• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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BusinessDay

A drift into chaos?

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Abimbola Agboluaje

Wherever you go in  Nigeria, the favourite topic of everyone is how the government of Nigeria, if it can still be called that, seems to be on vacation. Everyone has a different take on how and why, but even those who are most guilty of complicity in the imposition of the embarrassing immobility that we currently endure are wary of what may result from this upsetting non-governance.
People are saying that President Umaru Yar’Adua has moved from Baba Go-Slow to Baba Stand-still; that even the non-movement hasworsened. It is now degenerating from a stand still to a reverse gear. From his initial befuddlement, many argue, President Yar’Adua has become totally clueless about what to do with Nigeria. Yet, his inner caucus and hirelings, we hear, are getting ready to launch a second term bid for a man who is yet to come to terms with his first term.

President Shehu Shagari was as clueless as they come, Nigerians would now tell you. But, at least, he had a measure of flamboyance and his radiant face and two-storey cap excited the public. Once the man was able to inhale a measure of his favourite Benson and Hedges and puff some smoke into the air, you could trust him not to get in the way of some public project, even if subtended by rank corruption.
Others would draw the example of President Olusegun Obasanjo – which is most instructive of the Nigerian crisis; that is, when you limit this most sickening comparative game being played by Nigerians in their befuddlement about how to respond to this immobile embarrassment to its civilian antecedence. Those who compare the current president with Obasanjo would tell you that, at least, Obasanjo had a lot of motion, bulldozed his way around and reminded you constantly that the country had a president. Even his most unrepentant critics are now saying that despite Obasanjo’s lack of an egalitarian vision and personal incapacities, the man had a few stars in his cabinet and government, men and women who commanded respect and who gave a measure of hope to Nigerians.

Read Also: Buhari, as a father, should know better that brute force can’t end crisis – Obasanjo

In taking this route, Nigerians are largely reproducing the intellectual muddle that partly produced the calamitously unimpressive administration that we now have in place. The point is not that Obasanjo is better than Yar’Adua. Obasanjo, most cruelly and most diabolically, produced and imposed Yar’Adua on Nigeria. That is the issue. Comparing the Obasanjo administration to the Yar’Adua administration, for the avoidance of doubt, is a nauseating, indulgent drivel. The latter is a diabolical invention of the former. In his largely spiteful mind, Obasanjo conceived of an under-performing and ill-suited president whose term would be so embarrassing that Nigerians who conspired to deny him an illegal third term in office would regret their efforts and wish they had left him in power. You can almost hear the damned Ota farmer saying in his heavily (Egba) accented English, Sebi, you said I was not good enough, now enjoy this one!
He brought it on us. This is precisely what Obasanjo wanted. The present cluelessness that has masqueraded for a time as federal administration is the result of the escalation of Obasanjo’s diabolical ambitions. And whatever means of retribution or restitution is designed or emerges must involve a penalty for Olusegun Obasanjo.
They say morning tells the day, but for the present federal administration, it is already high noon. If we were wary of concluding about the day from the outlook of the morning, we would be foolish not to draw our conclusions by high noon. Despite Obasanjo’s complicity however, it is no longer sufficient to say this president was not prepared for, and did not seek, office until he was conscripted and then imposed on Nigerians. While preparation for office is critical for a clear vision and organized mission, at least there is a measure of performance that will be expected of any adult that wanders into office. Even if we agree that an organic incapacity for the organization of social progress will come with lack of preparation and the absence of vision and acuity, still a degree of even misdirected energy will be expected of a man given so much power and commanding so much resources. It is a big let-down for those of us who had assumed that the worst of Nigeria’s first university graduate president would be far better than the best of the hopelessly uneducated cretins who had hijacked power in the previous few decades.
Everywhere you look today, Nigeria is in a speedy drift into chaos. Electric power generation is in such a downward spiral that it has become an embarrassing exercise to note the current megawatts being generated. You can almost touch the darkness that has enveloped the country, both metaphorically and literally. Federal roads are in such a state of disrepair that every time you run the risk of being swallowed by the many craters on the roads, you mutter a curse or two under your breath for those who pretend to be in charge of the country. The education sector, even when ASUU is not on strike, has become such a shadow of its old self that, today, Nigeria cannot boast of even a single university that comes near the status and greatness of the University of Ibadan in 1970! The anti in the anti-corruption war is now an Auntie and some allege that her name in corruption!
What lies in the horizon?