It is no longer fun. I used to be amused when I watch how ‘rulers’ after ‘rulers’ say they were trying to fix Nigeria and her perennial problems. For 102 years civilian politicians and military politicians have been trying to outdo one another in their various laborious games at fixing the country that has refused to be stable or even grow out of infancy. Now is the time to take a hard look at the country and speak straight to all those who have given the impression that they could fix the country while ignoring the basic reason why the load on the head of a man with crooked legs remains permanently unbalanced.
Nigeria, if ever there is a country so called, has been bedevilled with various maladies, chief of which are lack of patriotism and nationalism, ethnic jingoism, political prostitution, greed and selfishness, nepotism, mediocrity, brigandage, and lately severe insecurity, stupendous corruption and embarrassing loss of values. There are many more. And these maladies did not start yesterday or today. They began with the very foundation of a country that came into being through fraud, colonial greed, and deliberate wickedness. Let us talk about it!
We must stop chasing shadows if indeed we are serious and concerned about having a country which we can all be proud of; a country that we can all say came into being by our collective wish and demand. We must stop chasing shadows and say goodbye to a contraption that grew out of Lugard’s drunken belly and in its stead engage in efforts to create a brand new country that will reflect our collective understanding and accord each member of the federating nationalities the respect and recognition truly deserved.
How did we get here? There have always been the Hausa, the Fulani, the Izon, the Ibibio, the Efik, the Yoruba, the Anang, the Jukum, the Kanuri, the Igbo, and some other 350 nations living in the geographical area that someone chose to yoke together and gave it a general name. We must go further to learn more about the various groups that have lived in peace and harmony for hundreds of years in this same place even before the Portuguese or the Arab or any pink skinned people with beak shaped noses arrived here to disturb our cultures, our governments, our institutions and our cherished traditions.
We must revisit our religions, our faiths, our relationship with the Creator as we understood and believed, and how such spiritual matters impacted on our lives and shaped our worldview.
Little wonder some mischievous people removed history from our education system. How any sane people could have come up with a policy that technically denies people the knowledge of who they were/are beats my imagination. History is so central, so cardinal to human development and it is for this major reason that colonisers always chose to erase from their captives’ memory the knowledge of who they really are; the knowledge of their heroic past, the knowledge of their great ancestors.
I cannot but continue to pay deserved homage to elder statesman Solomon Asemota who about four weeks ago courageously woke Nigerians up to the reality of the emptiness of their lives, and to the fact that unless and until the so called people of a so called Nigeria woke up from their slumber there SHALL be no peace or progress in the land.
We should stop chasing shadows. We do not have a country talkless of fixing it. We have several nations that cohabit on a large piece of land given a name by a colonial military officer. We have a land, our land that got subjugated by force of arms and dubious cunning and all of us on that expanse of land woke up to find that a country has been foisted on us. Simple history! Since then it has been a lot of confusion and some horse trading. Nobody should deceive themselves that we have gone past 1914!
The ‘country’ that was foisted on us had been built on nepotism, inequality, iniquity, double standards, and ‘winner-takes-all.’ That is the devil all the member nations in that ‘union’ have been struggling with these past 102 years.
Unreasonable local governments which are being used for sharing the country’s assets emerged from the same crookedness that brought the country into being. Membership of the National Assembly which ordinarily should reflect fair, equal and correct representation is woefully waited in favour of the masters of Nigeria’s made in Nigeria colonialism.
The entire security apparatus of the so called country is concentrated in the hands of the internal colonial masters.
The capital of the country which doubles as the capital of the Unitary system of government has captured about 70 per cent of the resources meant for the whole country leaving the entire federating units impoverished and the citizens gasping for life-saving gadgets.
This explains why there is massive unrest in the country with revolts, demonstrations, agitations, militias of various colours and components. Everybody is dissatisfied and unhappy.
This is however not the fault of any government at the centre. It is the fault of the birth of what is called Nigeria. Is it redeemable? Yes, if we work on it with singleness of purpose and strong political will.
What should be done as a way out is stop deceiving ourselves that there is a country. We must begin by creating a country if indeed we need one. Abacha gave us six geographical zones. Each zone should bring 20 people to the table, and 120 people should converge to create a country.
There should be equality. There should be respect for the history of the nationalities that would form a union. The kind of union to be created and how the union would maintain fairness and equity. The kind of unwritten racism that flourished in the Sudan where the fair skinned Arabs of the North look down on the brown skinned Southerners, and encouraged the government in Khartoum to slaughter people in Darfur with reckless abandon until God gave freedom and independence to the long suffering Southern Sudan should not be allowed to happen in the country that the 120 people would create.
We should stop chasing shadows. And until we have a country FREELY built on equality and fairness and where there will be no superior race and inferior race, where there will be no masters and servants, and where MERIT shall prevail and dominate, we will continue to have ruffians and charlatans, vagabonds and vagrants, and heartless looters calling the shots.
As the country stands today, no force on earth can eliminate corruption.
We should not be talking of restructuring. We have not even created a structure!