“Nigeria is a vast edifice in need of urgent cleaning!” – Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo
The above statement by one of the ‘wisest’ philosophers
Nigeria has ever produced, late YORUBA political leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is the most authoritative assertion which goes to confirm the widely-held perception or rather opinion that Nigeria is sick, and is in urgent need or total revitalization.
[Image: Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo]
Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his noble quest to prove to his readers that he was not a die-hard pessimist went a step further and postulated what this writer perceives as the most realistic and pragmatic solution to Nigeria’s hydra headed socio-economic cum political problems. In his thoughts in Nigerian constitution, the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo rightly opined thus; “it must be generally agreed that the making of a constitution is not an end in itself.”
“It is a means to the welfare and happiness of the people, the fountain of which in a material sense, is economic prosperity. Of all the factors which conduce to the economic prosperity and, again in a material sense to the greatness of a nation and its people, the most important is political STABILITY.”
These great thoughts strongly reverberates in my deep sub-conscious as I reflect over the faux pas called key appointments made so far by the Nigerian President who incidentally was once a military dictator and is notorious with dictators the constitution or what legal scholars call grund norm means little in their tyrannical mindsets. Shamefully, rather than debate the constitutional validity of such appointments skewed to favour Northern Nigeria some persons including those who hail from the most marginalised zone under Buhari’s Nigeria-the South Eastern politicians appear so uncoordinated and incoherent in their assessment of these clear violations committed by President Buhari especially against section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution which speaks to the all-important issue of Federal Character.
How, for instance, will the Bethel Amadi of this World lead his choir of sycophants to meet President Buhari and had the temerity to back the shameless constitutional breaches committed by the President in his recent appointments? Bethel Amadi and his overnight constructed Igbo forum said what South East needs are projects and not positions. How low in esteem can someone ever get by condescending to this laughable unconstitutional position? Bethel Amadi had spent donkey years in the Federal House of Representatives but couldn’t attract any meaningful project to his zone or even his immediate constituency which still looks like an eighteen century village square?
The truth which is bitter is that Buhari’s Nigeria is very sick and needs immediate rescue. Buhari’s Nigeria is suffering a virus known as NORTHERNIZATION. We must Nigerianize our country by shouting from roof tops to remind Buhari that he is now President of Nigeria under a constitutional democracy meaning he must give due regard to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. Let him throw away the Northern agenda that was handed to him by the troublesome Arewa Consultative forum based in Kaduna, North West of Nigeria. How on Earth will any rational mind justify the atrocious disrespect to the Federal composition of Nigeria by the President which he clearly committed by picking all the top most national office holders from the North and only but a sprinkling from the South? This sick Nigeria that has become sickening under Buhari needs immediate rescue.
In our ongoing collective struggle to enthrone true democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria, it is absolutely necessary for Nigerians to tackle our many socio-economic and political problems once and for all. Nigerians needs to realize that problem is permanently solved when its root cause is ascertained, and is effectively tackled thereby destroying the roots; a problem is contained when its growth is arrested and a problem is temporarily solved when only its stalk is cut and removed…” (Apologies to late Obafemi Awolowo)
Let those who can shout start shouting now before this ‘house’ collapses under this new caretaker that is acting like an undertaker. Nigeria must not die under Buhari. Our Children and our forebears must and should have a functional and just Nigeria to live and be proud of as equal citizens under God and the constitution. Buhari must be told in Black and white that politics aren’t done by the influence of ethnic whims or caprice but must be in compliance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This writer affirms emphatically that Nigeria’s problems are caused most fundamentally, by the wrong perception of politics and the art of governance by most of our political leaders who were mostly erstwhile military rulers.
Pure civilian Politicians in Nigeria in active collaboration with their ex-military colleagues view their presence in the Nigeria’s political environment as a rare opportunity to amass illicit wealth and/or the massive abuse of power.
Political leaders in Nigeria see their election or appointment into political power and positions as a time of great selfish economic harvest. They see politics as a money making career as opposed to the universally acclaimed function of politics as the art of selfless service to their fellowmen and compatriots. Under the emerging Buhari’s Nigeria only the Northerners are good enough to be entrusted with the hugely important offices and the rest of the country viewed now by Buhari and his fanatics as the wretched of the Earth should be content with just a little of these juicy appointments. They now argue that since Igbo from the South South of the country has been made the Group Managing Director of a collapsing BEHEMOTH-NNPC so the South East that has no single strategic political office holders under Buhari should simply continue to be onlookers. This is a political sin of monumental proportion.
Dr. Arthur Nwankwo, easily one of Africa’s greatest writers, publishers and political theorists, recorded what might be called the time chronicle of the Nigerian despicable situation in his book ‘Thoughts on Nigeria’.
Dr. Arthur Nwankwo approvingly reminded his readers of a survey of Nigeria published in the Economist of January 13th, 1982. According to the publication, Nicholas Herman concluded that Nigeria, ‘the giant of Africa, one of the world’s ten most populous nations, strategically vital, rich in natural resources,” was heading downwards. Herman asked; “How can so much money and such high hopes engender such chaos…?
He continued: “Why almost everyone so internally aggressive is and why, when aggressive driving kills people, can’t they, at least clear the corpses off the streets?”
Nwankwo rhetorically continues; “In a country out of which giant fortunes have been made lately… by foreigners and locals alike… the overwhelming majority of Nigerians… are poor, utterly uneducated and increasingly separated from their roots in farms and villages… disease is rife, urban housing scare. Exhausted male workers drop off to sleep all the time. Women’s everyday concern is not the prices of oil but the rapidly growing shortage of firewood for fuel. The gap is vast between the would-be modern bits of society and the stressful life of most people… Nigeria is the realization of a Broeder bonder’s bad dreams, the place where Africans have their chance and are chucking it away.”
Dr. Arthur Nwankwo’s true account of events in the second Republic (1979 – 1983) in Nigeria is obviously the correct account of all the unfolding events in Nigeria today even under Muhammadu Buhari who rode under the ‘change’ manifesto to win the March 28th 2015 Presidential election.
Dr. Arthur Nwankwo wrote thus; “where is the government? Playing politics for the sake of politics? The country seems to be returning to the conditions of the pre – 1966 years. There is bitterness; there are dangerous rivalries, there are the wildest of abusive propaganda by politicians and their Newspapers, creating mistrust among the citizens. Meanwhile, whereas the men in office are planning strategies for staying in power, there is mass poverty, disease and hunger – the majority of our people eke out a horrible living. The hospitals are stinking and the sick writhe in pain on hard, bare floors. The streets are unswept, refuse heaps pile up and block the streets; there are slums breeding uncared for and unwanted children!” Yet Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda is to create national distrust and disunity by arbitrarily appointing only his kinsmen into sensitive national offices including the abominable treachery of recalling a 70 something old retired Infantry soldier to head the Nigerian Customs thus denying many young original Customs officials the professional satisfaction of attaining the peak of their jobs.
Nigeria is today a society under terrible existential siege from many evil and criminal forces. There is today, an increasing rate of violent robberies and commercial assassination or rather hired killings, prostitutions, promiscuities, abortions among many other social evils have assumed prime position in the lives of many Nigerians today.
HIV/Aids and many other inexplicable and apparently intractable diseases are now on the rise. Drug abuse and trafficking are now the rule rather than exceptions.
Nigeria is deeply sick and is undergoing attack from the socio-political demonic forces. Human rights abuses and judicial murders are viewed as the inalienable rights of the ruling class. Today, our leaders care less about the widening chasm between the haves and haves.
These and many other odious developments are clear evidence(s) and attestations to the fact that Nigeria is sick. Nigeria is indeed sick.
However, it is wise to quickly remind my readers that there is still hope for the successful remolding and revitalization of our great fatherland.
The surest solution to Nigeria’s problems is the individual and collective reconstruction of the Nigeria’s society from her current despicable situation to a humane society where all segments of the society are given their dues in terms of both projects and constitutional appointments.
It is no longer a new revelation that, ‘a humane society will encourage imitative and the challenge of such initiative towards the overall benefit of society… The society which makes the welfare and the wellbeing of her people one of the concern of all is a humane society, and no one demands more than society can afford and no one receives or takes from the society more than he deserves. An inhumane society cannot, unlike any just society, escape destruction, (apologies to General Obasanjo in his Sept. 12th 1977 Jaji declaration).
Nigerians must say with Late Murtala Mohammed that; we all want a more meaningful and dynamic future for Nigeria. What is more uppermost in my mind on this occasion is the development of our country in a wholesome manner, so that our society can be fully transformed to serve the interest of our fatherland…”
Nigerians must be reminded as a matter of historic urgency that ‘any nation that places no value on moral standard is like a body without a soul’ (apologies to Shehu Shagari).
Finally, in order to highlight the call for all to be optimistic of a positive change in Nigeria, we must recapitulate what General Babangida said; “Nations do not abandon or despair of goals because of circumstances in particular periods of their history; for the nations are eternal circumstances are temporary. Freedom, democracy, equality of all citizens before the law, justice, fair play and the fundamental human rights of all citizens have to be guaranteed alongside its goals.
Let us conclude with Papa Awolowo that; “… But after darkness comes the glorious dawn…”
Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of Human rights Writers association of Nigeria and blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com, www.rightsassociationngr.com, www.huriwa.org.