Opinion

Nigeria: State of the nation

As a Nigerian, how will you describe the state of the nation? If you have to sum up this period in Nigerian history, what would you call it? May be the ‘Age of Anarchy’ or ‘Age of the Absurd.’

 

We are living in a time when our faith in our union is rapidly fading, a time when our government is weak and incompetent, a time when all the arms and tiers of our government stand indicted as corrupt, a time when our Lord Justices not better than politicians.

 

We are in a time when our powerful military pose as helpless victims of war, a time when the police pose as helpless victims of lawlessness and violence, a time when security agents are reminded to use their weapons to defend themselves when under attack, a period of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and unknown gun men. I never imagined living in a time when citizens are happy seeing security agents being killed. It’s insane that we don’t care about the lives of men and women charged with protecting us.

 

We are living in a bad and ugly time. As a country, we are going through a difficult period, a period of mass rebellion from the North, South, East and West because our leaders failed to unite our long divided and bitter ethnic groups. We may risk another civil war because we have dumb politicians who never learnt from history.

 

The same crisis that led to the first civil war fought between 1966 to 1970 are all back in place. We are in a time when most of the heads of our security agencies are from one region, leaving other partners isolated.

 

 

We are in a time when our values are at ground zero, a period when our education is meaningless, a period when the Central Bank is printing trillions of naira notes, thus making one hundred thousand Naira to behave like ten thousand naira, a period when our hospitals are not equipped to care for common ailments, a period when you can’t get a job even when you are willing to work, a period when wages paid to those that work cannot sustain their families, a period when retirees are owed their pensions because their pension contributions have been stolen, a time when your savings in the bank are no longer safe because bankers connive with hackers to steal your life savings, a time when all that government does is to lie to the citizens, and liars in government take turns to lie against their own lies, a time when most news we get are from the social media and half of the news are half-truths.

 

We are in a time when the validity of our Constitution and the worth of our citizenship are questioned, a period when the roads are unsafe and we do not feel safe at home either, a time when things are dark, a frightening time.

 

We are back in the Hobbesian time when life is short and brutish, an uncomfortable time when nothing is certain and not even the future of our federation is certain. Our friends and partners admit that this is a difficult time for us.

 

Everyone is concerned and worried about the country except us, we are doing nothing serious as a people to help our situation. And you ask, how did we get to this time in our history? Just recently the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Cardona Laing admitted that Nigeria is struggling and facing a lot of problems everywhere, and that’s putting it mildly.

 

In-deed anarchy looms in Nigeria. At a time that leadership is needed, no one seem to be in-charge. The President whom we all look up to for direction is himself sick and keeping out of our view. He has avoided any direct communication with us.

 

The only time we get to hear from him were through scripted media releases by aides who very often contradict themselves  on national issues.

 

With the president spending more time convalescing, many people are asking the obvious question, ‘who is in charge of Nigeria?’ It’s natural that when one is personally sick, his immediate survival comes first and every other thing becomes secondary, hence I will not blame the president for taking care of his health first before the business of the nation.

 

However, I blame him for taking the number one job knowing fully well that his age and health will impinge his ability to fulfill his duties.

 

The highest disservice one can do to oneself is to take up a job that one is incompetent to handle. The true state of the nation is such that requires a leader with his head in the right place, not a figure head. It’s not cheering that important decisions of the state are left in the hands of cabals we never elected, hence they do not see themselves as being accountable and beholding to us.

 

They just don’t care. The poor management of the naira by the Central Bank is a case in point and to imagine that the CBN governor was rewarded with reappointment, just the same way the Service Chiefs that stole defence funds and mismanaged the war against insurgency were all rewarded with positions that will see them and their families shipped to safety abroad.

 

 

The time we are in require a workhorse as president, not a show-horse. May be after this time we may begin to demand for Certificate of Medical Fitness from our would-be leaders as a pre-condition for them running for the highest office. We will no-longer take their words for it neither shall we take what the manipulative media tells us.

 

We will need to see them jug some miles and do some press-up to confirm their fitness. We need to see the originals of their Birth Certificate to ascertain their true age. The State House will no longer serve as a retirement home nor a hospice for tired and sick oldies.

 

Those who are tired and sick should know where to go to convalescence. It’s time we declare a crisis situation on insecurity and on other several fronts and thus commence serious conversations on pressing national issues if we must reclaim the soul of our nation. In the South East where we are deceiving ourselves with the ‘Theory of Unknown Gun Men’, the rebellion and resistance we see is the consequence of built up frustrations occasioned by long time of injustice, marginalization and unfair treatment of the Igbo.

 

These are problems that ought not be because our Constitution as imperfect as it is addressed the issues. For instance, the Constitution guarantees and assures equal rights and equal citizenship.

 

The Constitution recognised our diversity hence it assured Federal Character. Why these basic principles are observed in breach by the government in power is confounding but let me be clear that nothing justifies treating the Igbo as Second-Class citizens and no part of Nigeria should be so mistreated.

 

Nothing justifies the deliberate exclusion and subjugation of the Igbo in the Nigerian project. It’s even immoral to further entrench the militarization and occupation of the zone by security agencies manned solely by non-South Easterners.

 

It has become increasingly difficult to be blind, deaf and dumb to the glaring injustice meted to the Igbo by this government. It is in the best interest of Nigeria to either address the Igbo question or simply let them go since they are not wanted nor respected as equal partners in the Nigerian project.

 

Nigeria does not need another civil war to readdress the injustice against the Igbo.

 

A fair, just and balanced society is possible. It may be difficult for the Igbo when they are finally pushed out of Nigeria but knowing the ‘Can Do’ spirit of the people, I am sure they will survive better as free men than as slaves

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