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By Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
The first part of this series ruffled not a few feathers, it got partisans fuming, interestingly it got both the APC and PDP irredentists wondering where my loyalty lies, but to the discerning it is without an ounce of equivocation lucid that what drives and nudges my interventions on national issues are patriotism and love for Country. I do not take hostages nor do I spare fools gladly.
For too long have we fought and criticized leadership such that every successive ‘leader’ is scored worse than the one before him/her. Since the brutal genocidal civil war ended, no ‘leader’ in this Country has been adjudged better than his/her predecessor. The only one that seemed to have altered that cycle, albeit debatable, was too short to be scored on the infrastructural and policy programmatic of his watch, and that was Murtala Mohammed.
It is heartrending to note that leadership and national growth have been on the reverse trajectory basically. Nations that fared worse than Nigeria in the 70s and the 80s have since left us behind, far behind.
Do you know that in the 70s and in the very early part of the 80s, Nigerians traveled Visa free to the UK and most part of the world? Do you know that about the same period the Naira, our national currency was of higher value than the British Pound and the US Dollar? Do you know that the Nigerian Airways and the Nigerian Shipping Line were amongst the best in the world? You can remember so many of the glories lost, and ask… What happened? Why are we where we are, and why does our problems seem intractable?
Folks, somewhere I read that if the foundation be faulty/destroyed, what can the righteous do? Somewhere I read that the blood of Abel, like every innocent blood spilled, cries for vengeance. Somewhere I read that those who deal wickedly with the covenant (of God, and of leadership) are often given to flattery (court jesting and praise singing). Such is the tragedy of now, it is so bad that those who should know are so blind they can’t see. The so-called men/women of God, the Imams, the Charismatic/Pentecostal and the Orthodox Clergy in Nigeria are so engaged with religious mercantilism that they cannot see.
Like someone with a Messianic call, I have since I was 18 been talking and calling out successive ‘leaders’ to walk the path of genuine national penance, atonement, forgiveness and restructuring, such that must unlock the waters of peace centred on justice, equity, and fairness, but partisans and their religious praise singers have refused to incline their heart and ears to wisdom. Seeing they have refused to perceive, and hearing they have refused to understand. I fear the horror that lies beneath, if the needful is not done now, and quickly.
Countrymen and women, the darkness that hangs over Nigeria is getting deeper and darker by the day. Like everything human it will either implode or explode in the negative, or berth a glorious dawn. The choice is ours. But I sincerely pray and hope that this darkness births and the berths the glorious dawn, for somewhere I read that the darkest point of the night is closest to dawn, and only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. I pray that we see beyond the blinding scaffolds of political opportunism, partisan obscurantism and religious mercantilism. Nigeria is sitting precariously at the precipice, an urgent and redemptive overhaul is long overdue.
I promised to make each part of this series short and reader friendly so we can grapple with the urgency of now, please ruminate on the 10 posers below and wait for the sequel…
- How come a nation that prospered in the First Republic is so disorganized that today State Operators hail themselves for paying salary and pensions?
- Why was Muritala Mohammed who appeared sincerely committed to anti-corruption and African Renaissance killed in a failed coup, before you hurry into the conspiracy of the West, research into the 1968 Asaba Genocidal Massacre during the Civil War, and find out who led it? And look through your Holy Books for wisdom. Are you thinking?
- What’s happening today in Taraba and Plateau States, the home States of Danjuma and Yakubu Gowon otherwise home to urbane and predominantly peace loving Christians and Muslims, ask Gowon and Danjuma what they did in July 1966 and throughout the period of the genocidal 30months Civil War, have you wondered why Danjuma spoke out recently regarding his role in the 1966 July coup, which gave imprimatur to the pogrom in the North and the senseless bloodletting that led to the Civil in 1967. Are you thinking?
- Visit Onitsha and Okpanam and ask after the families of Ifeajuna and Nzeogwu, and remember the January 1966 putsch. It may get you thinking too.
- Wonder why the Traditional Leader of the incumbent President could be kidnapped and held for months before his release, and why the home state of the President is under siege by bandits? Do you think it is the handiwork of haters? Have you forgotten we all reap what we sow? Ask Citizen Buhari about the role he has played in the many bloodletting that liters the Nigerian space both as a Soldier and in retirement? Are you thinking?
- Ask Babangida what came over him, and what made him bungle what would have been his greatest legacy, yes, why did he annul the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history, the June 12, election? Are you think? I’m sure he will open up some more after reading this piece.
- Ask former President Obasanjo what God told him in Prison, and why he got a second chance at life and the Presidency, and why he constituted the Reconciliation Committee, The OPUTA PANEL fondly called after its Chairman, the Late Chukwudifu Oputa JSC, ask him why he chose an Igbo to chair it, representing the people with the greatest scar of the civil war, and ask him why he did not pursue the process through? Are you thinking? He understands what I am talking about, and I guess the deep does.
- Ask Dr Reuben Abati what informed his piece on the Ghosts in Aso Rock, and the tragedies that has befallen the occupants, and continues to, from ill health to death, from Memory loss to impunity, and the cycle continues, and ask President Buhari why it took him almost 2months to move into the Aso Rock Villa in 2015 after his swearing in? Are you thinking? Everyone sincere political operator that has lived there, and those who are yet there, knows what I’m talking about.
- Have you wondered why the Country with the largest population in Africa, indeed the most populous black nation in the world, and amongst the largest travellers in the planet, does not have a functional Shipping Line and Airline? Whereas smaller nations make huge profit from such ventures. Do you wonder why one of the largest Oil Producing nations in the world does not have a befitting refinery? Do you wonder why we import what we can easily produce, and why we hate ourselves so much? Do you wonder why ethnicity and religion blinds us so much so that we defend criminals of our own tribe, descending so low that we forget that crime is crime, and must be condemned indiscriminate of the tribe or the religion of the culprit.
- Do you wonder why we blame corruption and leadership for the sink in the nadir, and still appear unable to rupture the vicious cycle of corruption and bad leadership? Have you thought about the increase in villainy, banditry, terror and violent crime from one administration to another, such that our search for a workable and working union appear distant and almost impossible? Have you wondered why we continue to lazily blame our colonial masters whereas other nations so colonized have since moved on? Have you sincerely wondered why we are about the most religious nation in the world with the most Godless people? Are you thinking?
Indeed until we do the needful, a thousand regime change will amount to the proverbial ‘waiting for Godot.’ This nation must like every nation that has treated its own unjustly and wickedly, right her many wrongs before it can prosper; and this Country must like every Country that spilled the innocent blood of its citizens, children, women, men and the old, walk the path of penance, forgiveness and must indemnify her gross atrocities, before it can attain national growth, development and harmony. As a nation we sowed wild bean, and the harvest of inching and rashes will continue until the needful is done. But Compatriots, all hope is not lost, I know what we must do, I know the door, and I am urging leadership to the doorway, come let’s open the door of redemption, come let’s open the door of forgiveness, come let’s open the door of justice, of fairness, of equity, of love, of brotherhood, and of peace. And come let’s make real the promises of a better, a prosperous and a united Nigeria.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr
Convener COUNTRYFIRST MOVT.