We are Nigerian citizens reporting commentaries and analysis on the state of affairs in Nigeria, to hold our political elites to account for the injustice done to the Nigerian people.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nigeria – Is this the way Forward?

I have been in hiatus due to mental laxity; I coundn't bring my foggy brain to function to update my blog. I am overwhelmed by the decadent state of affairs in Nigeria that sometimes; honestly, I feel that I alone can't fight the battle to right the wrongs that is being meted out to us in our beloved country. I may engage in passive activism with my blog, but the challenges Nigeria poses to us is far more overbearing than one man can deal with. This is the struggle I deal with everyday! There is so many things that are not right in Nigeria, but how long or how often can you speak on these issues for us to see some drastic changes. This is not a question of I am living in the United States and I've got a good life here! This is a question of over 150 million Nigerians who are being enslaved by a tiny cabal; the ruling elite, who've chosen to marginalise and denigrate the Nigerian people by encroaching on their fundamental human rights.

But I am excited to post this article; being called upon to host the Nigeria Discussion series by Nilla. In essence, this is a continuation of the discussion to fashion a way forward for Nigeria. In today's Nigeria, there are two classes of people; the government and the rest of us (people). There is too much concentration of power in the hands of the Nigerian government; that is against the tenets of democracy and a travesty of justice. This is an open platform; we must all engage in this discussion and fashion out a way to wrestle power back into the hands of the people.

Just before I sat down to compose this article, I read a news item in the Vanguard entitled “Obasanjo explodes: April polls do or die affair for PDP”
Here are the president’s words: “I read that somebody said that I was campaigning. I will campaign because this election is a do or die affair for the PDP. We have a reform program which we have started; we want those who we will hand over to continue the reforms. If we continue with the reforms, the next 20 years, Nigeria will be one of the leading countries in the world. I even said that 20 years is too long, that we should be targeting 15 years.
“If we are targeting 2020 as the year Nigeria will become one of the 20 leading economies in the world, we must not pray for spoilers and criminals as our leaders in the next elections. Why should we have criminals as leaders? We want those who will succeed us to continue where we stop. In 1979, Nigeria was self sufficient in rice production and in poultry. Those that we handed over to lifted bans on those things and we became importers of them and we could not produce them again.
“In 1979 when we handed over, Nigeria was the 48th biggest economy in the world. Do you know the position we were when I came back in 1999? We were 173. Now, we want to be among the 20 leading economies in the world by the year 2020. This cannot be possible if those who are going to succeed us are rogues.“ Nigeria ’s next leaders must be people that will continue the reforms and take the country to the promised land”.

On reading such news, one always wonders what part of the universe the Obansanjo’s in our midst inhabit. The only people that have been reformed by the Obansanjo administration is the President himself and his apparatchiks. And to what promised land is Obansanjo and his cronies promising to take us? To the western world where all of their ill gotten and stolen wealth are stashed away from the prying eyes of ordinary Nigerians. Or to the United States and Western Europe where they have their families/siblings in schools and living in million dollars mansions/castles at the peril of the commom man. To these crook politicians, it's the same rhetorics now that election is here again, but they've definitely upped their ante! Promising to hang on to power with an iron grip even in death!

To have this man elected (sorry, imposed by politricks) as the leader of the most populous black African nation in the world is a slap to us Nigerians. On what criteria would any sane human being associate the Obasanjo presidency with? Exemplary and visionary? Leadership? Please!!! Were he equipped with a sense of decency, Obasanjo would long have recognized that both his military and civilian regimes are failures and hoisting his mediocre accomplishments (if any) as works of unparalleled genius and reforms was shear irony . Had he a sense of shame, he would have being modest when his political party, on the strength of his lack lustre performance, broached dressing him in the robe of founder of modern Nigeria.

Sadly, the ridiculous idea that Obasanjo is the central catalyst of modern Nigeria has picked up a political momentum with the continuum philosophy –
Do or Die, Obasanjo must continue to rule as the president of Nigeria with a proxy Yar’Adua! This is anti-democratic and a show of shame that the April election will not be free and fair. Obasanjo and his Oligarchy PDP are ready to die to cling on to power as long they breath!! Continuum is a plane of thought; and the continuum philosophy reminds us that ideas have fuzzy boundaries. It behooves me to remind us that Obasanjo’s fuzzy ideas was stymied by a problem as relatively simple as fuel shortage. It doesn’t matter that he continues to invest all his energy in a power tussle with his Vice President Atiku, ignoring the ubiquitous hardship inflicted by the fuel crisis. It doesn't matter that Obasanjo's government continues to pay lip service to fighting corruption under the guise of "EFCC"; whereas this outfit has become a state sponsored tool in fighting it's perceived political enemies, both real and unreal. Suffice me to state here that I am one Nigerian that is not in a hurry to forget that the president; until a few motnhs ago the nation’s petroleum minister, must be held directly responsible for the latest fuel scarcity.

Those habitues' trumpeting the president’s remarkable gifts strike me as insentitive to the truth or lacking intellectual acuity. Ask them to enumerate the basis of their inflation of the president ego and they are inclined to respond that he paid off the Paris and London Clubs, that he was economically conservative with a resultant $40 billion naira in foreign reserves, that he has earned praise from G-8 leaders, that he embarked on a war against corruption, and that he courted sound technocrats, inviting the likes of Charles Soludo, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir el-Rufai to serve in his administration.

The fallacy of this conception of greatness is easily exposed when these questionable achievements are mirrored against the administration’s many evident failures.
What is the sense in handing off billions of dollars to the Paris Club in settlement of questionable debts when your nation's roads are in deplorable condition? How do you justify keeping $40 billion in foreign bank vaults when Nigeria’s infrastructure remains inferior to Ghana’s, the Congo’s and Uganda’s, and closer to those of war-torn Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia?

How committed is this anti-graft crusade when one of the president's aides, Andy Uba is permitted to ferry huge caches of cash on presidential jets? And why hasn’t the president responded to grave accusations, by his Vice President no less, to the effect that Obasanjo has engaged in corrupt self-enrichment? Finally, while this president has brought in a few bright stars, is it not curious that the likes of Adedibu and Emmanuel Nnamdi (Andy) Uba, with little proven vision or technical prowess, exercise far greater influence on the president than, say, a Soludo?

In conclusion, is this the way forward for Nigeria? Do we want to continue to have the likes of Obansanjo at the elms of affairs? Our response should be DO or Die, we need to kick the PDP, the elitist politicians, the corrupt Nigerian leaders to the curb and start afresh on a clean slate. Nigerians speak a lot of games but don’t do a damn thing! We can’t sit back, fold our arms and don’t get involved. We need to develop an action plan. Young generation Nigerians need to take back our country. We are so educated and well traveled not to allow vagrants to rule us like puppets and slaves in our beloved country. We must start the conversation today and we need to take action today. The future of Nigeria is being mortgage at the alter of demagogue and corrupt practices.

I get emotional thinking about the socio-economic and political state of affairs in Nigeria, that I sometimes wish that the country should implode; you know, disappear from the face of the earth into oblivion, so that when you look at the map of Africa, there should be a deep dark void where we used to have the country called Nigeria; like the biblical hell hole. But why get frustrated and wish one’s country to disintegrate into oblivion; destroy innocent Nigerians lives that’ve had no stake in bringing the country into disrepute, and to this sad and dilapidating state. Then I try to be more succinct with my thought process; maybe a hard-line approach could be our only option at the end of the day. Nigeria may be a lost cause, but we as Nigerians can move forward. The initial step would be that all of those politicians that have been entrusted to rule the country; most especially those who've stolen from the Nigerian people can be tried in a law court, found guilty and summarily executed or put in a jail for life! Then we will need to set up a Reconciliation and Truth Commission and a true Sovereign National Conference where all Nigerian nationalities (tribes) will decide if they want to secede or continue to live together as one Nigeria. Thereafter, we can create many Nigerian nations recognized by the U.N. and every new Nigerian nation can go their separate ways and start on a clean slate.

In all of these, I continue to search for answers to the Nigerian question - What do we need to do to move Nigeria forward? I’ve always wanted to elevate the conversation; proffering solutions rather than over-stating the sad issues that confronts us a nation. We need to act fast today to save our beloved country, for tomorrow Nigeria may be no more!

Let me know your thoughts on how to move Nigeria forward!!!

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