Nigeria is far gone on a wrong road in many aspects of her life. It is not only statistics that proclaim this. Living evidences do so too. The issue here is not about the living standard or sundry economic indicators and social condition of living in the country. The existential foundation of the country is presently at grave risk.
Against the backdrop of escalating horrors of living in the country at the moment, the pithy title of Chinua Achebe’s last major book, ‘There was a country’ hits home with an unavoidable sense of loss. It is true that the past always has a romantic aura about it, but there can be no doubt that the present holds little joy for many Nigerians. For even middle-aged citizens, a nagging feeling of a paradise lost cannot but be. Nigeria!
Those who pretend and declare, in spite of glaring pains and retarding challenges, that Nigeria is making progress, definitely know, without doubt, that they are being less than honest. But then, such injudicious patriots hardly care. Propelled by self-serving interest that they mask in patriotism, such elements have their self-sustaining methods. They are often quick to brand any contrary views as unpatriotic and adversarial to the powers of the day. Thus, they constrict options and ideas that could have helped to broaden participation in governance. The cost of this tendency includes, but is not limited to the alienation of many who would have been useful stake holders in the common pursuit of a better society. There is hardly any administration that escapes falling into the grips of these injudicious patriots, some of who inhabit the corridors of power, while others operate out of it, but not too far from it.
The danger posed to a country that has missed its way, such as Nigeria, by the hordes of this shade of patriots is not just that they take the potentate hostage, it is their capacity to blur the vision for the future. They make it virtually impossible, in most cases, for a wayward vehicle of state in motion to be halted and subsequently reversed. The perilous state of Nigeria’s security at the moment owes a lot in its making to these injudicious patriots and their infantile sabre rattling.
There are many questions begging to be asked about how and where Nigeria totally lost its bearing. For sure, the damage was not done in one day. Nigeria, it can rightly be said, was not destroyed in one decade. As a matter of fact, the destruction remains a work in progress. But it needs to end. The course of the leviathan must, as of necessity be altered, before calls of ‘May Day’ set in
The 2023 general election presents Nigeria a very uncommon opportunity to attempt reversing a manifestly dangerous course that its ship of existence has taken. Let no one delude himself, the ship is going down and must be saved through grit and wise decisions. Bravado can resume when all is well again.
For the Nigerian, danger lurks around him every moment of the day, whether he is at home, on the road, in the train, on air, at work, in the church, at the farm, inside the army barracks, inside police barracks or even now at Aso Rock. When the terrorists a,k.a. bandits, who have been growing in might and audacity issued a threat over the weekend that they may yet abduct President Buhari and the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai, the reality of the desperate strait in which Nigeria has sailed into emerged in bolder relief for anyone who never appreciated the times.
Are the bandits bluffing? It will be extremely foolish for anyone to think so. It is not as if they have been far away, anyway. Afterall, they already had the insolent boldness to attack the President’s advance party on their way to his home in Daura, recently.
The bandits are quite strategic in their move to erode whatever the security structure of the country may be. They had successfully attacked the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna. They had once threatened even the movement of President Buhari by air. They had attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train earlier, killing some passengers and taking others hostage till date. They attacked and sacked Kuje Prison in the heart of Abuja, successfully setting free all the Boko Haram elements curiously kept in one prison. Now, if by threat or by warning shots, such as they fired at the President’s advance party in Katsina, the bandits succeed in pegging President Buhari in at Aso Sock and making Daura, his country home unattractive to him, they would have scored one more point against Nigeria.
In any case,the bandits are already having ball in Nigeria, literally speaking. While their multi-pronged assault on the country continues without let, one of them, a certified terrorist, Ado Aliero, officially declared wanted in Katsina State government, with a bounty of N5 million on his head, was honoured and turbaned in Yantodo Emirate of Zamfara State. The ceremony was attended by the Zamfara State commissioner for Internal Security and other officials of the State government. Interestingly, when there was public uproar about the honour, the Zamfara State government tossed a suspension at the emir, Aliyu Marafa. Ado Aliero was quoted puffing that he did not ask anybody for a title, it was offered to him and he had to think about it before accepting it. And why would Emir Aliyu Marafa do such a thing? Make no mistakes about it, the man is not a fool. He and his community needed peace with the bandit leader. The State cannot offer them protection any more. Yes, indeed.
So how did Nigeria come to this pass? It is not really a complicated journey. Or was it?
The root of the evil is deep; institutional inequity and injustice meted out across the land, disregard for order and the law, acts of indiscretion by governments and state functionaries through the years. The chicken finally came to roost.
Adewole Adebayo, lawyer and presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has an insightful perspective of Nigeria and where the rain started beating it. His summary and prescription for addressing Nigeria’s problem may seem simplistic, but it is indeed profound. All those contending for the presidency of Nigeria with him need to reflect on his thoughts,
This is how he put it,“Will there ever be peace in the land? Peace is a late-comer. Justice usually has to arrive first. Anyone searching for peace at all costs has probably taken advantage of somebody. No search for peace, however keen, has ever found peace. Do Justice and peace would come on its own”.
Nigeria may have gone off the track so badly and things may appear to have fallen apart (Chinua Achebe). If, however, the rare opportunity 2023 offers the country is not betrayed or undermined, Adewole Adebayo’s prescription points to a critical peg in any serious reconstruction initiative. That is if tomorrow comes.