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Our politicians are on the match again. The same positioning, alignments and re-alignments that took place seven years ago and gave some of us false hope that things were about to change, is taking place again.
Our countrymen are dishing out cheques for one hundred million naira as if they are buying akara. I just did a small calculation. It will take a Nigerian citizen earning the government approved national minimum wage of N30,000 every month, 278 years to earn one hundred million naira! If the average head of a Nigerian family stays in employment at that wage for 50 unbroken years, it would take more than five generations of the family to earn this amount being spent just to buy election forms. Is this not insanity?!
Our big political parties are suddenly in a state of flux. Everyone is scheming. What I see is everyone positioning to acquire power. What I do not see is what they want to do for Nigerians with the power they acquire. You cannot help but feel that everyone is trying to position his bucket under the national money tap so that the commonwealth will be guzzling into their buckets. When you spend one hundred million naira to buy election form and many-many more hundreds of millions for primaries and campaigns, how in hell, do you recover the money? The entire thing is so transactional, it gives me headache.
I am desperate to see someone with clarity of purpose and a well thought out long-term plan to make this country competitive with the rest of the world. Have you noticed that after our struggle to stop being a British colony, we have now with open hands accepted to become a Chinese colony? The Chinese are now funding and building our railway, airports, roadways and everything else! With the huge interest they have in Nigeria, do you think they will fold their hands and let just anyone become the President of Nigeria? How are we sure they are not also funding our politics?
Nigerians can’t wait for the present government to go away. They are praying and wishing that the calamity of the last seven years will not happen again. Have I seen anything to suggest that it would not happen again? No! Have I seen anything to say that our rabid embrace of ancient, village, ethnic religious values have waned? No! Is there anything to show that the poverty of the mind that pushes us to crudely acquire more wealth than we will ever need, is gone? Certainly, no! Have we learnt that injustice and evil done to one of us is injustice and evil done to all of us? Not at all. Have we realised that we will all die someday and that we can never build a great nation for our children if we remain cowards perpetually gripped by fear without the conviction to fight evil and frontally support that which is right? I am not sure.
During the week, I received many messages congratulating me on the recent victories of COSON and myself in our courts. Very few have any idea the hell I have had to go through till those victories came our way. Many of those I thought were dear friends abandoned me because they think that I am suicidal to challenge evil. I have had to protest on the streets of Nigeria for a court of law to hear my case and deliver sound and unimpeachable judgment. I know that it is not yet Uhuru because evil never sleeps and there are still many rivers to cross but I drive on a full tank of faith and restate that I will not stand to attention and salute a cow because of its size.
“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” so declared the former army general on the day he was inaugurated as the democratically elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To me, those words are the most memorable words ever spoken by Muhammadu Buhari. Those words were his contract with the Nigerian people. They were expected to set up the moral compass for a presidency many hoped would attack the lack of moral compass in the way Nigeria has been run.
A major part of the crisis that the Nigerian nation has faced since Buhari assumed power is that there are many in the country who believe that despite Buhari’s words, he does not belong to them. That has been underlined by those who by their actions and body language tell you that Buhari does not belong to you but to them and them alone. These people believe that they are ‘the inheritors’ of the Buhari mandate and the inheritors behave like they are conquerors of the Nigerian nation and that they are entitled to the booty for their conquest. They are not bound by the rule of law or empathy or consideration for anyone else.
In Abuja, I have repeatedly encountered this behavior. These are the people who have destroyed the Buhari brand. A lot of the institutions that ought to be the pillars of our nation have been rendered unrecognisable by them. Buhari who was expected to be a very strong president may end up being the weakest we have ever had as so much that will take many years to fix has been done in his name.
While the President fights those he may consider his enemies, his biggest enemies are those he had considered his loyalists. They have chased away his true loyalists – those who are not politicians and are not looking forward to any appointments or contracts. These people cannot understand what happened to the man they believed in and trusted. Several of them are close friends of mine. They have fled from the man and lost faith in the Nigerian project under him.
If we truly want a great nation, we must look at what is happening in the nation of Ukraine. Just see how young people are giving up their lives to bequeath for generations a nation with respect and dignity. When will Nigerians internalise the fact that no great nation in human history has been built by cowards? Many rivers to cross.
See you next week.