By Biodun Popoola
Several years after MKO’s death, all mental and deductive radiations as at date still proposes elements and natural dictates that are far away from the sacrifice of this singular entity as the nation is still a million miles away from the road to our freedom. In this piece therefore, I shall be looking into the countless hemisphere of populist ideas and Siberia franchise that successive government have fed the nation with from time past into the present through continous manipulation of our God given riches and swampy acts to frustrate our ordained peacefully patient nature into a coma
Memories and their countless configurations endear thoughts engraved in milestones of the simplest of events. No wonder it appears real and all so close the unprecedented events that brought out Bashorun MKO Abiola with countless proactively positive sentiments posted on faces of Nigerians who profusely confirmed their willingness to share their thoughts on the way to go in recreating a Nigeria of the people’s choice in support of his candidature
The year was 1993 with promise of change, real change when compared with successive governments that has taken center stage after the victory of democracy in death, with a stage set on a grandiose scale such that the present generation would never have imagined. Historically a very affectionate period, centered on a multiple participation that generated a particular kind of warmth and expectations from all sides of the polity enamored with songs like “On the march again: MKO is our man ooo” which symbolized a movement of purpose and freedom from aimless political – economic pedagogy that the barrack boys and their cohorts had instituted over the years without recourse to our evolvement as a country. For some of us, it was a movement away from the every barrack evolution which will always refer to us as “Fellow Nigerians” and end their desecration of stage set for participatory democracy with swords like “We are all together”
Unfortunately we could never have been together as unfolding dynamo’s were only successful in the furtherance of the siege mentality, a shared feeling of victimization, defenselessness and a collective state of mind whereby Nigerians were been oppressed, isolated, manipulated, disoriented, denied, dejected and disjointed in the face of negative maneuvering of calculated propaganda by the ruling elites within each successive government. Countless policies and acts that emanated from their groove deliberately strangulated and emaciated every candle of resourcefulness within and across the political landscape to a level of using one tribe against another thus barring and subduing all hopes to reconstitute political interest and the objective cumulative agenda of progress, change, fairness and equity. Indeed a season of siege which represented the encirclement and persistent attempt to gain control of governance and overcome opposition in the country. Such a system that entailed the isolation of demanding territories from help and supplies, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of their defenders and thereby making military dominion possible.
In a simple context, Nigeria because of the incursion of the barrack boys became a nation bombarded by series of troubles, political annoyances, Economic illnesses, general dissatisfaction and a great inability to widen the scope of understanding of neither travails nor simple solutions needed to forestall the gargantuan depreciation in real values our Country was passing through. The soldiers were beginning to see government as their birth right and about to institute “After You Oga” a term that connoted plans to fully regulate the spirit of democracy and enthrone barrack “government” power through transmission of power from one soldier to another under the pretext of Coup d’état. It did not matter the array of revolutionary zeal from the “Gentiles” in our political history who today parades themselves as leaders of the struggle even when all their life they were on the sideline and will ordinarily always at the blast of the hunters gun run like a scarred dog into oblivion
Then came the era of True Change symbolized by “MKO” with multiple surgical dramas, betrayals, insurgency counter insurgency, diplomatic offensiveness and finally his DEATH rumoured to have been manufactured by the Americans and assembled in Nigeria by the British and their Nigerian Collaborators. Whichever way you look at the events before and after the death of MKO, it was clear that some elements couldn’t and wouldn’t have wanted him inside the rock. But the agenda of the time was not only premised on the rock rather a moving train with a strange born again passion to reconnect the people with their destiny. At this point, It did not matter if Abiola had collaborated with the military hegemony or participated in the crushing of the people’s will by entrapping the common wealth of the people thereby denying them of years of fruitful harvest in a nation utterly rich and blessed. Abiola represented “TRUE CHANGE” on our march to a new Nigeria. He depicted fresh inflow mechanically structured to stitch back together the torn fabric of the Nigerian evolution as a state. He was on point and supported by an array of new converts into the democratic train that was beyond ethnic or tribal dimension
To most positive minded citizens, all that mattered was Nigeria alive again with choices. In my mind, I celebrated the euphoria without recourse to plenty thinking. I obviously assumed that any element of substitution will be better than The MILITARY “and” their policy of selective development with entangled sectoral and zonal self interests along lines of monopolistic franchise baked to pollute the opportunity for a true and socially engaging polity thereby turning our hard earned independence to an highway of Chaos and confusion with preponderance of thieves in high places
Many will say that Abiola’s baptism came either through his treatment by the military during the era of the “mad dog saga” or his body language and threat to probe the military. Same sin late chief Obafemi Awolowo committed that made ebora Owu of the forest of a thousand demons purportedly manipulating the outcome of the 1979 presidential elections to suit imperial interest of the North South dichotomy. Among the many hypotheses, what was pertinent was MKO’s readiness to bite the hands that fed him in defence of democracy “and suddenly” like Fela sang “When trouble sleep: yanga go wake am up”. Series of troubles began with several maneuvering that evolved the recruitment of greedy civilian detractors- sorry I meant collaborators who wrote Abiola’s script to the gallows and eventually to his death
In retrospect, has the singular sacrifice of MKO truly affected our collective will? Is Nigeria really well-off 23 years after looking at our state of economically and politically coldrum? Unfortunately the answer cannot be yes as it is most clear that nothing has truly changed in view of the continous, consistent unacceptable happenings in the country from the year 1993 till date. particularly in relation to governments inability to provide the essential basic amenities of life as defined by the United Nation charter which incognito have placed the average Nigerian in a state of unpardonable suffering with low Power generation and distribution, zero industrialization, complete breakdown of law and order, rise in ethnic bigotry, tribal individualism and dwindling resources have become a bane upon our Nation.
Of a truth hunger and poverty has reached its zenith due to successive government’s inability to understand the problems and frontiers of division, fully appreciate and rework the dynamics of proper Planning and Management, Effective Supervision and Collaborative Governance. A prototype Protestantism that has navigated our riches to a high level inflation, high consumer Price index, falling share index, Low FDI and the fulfillment of anticipated social – Economic re-engineering benefits
What successive government lacks in focus, they have tried covering up through unparalleled high handedness thus closing the door against the creation of a buffer zone that could nurture participatory democracy. Every step taking by each administration preceding this day emaciates the strong belief held that we have men with inherent capacity and in-depth scope of understanding to pursue a greater Nigeria.
So much so, that our once great Nation is on the brink of falling apart. Incredibly, most Nigerians cant sleep due to the troubling climate of insensitivity and unproductiveness which now makes it almost impossible to have a meal per day with countless Nigerian youths putting their hopes now in Claro, Dongoyaro, Shepe, Monkey Tale and pool betting. The rate of devilish creativity are so much on the increase due to “NO JOB, NO MONEY” as men have become boys competing with their children for milk from their wives breast in a bid to be nourished when it is obvious that government can no longer fulfill her statutory duties of paying workers whose labour has kept Nigeria going
“WHY” because successive governments have fooled the populace with seemingly constructive but highly disconnecting approach to issues that has overtime endangered and crippled our state of independence. Freedom which Abiola “The Black Warrior: an African soldier represented is nowhere near. The economy which he was determined to grow is seriously falling down with respective intrigues that erodes the people’s hope and patience while the various dramas has made Nigeria a subject of social media Interpretation and misinterpretation, Global and Corporate Sarcasm evolving in our mockery by some international institution internal blame trading which directly undermines our government’s ability to truly pursue excellence in driving the Nation towards good governance and democratic responsibility.
23 years after Abiola’s demise, all Nigeria can celebrate is a movement from one realm of conflict and heated polity to social malaise, inconclusive federation, civilian gendarmes attacking innocent Nigerians here & there, military to civilian clashes, failed promises & propagandas, government impunity & overbearing character with no economic blueprint nor direction and an atmosphere of shrouded secrecy laced in deep myths that lacks the basic ethics for the survival of any nation,
The elites that survived the Abiola’s era refused to change the character of the Nigerian state by congregating highly competent process and policy machine comprising of a people of purpose across the political divide and Diaspora respectively who are willingly to serve the Nation without moratorium and put their practice and intellect to use for the common good of the Nigerian Project thus enabling methodological approach to solve the lingering Socio – Developmental crises in the Country
Without changing the character of the Nigerian state and allowing the principle of Creative emancipation and Collaborative Governance to henceforth guide our thought process, movement forward as a people will be very difficult. A Surgical operation that should be aimed at reducing the impact of past improper planning and coordination of our resources, developing institutional strategies & reforms, stimulate total re-alignment of our social economic policies & platforms, remodel our domestic & international business ethics and urgently revitalize our productive resources in other to build a strong coherent economically vibrant and sustainable agenda that is devoid of past mistakes. What this means is that a nation and government that is serious about belting a change must align strongly to the fundamentals of the strategy for a development technology, a very vital tool most nations who understand the business of governance have had to develop to the latter to assist them recreate and rebrand their common destiny by creating the needed focus for government intervention and positive growth. Embrace the culture of social democracy and fully understand the importance of ‘feasible profitability” in addressing the immediate and long time issues that confronts our nation
We must urgently forsake our delight in fundamentalism of all types and embrace political and economic liberalism with the countless opportunities it offers by enthroning socially responsible programmes devoid of ethnic or tribal egocentrism for the socio-economic freedom of Nigerians. It is obvious from event past that “The State of the Nation” call for serious carefulness and greater wisdom which was what Bashorun Abiola stood for in to make this great Nation of Nations a concluded federation
Only by having the capacity to look ahead and anticipate developments can a people and government truly prepare themselves adequately for new societal demands and democratic changes enabled with the strength to deliver through fast and precise anchoring of Strategic solutions which must entail practical tools such as ‘VISION-PLANNING-STRATEGY & INNOVATION”
The present government therefore need to initiate and design without delay an all inclusive and participatory baseline analytical formation as process facilitator to develop a vision identifying and assessing the strategic issues which affects the different strata of the Nation, Formulate strategies that puts the country back on the pedestal of greatness and the Institutionalization of commonsense economics through the engagement of practical and developmental Real, “Micro and Macro” Economic pursuits.
Perhaps just then, we might begin to reap the labours of our heroes past and only then will the sacrifices of June 12 become a reality
Biodun Popoola (Pastor is the Chairman of Labour Party in Lagos State.