THESE are very bad times for Nigeria ; food scarcity, empty treasury, mass unemployment, terrible insecurity, and mass discontent and disillusionment.
But this is no longer time for blame game or helpless lamentations.
Buhari inherited a ruined state, but the situation was not particularly different from the US which Obama inherited; a dilapidated US left by the blundering, bungling, brutish and brainless Bush.
But Obama quickly set to straighten the economy by pumping money into vital areas of the economy including massive printing of currency [US is notorious for printing her currency to meet shortfalls in critical periods.] Within two years the US economy picked up and hundreds of thousands of jobs were created and consumer confidence was restored.
Unfortunately for Nigeria , other more dangerous challenges sprang up in droves.
We are in dire straits: Boko Haram is still very much alive with its murderous guerrilla war fare, the AK47 wielding herdsmen are in murderous rampage across the country, the Delta Avengers are up in arms to destroy whatever is left of the tottering economy, and MASSOB militants are desperate to create a country out of the country at all costs. This is not the time for conventional approach to governance.
Something serious is happening and something more serious and calamitous is about to happen if serious care is not taken. Nigerians should not continue to live in denial and pretend not to know that the house is about to collapse on their heads. It is not time for meaningless and half hearted prayers.
If Nigerians want to know, God, or whatever they choose to call the Supreme Essence is tired of Nigeria. The Deity they are all calling upon is fed up with a people who are not appreciative of the enormous blessings thrown at their doorstep.
Every Nigerian is quick to blame the country’s woes on failure of leadership forgetting to realise and admit that each and every one of us is the leader we are pointing accusing finger at. In our homes, our schools, our neighbourhoods, in our places of work, we are all leaders in varying degrees. And all of us without exceptions have failed woefully to discharge our responsibilities in the little corners where leadership has been thrust upon us. This is perhaps a conversation to be reserved for another day.
For now, let our President, El-Hadj Muhammadu Buhari accept the fact that whatever happens to this country in the weeks and months ahead will be what his legacy will be judged by. An immediate solution must be found to the myriad of problems choking this country to near death.
For this writer, it is the credible possibility of war, bloody war, which will consume this country, tear it into pieces and scatter Nigerians over the whole of Africa and beyond that must be tackled and prevented. The herdsmen terrorising the whole country are enough to provoke a war. The Delta Avengers and their secessionist threats can snowball into a war more devastating than the gruesome Biafra massacre. The MASSOB is already at war except we fail to decipher the signals. Can Nigeria afford war at this time? Do we have money, resources and other logistics to prosecute a war? Do we have the stomach for another war having not really completely healed the wounds of the Biafra ghost?
There are bitter facts we must face even if the Federal Government and Intelligence agencies are living in self denial. Do we have a federal Military like we had pre-1966? Is the Nigerian military not seriously fragmented, factionalised and demoralised? Have the notorious Nigerian politicians not politicised and demystified our military?
I am not afraid to declare that any multiethnic, multi religious, multi cultural country can be broken into pieces within 3 weeks by trained strategists. This is a fact borne out by history and experience! Must Nigeria allow that kind of tragedy to befall her?
I love the size of this country. I wish it can actualise her destiny and remain big and strong. But can it survive under the crushing weight of injustice, inequity, double standards and inequalities? Must and can the over 300 ethnic nationalities remain in a marriage where deficiencies cry to high heavens?
The federal government must bend to prevent Nigeria from breaking into pieces.
And what are the steps to take? All the present agitators have one complaint or the other. What are these complaints? Can the complaints be looked into? Or should we continue to sweep the complaints under the carpet?
All the agitators have elders in their communities. They have religious leaders and they have their traditional rulers and leaders of thought. Can the federal government as a matter of crucial and critical urgency engage all these traditional institutions in dialogue?
If people are demanding community policing and state police is it too difficult to bend a little to accommodate such a demand? If people feel neglected and marginalised, can there be immediate steps to take to give some assurance to the agitators? If some agitators genuinely believe that their God-given resources are being stolen and recklessly misappropriated by outsiders, is there nothing the government can do immediately to rectify such ills? If the flaws in the Constitution must be removed, can they not be removed? A leader is not assessed by what he or she achieves in peace time. True test of leadership is the accomplishment in very difficult times.
President Buhari should assemble leaders of thought across the country immediately and commence strategic dialogue at dousing the fire about to engulf this country. Call a meeting of traditional rulers. Call a meeting of professionals and the academia. Invite business and industrial moguls who can be turned into refugees at the twinkle of an eye to a round table in Abuja .
What can save this country currently on the precipice is not gun fire but calculated diplomacy and appeasement. If anybody thinks that fire for fire will stop those who are not afraid to die, such a person does not wish this country well. Any war entered into today may drag for longer than 5 years with its all embracing calamities.
Nigeria of today is quite different from Nigeria of 1966. The world has changed. Technology and telecommunications have redefined the world. Whoever believes that the method of 1966 is the method required to solve the problems of this computer age must be living in a fool’s paradise.
Nigerians may appear too preoccupied with their unpaid salaries and too hungry to worry about tomorrow but the greater calamity that war would bring on their heads should be a more serious concern for worry.