FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, October 5, 2019
banantex2020@gmail.com
Atlanta, GA, USA
NIGERIA AT 59: WHAT NATION?

“If there is no transparency there is no legitimacy. And without legitimacy, a republic is likely to come to ruins” -Senator Ken Nnamanni(Former Senate President).

ver the years, general elections conducted in Nigeria have been anything but transparent. It is either a situation whereby armed gangs chase out voters from polling stations and hijack polling materials, take them to undisclosed locations to load ballot boxes for those gangster politicians. Or the people are allowed to vote but their legitimate votes are behind the scene substituted with falsified vote tallies, after money have changed hands. What is more, the Nigerian electoral process is a shamed system which ensures that treasury looters and murderers continue to recycle themselves in power. A good example of this is the Nigerian Senate, which has become a haven for former governors.

In Nigeria state governors are the biggest thieves and murderers. They control billions of dollars and they are for the most part unaccountable. On paper, the state legislators are supposed to act as a check on the executive arm of government. However, they are not independent of the executive as their own “elections” were in the first place most likely have been bought for them by the thieving governors. So for political expediency state legislators have to demonstrate absolute loyalty to their Oga in the Government House. Any act of disloyalty on the part of state legislators could be punished by denying them projects in their constituencies or out rightly denying them reelection bids. As a result of this entanglement state legislators have become mere appendages of the executive arm.

Even in a supposed democracy Nigerians who are being robbed endlessly have no recourse for justice. The law courts no longer dispense justice; as treasury looters continue to use their loots to buy justice from the courts and walk home free, to enjoy their loots. Look at what is going on at the EFCC; how many of the past or present public office holders who have been indicted for the brutal robbery of our coffers is sitting in prison today or actually returning our stolen money?.

It is common knowledge that Nigeria is a country perpetually run by thieves. Government over there is a bazaar. The oil money is always there for all comers to loot, with impunity. For this reason, I have over the years nurtured an utmost contempt for “elected” Nigerian officials. I have absolutely no regards for them.

To be fair, the Buhari administration is not solely responsible for the ever deteriorating state of insecurity in Nigeria today. It is only that its ineptitude and sometimes acts of commission have exacerbated the situation. The Nigerian malaise has been years in the making. A protracted culture of impunity has ensured that treasury looting and sheer acts of banditry by elected officials are continually rewarded rather than punished. The other day Pastor Reno Omokri chided President Buhari for sending a list he should have sent to the EFCC to the Senate (Ministerial appointment) for confirmation.

As the treasury is being emptied nothing is left for economic projects that would otherwise have created jobs for an explosive youth population. So what you have is an army of jobless youth susceptible to committing crimes in order to make ends meet. And this is how you see an explosion in sundry crimes like armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom. Of course, the bandits in power have jobs for the deprived, and indeed abused youth- recruit and arm them as army of thugs which they use to rig elections and to terrorize any member of the local community who has the audacity to demand accountability from them. But like Ken Saro Wiwa remarked: ”As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, degrade our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who subscribe to higher standards, pursue the truth and honor justice, freedom and hard work”.

Paranoia has taken over the business of governing. They are now rounding up innocent Nigerians and throwing them in jail, on trump up charges of treason. It has become so bad that this “civilian” dictatorship is muzzling free speech, in order to silence its critics. So any criticism of this inept leadership is seen as a threat to its power and stranglehold on the people. They are even denying the people the right to peaceful assembly, which is provided for in the constitution. The other day, the country’s sole Nobel Laureate, and conscience of the nation, Professor Wole Soyinka, warned the Buhari regime to stop using security agencies to silent Nigerians.

Notwithstanding the hyped democratic dispensation, there has been hardly any improvement in leadership attitude in Nigeria over the years. The dumb propaganda and disinformation campaign the Abacha military junta used to attempt to mislead the outside world on its genocide in Ogoni is still playing out in the General Muhammadu Buhari’s administration today. We have seen this movie before. What this tells us is that, in Nigeria government does not change. It is only uniforms that change-between Khaki and Agbada . The ruling cabal remains in place. Like Abimbola Adelakun eloquently argued in her article in The Punch, August8,2019,( THE REVOLUTION DID NOT FAIL); “ When presidential aide, Garba Shehu, spoke on the protests, he asserted that people did not turn up for the “revolution” because of their support for Muhammadu Buhari’s government”. But Abimbola Adelakun revealed that the reason people did not come out for the protests has nothing to do with the so-called support for the Buhari administration but “the amount of despotic violence their government deployed in the venues of those protests to forestall popular participation”.

It is frustrating to see President Buhari faltering while the nation drifts towards a failed state. And it is hard to believe that he can improve on his leadership style. Meanwhile, the two issues he launched his presidency on-fighting corruption and tackling insecurity, are devouring the nation today. He seems conflicted in his attempt to fight corruption as he continue to recycle known corrupt officials into his administration even as he tend to fare worse in combating insecurity. The Boko Haram terror group he promised to crush in his first term is getting more brazen in its attacks. His kinsmen, the Fulani herdsmen are unleashing their own brand of terror across the country, while kidnapping for ransom and ritual killings are getting out of hand. So on President Buhari’s watch, Nigerians have no place to hide. True, the president and his administration needs every assistance they could garner in tackling very daunting socioeconomic and security situations in the country. And there has not been lack of inputs, either. But it would appear that General Buhari and his team are stubbornly being impervious to meaningful pieces of advice from well-meaning and well-informed Nigerians- The Patriots, elder statesmen, eminent Nigerians, former presidents, on how to solve the nation’s problems. It’s sad.

Or do they have a hidden agenda of their own? Yet, the alleged Islamisation and Fulanisation agenda of the Buhari administration is pouring gasoline on an already raging inferno. The entire place is boiling like a cauldron. It is as if Armageddon has started from Nigeria.

The situation is so dire that speculations are flying all around. It is even rumored in some circles that President Buhari is going to import all the Fulanis in West Africa to Nigeria, to recreate the Fulani Empire. For instance, The Middle Belt Forum is alleging that RUGA is “ part of a plot to import criminal Fulani from within and neighboring countries to settle them in our communities in order to change the demography for political, social and economic advantage in pursuit of the much talked about ‘Fulanisation’ agenda of the present administration” .

So is General Buhari determined to plunge the country into another civil war? It was Lt. General Alani Akirinade who last time warned that no nation has survived two civil wars.

Today Nigeria at 59, is crippled thanks to a vicious cycle of bandits who have held the people hostage and plundered its vast oil revenue. Only God knows when the insanity in Nigeria will end, and who can save that enormously endowed but grossly abused country from imminent collapse. However, if it is getting too late to salvage Nigeria, let everyone go his own way. After all, Nigeria as a nation lacks legitimacy, it is a fraud ( yes, Nigeria lacks legitimacy, like Ken Saro Wiwa observed in THE HANG MAN, “the different groups in Nigeria were put together not by their own decision or by the will of these peoples but by the imperial design of the British) and it “is likely to come to ruins”.

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