FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSunday, August 4, 2013
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NIGERIA, THE MAKING OF A PARIAH STATE (CONCLUSION)

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igeria is indeed a criminal’s paradise. Impunity reigns supreme. Leaders behave as little emperors, a law unto themselves. Many murder cases are never solved. Extra-judicial killings go on unabated and common criminals are roasted like chicken in tyres fires in attempt to dispense primitive jungle justice devoid of human compassion and understanding. very little is done with consideration to individual fundamental human rights and dignity and Very few ponders the grave injustice of lynching a man for stealing to survive, while those who steal country’s treasury dry abuse the criminal justice system to walk free. The police are no longer looking for those who murdered Bola Ige, Dele Giwa, Simbiat Abiola and many other innocent victims of the Nigeria killing Mafia and only act when the president or governors want them to act. In developed countries, murder cases are never closed until the case is solved.

In countries where the rule of law means anything, the perpetrators of the river state house of assembly assault on some members would be under police custody waiting to appear in court for breach of peace and other criminal charges. However, because they were acting under the order of the powers that be, they are free preparing to continue their assault on the rule of law. If they are ever arrested it would be give a semblance of justice but they know that with time, their masters will order their release. Nigeria’s criminal justice system is a charade. No wonder as Obasanjo lamented that, the national assembly is occupied by people who do not act any different from common criminals.

Democracy is not just a means for the rich and powerful to manoeuvre themselves into power or pay for the candidates that would do their bidding to gain power. It should also give opportunity to those with natural disadvantage to fulfil their dreams and destiny. This is what is missing from the Nigerian democracy. The children and relatives of the politicians who destroyed the first republic and helped to precipitate the civil war are often recirculated by successive government limiting participation in government. This is cronyism at its worst. Nigeria has a democracy which is looking more and more like a dynasty of the corrupt and unscrupulous. I believe in democratic values which respect individual choices, protect people’s liberties, practices equal opportunity, abhors prejudices and discriminations, holds leaders to account and safeguards the society against extremism, oppression and tyranny. This is why I am involved in the attempt chart a new democratic course, attitude and values for Nigeria. Nigerians need to take the state of the country very seriously. Those who are still able to go about their business and making some money may believe that they have nothing to lose until war breaks out and they realise that they can no longer make their money. The ingredients that can turn Nigeria into a Somalia or Pakistan are present In Nigeria. The attempt be one ethnic group or religion to decide in all things and impose their values and prejudices on all is a bad sign. Nigeria is neither an Islamic state nor a Christian nation. It is a secular democracy and the attempts by some people to impose Islamic values on the country will only guarantee its eventual demise. The Islamisation of Nigeria is an unnecessary over heating of the polity which will eventually result in sectarian conflict if not stopped. Nigerians must vote to take religion out of her politics and concentrate in creating a fair and just society where justice and equality rule supreme. At the moment Nigeria is one of the world greatest buyers of bullet proof cars, and the arms sale to Nigeria has increased. All these are serious indexes of instability and may herald out breaker of wide spread hostilities and possibly civil war.

North Nigeria has considerable young people with arms who are not soldiers and able to wage war against any section of the country and the government has so far failed to give justice to the victims of Boko Haram terrorist activities and their families and this is festering resentment amongst the people. All these undermine the things that hold a country together.

A lot of Nigerians believe in prayer. Yes, it is nice to pray. However, ever since I was a little boy and believe the Bible; I have not seen anything believers attribute to prayer which science, diligence and money, cannot do. Maybe, prayer works when people who believe in God do the right thing. Prayer works when people leave the church and walk down to government houses to protest against corruption, impunity and injustices. What I detest is the constant attempt by religious leaders to perpetuate a culture of ignorance and magical thinking, which enable them exploit the people in the name of God. This is wrong. This is dishonesty. This enslavement and exploitation in the name of God and it damages democracy and destroys the values which enable societies to thrive. Nigerian religious leaders have become a menace, a vermin that are sucking life giving blood from the society.

Whenever the fundamental principles and values of democracy and its enabling environment are imperilled by corruption and magical thinking, as they are in Nigeria, democracy is endangered. Such a country is unable to deliver safe, secured and prosperous society its people need to flourish and achieve their potentials. This is the reason why every Nigerian, irrespective of ethnic group and or religion, should get involved in the political struggle to free Nigeria from criminal leadership which sees politics as easy way to riches and measures greatness in impunity. Any religion that seeks to discourage the people from political participation to create a better country, but prefers to sell them the hope of a heaven of bliss and eternal hell where those who are destroying Nigeria will suffer for ever is not of God and a ploy to keep the people ignorant and enable the corruption to continue. God is interested in people doing all in their power to stop evil from triumphing and every Nigeria must now get involved in the struggle by any means they can. Without the active participation of honest and patriotic Nigerians in politics, Nigerians will never be able to select its leaders from amongst its best.

Every Nigerian needs to get involved in politics. Politics is not a dirty game but those who are dirty have been playing it for too long in Nigeria. We all need to get involved in designing the new system with the right checks and balances that would best deliver the kind of society we want. We have to accept that no man, no matter his ethnic group, religion or profession of faith in God, can be expected to be fair, honest and sincere with power, without mechanism for holding him to account for its abuses. We continue to see what happens when the blind lead the sighted. The Nigerian Senate in full consciousness passed a constitutional amendment that legalises child sexual abuse and then turns around to claim that they were intimidated. The question is, who are those who intimidate elected representative and compel them to legalise injustices and evils.

It is time to stop allowing religious dispensation and ethnicity to colure our idea of human nature. Nigeria must begin to look for character and values and not religion and ethnicity in those who aspire to leadership positions. Only then will the likes of Obama, consider Nigeria a country worthy of their visit and treat Nigerian leaders as equal partners in power. Nigeria is becoming a pariah nation.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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