“I shudder when old friends, university mates and colleagues express views that are not strikingly different from what one will pick up in animated beer parlour discussions. That exactly explains our underdevelopment. National development is rooted in the aggregate of dominant ideas in any society. As individuals, an average American is not better than an average Nigerian, a respected Prof. at Harvard, Ricardo Hausmann, told us. But while the US has mobilised individual ingenuity for national good, a country like Nigeria is locked down by dominant ideas fit for the dustbin. What a pity.”
This was what I posted on Facebook in March 2015 when I returned from Harvard Kennedy School for a programme in ‘Leading Economic Growth ‘. My surprise? Things have changed for the worse! Who will save Nigeria?
People with a high level of integrity and knowledge have been challenged to throw their hats into the rings to rescue the country. But I have my doubts.
Before the military intervened in politics in January 1966, there was a politics of ideas. Since then, it has been either politics of the barrel of the gun or money politics or, in most instances, both.
Nigerians of noble intentions who ventured into it got their fingers burnt. Many Nigerians who came from abroad to take part in Nigeria’s odious politics were eliminated by our killer politicians; some before they even announced their political interests. A good number of others like the late Gani Fawehinmi, and Femi Falana, did not even get votes from their wards despite their struggles for a better Nigeria when they contested.
I have said it many times but it bears repeating that until Nigerians themselves change their concept of who qualifies to be called a leader before our narrative changes. As long as we continue to hero-worship known murderers, thieves and other villains as leaders, there is no hope. And no decent, intelligent and honest intellectual will be ready to swim in such murky waters. Except, of course, a few who want to join them.
In a democracy, so says Joseph de Mainstre, people get the leaders they deserve. Nigerians deserve the rulers they have at all levels.
Strikingly, politics at the state and grassroots is the worst. Falana ran for Ekiti governorship, he was almost killed. When Fawehinmi was alive, his party was grassroots-based. What happened? Someone said in the past that there were only two political parties in Nigeria: his party and the military. An Italian sociologist, Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), once said that changes in regime, revolutions, and so on occur not when rulers are overthrown from below, but when one elite replaces another. Check it out: the treasury looters of yesterday are still circulating as elected or appointed leaders today. To contest a local council chairmanship, you must have loads and loads of money. And that explains why most of them are sponsored on blood oaths by godfathers.
I was part of some human rights movements that included Beko Kuti, and Chima Ubani, both of blessed memories. Nigeria is not worth dying for except for those who want to loot. Chima Ubani died in a ghastly road accident fighting for a better Nigeria. He’s forgotten today. Does anyone today remember Gbenga Awosode of Ibadan? Gani, Beko and Aka-Basorun offered all that they had, money, professionalism and even their lives for this country. Who cares about their memories? Who are then Nigerian heroes and heroines? Thieves and treasury looters.
Americans are ready to die for America because there is a nation, and so also Britons. Nigeria is a soulless geographical entity without any identifiable owners. Though an ethnic group laughably claim they own the land. That’s the tragedy!
When Nigeria is restructured and I know that my state is not a serf or an appendage to a useless government at the centre, honestly I will go to Oyo state or the Yoruba area and fight with my life for the people.
When Abiola’s mandate was stolen, many of us were ready to die for a just cause. There is no just cause in Nigeria today worth shedding even tears over. Those who were abrasively abusive and arrogantly aggressive for Tinubu know better today. Things are again changing for the worse, even to the surprise of some of us who were cautious then.
Will any serious president have the bloated cabinet Tinubu has? Has the costs of governance gone down? Will any good mother suddenly snatch the feeding bottle from her baby just because she wants to give the child solid food? Will any leader with an iota of human feeling and God’s fear in him watch his people being paralyzed by hunger and poverty and still remove the little they have for survival claiming he is saving for them for the rainy days?
If someone is sick, resuscitate him first with food and drugs and then you can ask him to tighten his belt, work and make sacrifices. Buhari flogged us with a horsewhip, but Tinubu is lacerating us with an electric cable.
I can see hunger and depression all over Nigeria. Sadly, as it was in the past, nothing will happen again. It’s the survival of the MEANEST!
It’s a hopeless situation as far as objective analysis goes. But I still believe that with God, nothing is impossible!
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