Nigeria, peace, progress and pursuit of the common good
Anybody living in Nigeria in the last 50 years, or even from the time of her independence from the British colonial masters, would know that we are living and achieving less than 20% of our potentials in anything – of peace, concord, development, progress, happiness, the pursuit of the common good, etc! This would be even more acutely known and felt if most of these years are years of reasonable adolescence or adulthood; and if such a person is properly educated and reads or listens to objective public media.
The reasons for this variously unwholesome, truly un-Godly, retrogressive, wicked or even frankly evil existence are, of course, very clearly not difficult to know or to most clearly see! It is so because there are people in Nigeria who either (because of poor or previously wicked education) do not understand the meaning, the values and the importance of these innate human and Godly goods; or knowing and understanding them, have wickedly decided that it is to their very personal advantage that they spend their lives undermining those goods – especially that of the common good of everybody else, in the geographical entity called Nigeria! These behaviours are what happen gnostically in the place that people call hell, rather than in heaven where the exact opposite takes place!
Yet all Nigerians say to themselves that they are hoping to go to heaven when they die, rather than reasonably going to continue in the hell whose earthly replica they spent all their lives creating here! These same people have been the ones who have been seizing political power by mere wicked force or such other equally wicked and/or dishonest methods; and using these to advance those evils. Because these are very clear acts of wickedness, it never occurs to them that it is in exactly doing the very opposite of these that even their very own genuine human interests (and those of their so-called own peoples) will be best served! Those are the only ways and methods that lead to peace, development, progress and happiness, good politics, for everybody – the very heart of the common good! Otherwise, we get militancies, secessionisms, terrorisms, etc, etc; as Nigeria is surely the world’s best showcase of, at par or even more than Afghanistan and a few other similar places!
These are the very reasons why the only topics that we keep talking about in Nigeria are tribalism, nepotism, religious fanaticism unto the ultimate spiritual evil called physical human jihad (compared with the spiritual warfare or jihad that is the common reality and principle of every spirituality and healthy religion)! All of these evils bring out and showcase the heart of the Nigerian central and sole political product of systematic corruption, as our denominator socio-economic capital! So, we buy and sell with corruption, each succeeding regime mounting more levels of it than the previous ones had done; even if not by the ultimate leader himself (as at the present time), then by the overall group leadership as of the immediate past political dispensation; and the one before it also!
Thus as of the present, we borrow foreign money out of corruption and in order to further finance further internal corruption as undermining true Nigerian development but corruptly trying “to develop” Niger as a country! Similarly, some parts of Nigerian borders are closed and “most properly” enforced and/or policed by all the military and civil law enforcement agencies, while at the other regional borders, apparently official military and civil law enforcement agencies provide protective coverings for them smugglers and other border miscreants. Those who do otherwise and try to stop them as such law enforcement agencies, receive official and especially non-official advice or even warning (truly and falsely) to stop it. Advises such as “because those smugglers and evildoers are more armed than government agents themselves and that they will do well to preserve their lives than risking it”! And it is not as if these things are not documented. Those who desire such documentations may approach people like us who have some of those, to get a glimpse of them! If there is any Nigerian who after all that has been said, written or otherwise documented about the present Federal Government and some of the state ones (Zamfara, Plateau, Kogi, Kaduna, Imo, Ebonyi, Cross-River, etc.) who does not know that they are the most corrupt, evil, inept, two or all of those, in the history of this country, I will most humbly like to learn about it!
Now to return to the essence of any government whatsoever, their primary purpose is one and always, the pursuit of the common good of everybody in the polity and very evenly throughout the entire geographical entity! Therefore, to keep doing politics the way that our politicians had been doing it, serving their stomachs, “their households”, their pockets and banks (especially the foreign ones) is a local evil against humanity that all men and women of goodwill must join hands and overcome! In doing these, these politicians also pretend to be serving their other hegemonic interests and “people”! But this later is only by name, in order to be able to steal more and be better protected by these their deceived “own people”; while they are in truth undermining them the most (with all sorts of wickedness, animosities against “the others”) and advanced poverties of hearts, minds, spirits, souls and pockets as well! That is why these poverties grow the most in the “home places” of these evil politicians; and some of them even arrogantly (proudly, in their own words) claim to be “happy” of and justified in those self- and home-grown poverties of “their people”!
So, from all these going evils of the Nigerian partisan politics, the only questions that should properly come to the heart and mind of every mentally and emotionally healthy person in the face of all these evils are these: 1. Why do Nigerians, especially those who ever went to school and should understand these simple truths, just sit down and seem to be swallowing all these evils and under-performances? 2. Why did these evil and under-performing people themselves gang up and with a campaign of calumny only, get rid of the previous relatively (in Nigeria) honest president and the band of undoubtedly evil Nigerian politicians around him, but fail to do so for the present 500% more evil and underperforming leader and his cohorts?
Someone has answered these two questions by saying that the reason for the first is corruption, tribalism and religious fanaticism that has eaten the hearts of most Nigerians (leaders and followers alike) such that they are no longer capable of normal responses to evil; but to wait to copy or replace the older performing ones! The same fellow and yet another had answered the second question by saying that the reason that evil gang up for the last presidency was successful but not the proper one for this greater evil and underperformance now is the exact reason that “it is easier to do evil than good”. So, unless a more serious evil gang-up rises, we will not be able to see to a similar ousting of the present greater than previous evil! Other responses say that this is because while that previous presidency was underperforming in part only, it was not wicked in itself and did not a witch hunt anybody. The present one is! And not only at the federal level, but at many state and regional levels also.
So, most people fearful for their lives since they themselves are not evil people, would not readily gang up for such a feat; and would rather “pray” to God to do so, have their earthly lives, than become Nigerian saints from the feared murders from these evil politicians! So, only a grassroots and honest movement of the people of goodwill can do so; which is very difficult to get into place. I personally believe that all of these answers are true; except the one that praying but doing nothing will change anything! Such people are by default signing for the evils to continue and to keep growing!
So, my conclusion from all these realities is that we must continue to educate ourselves on these matters; until the critical mass of such people of goodwill in Nigeria is raised. I must advise also, that only the way of peace and “love or even your enemies”, but not their hatred or animosity (even if they use it against you or us) must be the way; for only love and peace truly conquers every evil! And, but for the grace of God, all of us will be such evil people also, as we must know! Those of us who like (and I believe this should be all) may thereafter add prayers to it; and only then will such prayers make sense and be meaningful. May God Himself, therefore raise for us in this country and else, what is needed for this arrival at the true politics for the common good in Nigeria, sooner than we may be imagining or doubting it! Amen.
Asuzu is a retired Professor of public health and community medicine, University of Ibadan.