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@ 53, Nigeria on the road to Yugoslavia

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Soon enlightened nations will put on
Trial those who had hitherto   ruled over them.
Kings shall flee into the deserts, into the company of the wild
Beast whom they resemble. And nature shall resume her rights
.” –The prophesy of St. Jaust, just before the French Revolution}.

WE need no eschatological clairvoyance to know that political-socio-economic vicissitudinary turgescency are inextricably intertwined with developmental strides in the life and times of any individual, state or nation.

Hence, the essayist   William Blake (1757-1827) posited in his Proverbs of hell that, “the man or nation   which never alters his / its opinion / state is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind”.

This was corroborated by Schiller (1759-1805) in his Maid of Orleans that “that nation is worthless which does not joyfully stake everything in defense of her honour”.

Whither goeth Nigeria after 53 years of independence? I daresay say, it has been 53 years of hellishly scorching pains and horrendous spasms of agony.   Fifty-three years of a tale told by an idiot packed full of political, socio-economic sounds and furies signifying a superfluity of nothingness. Fifty-three years of the leadership graft and corruption- no light, no roads, no schools, no education, no water, no fear of God, no jobs, no transportation, no joy and no happiness for 99 percent of Nigerians, except for politicians and their cohorts.

In Homer’s Illiad, he did an encyclopedic and kaleidoscopic encapsulation of Nigerians and Nigeria after 53 years of independence. He said: “The gods(Nigerian leaders) have so spun the thread for wretched mortals (Nigerians) that they must live in pains. “ Nigeria has earned over one quintillion pounds from its multidimensional revenue base since independence, but very little to show for it. The leaders (executives and legislators) at states and national levels have allocated psychotic jumbo salaries and allowances to themselves, whilst the vast majority of Nigerians wallow in abject and scorching poverty.

It is a hackneyed truism that when the choreographer loses his wits and the conductor his dexterity, the dancers and the members of the philharmonic orchestra become cocooned in contretemps. This scenario has been the bane of the Nigerian nation since 1960 till date.

The multi-faceted political, socio-economic engineering processes conceptualised and implemented without sincerity of purpose by the military junta and so-called democratically elected government has left Nigeria cascading down the slope of crass socio-economic underdevelopment and the schismatic road to Yugoslavia.

The kingdoms and geographical expressions of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes were renamed Yugoslavia in 1929- and was run as a highly centralized “Greater Serbia” The country was befuddled and bedraggled by political and nationalist schisms and Croats separatists murdered   king Alexander in 1934. It was attacked and dismembered by Hitler in 1941 and also bemused and submerged in intra and inter- political wars against the Nazis and itself.

The communist-led partisans of Josep Broz Tito (1892 – 1980) emerged victorious in 1945, and reformed Yugoslavia along Soviet lines. It was expelled by Stalin from the Soviet bloc in 1948 on account of political and ideological indiscipline. The Yugoslavia communists rejected Soviet model and pursued policies of decentralization, worker’s self-management and non – alignment. However, after Tito’s death in 1980, the Yugoslavia Federation/Confederation, unity and ideological experiment failed and became sunken in the quagmire of political and nationalist crises.

The wealthier northern republics of Slovenia and Croatia edged and opted for democracy and Western European political models while Serbia forcefully resisted the separatist aspirations of Albanian nationalists in Kosovo Province in 1990. The communist conceded principle of free elections and every nation went their way with pockets of resistance in some areas till today.

The vertical and horizontal integration of the history of Yugoslavia has become necessary in the light of what Nigeria has been passing through as a nation since 1960 till date. The inability of the leadership to fight corruption and engender cohesion has given rise to parochial irredentism,  tribalism, religions wars and militancy.   We have ethnic   nationalities and geo-political zones being represented   by militant groups and others like Arewa, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Urhobo Progress Union,UPU, and political / religious   militant groups like Boko Haram, Egbesu Cult, Liberation Movement of Urhobo people, MASSOB, OPC, etc, shows that Nigeria is on the road to Yugoslavia.

To salvage Nigeria from this labyrinth, we have to call our politicians to order in the light of 2015. The way and manner they are going about trying to actualise their political ambitions snacks of the truism that the Nigerian nation will be “Antediluvian History” on, before or after 2015. The demon of political rascality and horrendous leadership impunity must be deracinated from our body-politick hook, line and sinker. Let our leaders redefine the contours of politics from “strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage” (The Devils Dictionary) and “politicians are like the bones of a horse’s for shoulder – not a straight one in it” (Wendell Phillips) to “politics is the doctrine of the possible, the attainable” (Otto Von Bismarck).

The political parties, especially the PDP, must put their houses in order and stop heating the polity. President Goodluck Jonathan must give a patriotic, sagacious and perspicuous, consideration on whether to drop his political ambition to contest the 2015 presidential election or not to contest in the interest of peace, unity and continuous existence of Nigeria as a nation.

We must convene a national conference of ethnic nationalities and not a sovereign national conference. There must be serious economic strategy to ameliorate poverty in Nigeria and the enhancement of service delivery of all welfare and social     agencies to the citizenry.

The continuous existence of Nigeria as a nation remains a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma superimposed in a conundrum. Are Nigerians and Nigeria prepared to remain as one sovereign, united, indissoluble and progress-oriented country? The leadership must be prepared to take the bull of true unity, progress and development by the horns. The leadership must be patriotic and altruistic and must be prepared to see the Nigerian nation as their unprejudiced and unbiased single constituency.

The vast majority of poverty-stricken and oppressed Nigerians are already asking in words of Williams Shakespeare that, “Nigeria: To be or not to be: that is the question: whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.”

Nigerians are sick and tired of the political brouhaha and socio-economic hara-kiri they have been suffering since 1960 that is 53 years ago. We have fought a civil war and experienced strikes and civil unrest over these same issues. Yet, we are yet learn about the nuts and bolts of NATIONHOOD.

Finally, in words of the great humanist and orator Martin Luther King, Jr.r5t “Let nobody fool you, all the loud noises we hear today are nothing but the death groans of thee dying system. The old order is passing away, the new order is coming into being. But whenever there is anything new there are new responsibilities. As we think of this coming new world we must think of the challenge that we confront and the new responsibilities that stand before us. We must prepare to live in a new world”

Nigeria is on the road to Yugoslavia!!! Unless something drastically draconian is done.



Chief  BOBSON GBINIJE, convener of Mandate Against Poverty, wrote from Warri

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