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President Buhari, it is daybreak in Nigeria

It is worrisome how lack of conversations in Nigeria is gradually eating away the bond that hitherto held us together as a country. The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), which ought to be the conscience of a nation in dire straits, is presently encumbered with balkanisation.


The Northern Turks want to severe relationship and connection with the national body, and do things their own way. The talk about national security is wearing a different colouration with the commencement of “Amotekun” security outfit in the South-West.


The Police authority and South-West governors are already singing discordant tunes about the mode of operations and perhaps, the ownership structure of this Amotekun outfit. Miyetti Allah is also reportedly threatening to carry out nationwide protection of its members by ensuring they carry arms.


The North-East axis is already fractured and consumed by insurgency that is becoming more daring and endemic in recent months. The North- West is having its own untoward share of armed banditry that continues to unsettle constituted authority in that part of the country.


The South-East is contending with agitations for independence through the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Every part of Nigeria is engrossed in storm and stress, leading to the balkanisation of discourse, agitations, challenges and opportunities. It has become more of a national hara-kiri.


Last week, I raised some concerns about the dithering reality of a country that is in a state of perpetual flux, occasioned by leadership atrophy and lack of marksmanship. I had raised alarm based on the existential crises that are threatening the very foundation of Nigeria. The absence of cross-ethnic dialogue and conversations is almost leading us to a national malaise of monologue, further compounded by a leadership that is evidently fatigued.


The soundbites are not showing any oleageanuous paeans of a country in soulful discourse, ready to confront its challenges holistically without given to base instincts and sentiments.


At every turn, what we get are unsavoury realities being served to us like poisoned chalice, from killings, kidnappings and banditries, to mutual suspicion and rising tempers at the slightest provocation. Imagine the Southern Kaduna carnage and mindless killings that have perpetually kept Kaduna State in the news for the wrong reasons.


The governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, cuts the picture of a man who is doing well in terms of physical infrastructure, but a complete failure in security architecture.


Even his utterances, often times, do not carry the suasion to assuage frail nerves. The situation seems to have overwhelmed him, as he gambles from one proposal to another, in search of solutions to this growing insecurity in Kaduna State.


Nigeria is understandably at a crossroads because of bad leadership, ably captured last week by Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister. The government of the day appears helpless in the face of so many challenges confronting us as a nation.


Our economy is already shrinking, no thanks to COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with lack of creative ideas to stimulate and reflate the economy. Should we be plunged into another economic recession, it will sound a death knell on a number of issues, amid social dysfunctions and economic dislocations.


When a country seems to have gotten to its wits end, when its leadership is unmotivated to take the right action, when its platform to generate ideas is overtaken by a potpourri of other compelling issues, it weighs down its capacity to confront headon whatever problems that stare it in the face. Nigeria is troubled and has become a problem on itself.


Intra-ethnic, inter-ethnic and tribal issues keep rearing their ugly heads at a time when we should be rallying around the ingredients that make nations grow; national consensus, patriotism, honesty of purpose, nationalism and rule of law.


A society where nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and selective amnesia dictate the flow of our national narratives, will be difficult to have consensus on both the tangible and intangible incentives that should bind us. I feel disturbingly awed that as a country, we have no national rolling plan that would signpost our trajectory into a new world order. When we have leadership that are driven by corruption and malfeasance, the end result often weighs heavily on morality and integrity.


When, what we have, is a leadership that is the product of rigged elections, manipulated elections, forceful elections and elections by other means, you can neither attract nor sustain the ideal. Our elections are becoming more and more driven away from the people and settled inside the courtrooms. Verdicts are  given, not because they are rich in point of logic and law, but for certain ridiculous considerations that have now introduced varied dimensions to our jurisprudence.


Elections are no longer won in polling stations where the real action is, but in the courts where Judges have become electoral returning officers. A leadership that is faulty, premised on wrong assumptions, cannot derive the moral courage to dispense justice and equitable reforms, when it matters most. Fraudulent elections have taken over credible, free and fair elections.


We are collectively building heaps of fraud anchored by deceit, pretense and subterfuge. When a country is unable to speak, it courts trouble. Rather than let off steam through dialogue and healthy conversation, it resorts to violence and provocations to attract attention.


When the resource of dialogue is not often exploited, when government sees itself as Lord over its citizenry, and cultivates the masses with careless disdain, there will be no nexus to connect the dots. This is where the country presently resides.


The dots have refused to connect as we wake each day to embrace the dawn of new challenges. The Buhari  presidency has turned full circle, magnetising incompetence and stimulating the music that soothes its nerves.


Once told that it lacks the gravitas to stimulate citizens’ participation in government, it pricks its conscience to anger. We continue to shoot in the wrong direction and target, and yet want to hit the right nodes. Just imagine the war of attrition going on in Kaduna and the damage it has brought upon a people trying to find accommodation within a volatile system of many tongues and tribes.


The Buhari presidency must be prepared to dialogue with Nigerians. Nigerians need a platform to engage with government. This balkanisation is killing the very soul of a country already fractured by lack of homogeneity of purpose and direction. The apparent balkanisation of the NBA is a recipe for national disaster. It will further expand fault lines that are being patched up before now, and widen the divisions that will do us no good.


Once we now reason on the basis of zonal consideration or religious persuasion, Nigeria becomes the ultimate loser. NBA is a body of Lawyers whose responsibility is to give legal representation in the eyes of law in dispensing justice. The latest resolve to drag it on the path of perdition through primitive ethnicisation of the body, or North-South divide, is a sine qua non for anarchy. We can exploit what seems to be our differences to assume a place of strength in nation building. Our tongues and tribes, as they say, may differ, but in brotherhood we stand.


The signs and symbols we see are too damning to be ignored by any patriotic Nigerian. But patriotism these days, is seen from the ethnic binoculars, almost becoming an act of statecraft. It is the reason why tongues are always waggling and voices babbling just to let off steam. Keeping us quiet and maintaining deafening silence in the face of provocations is not a good leadership response to our collective aspirations. We need dialogue. We need conversation to redirect our energies.


We need discourse to deepen our democracy and leadership recruitment process. Staying aloof and pretending all is well, is the other name for dereliction of responsibility. President Buhari, please wake up. It is day break in Sambisa. It is day break in Zamfara. It is day break in Southern Kaduna. It is day break in Nigeria.

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