Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Random thoughts on Nigeria...

(This was originally posted in February)
I cannot shake the feeling that I have shied away from writing about Nigeria for too long. I must make an excuse for myself, so I will say that I have felt overwhelmed in recent times. I use the word overwhelmed, because the evils that plague the nightmares of this sleeping giant are threatening to stifle its life force, by all means.

I say overwhelmed, because I feel as though we have been set the collective task of reclaiming every evil that escaped from the mythological Pandora’s Box and somehow forcing the box back down into the depths of Hades.

Where do I start from? So much has happened between my “For the Love of Nigeria” on the 1st of October and now, that it would take posts on end to summarize my hitherto flittering thoughts on happenings in Nigeria. From religious uprisings again in the North, to Mr. President going on indefinite sick leave; from a misguided fanatic trying to blow up a plane, to the Super Eagles conceding 3 goals to the Egyptians after starting the match in such wonderful form; in fact, our collective story would take ages to tell.
That we take such unpredictability in our stride, oftentimes without complaining, is a pointer to the courage and resilience that have become so much a part of us – and also an indicator of the cowardice that has its roots in the very fabric of our mentality. I am tired of the old courage versus cowardice argument, so could you just let me escape with that statement?

My thoughts seem to flutter from one point to the other, and I do not plan to weary you with a long article, so I’ll just talk about what seems to be common to all the random thoughts that have run through my mind.


We have a president who disappears from the country for upwards of 50 days – without offering a reason to the people who supposedly put him in power; who does not respect us enough as a people to directly address us on the reason for his unprecedented absence; who does not seem to realize that ultimate responsibility for his life – if he still has one – is in his hands – and not in the hand of a connected few who are bent on bringing our infantile democracy to its knees; and that the decision to resign is better taken now – if he still has breath - than never.

I cannot help but wonder why some people seem to love power more than life – like Yar’Adua does – or should that be did? How does Yar’Adua intend to stay in power without a life? Who is lying to this guy – and telling him he can continue as president - if he is still listening to their lies? Why is Yar’Adua living in a lie?

I cannot help but wonder when Nigeria will attain true federalism – if we ever will. Over time, I have observed that regional loyalties run deeper and stronger than any allegiance to a seemingly faraway and insensitive central government. That is to be expected, seeing that the prevalent cultural climate in Nigeria emphasizes a lot on the place of family connections and bonding. It is said that it takes a whole village to raise a child, what better place for the child to swear allegiance to than the village that makes him a man?
Except for the reason that our federalism is far from mature, why would some senile old men insist that Yar’Adua hand over to someone from the north – even when Mr. Vice President is obviously not northern? In the event that Yar’Adua resigns or even dies in office, does that mean that they expect Mr. Vice President to step down for some agent of the ‘Drag Nigeria Down Group’? And when exactly did we become so enamoured with this rotational presidency thing?

I wonder if it would not be better for us to try being a confederacy. I wonder if it would not be better for us to go back to the days when we had stronger regions and a weaker centre. I read about those days and marvel at pictures of the unending fields of cocoa which I can only experience in my imagination – because they no longer exist in the physical; I marvel at pyramids of groundnuts stretching across expanses of desert – now consigned to a past we seem so desperate to escape – but which continues to mock us with words unsaid. I wonder, I wonder, and I wonder.

From my perspective at the bows of this ship – compass in hand, I cannot but note that this ship has drifted for too long at the mercy of the whims and caprices of men who by all means do not deserve to hold the rudder in their hands. Lack of proactive and visionary leadership has made us into a state without direction.

It is said that to change the direction of a company, you change its leaders. What better way to change the direction of this country than to change her leaders? Is Fashola not enough example that a visionary leader can bring change to a country quite fast, no matter how incorrigible the people seem to be? Or shall the blind lead someone who is only just starting to see clearly?

2011 is just one year away, you remember? What are you waiting for? Take a stand against electoral fraud, in your own little way. Join marches, stay with your votes, make your voice heard, educate your family and friends, and beyond all of that – look for opportunities to make your vote count.

I rest my case.

1 comment:

  1. HI! It's been a long time i read your articles,couldn't get access to the internet. this article is great and we are expecting more from you. I know you have it in you. Saw that you are number 44 on the top 50 blogs in Nigeria, CONGRATULATIONS. Expecting you on the number 1 very soon.