Poverty leads to corruption, disruption of the family relations and social life, causes rising crime rate such as the new trend kidnappings, sophisticated armed-robbery, advance fee fraud (419) internet scams among other vices. In this situation, people are very desperate to survive by all means. You can see what happened in Minna just less than twenty four hours after IBB declared to contest for Presidency in Abuja, that hundred of youths, including women mobilised to attend the Abuja declaration stormed the Government House in Minna to register their grievances over non-payment of promised allowances (five thousand naira each) for attending the event. This is a kind of dirty money and stage-managed politics that and they want to bring back to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, as a result of the plague of crisis over the last five decades, most of Nigerians have turned to be suffering from selective amnesia. Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu rightly put it in his book “Because I am Involved” as “…we conveniently forget certain unpleasant facts about our journey through life as a polity”. Selective amnesia happens when a person can recall only small parts of events that took pace in a defined period of time. The IBB-years (1985 and 1993) trapped Nigeria into ruinous military reign, stinking corruption , deepening poverty, economic decline and ethnic rivalry. We cannot estimate many innocent life lost and properties destroyed aftermath of June 12 election annulment demonstrations. Let take a clue from immortal words of George Santayara; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
The strength of a nation lies in discipline. IBB betrayed the Nigeria Oath of allegiance, the army core values, and the entire people for his over ambition. Discipline is one of the most important core values of the Army. It is “to maintain the highest standard so that others can rely on you”. IBB has committed iniquities with the greatest opportunity he had to rule the most populous black nation in the world for eight good years. What does he forgotten in the office that he wants to go back and pick ? Either his Campaign Co-ordinator, who is now soiling his name and reputation that took him many years to build or his son, Muhammed Babangida, a leader in this generation of young polo players would have gotten more votes than him if at all he is able to scale through PDP primaries. How could somebody who failed to turn the country round for better in eight years (with military power) will now turn the country round in four years?. He refused to exercise the will of Nigerians by annulling the most adjudged free and fair election, in which he would have made history for himself even if late MKO Abiola will be overthrown by Abacha in few days as done to the Interim government. Obasanjo handed power to an elected President and had another opportunity to rule the country again. As Yoruba adage says “The king whose reign is characterised by peace, history will record it. Also the king whose tenure is fraught with chaos (poverty), history will not fail to record it”. Tell IBB and his cronies that their game is up. If IBB wants to help the masses, he should first embark on building public libraries to all States capital. After all, 42 billion naira was wasted on his endless transition programme. They should give other people a chance. This is 2010 and not 1985. Nigeria has a pool of men who are blessed with leadership qualities and who can stand the acid test of honour and integrity. I believe that very soon a true servant of people and a genuine lover of humanity will emerge as our Pre
sident. God bless the good people of Nigeria.