FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, October 6, 2020
yodethomas@yahoo.com
Ireland
SIXTY YEARS ON AND NIGERIA STILL GROPES

oday is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years every Nigerian has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation. (excerpt).

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's independence speech.

The attainment of independence was to be the beginning of the making of a nation toward the achievement of her full potential by the total disbursement of both her innate and material resources.

Nigeria was a defective child from birth, she was defective because her conception was fraught with many anomalies ab-initio. The creators of the Nigerian state were not interested in her healthy and progressive development into adulthood but in her mere existence for the purpose of exploitation, domination and extension of a fading empire.

Whilst the people were ecstatic about the notion of a free and self-governing realm the British were busy ensuring that an independent Nigeria was to be an ungovernable state without the direct supervision of the colonialist. Nigeria was to be a vassal state to Mother Britain, hence the relinquishing of power in a way that best serves their purpose.

When the British left in 1960, what they left behind was a stitched-up State plagued with deep-seated mistrust among the various geographical entities coerced to coexist as unwilling participants in the building of a faulty tower. Nigeria therefore began a journey into nationhood without a clear-cut strategy to becoming a stable, healthy and nourished adult. The colonialist left Nigeria blind folded into oblivion.

With the euphoria of independence depleted, the dead bodies of the colonial contraption called Nigeria began to surface. The usurpation of political power by the Northern hegemony with the connivance of the departing colonialist was the first step into Nigeria's calamitous political adventure, from which she had not recovered.

Foisted with defective leadership, it was only a matter of time before all other aspects critical to building a nation also began to flail. The defective child is becoming an adult and her deformities are getting worse. Whilst the other regional leaders were poised for economic growth and socio-political advancement through the tools of education, civic participation and social awareness; the Northern hegemony that controlled the centre was plagued with classism, fanaticism, fatalism and narcissism so that the northern region emasculated the northern masses and by extension stifled the universal growth that would have accelerated Nigeria's pathway into nationhood.

With heightened regional jingoism come about by resistance to the imposition to the central power's attempt to weaken the regions through the appointment of lackeys whose loyalty was more to the central ruling power than to their regional base, Nigeria went ablaze. The British contraption of divide and conquer tactics borrowed from the Romans had backfired in its implementation but not in its psychological entrenchment which had remained for the better part of Nigeria's continued existence. The once vivacious, boisterous and healthy child was becoming stunted and anaemic.

With failed and directionless leadership with no vision for the crystallisation and consolidation of her national wealth capable of creating formidable socio-economic programs able to sustain a newly independent and burgeoning populace, Nigeria became a rudderless State. With no economic or political ideologies, profligacy became the order of the day. Access to power became licence for primitive accumulation and conspicuous consumption. The people who sought power sought it by any means possible. The Nigerian leader had learned the way of his master; plundering, dominating, emasculating and stultifying any form of dissonance to their wayward ways.

Out of this dichotomy between leaders and followers, a whole new lexicon peculiar to Nigeria emerged; the suppressed citizens came to be known as "the common man" whilst the suppressor became "money bags." They became money bags not by dint of hard work but by unmatched capacity to plunder our collective wealth, the thieves became elites. Political power therefore became the fastest means of becoming stupendously wealthy. Every nincompoop who came into power regardless of his pedigree automatically entered a world of unfathomable access to the national wealth. Politicians who had no legal means of livelihood became instant billionaires at the expense of the "common man."

Sixty years on and Nigeria is yet to make any appreciable progress in all aspect of human existence. The people have become poorer in all measurable human indices. Nigeria recently took over the obnoxious and pitiable title from India as the country with the poorest people in the world. What a shame to a country with all the potentials to be truly great. All other serious countries maximise their resources to better the lives of their citizenry. Norway for instance used the wealth generated from oil to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world whilst at the same time Nigeria refers to the blessing of oil as a curse. what a travesty, what a shame! The true curse of Nigeria are the vacuous and uninitiated morons we have paraded as leaders. The ones who have connived to loot the country out of existence.

Hospitals are little better than morgues and they send their families to the best hospitals at taxpayers' dime. Schools have become dilapidated and teachers archaic, but their children are in Ivy League schools. Housing has gone beyond the reach of the "common man." Bridges and motor parks have become improvised sleeping grounds for the homeless, whilst they buy condos at choice places around the world. Nigerians are dying by instalment. They wait for hope, but hope has gradually become a mirage. The more hopeful we become the dastardlier these myopic leaders become. Our collective docility is their fuel for more pernicious acts.

Another farcical aspect of the Nigerian debacle is the court system. Court processes have gone way beyond the reach of the "common man." Justice is dispended to the highest bidder. The guilty have become celebrities and the victims are pariahs. When the last hope of the ordinary man comes at an exorbitant price then the system has truly collapsed. The recent case of the debauched senator who went ballistic in an adult store (where he went to obtain objects for his fetish fantasies) because of what he thought was shabby service to him and his toplofty status readily comes to mind. With all the ample evidences available to prosecute the licentious senator, he was acquitted, and the victim was left to leak her wounds and move on. What a joke! What a country! When justice and equity become inaccessible to the downtrodden and the ordinary citizens then the country is truly in a pathetic state. The beauty of democracy is the platform it provides for every single citizen to be all they can be, to have access to the fundamentals that the state provides. To be proud of their citizenship because their country is proud of them.

A child born into a typical Nigerian family today can grow up into adulthood not having any contribution from government towards the child's existence. The family provides all the child's necessities into adulthood. The purpose of government is to provide public goods that helps to alleviate the plight of the citizens; in Nigeria the reverse is the case, the citizens pay the government to govern them. We pay taxes for services not rendered, police harass the people after paying their salary, tolls are paid yet the roads destroy our cars. We pay electricity bill for power not used. when kidnappers attack, police help to advice on the best methodology to pay the ransom and in some cases help to make the delivery to the kidnappers.

To be continued.

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