Time to check the drift
By ALIYU UMAR RINJI –
From whatever perspectives one might have looked at the present hypertensive state of the nation, one thing is clear that for Nigeria and Nigerians, these are indeed not the best of times. In view of the sickening socio-political and economic developments in Nigeria today, it will not be an exaggeration for one to conclude that the country is sick and pervated. To borrow from Danmasanin Kano, Alh Yusuf Maitama Sule “symptoms of revolt loom large” in Nigeria as anarchy appears close in the horizon. From Ibadan to Portharcourt, Kano to Lagos, Plateau to Bayelsa, Maiduguri to Sokoto and Kogi to Kaduna, the story is the same – kidnappings, political assassinations, ritual killings, armed robbery, bomb blasts, cultism, hired killings, communal clashes and facebook murders.
With a hugely underperforming economy characterized by rampant policy changes, multiple taxation, dysfunctional infrastnlctures, corruption and above all pervasive insecurity, prospects of new investments continue to wane. Already a number of businesses in various sectors have collapsed or are collapsing. According tot Ogho Okiti (2007) Nigerians suffer daily trom an economy that is divided, polarized, palsied, placid, parasitical, disconnected, disjointed, split, alienated, rancorous, severe, contentious, factionalized, isolated, aimless, confused, disordered, displaced, muddled, unconnected, dichotomized, bisected, limited, detached, distant, ragged and wrenched. It is therefore not surprising that business in the economy, which has already been transformed into huge dustbins of foreign junks, fake and substandard products has become synonymous with criminality, trickery and cheating. As a result of high risks and uncertainties, carcasses of manufacturing companies are everywhere, while the traumatized, neglected and sabotaged agriculture that once upon a time used to be the ‘mainstay” of the economy is now at the point of total collapse due to a combination of climatic change, marketing and storage problems.
However, bad as the economy appears to be non of the three arms of governmentexecutive, legislature and judiciary-fares any better. The judiciary that is supposed to be the bulwark of the society is now scandalized and tainted by over politicization and corruption. To call spade a spade, very few Nigerians look up to the judiciary with hope for justice. The situation in the judiciary is so bad that indicted criminals buy their way to freedom, while petty ones rot away as awaiting trials. The results are~ jungle justice, jail breaks, prison congestions, plea bargain and out of court settlements, which are all symbols of failed judicial system and by logical extension a failed nation.
The executive arm of government is only good at empty promises, policy formulation without implementation, fiscal recklessness and manipulation. In Nigeria, every problem has a solution but on paper! Today there is no trust between the leaders and the led. All policy pronouncements by governments are treated with a pinch of salt and or outright distrust.
On the part of the legislative arm of government, our national and state assemblies have become more of hallow structures that symbolize all the national ills and problems rather than solutions. Our legislative houses, have now become more of theatres of absurdities and scandals than functional and functional legislative chambers largely because of uninspiring performance. Our legislators are now dancing naked in an open market square in a circus of shame all in the name of law making. The legislators have reduced a serious business of government into money making comedy, fashion parade and grammatical competition.
Nigeria depicts picture of a failed state in all aspects of human endeavour. From education, to health, transport and communication, social and physical security, corporate business and good governance, poverty and unemployment. The national indices of Nigeria according to Nosayabu Osazuwa-Peters are shocking, Nigeria ranks 158th out of 177 countries as indicated by the UNDP at the end of the 2008 Human Development Index report: the life expectancy is 46.5 which is one of the poorest in Africa; our gross domestic product per capita is USD 792.31: less than half of the populace (48%) has access to safe drinking water. Similarly, according to the state of the World Children Report released by UNICEF in 2009, about 778 newborn babies die daily in Nigeria. One woman dies every 10 minutes from pregnancy complications and/or childbirth; and Nigeria is ranked as the Second highest contributor to the number of maternal deaths worldwide, second only to the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The Nigerian state is being strangled by multidimensional crises bordering on security, political and economic woes. The psyche of the nation is dripping with tears, stress and blood. This State-Nigeria-is groping in the dark allays and led by a fraction of political elite with least ideas on how to use political power to address mass poverty, social infrastnlCture deficit, security crisis, economic crisis and lingering political question, Dele Seteolu (2012). Today if you want the best of education according to John Akubo (2012), you send your child to private school. If you want good water, you dig your borehole, if you want security, you hire private guards, if you want good health, you go to private hospital. In all this, the poor is kept out. Let us look at the elite tyranny so that we begin to focus on more important issues on national development.
From sunrise to sunset, all we hear are heart breaking stories, we sleep in fear and wake up in uncertainty. We’re a people living and depending solely on the grace of God. We’ve lost. faith in our leaders because after 52 years of independence, we sometimes wish the colonial masters were still ruling over us. Our leaders who should be seeking our good and prosperity, have abandoned us and built high walls around themselves living in their own world and getting fatter, while we grow in anguish Amara Blessing (2012).
According to Jerry Uwah (2012) Nigeria is a very unfortunate country, it is a country cursed by a cruel succession of inept and corrupt rulers who are either too weak to enforce the laws of the land or too brutal and selfish to think of the welfare of the people. The socio-economic situations in the country is getting worse by the day, while litany of woes is stretching beyond the limits of our collective endurance. The entire vista is choked with persons and institutions out to hold Nigeria to ransom through a warped notion of self-importance and entitlement. For now the country is gripped in a state of suspended animation, with contending forces battling to take possession of its soul. By the time, it is all over, survivors would have noticed that they merely inhabit empty Shell-Okey Osuji (2012).
The pains are all over from North to South and brought about by actions or inactions of the political leadership and their compradors. No single day passes without it reminding us of the folly of living a lie of assumed peace and concord. And in trying to paper over the cracks, more fissures have appeared in the most benign and inauspicious comers of the Nigeria empire. For example, while the hapless nation contends with insecurity, corruption, epileptic power supply, poor budget implementation and mounting public debts, all of a sudden certain divisive issues begin to take centre stage. These include; state police, onshore/offshore formula in revenue allocation, and above all the disturbing clamour for self-identity and independence among the various states, regions and ethnic nationalities.
The palpable fears that have gripped Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora for the stability of the country are not only obvious but alarming. On daily basis, it dawns on us that we appear to be drawing nearer to the calamitous prediction that the year 2015 holds the ace for the continued existence of Nigeria as a nation. Whatever our individual and collective reactions to this prediction may be, the tnlth is that Nigerians are becoming increasingly afraid of the future of their country. Business Hallmark (Monday, July 16 – 22,2012)
The Nigerians’ nlggedness and toughness which have stood them in good stead over the years and have anchored relative peace and stability should henceforth not be taken for granted any more aye Afolabi (2009). There perhaps has never been a more depressing time for millions of exasperated and helpless Nigerians, argues Gbenga Kayode, to come to terms with the re.ality that their dear nation is in the firm grip of all manners of ravenous cabals.
Summarizing the lamentable Nigerian situation, Kalu O. Kalu argues succinctly thus; “the way things are going, it is almost certain that worse days are ahead, the problems besetting our country today are child’s play when compared to what lies ahead, unless we take urgent steps to remedy the situation, ominous signs are everywhere and nobody seems to have any answer to the unfolding melodrama. The tragedy of it all is that our leaders have refused to read the writing on the wall and take relevant steps to forestall the impending doom before it becomes too late. Like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when men and women reveled in impunity, while the anger of God raged forth, our own people are deeply engrossed in all kinds of iniquities, while our nation is steadily glidding into self-destruction.
This write-up is premised on three (3) theoretical foundations thus. 1) with due apology to Prof. Chinua Achebe and Alhaji Abubakadir Balarabe Musa, the trouble with Nigeria is not failure of leadership or leadership, but rather that of all Nigeriansmen and women, young and old, illiterate and men of letter. In other words, since building or destroying a nation is always a collective responsibility, we are all guilty one way or the other in bringing Nigeria to the present sorry pass. Therefore, arm chair criticisms, paper analysis, self-exoneration and condemnation of others will not serve any useful purpose. Besides every society gets exactly the leadership it deserves and everyday is a leader in his own right. 2) We have to also remind ourselves the bitter truth that for this country to move forward away from the present state of doldnlms and despondency, something must give. Due to our culture of greed and selfishness, we seems to abhor sacrifice. However all factors considered, we’re left with only two options today each of which has some unpalatable consequences; we either resolve to sacrifice and salvage the nation or we sacrifice the nation. The reality of life dictates that no nation can preserve its sovereignty talks less of progressing in whatever manners without sacrifices. In fact, the higher a nation aspires to attain the greater is the sacrifice expected of that nation.
In the life of a nation there is always a moment of truth which must be told no matter how bitter or whose ox is gored. In other words, once a nation is in crisis which is part of human life, pretext of normalcy and hypocrisy of silence will not serve any useful purpose.
Our politicians are now selling the dummies that we’re in democracy, while in reality ours is no more than militarized civilian interregnum. Even more disheartening is the fact that in spite of all our past travails due to several mistakes and blunders that cost us dearly, our politicians have learned and forgotten nothing. However, any society that fails to learn the lesson of history and continues to repeat the same mistakes, history tends to continue to repeat itself.
All our politicians need to be reminded that Nigerian politics although attractive on the surface is like a deadly gamble a gambit or a more appropriately a game of death. Many found the murky waters of Nigerian politics too irresistible to plunge in, but very few who swam into the waters made it to the shores, even few live to tell the story. Many were consumed and still more will be consumed. It would be recalled Ali Muzrai once warned that any time Nigeria attempts to try the Western style democracy, friends of Nigeria should not relent in prayers. This is because all our previous experiments from 1960 to date ended on a sad note. For example, according Muzrai, the first republic ended in a political disaster, while the second republic ended in economic disaster when between 1979 to 1983, locusts invaded the nation and left her economically pillaged.
In the ill-fated third republic, only the divine mercy saved the country from the kiss of death. Indeed, following the tragic annulment of June 12 presidential elections, storms gathered and vultures hovered menancingly over the skies of the nation. However, to avert calamity, God intervened mercifully and forced the Dramatis personne – Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to take the face-saving decision to step aside. What transpired thereafter is now a history. In fact, directly or indirectly, it was the June 12 imbrigilio that brings us to the present political logjam. Because, as long as Major Al-mustapha remains in prison without trial the ghost of June 12 will continue to hunt the nation.
Lastly, it is now clear that our politicians are gambling with the destiny of this nation. Through their actions or inactions, our politicians are currently overheating the polity. Our politicians should however remember they need to put their acts together and put the nation first before personal interests. Because it is only when the nation survives, that they will have something to govern. All these political jobbers and opportunists who are now erroneously parading themselves as political gladiators, will not be able to remember the roads to their villages when the chips are down. To be forewarned is to be forearmed and a stich in time saves nine.
[COMRADE ALIYU wrote in from Kaduna.]
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