We Do Have Another Country: A Different Nigeria
OVER the years, General Buhari’s statement to the effect that we needed to rescue Nigeria from self-destruction because we did not have another country has achieved the status of self-deception comparable to Kokumo and his mother – both will die. Or, like the situation of keeping blood in the mouth and spitting saliva – again self-deception. We deceive ourselves that we do not have another country except one in which every piece of estate, little or large, has become a kingdom, yeh, an empire even, with staves of offices, and crowns like the headgears of clowns and excellencies and majesties poured around like common sand, in so-called palaces like gaudy structures built for the purposes of ritual abandonment. Not only so many empires inside a federal republic but also so many states of dwindling viability, with another set of excellencies and first ladies and endless assistants and advisers. This is the country that General Buhari asks us to salvage together. This is not a viable Nigeria. We need a Nigeria that is different, a Nigeria with a vision of a better and a different country.
How did we arrive at a situation where father and son are prison mates and mother and daughter share customers as fellow practitioners of prostitution, nationally and internationally? And there are people, thought leaders and fellow public draggers of attention who will tell you about the edifices that prisoners and prostitutes have built. They would claim that in fact criminals, father and son, prostitutes mother and daughter, are developing the country in their own way. But these are the ways of destruction because a structure whose building mortar is mixed with saliva will be demolished by dew.
We cannot rescue a country of self-deception. We cannot rescue a country in which we put meat in our mouths and help everybody else to find where in the world it could have been hidden. We cannot rescue a country self-deceived by those stupid vision 2000, vision 2005, vision 2010, vision 2015, vision 2020, vision whatever year you like when you cannot fix a pot hole on the highway. Monumental self-deception. We have another country to look forward to and so we must not rescue the Nigeria of vision 2020. We have another country of self-awareness of previous deceptions: deceptions by the military, deceptions by civilians, deceptions by idiotic soldiers and bloody civilians. Once we have cleaned ourselves of general national deceptions, we can go ahead to move towards that different Nigeria, that other country that we can have, that other place we can dream about.
But we cannot cleanse ourselves of self-deception if we do not restore the sense of shame back into our daily lives. We cannot cleanse ourselves of self-deception if we are not ashamed of what we have done, what our leaders have done, if our leaders are not ashamed to appear in Davos and shake hands with people who tell them to their face that they are wrong to have stolen their countries blind in the last three decades. And not only stolen from the country, but have invested these stolen monies in other climes and countries, according to John Kerry of the United States of America, and unlike the columnists who tell us that corruption develops the country Nigeria. We cannot cleanse ourselves of self-deception until we are ashamed of being that type of Nigerian, loud, pompous, ignorantly voluminous and monumentally lacking in self-knowledge. That Nigerian who would shout to any and everybody anywhere and everywhere – Don’t you know who I am? That Nigeria is not the country we wish to rescue.
We have been deceived by our leaders military and civilian, militarycumcivilian. General Yakubu Gowon deceived us. He said he would hand over on one date and he reneged on that promise. Today, he goes around the country organising prayers for a country he misled, being feted for being a former head of state when he should be punished for the state in which he left the country. President Shagari was at the head of a political party that went around promising to rule the country till Jesus returns and stole the country to a standstill pretending to build a new capital for the country, a capital properly named ShortCut, a short cut to stolen wealth. Today he is aging quietly, praised for being head of state instead of being made to feel shame for the state in which he left the country. We were deceived by General Babangida who dribbled the country left and right and finally dribbled us into a dish. Today, he threatens his colleague, no, dares his colleague to take a look at his rule of some eight years and nobody does anything, least of all the person dared. Check out newspapers when it is his birthday and read what our leaders say about a former head of state who should be in goal for the state in which he left the country when he was finally forced to step aside. We were deceived by General Sani Abacha, a man whose family enjoys the massive loot that he looted from the country. In the different country we wish to rescue, there would be no place not only for such a person but for such a family that benefits from the proceeds of criminal activities. And there is nothing particularly heroic and praiseworthy in the idea that it is from his loot that much has been recovered. But we have recovered loot only for it to be looted once more. There is also somewhere in our records in which General Buhari said that General Abacha did not loot the resources of the country. We have been deceived by President Goodluck Jonathan, who goes about, without shame, being accused of looting the looted resources recovered from other looters. Oh excellent exceller of previous excesses, how you dey?
Whatever anyone may say, whatever anyone may gainsay, whatever anyone may pray in whatever any belief or ritual, even if they declare and proclaim that all is well when all is not well, no one who has offended against the people will depart this world without paying for their sins. Trouble trails all who merely believe that this is the only country we have, a country of robbers and rogues and deceivers. We have another country – a different Nigeria.