By Jide Ajani, Deputy Editor
NIGERIA would be 49 years as an independent nation in the next 96 hours, from the hour of 00:00:01, that is the very first seconds of Thursday, October 1, 2009. That much for what Nigeria would become. On the scale of nationhood, what giant strides can Nigeria boast of in 49 years as an independent nation?Â And if that had only been the major question, it would have been better.
At a time when other nations would have been preparing for their golden jubilee, with a view to celebrating 50 years of nationhood, a prophecy came – yes prophecy – to the effect that disintegration is staring Nigeria and Nigerians in the face. It did not come from a man of humour but a man of God â€“ and a revered one at that.
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye at September 4, 2009 Holy Ghost Service on the need to fast and pray for Nigeria, made it clear that Nigeria was in need of prayers lest it disintegrates.
“As many of you know, October 1st is a very important day in Nigeria; Independence Day, Republic Day. I want to call on all of you to fast and pray for Nigeriaâ€, he warned. And when Sunday Vanguard went to town to talk to a few Nigerians on this matter, the response tied with Adeboyeâ€™s prediction and admonition.
From Chief Olu Falae, the presidential candidate of an alliance of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and the All Peoples Party, APP, to Rev. Yakubu Pam, CAN chairman (North Central), and Ayo Oritsejafor, to Senator Mohammed Makarfi, Olorunnimbe Mamora and a few members of the House of Representatives, the verdict was similar:Â That Nigeria as a nation was sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, (North Central), Rev. Yakubu Pam told Sunday Vanguard that those who have predicted that Nigeria would soon disintegrate are no too far away from the truth because the indices are already manifesting. â€œTake a close look at the nationâ€™s infrastructural decay – health sector or is the educational sector? Where is power? You are bound to come to only one conclusion and that is that the nation known as Nigeria is a failed state.â€
National president of the Pentecostal Fellowship, PFN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor acknowledged that there are certain challenges that will naturally paint a picture of a possible disintegration, but refused to agree that Nigeria will go under as people would want us to believe. His argument is simple: God is interested in the numerical strength of the nation.
Pastor Oritsejafor warned politicians to beware because very soon God will visit His anger on those who refuse to lead righteously. According to Senator Julius Ucha (PDP, Ebonyi Central), â€œthe disintegration of the country is also the disintegration of our personalities and so we do not have a choice as we do not have any other country than Nigeria. Therefore, what we require is patriotism, what we require is commitment to national growth and support for existing institutions.”
For Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, â€œthose raising the fear of Nigeriaâ€™s disintegration should not be dismissed as the views of pessimists or doomsday prophets. The signs in the polity are ominous. Politically or economically it seems very clear that we are heading towards disintegration. And what has compounded the fear is the insensitivity of the leadership in our polity. The leadership at the various levels of government is not sensitive enough. There is no enough demonstration of purpose and sincerity of purpose.
Hon. Godfrey Gaya, from Kaduna, attempts to put a bold face to the matter: â€œThere are some nation states that are about 300 years or more and they still have room for improvement, not to talk of Nigeria that is barely 49 years old. Our fore fathers have already put our four major blocks into one. I see us attaining that dream of our fore-fathers. It may be slow. We may have wanted thisÂ earlier than now .But the task of nation building cannot be done overnight. That is why they say that, â€œRome was not built in a dayâ€.
For Hon. Ezuiche Ubani, â€œThere is no basis for me to comment on whether Nigeria will break up or not. Because no one has given the parameters that will make me make a rational conclusion on that. But on the dreams of our founding fathers being deferred. I would sayÂ that it is true. We lack leadership. At the moment no one living in Nigeria can say we have attained the vision of our founding fathers.
There is disconnect between the leadership and the people. A nation is built by people. If we must attain the dreams of our founding fathers, we must have lea’ders who can make sacrifice and lead the people to also make sacrifices, be it during natural disasters, during war and general hard times.â€
Now, all these put together suggest one of two things:Â It is either that Nigerians are apprehensive of the possibility of a disintegration and, therefore, console one another in the fact that the situation can be redeemed, or that some people have just refused to accept and come to terms with contemporary realities of the Nigerian state.
But Falae was quick to make it clear that things can not just continue like this, a â€œsituation where there â€œis the pernicious doctrine embedded in the Nigerian system which seems to say that anybody can do any job.Â There is no recognition or celebration of excellence.Â Oh, you want to do something put somebody there, if he doesnâ€™t do it well, weâ€™ll put someone else thereâ€. At 49, things are, really, not getting better.