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By Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia
It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. – Martin Luther King Jr.
The words of Martin Luther King Jr. here above reproduced runs through the very essence of this piece, it goes to the very root of the 59years old infant called Nigeria, it spells our spell with a generation of rudderless ‘leaders’ and defines a people who are happy in darkness.
Can a nation be just, equitable, and fair without the enabling structural and foundational paradigms? Can a nation prosper and progress without a transformational policy programmatic? And can a nation breed a loving and peaceful citizenry without penance, forgiveness, and without genuinely atoning for the atrocities, wickedness and injustice that liter her space? How can our nation lift herself with her bootstraps, when indeed she is bootless?
I resisted the urge to do a piece on the 9/11 Ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal PEPT, for several reasons, chief amongst which is the consistent question that troubles the carapace of my mind, to wit, ‘why are we where we are?’ Why is our politics primitive, and our political operators egocentric? Why do we have a ‘winner takes it all’ mentality, such that vilifies and alienates the opposition? Why do we not have a proactive and prolific national growth agenda? And what is the vision of the Nigerian State?
Just before I decided not to dwell on what transpired at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal PEPT on September 11, 2019, I had written a widely circulated piece a day earlier captioned COMETH THE MOMENT, COMETH THE MAN… where I challenged the Learned Judges to do justice, and ensure that justice is not only done, but manifestly seen as done. In their wisdom, they have done justice, whether it is manifestly so, is not the challenge of this piece. And whether the Supreme Court will rule otherwise, should Atiku Abubakar and his Legal Team approach the apex Court with an appeal against the unanimous ruling of the PEPT, is not the cross of this piece either.
I remember throwing out a few lines just before the final judgment was delivered by the PEPT, may I humbly reproduce those lines here. And this was what I said, “BREAKING…The Search party of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal just found Buhari’s missing Certificates. Indeed the archeologists attached to the Tribunal dug up the missing certificates between the hours 2:00 and 3:00pm on September 11, 2019. Nigeria We Hail Thee. – Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr.” After sending out the above words, the STILL VOICE that directs my sojourn and mission, ruptured a cord in me, still healing, I have fought ceaselessly within the past 48hours to understand why I had to turn down two prime TV schedules on the Judgment.
But I must present to you the 20 questions that kept me a bit sane, hoping that leaders and followers alike will congregate at the parlour where we must aggregate a redemptive programmatic for a nation in a parlous state. Indeed Countrymen and women, all hope is not lost, but we must do the needful, and the time to do so, is now.
Let’s grapple with the questions together, my apologies for presenting them randomly…
- Has the Nigerian State been fair to her citizens since the end of the first republic?
- Can a nation governed with unjust Laws grow a disciplined and civilised citizenry?
- Why do you expect Judges to be un-Nigerian, has the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal ever been fair to a Petitioner? How do you expect justice, when the Country is manifestly unjust?
- When your Constitution is a lie, how do you expect the truth? Is the Constitution not long overdue for a holistic rework?
- Where you claim to be a Federal Republic and you run a quasi unitary system, how can Nigeria be fair, just and equitable?
- When the State and her political operators kill, maim and decapitate lives and limbs to sustain an unjust super structure, how on earth do you expect peace and security to blossom?
- How can a State that seizes the resources of her component parts prosper? Can growth come from a rent-taking and rent-seeking culture superintended by a meddlesome Federal Government?
- For what reason do you have States that cannot control their resources?
- Why do you claim to run a secular State, whereas the Constitution recognises one religion and her Legal system without the mention of others? Can nepotism and falsehood breed truth and brotherhood?
- Why does ethnicity and religion determine the tilt of the Nigerian debate?
- Will the Judges of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal be different from the nuances that pervade a nation that is hypocritical and false on every score?
- Why do we think that Nigeria can grow and prosper without righting her deep structural and foundational flaws? Does a people not reap what they sow?
- Why does Nigeria grow vile, vain, selfish, soulless, wicked and thieving ‘leaders’, and why are the followers consistently defending the rot from ethnic, religious, regional and partisan prisms?
- Why are the citizens including PDP and APC apologists and irredentists not alarmed that over 2.5billion naira was budgeted for the electronic protocols of INEC, and after the appropriation and disbursement of the said funds, INEC boldly says it didn’t use the facility. Why is the question more about the APC/Buhari interest and the PDP/Atiku interest, than about what INEC did with tax payers money? Why does partisanship come before patriotism? Why are some happily saying that the law does not recognise the electronic transmission of results and not querying why funds where budgeted and released for same? What happened to us?
- Had the PDP when it was in power for 16years restructured Nigeria, and allowed for the independence of the Judiciary and INEC, by divesting the Executive of the power to appoint the Head of the Judiciary and the Chairman of INEC; had devolution of power and resource control come into force; and had Federal Control/Power become less attractive, would things not be different?
- Why are States unable to develop, to build modern infrastructure, and why are they struggling to pay salaries? If you believe that a meddlesome and cumbersome Federal government can fix Nigeria, why don’t you believe that Nigeria will do better should States control their resources? At least the regions were the bastion of growth, progress and prosperity in the First Republic.
- Why is our electoral process getting worse instead of better? Where and how did we get all wrong?
- Why does governments across board thrive on deceit, perfidy and mendacity? Why is every new government adjudged worse and more corrupt than the predecessor?
- Why do we stretch the Stockholm Syndrome to benumbing heights, that we do not only defend our oppressors but are ready to die for the government thief of our creed/religion/faith and the villain from our clan/tribe/region? Why does ‘integrity’ now wear ethnic, religious and partisan robes?
- And why do we shamelessly profile crime and criminals such that we indulge in the very low debate of which tribe or ethnicity predominate crime sheets?
How did we get to this awful low? Why do we defend political parties and political operators to the detriment of the collective good? Why are we constantly obsessed with regime change rather than system change? Must we not fix our structural and foundational flaws first? Can you build something on nothing? Can you lift yourself with your bootstraps if you have no boot? Grapple deeply with these questions as we walk the path to the Isles of Redemption, for only when the needful is done, can Nigeria become great again.
TO BE CONT’D.
Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr
Convener COUNTRYFIRST MOVT.