|Saturday, June 3, 2023|
"Good leaders don't care about getting credit for good intents and deeds, but the courage of their convictions envisions them to remain consistent."–Yahaya Balogun.
resident Bola Ahmed Tinubu is incidentally an Awoist, a technocrat, and a strategic politician. He must not fall victim to handlers' inefficiency like those tawdry spokespersons of former President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari's eight-year senile and lying Information Minister, Lai Muhammed, was one of the worst Ministers of Information Nigeria has recently had. Tinubu must not fall into the same boobytrap that blurted out Buhari's various successes. Nigeria is blessed with fertile and vibrant minds from Gen Z to be President Tinubu's Minister of Information. The information ministry is crucial in educating and informing the masses about government policies.
Buhari's failure of leadership and shoddy handlers must not be transferred or made carryover to Tinubu's brand new administration. Two years after Buhari's inauguration into the Nigerian presidency, precisely in 2017, I carefully wrote and published this edited and fine-tuned article in The Guardian Newspapers on July 06, 2017. In the article, I admonish Buhari to use the late sage Awo's political and economic prescriptions to salvage Nigeria's intractable problems. But Buhari's recalcitrance, "success of failure," and his handlers' inefficiency gave Buhari's enemies the unmerited 'Arise' media power of cynicism to scoop Buhari's success. The cynicism of his adversaries discounted numerous successes Buhari achieved during his tumultuous administration.
The words of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, are still fresh in our minds and instructive to the Nigerian authority. The government of Tinubu needs to consider the genuine restructuring of the fractured federation. The present structures are very defective, weak, and unsustainable. Nigeria is a nation in search of its true identity. It is sad that the administration of President Buhari attempted to kill corruption in Nigeria but didn't achieve his agenda on crime. Nigeria is painstakingly going through a difficult phase of her life. As the saying goes: no pain, no gain. Awo’s evergreen words on marble are auspicious in the present state of the union: After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes to the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy; there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly, terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask! Nigerians should tear off the mask of bigotry, intellectual laziness, self-induced problems, and hopelessness.
I am not an advocate of a national divorce but an agitator for solid triforce of the geopolitical structures of Nigeria. Nigeria is a troubled marriage that needs the sitting together of the stakeholders (suitors) by mediators to discuss her reunion; or amicable and peaceful dissolution. Our unity in diversity has been battered by so many years of misrules. The sociopath leaders in politics and religion who have bracingly ruled Nigeria have no respect for the masses and the people they lead or shepherd. The fundamentals of the Nigerian economy are weak, and the country is currently in recession. Nigerian economy defies any known economic logic. The country’s infrastructures are comatose by decades of neglect, and the wailers among us want economic abracadabra in a jiffy!
Retrospectively, under colonialism, the brutish British, under the leadership of Lord Lugard, conjoined Nigeria earnestly for their own administrative convenience. After more than a century of our pseudo-union, in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan, the then circumstantial president, celebrated our futile centenary amidst the vast spread of corruption. This was marked with nothingness under our national and divisive canopy. Awo’s theory and exposition about Nigeria as a “mere geographical expression” is still very tenable in the present structure. Our leaders have made nonsense of our rich diversity through religion, ethnocentrism, and egocentrism. Nigeria is more polarised along these nuances now than ever. The previous administrations had missed and messed up a lot of opportunities to restructure Nigeria truly. The restructuring of Nigeria will correct every perceived age-long problem. Without equivocation, our leaders have fractured our union. The status quo is untenable and unsustainable. Nigeria is a nation that has been sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Nigerian leaders for decades have been robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Nigeria is a microcosm of a village whose inhabitants live together with Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). A beautiful village with human and material resources that refuses to veer away from the famished road in her journey to the unknown. Our unity in diversity has been toyed with for a long time. Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa, and other ethnic nationalities now coexist in a pseudo-union, a state of mutual suspicion. In the diaspora, every time you tune in to your cable television, or you listen to national public radio, it is always bad news about Nigeria. Our country has become a Hobbesian state where life is short, brutish, and nasty! In a nutshell, we should celebrate our success at home for the world to celebrate us. It’s time to get serious! In the last three decades, the country has lost some of its finest human resources to Europe, Asia, and America. We do very well in our various professional callings. Outside Nigeria, we are one Nigeria; in Nigeria, we are more polarised along religion and ethnicity. We are subsumed in self-aggrandizement. Yet, our untapped resources and potentials are subdued and wasted away with queasy imagination. Our impeccable academic credentials are stultified. We preoccupied our minds with nothingness and other mundane affairs.
It is high time Nigeria invoked the spirits of our nationalists to renew and encourage the stakeholders to restructure the country; so that their labor will not be in vain. Since Nigerian independence, our brotherhood has been built on a shaky stand. The country’s corruption continuum has morphed into an institutionalized malaise. President Tinubu should see his different administration as another unique opportunity to unite Nigeria. There should be a credible sovereign national conference to discuss all those national idiosyncrasies tearing us apart. Our marriage of convenience should be redefined to meet the 21st-century challenges. A note of caution, do not call this admonition of restructuring an attempt to exit Nigeria but call it a communal discourse for internal cohesion and national integration. This is the time to tear the mask of suspicion and hopelessness. Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo has given us the roadmap and political formula to attain the much anticipated, reasonable, and tenable state of the union through his various political activism, intellectual resources, and wisdom. This is where the minds of these true leaders should meet to foster enduring national security and development. The results of proper restructuring should produce regional police; give every state in the union autonomy to flourish with its potential and resources.
As Buhari’s envisioned government walks a fine line, he should be reminded that Nigeria is a country full of so many contradictions. He will be discouraged, but a disciplined mind knows his onion as a means to an end of his vision. Buhari must be focused and transactional as he tries to transform and salvage Nigeria. Our story should be history rewritten, a future reassured. Anything short of a truly national conversation to assuage the aggrieved and bruised Nigerians will amount to the postponement of the evil days. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, the late Tafawa Balewa, and other nationalists’ struggles and sacred caution should be our means to an end, not an end to itself. Nigeria is a hub of tourism and a destination for global commerce and industry. This is the time to jettison our naughtiness, come together with a clear vision of the future, and restructure Nigeria with the honesty of purpose and courage. We should discard the 19th-century bureaucracy to meet the 21st-century challenges. Through our courage, convictions, and openness, our mundane problems are solvable. Our unity in diversity should be explored to make Nigeria a cynosure of all international eyes and make her a prosperous nation again. It’s doable.