BusinessDay

Nigeria’s trying times

Federalism is suitable for Nigeria owing to her heterogeneity. But not a few federal nation-states in our modern times had disintegrated. Think about Yugoslavia, USSR, Czechoslovakia, and others. Nigeria’s survival as well as her continued existence as one country till now is nothing short of a miracle. But is Nigeria not a cat with nine lives given the fact that she came out of a civil war, political conflicts, and sectarian violence not dismembered?

The 30-month Nigeria-Biafra gratuitous civil war, the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, and the President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s health crisis failed to cause the disintegration of Nigeria. In fact, when Nigeria got to the precipice, and people thought that she would bowl over, only then would she be brought back from the brink, miraculously.

Thankfully, representative government birthed in Nigeria again in 1999 after the military had maintained suffocating stranglehold on her, intermittently. Now, we have enjoyed twenty years of unbroken democratic governance, out of which the PDP had ruled for sixteen years. Surprisingly, and against the expectations of the international community, one political party handed power over to another without Nigeria descending into a civil war. That should be considered a milestone in our political annals as ethnic rivalry and religious intolerance underline and characterize interactions among the peoples of Nigeria.

And it should be noted that Dr Goodluck Jonathan entered the pantheon of the heroes of our democracy when he conceded defeat to Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 Presidential election before all the results were announced. His statesmanlike selfless and patriotic action doused the political tension in Nigeria, then. If he had clung to power, Nigeria would have erupted into a huge political conflagration. But Dr Jonathan said that his political ambition is not worth the blood and lives of his compatriots.

His successor, Muhammadu Buhari, rode to the highest political position in Nigeria on the coat tails of his ascetic nature, perceived moral probity, patriotic fervor, and zealousness for political leadership. But, sadly, his occupation of the office of the President of Nigeria has led to his demystification. The Buhari’s mystique has been unmasked and unraveled.

A geriatric national leader, his stay in office, so far, has proved to us that he lacks the mental, intellectual, and moral power to transform Nigeria to a truly great country. Not surprisingly, he failed to reinvigorate and diversify our economy to create jobs for millions of unemployed Nigerians. As a consequence, an army of vulnerable impressionable and unemployed young people had been recruited into the deadly Boko Haram group.

Today, the northeast is convulsing with the Boko Haram insurgency, which has caused the loss of human lives and destruction of properties. It created humanitarian crisis of great proportion in the area as the locals were dislodged from their homes. Worst still, the escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency has the potential of sparking off war in Nigeria, which can lead to the demise of our dear country.

But has the Federal government led by Muhammadu Buhari shown the political will to curb the Boko Haram insurgency? The answer blows in the air. But what is obvious to us is that he has appointed only northern Muslims into our top security apparatchik. And they have not been able to evolve strategic plans to check the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen’s menace.

The Fulani herdsmen, who have run amok, killing farmers and destroying farmlands, have wound proprietary hands round the presidency, as one of their own is the president of Nigeria. With AK-47 and other guns slung over their shoulders, they audaciously traverse the nook and cranny of Nigeria with their cattle. Yet, President Buhari has turned a blind eye to their dastard and sanguinary deeds.

President Buhari’s tendencies, despicable deeds, and clannish disposition to the act of political leadership have fuelled the speculation and theory that he is a sectional leader and inveterate ethnic chauvinist. And they’ve burst the bubble that he is imbued with nationalistic fervour and patriotic zeal.

If anything, his leadership of Nigeria has further deepened our ethnic and religious fissures. Little wonder, in the recent past, the proscribed IPOB secessionist organization increased the tempo of their agitation for the creation of the sovereign state of Biafra. IPOB members are still mouthing the platitudinous messages about the marginalization of the Igbo people in Nigeria. But has this current political administration not treated the people of the Southeast with condescension and disdain? Do we have federal presence in the area?

That’s why Ohaneze Ndigbo’s endorsement of Atiku/Obi’s political candidature is understandable. Buhari promised to effect changes in our body politic in diverse areas; however, the status quo ante has remained the same. Today, Nigeria is in dire straits with the economy in the doldrums. And the incubus of insecurity of life and property is threatening to tear Nigeria apart. Today, the apocalyptic cloud of disintegration hangs over Nigeria, ominously.

That’s why millions of Nigerians who are disillusioned and disenchanted with this political administration have thrown their weight behind Atiku/Obi’s political candidature. Mr. Peter Obi transformed Anambra when he was in the saddle as the Anambra state governor. Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, who do not have their heads in the clouds, promised to pursue the agenda of restructuring Nigeria in order to unleash her potential if they win the Presidential contest. Their pragmatic approach to issues of leadership has found resonance among us. Millions of Nigerians are tired of President Buhari’s lackluster performance in office.

Seeing that he is headed for an electoral disaster, President Buhari has gone for broke in his bid to win the 2019 Presidential election. His circumventing the constitution in his handling of the Justice Walter Onnoghen matter is a proof of his frustration and desperation to win the 2019 election at any cost. It is apparent to us that he is afraid that the Supreme Court headed by Justice Onnoghen will not give him favourable judgement, if the 2019 Presidential election becomes a subject of litigation. But he has made nonsense of the Badin and Montesquier’s theory of the separation of power in the process. Didn’t he disobey court judgments in the Dasuki and El-Zakyzaky issues, too?

Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari has morphed to a totalitarian state. This does not augur well for the political stability and development of Nigeria.

As it is now, Nigeria is regressing to the dark stage of the Sani Abacha’s era. Indeed, these are trying times for Nigeria and Nigerians. So, it behooves us to band together and chase this rascally reckless unaccountable APC -led government out of power.

 

 

Chiedu Uche Okoye

 

Okoye, a poet, wrote from Uruowulu- Obosi, Anambra State

 

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