By Sunny Ikhioya
IN life, the good always prevails over the bad, no matter how long it takes. That is why we have to be careful with the foundation we lay. The way out of Nigeria’s problem is a focused, unbiased leadership. You must always remember that somebody from another tribe, religion will be in charge one day and if your foundation is not laid properly, it will be uprooted.
In Nigeria today, some shortsighted people are playing god. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is a man some love and hate, depending on what side of the prism you view him. When all is said and done, he has had his day in the Presidency, a big opportunity to do great things for the country, but he fell short of expectations. That is why the issue of Nigeria’s nationhood still confronts this country.
But, life is like that; some people can criticise and find fault very quickly, but when given the opportunity, they cannot perform.
Criticism is a very important aspect of governance; not everybody can see beyond the surface, not everybody has the boldness to speak out truthfully what they have seen; and when you do not see the flaws in the society you live in, how will you make progress?
It is the critics that keep those in government on their toes and help to keep in check the vanities and hubris of men. So, whether you can criticise or can get things done, all is important for the society to move forward. In recent times, people are beginning to see genuine criticisms as affronts and sabotage to those in authority. Indeed they see criticism as “bad belle” induced. As a result, the cycle of bad governance has continues.
I am not a fan of Obasanjo, but let us be honest: his criticisms often touch on the jugular of our nation’s democracy and because of that, those in government do not find it funny. He may no longer be in government, but nobody can deny the fact that, out of government, he has assumed the role of the conscience of the nation. Obasanjo has attacked every single government that he has not been part of and every time he attacks, there are always people on the sideline whose interest he is representing. When those presently in government were in the opposition, they saw him as a “navigator and pathfinder”. Now, they see him as a busybody, while the opposition sees him as God-sent, a voice for the oppressed and a prophet heralding the days of sorrows that are to come if changes are not carried out.
Those who refuse to respond to criticism in good faith will never learn and if you do not learn, what will become of you? A government that is self-opinionated and do not allow contrary opinions will continue to operate in error.
It is not a matter of sabotage, it is simply the refusal to open our minds to alternatives; we are set on doing it the same way, all the time and we expect different results. Nigeria belongs to over 400 ethnic nationalities, but presently, it now seems as if everything is being done for one to have superiority over others; it is as if a recolonisation is taking place, albeit subtly.
There was a rumour that those in authority were trying to phase out Christian Religious Knowledge, CRK, from our school curricula. People thought it was a joke and there were pockets of resistance here and there. In the last JAMB examination, CRK was combined with other subjects to become one.
You are phasing out CRK, a moral instruction subject from the syllabus and you want to wipe out cultism from our schools? Another vacancy for the top most position at the Federal airport authority of Nigeria, FAAN and guess who got the appointment? Another Hausa/Fulani Muslim.
The top hierarchy of the NNPC management is now totally skewed towards one direction, same as the security and other Federal Government agencies. Herdsmen of the Fulani ethnic stock are still harassing the hell out of helpless citizens, yet some people are criticising Obasanjo for his “Fulanisation and Islamisation” comment?
There is a common feeling in the land that, if you are Fulani you can get away with anything. That possibly explains the brazen disregard for constituted authority and promotion of violence by the Miyetti Allah and other itinerant Fulani groups spread over the country.
They have left their stronghold in the North, penetrating into the South in droves, fully armed and occupying people’s farmlands. Nobody dares to say or do anything; even when their activities are brought to the knowledge of security agencies, no action is taken. That is why a Malian, Chadian or any foreigner of the Fulani stock, can come into the country without legal or valid papers and be involved in kidnapping and slaughtering of people at will.
When the people decide to organise self-defence groups to ward off these intruders, the vigilante groups are compromised and implicated. The security agencies even disarm them like it happened in Benue State.
The IPOB, MASSOB, Niger Delta insurgents are being dealt with decisively; why is it that when it comes to the herdsmen our security agencies are powerless? Our security agencies are handicapped when it comes to dealing with the herdsmen and as a result, the group has become more daring. People say that the Boko Haram group has transformed into small units that have infiltrated the land.
One of the victims of a recent kidnapping in the South West confirmed this in a video recording after his release. And that is the challenge of the Buhari administration. Unfortunately, people like the Kaduna State governor are worsening the situation through their extremely provocative policies and actions.
That is why the crises in the state do not seem to be abating. There is no way progress can be made in a nation when government adopts a one-sided position.
The nation-state is an agglomeration of multi- ethnic nations coming together willingly to pursue a common destiny, with the interest of all sides fully taken into consideration and respected. The situation is so bad now that even with top grades from reputable universities some people cannot get employment into some Federal Government agencies.
And, you want to continue like this and think you can build a nation state? The APC-controlled Federal Government with Muhammadu Buhari as president must take stock of its past performance as it begins its fresh tenure.
Some officials, such as Lai Mohammed, have already given themselves a pass mark, but the people know what the real score is. It is unfortunate that people are so marginalised in a country that they call their home; killed, brutalised and rendered homeless without any action taken against the perpetrators.
In this kind of situation, we can never be one and if we are not one, we can never make progress, that is the challenge for this administration in the next four years.