By Ebun Sessou & Abasifiok Johnson
THE book, Reversing the rot in Nigeria… A critical expose on Nigeria’s economic, religious and political problems, is authored by Olusegun Olatunde Oyegbami, a graduate of English Language from the University of Ibadan between 1972 and 1975 as a National Award scholar. He majored in English Language under Dr. (now Prof. Emeritus) Ayo Banjo. Oyebami, in this book, mirrors the past, the present and the future of the country.
Nigeria has been variously described in unflattering terms as ‘the giant with the feet of clay,’ ‘the grown up man still wearing diapers,’ and its people as ‘the wasted generation.’ These sum up the glaring fact that the country has underperformed on all positive indices of material development given the huge human potentials and the natural resources available to it over the years. Beyond generalisations of bad leadership, excessive corruption, tribalism and such, this book probes further and identifies the particular swings, policy decisions, actions and in-actions that have brought the nation to the nadir of human existence.
This is a book that brings into the consciousness of Nigerians the rot, stagnancy and the worst leadership the country has suffered over the years. It is this lack of nobility of spirit, a deficit of humanism, and the poverty of the intellect even among the highly educated, that has spawned deliberate misgoverning of the country in the usage of skewed, unfair and ultimately fraudulent policies to line the pockets of the administrators.
Readers will not be disappointed as each chapter explains how the country has suffered in the hands of bad leaders. The book is timely and needful especially now that the general elections are approaching. It is divided into seven chapters.
In Chapter one: Covenant partnership and sundry issues (An open letter to Pastor E.A Adeboye, General Overseer, RCCG reveals the writer’s view on the decadence in the religious setting as far as Covenant Partnership, CP, is concerned. “CP may foster corruption because people are being mesmerized, induced or procured into ‘giving to the house of God.’ It is prosperity preaching at its most decadent because the man of God is aware of his immense influence on the minds of the hapless populace. If there is criminality behind the source of the money, the receiver is to be deemed guilty by association,” the author writes.
Chapter two: The Discourse –The Siamese twins of corruption and organised religion speaks on the relationship between the religious setting and the political arena. The author summarized that unfortunatelyand paradoxically, religion, as exemplified by the church and the mosque, is at the heart of corruption in the world. The progress humanity has made over the centuries has been mostly in spite of organised religion, rather than because of it. Nowhere is this destructive symbiosis or Siamese twin relationship of religion and corrupt better appreciated than in our dear fatherland, Nigeria.
The corruption being foisted on us by religion, which provides a major backbone or sinew for our rapacious politics, is one of the major threats to our survival as a nation-state.
Chapter three asks Why kerosene is perennially scarce. It points out that since kerosene is a hydrocarbon derivative extracted from crude oil produced via the same distillation process as petrol of all grades, diesel and oil amongst other products, it is safe to assume that there is nothing intrinsic in kerosene that should render it scarce.
The scarcity of kerosene has to do with the way the product is sourced, priced and distributed in the market within the policy guidelines of the Nigerian government. Switching cooking energy sources from traditional items like firewood, coal, animal dung, palm kernel by-products, to kerosene is cleaner, more civilised and in tune with the urbanisation of the Nigerian society. To run the country under the current template is to continue our free fall into the abyss of despair, destruction, disintegration and dissolution into a failed state.
There are questions about when that fatal step which led the country to the present doom was taken. The answers provided in the book reveal it was when the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF Decree was promulgated and all the procedures and processes surrounding it commenced. That time was 1973, and it marked the commencement of Nigeria’s doom.
Chapter five, Food for thought, reflects the disconcerting situation which has certainly not been helped by the fact that the colonial governments and the missionaries that brought Western education, for different reasons, de-emphasized liberal arts in the educational curricula for the Africans.
Chapter Six is on the fuel subsidy debate. Nobody is talking of probing the PEF, says the author. There is a conspiracy of silence over its existence and operations.
The last chapter deals with Buhari’s hysteria and the unfolding disappointment. If a country cannot permanently solve the critical problem like petroleum products supply and distribution for such a long duration, the author argues, then that country does not deserve the respect of the rest of the civilised world. It must be doing something fundamentally wrong and the leaders should take the full flak for such a glaring failure.