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NIGERIA‘S VOLATILE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

: A case of cautious optimism

By Adisa Adeleye

THE recent visits of the former British Prime Minister, Blair and the United States‘ past President Bush to President Jonathan (acting) could be regarded as the acceptance by the western powers and our friends of the silent political revolution (coup) carried out by our civilian legislators. 

If the now famous doctrine of necessity is accepted as a panacea to all Nigerian problems, one would gladly recommend its enshrinement in our Constitution.

Arising out of the bold step of the much criticized fanciful legislators is the common belief of the down_trodden that the belated action of promoting the Vice President to the position of Acting President arose out of the fear of a military intervention rather than the act of patriotism.  It is becoming the classical case of self preservation.

The comical saga of the past few weeks has shown vividly the silent understanding of the post of Vice, or Deputy being only ‘spare tyres‘ inspite of the glamour of such nomenclatures.  Also, is the realization of the fact that political offices are treated as personal, regional, ethnic inheritance to the exclusion of some, even if more capable.

A mature political party could have easily managed succession (even if temporary) without subjecting the nation to belly_ache and agony of sleeplessness.  One hopes constitutional experts are taking note on the definition of posts and rewards to ensure growth and development.

From the political deep valley, the miracles (out of divine intervention) expected of the current change might prove to be a mirage or to be precise, an optical illusion or economic delusion.  Dr Goodluck Jonathan as acting President is not a new political leader who has just won an election on the strength of his new comprehensive programmes for development.  Rather, he is the same party loyalist with an abundant goodluck to be there when he is needed.

There is no doubt that he is a good party activist who would not rock the boat.  It fell on him to announce the failure of his party to meet the much publicized 6000 mega watts at the end of 2011.

If the acting President did not see anything particularly awful in the inability of his party to deliver on promises voluntarily made, it would be undue optimism to expect him to deliver under teneous political and economic situations.

The same structure that nursed President Obasanjo for eight years, that also enthroned ailing Yar‘Adua and sustained him for about two years is still there, solid and strong.  The cabinet is firmly on ground (with both friends and foes).

The method of operation is familiar – do little as much as possible.  It is a case of mediocrity, howbeit,  officious.
It may be a serious disappointment to those who think that having their ‘man‘ at the helm of affairs would be an advantage, except for a few powerful ones who could own oil blocks and make billions of naira on the suffering of many.

Economic, social and economic development of the Northern States could not be directly associated with the multiplicity of the Northern political leaders on the national scene.  The Yoruba of the South_West zone, who were forced into the mainstream of Nigerian political water, could not boast of any appreciable number of infrastructural developments under Chief Obasanjo.

The major road links between Lagos and the rest of Nigeria are still being constructed.  Chief Obasanjo, as a true Nigerian could not even fix the Ota link to his native Abeokuta throughout his tenure.

That Nigeria is blessed with that it takes to be a great Nation is beyond argument.  That Nigeria is bereft of good leadership is a moot question.  A leader is that personality – male or female who would lead the nation towards unity, peace and prosperity.

It is doubtful if any good leader could emerge in a country where everything is seen with jaundiced eyes of nepotism, regionalism and ethnicity in the colorful name of Federal character. We are unfortunately being forced back into that era of General De_Gaulle in France where ‘the ruling politicians were normally petty and opposition politicians snarlers, grumblers and grouseers‘.

The stark truth is that there is nothing to choose between a non performing ruling class and  a sadly divided opposition which in itself contains a discarded part of the ruling caste.

As a Nigerian, the plight of the country is not new to the acting President, who was once Deputy Governor and Governor of Bayelsa State, Vice President and now acting President of Nigeria.  It does not require a prophet of doom (Cassandra), or a soothsayer to describe vividly the pitiable condition of this country at the moment.  If armed robbers are not striking at the Banks openly, kidnappers are taking fellow citizens for ransom.

Political assassins and ritual killers move about leisurely.

It is an understatement to say that all is not well within the polity.  There are great signs which are quite obvious that, inspite of many reforms or intended reforms intense anxieties and distress exist in the country crying for people of vision and courage to save the nation from sycophancy, nepotism and corruption.  The reforms might seem not to work because of inherent structural defects and poor infrastructural condition.

Comparing our present situation with the Israel nation of old, one would agree with the observation of Prophet Isaiah in his moment of distress that: For the leaders of my people, the Lords Watch, His shepherds are blind to every danger.

They are like silent watch dogs that give no warning when danger comes.  They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. And they are as greedy as dogs, never satisfied. They are stupid shepherds, all following their paths. All of them intent on personal gain‘.

It may be suggested that this is the real time to visit the question of Restructuring the country to evolve a true Federalism which would ensure political stability and economic development.  A conference to promote dialogue on the present and future of this country is urgently needed before the elections of 2011 put the country into a peculiar mess, as Late ADELABU Ibadan followers would say – Penkele Mess.

Perhaps the acting President Jonathan has his own magic wand to solve at least two of the country‘s major problems  _  Power and Niger Delta. ‘O thou man of God, there is death in the pot, cried the sons of the prophets to Elisha’. At the moment, there exists a potent poison in the fragile political pot of the nation.


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