Who ‘ll save Nigeria and how?
By Adisa Adeleye
In the past week marked by grievous losses arising out of the DANA plane crash and the gruesome slaughter of christian worshippers in Bauchi and a former Deputy Inspector General of Police in Kano, the time calls for a moment of sober reflection while expressing condolences to the families of the departed innocent souls.
The problems of Jonathan‘s Nigeria are not new but complex and complicated by internal and extraneous factors. The review of the Federal Government and States‘ activities during the past twelve months has thrown wide open opportunities for critical assessments of political leaders. Not many people are convinced that Nigeria is on the thresholds of political unity and economic stability.
Most of the strictures have been based and overshadowed by the problems of national insecurity. It is a pity that the Boko Haram sect could choose its target at any time it wants to, and deliver its bombs with deadly accuracy in the northern part of the country.
Writing in this column in October 2010, I asked: ‘WHO WILL SAVE OUR COUNTRY AND WHAT COULD SAVE NIGERIA?’. Readers should permit me to quote from my observations then. The two questions appear identical if the readers set their minds on expectation of immediate revival of a failing state.
Some have accused me of being a coward for not declaring outright Nigeria as a failed state. I am not an unduly optimistic analyst by nature since I believe that pessimism could be self defeating in examining the various problems of the country”.
“It is axiomatic to assert that all is not well with our country since independence in 1960. After eleven years (now thirteen years) of democratic experience, there has been partial eclipse (erratic electricity supply; major roads remain dangerous (numerous pot holes and gullies) and unsafe; water to drink has remained a perpetual problem, especially in all our urban cities; filth and disease grip our towns as a result of congestion; mass rural drift to towns because of under development; life becomes unsafe everywhere because of inadequacy and lapses of security provisions; medical care is utterly inadequate in all states and food production has become so inadequate as to provoke hunger and anger”.
“The image of deep poverty is so sharp and unmistakably provocative. Nigerian citizens are aware of their problems. It is not that various governments – federal, state and local governments are not familiar with their various disgraceful environments. They are aware but unfortunately, many are insensitive to the damaging environmental degradation and plaintive cries of the people”.
As Edo Governor (Oshiomole) recently (but) casually remarked caustically, “Our leaders do not sleep, not because they want to improve the lot of the people, but because of the problem of sharing (booties) within the political class”.
Thus, as usual, politics is money and money in politics is to be shared. Let us forget at the moment the idea of politics as an agent of political and economic development. The question is who is going to save the country from monetary politics and economic penury? There is always at any moment of time, the ominous presence of the ‘Third Party`.
In the past, Nigeria‘s romance with military intervention in politics was not very pleasant. General Gowon after preventing the country from breaking was after the Civil War overthrown by Gen Muritala Mohammed who was overthrown and murdered.
Gen. Obasanjo handed over to Shagari, a civilian who was toppled by Gen. Buhari, who was himself dethroned by Gen Babangida, who ‘stepped aside‘ in 1993 after conducting a presidential election adjudged to be free and fair. But the dictator annulled that election.
“General Babangida handed over power in a curious manner to a civilian, Chief Ernest Shonekan, whom Gen Abacha found little difficulty in removing his makeshift government. Before he could turn himself into a civilian elected President, death dealt the cruel blow under what was described as `divine intervention` Gen Abdulsalam came in and handed the nation a 1999 Constitution. Under the 1999 Constitution, General Obasanjo appeared as a civilian President (with all his military traits intact).
After a stint of eight years and a failed attempt to prolong his stay in power, he `midwifed` the regime of Alhaji Musa Yar`Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan. The first two years of Yar`Adua`s government was characterized by an economic policy of `Go Slow` and political uncertainty”.
“After the death of President Yar`Adua, leaving the faint hope of what he might have achieved, the mantle fell on Dr. Jonathan who was then the Vice President, who completed the term of his boss. Dr Jonathan as the third elected civilian President won the presidential election by overcoming challenges from principal opponents like Gen Buhari of the CPC and Nuhu Ribadu of the ACN in year 2011.
It is a pity that the leadership of the CPC is still talking of rigged election in 2012 after the Supreme Court has upheld the election of President Jonathan. The nicest aspect of democracy is the willingness to concede defeats and uphold victory”.
President Jonathan noted in victory that “I have taken the challenge of an adequate power supply peace and rapid development of the Niger Delta, food security as well as the overall security of Nigerians and promoting credible elections.” Nigerians of many shades of political opinion were happy and hoped for the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity.
However, after twelve months at the helms of affairs, the question of insecurity is looming larger than expected with terrible and treasonable acts of the Boko Haram sect in the North, daring armed robberies of banks in the South and terrible kidnappings all over the country.
Electricity supply still remains epileptic while industrial stagnation still persists. The unemployed citizens (including thousands of graduates) have joined the migrants from the rural areas to form the angry mob ready for any violent disturbances.
What action should be taken to forestall the emerging doom of a glorious country before the year 2014 (hundred years anniversary of the amalgamation) and year 2015 with its fear of bloody revolution.
The short answer is for President Jonathan to realize the limitation of his present government in tackling the various problems and ask for wider participation and contribution from other capable Nigerians. This is not an act of political weakness but an act of sensible politics. All Nigerians should view Boko Haram insurgence as a national security problem and to be tackled as such and not left to President Jonathan and his party alone.