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Why we’re where we are today

By Adisa Adeleye

Today, everybody talks about corruption without any concrete suggestion as to how this common disease could be cured. The general impression is that every Nigerian is corrupt in one way or the other. It is like the ailment of malaria whose causes are well known, yet Nigerians prefer usage of drugs rather than the eradication of the causes of the disease, as an effective solution.

It is true to say that the perilous state in which the country is in today is far from the glorious one imagined by all Nigerians and foreign friends alike in 1960. The situation has become clearer even after the attainment of independence in 1960 when we became our own masters. The disappearance of the hated imperialists whose hatred had cemented our fragile unity, threw us into the deep ocean of global economics and politics. Nigerians and their leaders got entangled in the crazy art of survival in a slippery political terrain.

Political terrain
The post – Independence Nigeria continues to shed an interesting scenery – the attempt to marry political stability with economic posterity – in an atmosphere of religious bigotry and ethnic rivalry. The most famous of the architects of Nigeria’s political freedom, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, became Nigeria’s President, another illustrious leader, Sir Ahmadu Bello was murdered during the 1966 coup, and the last of them; the great “Awo” (Obafemi Awolowo) was indecently imprisoned for treasonable felony. Thus, the first decade after independence saw Nigeria in search of political stability without the positive contributions of those who master-minded the process of political freedom.

Late Prof Chinua Achebe
Late Prof Chinua Achebe

The Civil War of 1967 to 1970 was a costly mistake, in terms of wastage of human and material resources and also, the failure to bury the hatchets of tribalism and cynicism. In spite of the ethos of no winner, no losers engendered after the brutal war in the 1970s, the foul stench, from the graves of those who suffered under ‘genocide’ in the romantic Biafra , continued to foul the fresh air of assumed friendship and cooperation across the Niger. Even our beloved novelist and renowned master of the English prose, Prof. Chinua Achebe could not but remember that sordid tale of genocide of about two million children in his book, ‘There Was A Country’.

There is no doubt that Chief Awolowo (died in 1987) and Prof. Achebe (died in 2013) would have by now sorted out their differences, presumably observed in 1951 when the late Prof. Achebe watched the inglorious carpet – crossing of legislators in the Old Western House of Assembly – through which process Chief Awolowo was assumed to have stolen victory from Dr. Azikiwe.

Today, it is unfortunate that ethnic misunderstanding (leading to unhealthy rivalry) could be so entrenched by the attitude of  those past leaders whose personal contradictions on nationalism have so far failed to impact positively on inter-ethnic relationship required for nation building and national unity. I am sure the art and act of genocide which is a terrible sin would never be allowed to exist again among brothers. If it had happened in the past, it is most regrettable.

The return of democracy in 1999 has brought its own moments of joy, especially after wasted years under military dictatorship, aided willfully by civilian collaboration. The rising hope of freedom and enjoyment of dividends of democracy suddenly appeared to  have put the new leadership under severe strains. Those who sang gleefully the melodious stanza that ‘we prefer freedom with danger to servitude in tranquility’ did not open their mouths too wide, when religious fanatics started to burn houses of non-muslims in some Northern cities of the country.

Perhaps, those religious and ethnic vampires thought that Nigeria has become a fertile area for blood game, hence, the appearance of Boko Haram’s murderous gang – throwing bombs, and killing people at will, all in the name of God, the Merciful. The Mighty Lord (Allah) who is worshiped by both Christians and Muslims in the country does not approve of human sacrifices. The reign of terror has continued unabated until the Federal Government appeared awake from its slumber by declaring the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

There should be no question on the justification of the emergency declaration.  All peace-loving Nigerians should give support. The Federal Government in its move to protect Nigerians (wherever they live) from wanton killings and destruction of their properties. Any opposition group should tell Nigerians of alternative policy for the future after terrorism has been finally suppressed and peace restored.

It looks as if the problem of political instability over the years has affected the pursuit of economic policy of prosperity. The country is of politicians who care little for the common good but more for their survival and individual prosperity. The present mood among the ;parties is the prospect of 2015 – who will be the president and from which part of the country?

In the early economic development, the Swedes sold their only resources, lumbers overseas and bought the needed technology from the most economically advanced nations. On the contrary, Nigeria’s crude oil is sold to import refined oil and other products that could conveniently be produced at home. It is a matter of Leadership and its quality.

Keynes in Oyo State: Many economic historians will not forget easily the stagnation of the twenties and the thirties of the last century – the appalling depression of 1929 in USA and the chaotic condition of the thirties in Britain and Western Europe.

A British economist, John Maynard Keynes, in his book “General Theory” of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) revolutionized economic thinking in solving problems of large-scale unemployment. He advocated injection of funds into the economy through massive public works.

Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State Governor is proving to be a good disciple of Keynes in his policy of road construction and reconstruction projects in his native Ibadan land and also,  in many principal towns of Oyo State. Congratulations to the Atunluse of Ibadan, and his pretty wife, Florence for the new titles  justifiably conferred on them  recently by the OLUBADAN of Ibadan.


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