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E O EkeSaturday, July 12, 2014
eoeke@aol.com


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THE FRENCH LESSON NIGERIA NEEDS TO LEARN

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s time passes, the revulsion, anger and disgust felt at the abduction of innocent Nigerian girls fade and the world move on to new disasters in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world, one wonders if the Chibok girls would ever experience normal life again and, if time would make a difference to their pain and anguish.

I wonder what it must be to be in their shoes and knowing that one's fate rests in the hand of ruthless psychopathic terrorists, whose idea of God justified immoral and hideous acts and a corrupt, indifferent and indecisive government, whose loyalty is first and foremost, to its members and not to the people. A government which is content to continue to consume more than 80% of the recurrent expenditure, while 90% of the population live on less than a dollar a day and unable to afford the basic necessities of life and health and education for their children.

But for the innocent victims and their families, the pain never goes away. I still hurt for the victims of the Ezu river massacre, no one has heard anything about the police investigation of the cause of their death and no one may ever hear anything. This is the Nigerian way, a way that does not care about truth and justice. Soon, no one will hear about the Chibok girls, they will be forgotten as the leaders concentrate in the most serious job of looting and frustrating due and democratic processes.

In the midst of the current crisis, the president and his team continue to falter and unable to articulate a coherent and convincing strategy to address the problems. Nigerians are urged to pray, and when nothing happens they are told to try fasting and yet, nothing changes, they declare a day of dry fasting and national prayer. Meanwhile, the leaders continue to laugh to the banks and enjoy the proceeds of their crimes against the people.

Under such a seemingly impossible situation, where the corrupt seems to have all the ace, it is tempting to give up hope and resign one's self to fate. However, All One can do is keep hoping that the Nigerian government would accept rationality, honesty and adopt accountability and accept that no people can build a viable nation, if some of its leaders are above the law and fails to demonstrate that, indeed, no one is above the law.

This is what the French has demonstrated recently by charging Sarkozi for corruption. This is where the major difference between Nigeria and western democracies lays. One cannot imagine the Nigerian police arresting Ibrahim Babangida for ordering the assassination of Dele Giwa and Obasanjo for his complicity in the murder of Bola Ige. If these mean were French, they would be required to account for their stupendous wealth and abuse of power while in government.

However, in Nigeria, they are members of the National Executive Council. This is one of the institutions that make it difficult to make changes in Nigeria. It gives past presidents a role in the running of the country long after their mandate has ended, in a way that is not seen in western democracy. This body makes it impossible to prosecute past leaders as the system is made to see it as their duty to protect them.

If France had such a body, Sarkosy will not have been charged. There is a need for Nigeria to embrace true democracy under the rule of law, where only those with democratic mandate can take decisions that effect the life of the people. We need to dismantle the existing order which honours and protects those who break the law and abuse their powers.

With the abysmal performance of Jonathan, the continued terrorist activities of Boko haram, the increasing hardening of attitude of the people of Niger delta region, the rest of South East Nigeria and other regions of Nigeria, the stage is set for the ruling oligarchy to either concede a second term for Jonathan, or choose another none performer, who will not rock the boat and the plunder, abuse, and decimation will continue. For Nigeria, it would seem that the future remains grim and there is no end in sight out of this nightmare.

Now and then, I wonder if there is still any reason for optimism in Nigeria and, if we should accept that it will never work out and go our different ways, instead of ending up in a Balkan style disintegration or Iraq style attempt by Islamic extremist to take over the country.

However, I am well aware that disintegration is a choice that will diminish us all and leave us less able to fulfil our potential in a world, where size still matters, at least, economically. However, it would seem the most reasonable choice is to save Nigeria and choose a leadership with the courage to confront the evils of corruption,toxic ethnic nationalism and religious intolerance and extremism. Nigeria needs a leadership that is honest, idealistic, has viable economic policy, courageous to say that the country needs less states and not more, and respects the rule of law and challenge the Islamisation of the country.

The security situation in Nigeria is not as complex as some people would want the world to believe. The fact is that the leaders have allowed ethnic, religious and selfish consideration to blur their judgement and render them unable to take honest and rational decisions. Corruption, nepotism impunity and bigotry have been allowed to permeate the Nigerian psyche. In an honest country which is serious with the rule of law, the governor of Bornu state and many like him, would be in custody answering questions about their relationship with Boko haram. All the evidence liking them with this group would be honestly investigated.

It cannot be as difficult as the Nigerian government claims, to mount a sustained military campaign against Boko Haram, provide the army with 21st century equipment, pay them their allowances regularly and on time, articulate a rational public security strategy by enabling the people to become security conscious and train and equip them to provide additional back up. It cannot be impossible to pay police living wage directly into their bank account on time every month and establish an independent police complaint commission to hold corrupt police officers to account. It should not require extra terrestrial intelligent to figure out how to apply the law to all and give the rule of law a chance. The truth is that Nigeria is structured and governed to make it impossible to hold leaders to account, find the truth and ensure justice for all, and this is what has to change.

The Nigerian army is capable of confronting Boko Haram in the forest they are said to be hiding. However, the Nigerian National security adviser, the Sultan of Sokoto, those who support implementation of sharia in the north and have Islamic agenda for Nigeria, and those who wish to make political capital out of the problem, do not want decisive action to be taken by the presidency, which itself is too timid and corrupt to call their bluff. Boko haram has become an industry which is enabling some people in government and beyond to make more money.

The sad and unfortunate reality is that Nigeria is not been run in the best interest of ordinary Nigerians. Evidence and common sense do not seem to be what compel the government to act, but Considerations, other than what is best for the generality of Nigerians has continued to guide the decisions of the Nigerian government.

It would therefore appear that the same reasons that stops the government from making public those behind Boko Haram, is the same reasons that stops it from making public those behind oil bunkering.

The question is why does the Nigerian government choose to protect some people who believe that they are above the law in Nigeria and the whole country must bend to their will?

We need to ask, why the government is secretive about what it knows about a terror group that is killing hundreds of Nigerians daily.

Nigerians need to ask the government whose interest it is protecting, when it excuses , impunity, and fails to act according to the law and allow those involved in terrorism to walk free because of who they are and know.

Whose is interest is served when Nigeria attorney general and minister for justices undermines cases against those who have acted against the best interest of the country and make their prosecution possible?

Nigeria is in the hands of a cabal whose loyalty is only to themselves and themselves alone.

Moreover, terrorism is an industry which benefits arm manufactured and once it takes root in any country, it is not in their economic interest for it to stop.

Already, arm manufactures and Nigerian defence contractors, who are retired military generals, are laughing to the bank because the Nigerian defence budget has increase to a quarter of the whole budget.

Sadly, the longer the Boko Haram issues lingers, the more likely Nigeria will implode and those who unleashed the forces of religious intolerance and ethnic bigotry on Nigeria in the attempt to dominate it, will learn that they have cut their nose to spite their face. We may well be in the last days of Nigeria and the choice is really between true federation or separation and not the creation of more states and the consolidation if the rule of men.

Time is running out for Nigeria, many in the south are increasing accepting that it cannot share a country with an intolerant Islamic North .

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