Whither Nigeria, our very dear Nigeria?
It has been my humble privilege to have been writing “regularly but only occasionally” for several Nigerian newspapers since 1980.
I deliberately never sought to write “regularly, weekly or for any such fixed time intervals” anywhere. The reason for that is that my writing has to be just a hobby, a delight and a complete distillation of thoughts that had been there for a while and are now worth distilling its quintessence for the various Nigerian audiences of that particular newspaper’s interest.
Some of the newspapers I had written for are even no longer in existence, like the daily National Concord and The Sketch. I have had only three areas of interest in such writings; namely, on the spiritual (even if sometimes religious) matters, on a-partisan politics, and finally on public and community health, the speciality of the medical profession which it has pleased God Himself to call me to primarily serve humanity with. The proportions of each of these three areas of life that I wrote about to date depended on the state of the country and the particular audience served by that newspaper.
Anybody living in Nigeria today, in July 2021, will surely know that, of all those three areas of discussions that delight me to share with others from time to time, the political situation in Nigeria now has obviously overwhelmed all of them, very negatively! We are living in a politically very silly and distressed state; all thanks to “our most dear President, General Muhammadu Buhari, Retired”! As I said earlier, I write a-politically (that is, non-partisanly) when it concerns political matters. This is because I know (beyond all believing in it as well) that politics, as the science and the art of the human organizational pursuit of the common good for all the polity evenly, is both a responsibility as well as a virtue desired by God for all adult human persons. Non-adults may, of course, be involved in it in various ways and to their limited extents; but that is all by the way. However, partisan politics invariable ends up as a macabre dance in the temples of the devils. This is the reason that every reasonable country or polity must do its best to develop both national and other local institutions to ensure that the usually partisan politics that becomes necessary beyond the local government level, do not continue to do evil all of the time to that polity. Politics exists everywhere two or more persons are involved, family, etc.
Because of this very silly state to which our dear PMB’s partisan politics has brought us, I have been unable to write for The Guardian newspaper for some four weeks now. This is because, some young people who read this paper and my articles in it had challenged me that it is not enough to be educating Nigerians about our political, spiritual and health blunders of the past. In relation to our politics, I must become prescriptive now, they say! I must tell Nigerians where and how I believe that we should be going; and if possible, go out in the political field and lead political actions for the restoration of sanity in the country. I had laughed at the latter dimension of this request; namely that of “going out in the field” of politics and leading some actions for the restoration of good governance in the country. Such a thing is what professional or vocational politicians do. That is not my vocation, but disciplinary public health and community medicine. As an educator thereof, however, I may only educate people on many of these things but I will not partake in field (especially partisan) politics. However, because of the seriousness of this situation now, and thinking of the prescriptive demands of these youth, I had been unable to write anything in these last four weeks; just thinking about these challenges. But I believe that I am in the position to do so now, at least some of it, with all due respects to everyone concerned:
1. Our most dear President Muhammadu Buhari’s fanatical religious and bigoted ethnic performances with our politics are there for everybody to see; aided by his cheerleaders. I do not need to add to their articulation as already done by OBJ, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Wole Soyinka, John Nnia Nwodo, Matthew Hassan Kukah, Samuel Otorm, Obadiah Mailafia, Godfrey Onah, Banji Akintoye, etc; to talk less of Sunday Igboho or Nnamdi Kanu. All these names and their articulations on present Nigeria are available in the electronic media for all to verify. The promotion and protection of the Boko Haram and the ISWAP world classified terrorists, the Fulani Herdsmen Janjaweedean (i.e., hit-and-run-or-hide) terrorists, and such other “Unknown Gunmen” in Nigeria against the indigenous peoples of the country have been recounted by many, ad nauseam. Our most dear PMB alone, and the people who are apparently running the country for him (as “the Presidency)”, may decide to change their hearts and minds and return to running the country well. They may also actually leave the place for whomsoever they choose – Osinbajo, etc – who may like to finish this his second term for him on a better note. Sickness, as he seems to have galore, is enough reason to do so. Pope Benedict XVI did that at the global level recently, and the world did not come to an end on account of it.
2. Those calling for the updating of the preset “Islamic Caliphate Constitution of Nigeria of 1999” should stop that joke or self-deception now, precisely because it is now enough; and we must get to talking sense out of this jungle that we have built up over time. The Executive and Legislative arms of government all over must sit down, as a matter of extreme state and national interests, and discuss how to summon a truly national constitutional conference of all ethnic nationalities to get Nigeria to recover quickly and begin to grow as ought. They have had enough of that told to them at their recent public hearings around the country. To keep wasting our time on these matters is not the responsible thing to do, in my most humble opinion.
3. Without producing a constitution of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, consciously able to be owned by all. Nobody should be talking of 2023 under the present dishonest “constitution”; because it will not be reasonable to do so. Moreover, both the executive and legislatures in the country should sit down as drastically reduce the humongous salaries, and the even bigger allowances that they are sharing regularly among themselves while the rest of us are wallowing away in chill penury, even from our daily heavier duties. They should subsequently let the National Wages Commission decide on those remunerations as happens in other civilized climes.
4. Other Nigerians who have invested in building Nigeria positively and across the ethnic nationalities and religious persuasions, including “yours truly”, give these advices plainly, non-partisanly, respectfully and most seriously. We are not partisan politicians or their cheerleaders! We do not blame anybody for their obvious limitations, for we too have our own – both current and all others of our famous and infamous “heroes past”. We must, however, not praise such under-doings; nor seek any ways of belligerence in resolving these issues, even if these so-called leaders believe in them and insist on their or our using them! We may in the first instance return to the 1960 or 63 well-negotiated constitutions; but now with clauses for plebiscites or referendum-based parting of ways by any of the federating units, if the rest of us will rather not desire to truly develop a nation where no one is marginalized or oppressed, or with a proper unity of purpose whose lack has been our bane all along. Any other way of trying to resolve the present silly situation of the country is dishonest, and those who do so may know that no one (not even their very selves) can be deceived by it any longer! God bless Nigeria!!