Nigeria: A fractured country groping for redemption
If Nigeria gets her politics right, she will effortlessly achieve economic prosperity, technological advancement, peace and unity, and a good democratic model. But, sadly, Nigeria is still mired in national underdevelopment as no countries in our today’s world can rise above the aspirations, visions, and dreams of their national leaders. Malaysia, Singapore, and some other Asian countries were propelled to the acme of technological and economic successes by their visionary leaders, who possess leadership qualities and probity. Since her attainment of statehood and political sovereignty in 1960, Nigeria has not been led by her best and able politicians. This sad and bad state of thing is partly caused by the British imperialists, who surreptitiously foisted Alhaji Tafewa Belewa on us when either Nnamdi Azikiwe or Chief Obafemi Awolowo would have become our Prime Minister and laid the groundwork for the evolution and growth of our democratic model and Nigerian’s speedy national development.
So, it did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise when the first republic failed; and, consequently, Nigeria descended into a fratricidal civil with its dire and devastating consequences. Thereafter, Nigeria witnessed and suffered military interregnum, which hindered the evolutionary trends of our country’s democratic model, and put our economic and technological advancement in abeyance. And, in the second republic, we embraced Presidentialism. But the politicians in that political dispensation or epoch put their selfish and primordial interests above the people’s collective good in their governance of Nigeria. Their doings imperiled the continued survival of Nigeria, then. This led to the truncation of the second republic by the sanctimonious military men, who would brand their military government as a corrective one.
The soldiers ruled Nigeria for a considerable length of time with Rtd. Major General Babangida embarking on despicable political transition rigmarole. And while he institutionalized corruption in Nigeria, Sanni Abacha mindlessly stole Nigeria blind. In addition to that, Abacha, who had homicidal proclivities, killed some members of NADECO, who opposed his planned transmutation to a civilian president. Thankfully, today, Nigeria has been enjoying uninterrupted democratic governance since 1999. So far, PDP had ruled for the greater part of the fourth republic with Chief Obasanjo chalking up eight years of the fourth republic. PDP’s reign and leadership of Nigeria ended when Muhammadu Buhari defeated Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential slugfest.
Muhammadu Buhari won the election on the coat tails of his perceived integrity, zero tolerance for corruption, and zeal for political leadership. More so, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s ineffective political leadership helped Buhari’s political cause and ambition. But Buhari’s leadership of Nigeria has led to the unraveling of his mystique. He has deepened our ethnic and religious fissures with his nepotistic and clannish deeds. Now, he has cloaked Nigeria’s most exalted seat of power with an aura of autocracy and clannishness. Didn’t he recruit only northern Moslems to occupy our top security architecture? This has drawn the ire of the Igbo people and others. And there is a connection between Buhari’s nepotistic and clannish actions and the violent resurgence of pro-Biafra separatist sentiments. And he failed to tweak our economy in order for it to improve tremendously. Today, the naira is weak against most foreign currencies. And millions of Nigerians, who eke out a precarious existence, live below the breadline. Now, millions of unemployed university graduates who wear threadbare clothes and disintegrating shoes search for elusive white and blue collar jobs, daily. Worst still, Nigeria has returned to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is short nasty and brutish what with the Boko-Haram insurgents causing unremitting blood-letting in the North-East of Nigeria. And the killings being executed by the itinerant Fulani herdsmen have not been checked. Now, Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari is reeling under severe insecurity of life and property.
Expectedly, Nigerians have become disenchanted with Muhammadu Buhari because he is an incompetent leader and a divisive figure. Consequently, in the run-up to the 2019 Presidential election, the anti-Buhari sentiments ran very high. More so, Nigerians discovered that APC is a whited sepulcher that cannot lead us out of the economic doldrums, technological backwardness, and infrastructural rot. So, they’re not sold to the APC’s 2019 electioneering slogan of “Next Level”. But Atiku Abubakar is perceived as a rallying figure and pragmatic politician, who can entrench peace and unity in Nigeria and drive our economic and technological initiatives. Atiku Abubakar, who has cosmopolitan outlook, is amenable to change while Buhari, who is unreconstructed, pachydermatous, bigoted, obtuse, and clannish, is not receptive to new ideas.
But against all expectations, INEC has declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the 2019 Presidential election amidst proofs of electoral fraud committed by the ruling APC. INEC’s deed, if it is not reversed, will deepen our political culture of electoral malpractice and erase people’s confidence in the electoral body. And it can cause political trouble in our deeply fractured nation-state. Now, millions of Nigerians are seething. Their indignation is justified, and not misplaced. But as these are uncertain and trying times, our politicians should not do anything untoward and violent to throw Nigeria into a huge political conflagration, which can lead to Nigeria’s demise. It is advisable for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to challenge his electoral loss in court, although the APEX court in the land (Supreme Court) has been compromised and emasculated. But we have placed our hope in God, the just sovereign of the universe.
•Okoye, a poet, wrote from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State
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