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Professor and pastor twist facts about Nigeria


Sir: A professor of political science was telling Bimbo Durojaye that naira was stronger during the presidency of the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari and that the much smaller (about N200) minimum wages paid workers during that time meant better life than for today’s workers who are promised N30, 000 (from N18, 000) that has very little value in the face of economic realities. Yes, life was different during the Shagari era (1979-1983). But Shagari inherited a situation where Nigerians hardly saw any need to send their children to private school, since the public schools were standard. But the Shagari government was very corrupt, even though the general perception was that Shagari himself was not corrupt but inept. Scavenging became a booming business due to the parlous state of the Shagari economy. And so, Nigerians were generally happy when the current President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) overthrew Shagari in 1983. Unfortunately, GMB himself was unable to improve the economy until he was overthrown by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) in 1985.

So, I found it regrettable that the professor of political science used Shagari era to explain the situation of today, rather than a more recent history that makes for a better comparison, namely the era of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ), 1999-2007, during which workers who were buying used tyres started buying new tyres, common people started owning mobile phone, etc. OBJ established the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Pension Scheme, etc for Federal Government workers. Things started changing for the worse for Nigeria when the successor of OBJ, Yar’Adua abused his power and attacked the Boko Haram Islamic sect.

Why did the political scientist refer to Shagari, rather than to OBJ? I suspect that he is a northern Muslim, loyal to the Sokoto Sultanate, which Shagari, Yar’Adua and GMB represent. Too many Nigerians see themselves as Christians or Muslims, rather than as Nigerians. And so, the unruly rulers work against the Constitution that prohibits state religion, and they whip up Islamic and Christian emotions to perpetuate economic and other crimes against humanity. GMB adds protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists to the unjustifiable war against Boko Haram. He doubles himself as the self-appointed Petroleum Minister, and is recovering looted funds without accounting for anything. Yet Pastor Tunde Bakare could open his mouth and be talking about GMB’s legacies. What legacies, other than the carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria, coupled with mushrooming insecurities, armed bandits, kidnapping, and so on?

By asking GMB to ensure that he (GMB) is succeeded by someone who would sustain “the legacies,” Bakare is directly and openly urging GMB to abuse his power to impose his successor on Nigerians, because he himself (Bakare) is drunk with posterity gospel. Note that when Bakare named Nigeria’s enemies, he did not include himself, Christianity and Islam! What is the hope for Nigeria when her university teachers, Christian and Islamic clerics twist facts around? Some radio stations are running Christian-Muslim unity programmes, boosting politicisation of Islam and Christianity. Some presenters help Islam and Christianity to demonize African Traditional Religion.

• Prof. Ọlọjẹẹde Oyeniran Abiọjẹ wrote from University of Ilorin.

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