Will Nigeria survive as a nation?
As any normal person will be able to reason out, politics is the science and the art of personal and especially group interaction that helps the persons concerned to be able to influence power or other decision making; or indeed, to capture that power (or decision-making) in order to use it for the pursuit of the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the polity, evenly and equitably. It is for this reason that the classical Greek philosophers of old reckoned that politics is the highest human calling in the human life. They considered that after nursery, primary, secondary, tertiary or professional education for all the possible professions and jobs in life, then those who are able, will then be trained in philosophy as the highest level of training. Then, they will become the philosopher-kings ready and capable of justly, equitably and progressively ruling the nations of the world. These thoughts are embedded in the fact even now, that the highest level of training is associated with the award of all sorts of doctors of philosophy, the PhD or DPhil and related doctoral, degrees. This is also reflected in the general rule that certain minimum level of education should be achieved before anybody will be allowed to join politics or hold office in it in the modern world.
So, it will be clear that politics is a very high calling in life; one in which uneducated or somehow else ill-educated people should have no role in. Ideally, politics should be non-partisan. This is because once politics enters into a partisan mode; it is largely no longer able to pursue the common good of everybody in the polity, nor to do it evenly. It begins to pursue it partisanly, discriminatingly and without equity. At that point it begins to fail the task of true politics of peace, progress and happiness for all.
However, in the situation of city-states (or city-nations) of antiquity, it was possible to play such non-partisan politics. But once nations grew into large geographical areas, with regions, provinces or internal states within the nations, it becomes inevitable that people organize themselves into parties.
They do so, such that parts of their constituencies outside their local areas of residence and community service will be covered for their polity education of their candidature for the necessary elections. This necessity for the otherwise not to be desired partisanship, is the reason that very civilized countries do not allow party politics at the local government or municipal elections; but only from the regional to the national elections. They also make room for independent, non-partisan, candidature right throughout the three levels of political elections. Thus people who would rather not play partisan politics, if they start early within the local government elections and service, will eventually grow in their knowledge in the expanding constituencies that they are able to contest elections even up to the national level.
But in our Nigeria, what do we have? No one needs to be told that, with all due respect, one may describe the Nigerian political system as “politics of the blind and sometimes brain-dead, uneducated, morbidly partisan and kleptomaniacal tribalists and religious bigots trying to rule a humongous geographical entity of some 250 such tribes and ethnic nationalities”. Over the history of the world and politics in it, we have roughly passed through the stages of local autocrats, then through those of plutocracies, large scare autocrats of emperors or aristocracies (of kings and queens) and currently of democracies; with republicanism as its finest evolutional stage. However, where the human heart refuses to accept this politics or non-partisanships (or bi- or multi-partisanship) at the higher levels of governance, such countries will continue to exist at all these other lower levels of political existence. We see this all over the world – whether in so-called advanced or in the non-advanced countries – now and again. In some of these countries, when these partisan, unjust and therefore non-progressive and non-peaceful politics holds sway, such countries attain what are generally called failed states. Most obviously, this is where Nigeria is now; and nobody needs to tell it to anybody else.
Even with this failed state status, which Nigeria has unequivocally attained, will it be possible to resuscitate her? The honest answer to that question in my honest opinion will be “not likely!” Why is it unlikely to resuscitate Nigeria, even to the level of the not-to-perform country that it started with? The reason are there for anybody to see. The people who preferred to have Nigeria as a nation of the uneducated, cattle rearers, poor or other beggarly people which they will plutocratically rule as they like forever, have all along pursued this pipe dream to their success, that they now think that it will work for ever. Lately, they have been advised ad nauseam that this is a nonsensical dreaming. But the more they are advised about it, the more they dreamt more in this unprogressive way. They talk about it arrogantly to everyone as well!
Finally, they got our present supremely partisan politically anointed PMB in charge of our country by name. The fact that he is not the one ruling the country is obvious to everybody. The gang that rules on his behalf will like to persuade themselves that all they need is to put all the military and all other security outfits of the country in their hands or that of their stooges; and to keep running the place as partisanly as they like. The same it is, with all the financial and economic governance, and all the important international relations as well; reckoned by them to be very clever military strategies for their conquered peoples. But all these primitive ways of physical war are just what they are, primitive! Nobody in the modern world goes or should go by them. They have been advised that restructuring is the way to get Nigeria to recover its old self of any worth at all, following the national death that they have brought about. But they have refused it, with even greater arrogance than they had done before. And there is ample evidence that these people will not be able to be cured of their primitivity and arrogance. Even with a civilization of universal love these people need to be left at a comfortable love honours distance while we keep existing in the same world with them!
It is exactly for this reason that only a fool will waste his time trying to dialogue any longer with such primitives. It is this arrogance and apparently celebrated primitivity by these people that makes Nigeria incapable and unlikely of recovery of any sort, as a single nation. If anybody decide to live in primitivity, the properly educated people in the polity, especially where these are concentrated in the other ethnic and geographical nationalities in such a place, must seek the existing modern ways of separation from the primitives. The recent meeting of the Southern governors in Asaba is obviously along this line. It is to be expected that this will only grow and all, or at least some, of the states and political leaderships of the Middle Belt will somehow find the way to join this movement. They should do this in the most civilised ways, also considering the welfare of those who will be left under the enclave of the primitivities that has yielded this failed state. For they must not be so selfish and partisan to neglect those former national brethren, whether the separation is to a one single southern country of the old Southern Protectorate, or including the Middle Belt. But it would appear that even more than one but friendly and progressive countries, as civilization demands, will be the result of this failed state of Nigeria. May our very good God bless Nigeria and what will come out of her sooner than later! Amen.
Asuzu is a retired professor of public health and community medicine, University of Ibadan.
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