• Monday, July 22, 2024
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2015, 2016 and January winds (2)


Last week, we examined the industrial action by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU). Among other things, we highlighted the distortions and contradictions in the Federal Government’s policy. This policy impelled the union to call out its members on strike. Today, we will conclude this aspect, and subsequently move on to examine other issues which have made the transition from 2015 to 2016. Such issues as we will see include the Biafran phenomenon, the oil gridlock and the peaceful change of power between Jonathan on one hand and Buhari on the other.

As regards the SSANU strike, the Federal Government should not allow the issue to linger and fester. All things considered, the government’s legal and moral platforms are very weak. What is particularly worrying to this writer is the instability which will be inflicted on our university system again. This, I believe, should be avoided at all costs. Luckily and at least for now, the two parties are talking to each other. This dialogue should be sustained until the logjam is broken.

And talking of instability brings to mind that rather rare moment in our besieged polity. At that point in time and contrary to the usual run of things, former President Jonathan conceded defeat to Muhammadu Buhari. It was quite a moment. But even then, and as such moments go, it has turned out to be euphoric. It is a euphoria which has lived up to its classic billing since the delirium is over. We are now faced with what the locusts of the Jonathan administration did to this ravaged country. Each new day reveals new lows – lows which make you to wonder whether these characters were sent from outer space to ravage and rape this country. And as such matters go, a close look at these alleged villains and felons  reveals that at one time or the other, most of the characters in the Dasuki-gate have been vested with one national honour or the other. The omniscient observer is likely to say: So much for honour in a land that is reeking with dishonour and ignominy!

Which is why you do not really have to possess a fertile imagination to translate these national-honour acronyms along the following lines: CON = Conman of Nigeria; GCON = Grand Conman of Nigeria; GCFR = Grand Conman of the Federal Republic; and for good measure, MFR could well be Monster of the Federal Republic.

Dear reader, without a dose of humour like this, it is perfectly possible to lose one’s mind. And as if to worsen matters, external variables appear to be deepening our woes. This has come in the form of the sliding oil prices which continue to pummel the naira – an inclement situation which will certainly deepen the misery in the land.

But this dismal fate is not destiny. It was clearly avoidable. Other countries with natural resources have been able to sidestep what is widely known as the resource-curse. Social formations which come to mind here are Botswana and Norway. The latter situation is particularly telling. While the oil bonanza lasted, Norway stowed its money away and kept its diversified economy intact.

But what did Nigerian leaders do? They went on a spending spree – a spree which has hallmarked what passes for governance from 1960 till date. The more unfortunate thing is that each successive government has outdone the previous one as regards the mindless capacity to plunder the treasury.

It is arguable that the immediate foregoing may well be the catalyst as regards the resurgence of the Biafra phenomenon. This is because a close look at this resurgence reveals that youths in that part of the country are simply crying out for a better life. And this is why it not far-fetched to contend that the Biafra spirit resides in every part of this plundered country. Incidentally, what is being said here is not original. It has been eloquently conveyed by another columnist, Obi Nwankama, in the Vanguard newspaper. In other words, successive failures of leadership have essentially brought us to the current sorry pass which goes by the name of Biafra.

And in these times, particularly in January, we are reminded once more about a decisive event which attempted in its own way to stem the failure of leadership in Nigeria. Our specific reference here is to the coup of January 15, 1966. But then, in a diverse polity like ours, various interpretations have been given to this definitive moment in our national history. Such diverse and even opposing perspectives are even in the literature. For instance, consider these two different and opposing books: (i) Why We Struck, (ii) Why They Struck.

Irrespective of the different positions, very few will disagree with these ringing words from one of the coup makers: “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high places that seek bribes, those that seek to keep the country permanently divided, so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotistic, those that make the country look big for nothing in international circles…”

There is really nothing more to add. Not quite, however. The Nigerian ruling (ruining) class, since these words were uttered, have since become more brazen; so brazen that they can no longer be described as 10-percenters. Rather, they gobble up the whole thing. And the clearest evidence of this mindless pillage can be seen in the fact that Dasuki-gate is a mere portal. When other portals of our public life are opened, the same sickening or perhaps worse situation will be seen.

Kayode Soremekun