Nigeria @60: Not A Time For Lamentation, Please

Nigeria at 60: The “Rivers Of Upheavals” Within

By: Martins Oloja

Thank God, it is Thursday, October 1, 2020. Thank God we can sing a redemption song that Nigeria is 60 today. The Queen herself whose cabal set us free 60 years ago has congratulated us. We can proclaim it on the mountain that: it is well with our dear country. And I am free to write according to the proportion of my knowledge.

Besides, we can tell our leaders they haven’t done well and they can’t arrest and detain us a day longer than necessary without consequences. It’s thanksgiving time that our democracy is though wobbly, it is growing slowly but steadily. I have a dream that one day when we are through with the 60 years of locusts, we shall take our position as the authentic leader of the black race as the iconic Nelson Mandela had envisaged. Madiba had told us before he flew away: ‘The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.

This is not a time of lamentation on the years that locusts have eaten. Lamentation hasn’t been and will never be a strategy to manage change. It is indeed a time to reflect on how to rise from the rubble the locusts have left us. It is time to find some architecture in our ruins. It is a time to reflect on how to retrieve some pearl we cast before a swine in 1966, 1983 up to May 28, 1999. It is a time of forgiveness to clear our heads for proper planning for our dear country. It is a time to appeal to the elders in the land that they should wake up from their deep slumber. The elders have dozed off for so long and the enemies have sown tares, yes tares that have under-developed us. We need to stop agonising so that we can organise and restructure Nigeria that Nelson Mandela identified as the only source of pride and confidence for the black people of the world! A former American envoy to Nigeria, John Campbell wrote a book that our country is ‘on the brink’. We do not need a John Campbell anymore to repeat that to us that our country needs a Nehemiah to rebuild our many broken walls.’ As we celebrate, we need to remind our greedy, careless and lazy leaders in Abuja and 36 state capitals that 2023 they are already plotting to dominate again may not come to them as envisaged if they do not face an urgent but credible project of nation-building.

At 60, one of the challenges we need to reflect upon is that our leaders at all levels hardly study classics and reflect to show themselves approved as workmen. They hardly plan to make history. And because our capricious power elite corps members have primitively accumulated enough wealth without work, they keep quiet about the state of anomie our leaders’ actions have triggered. Now as things appear to be falling apart, the dealers, sorry leaders who have been eating sour grapes since 1966 do not care a hoot that their children’s teeth are now set on edge. They came gingerly in 1966 with their deceptive correcting fluids. We were amused at their guile and we allowed them to stay. They ruined democracy and federalism. We were naïve. We hailed them – until 1999 again when they also sold to us another dummy called a “leader we can trust”. We trusted him from 1999 to 2003. And then he too saw our naivety and cognitive decline: he imposed an invalid he knew on us as a leader. What was worse, the man who wears nationalism as an emblem of strength and character got another white sepulchre to be the deputy to the very sick one. And the unprepared deputy had to be the leader later, no thanks to obnoxious ‘doctrine of necessity’ in a curious presidential system. And ‘doctrine of necessity years’ became the real years of locusts. But it came to pass that while we dozed off again, the man who sacked democracy in the wee hours of 1984 brandished his powerful weapon called integrity – that sent us to another sleep of death… Here we are today on October 1, 2020. Now we know better that after all, integrity can be massively overrated.

There is a sense in which we can say that democracy has been demonised by democrats in the country. Never in the history of democracy has a state been so run down and looted by those elected and hired to run it like Nigeria, our Nigeria. We should not be discouraged. We should call on those who would like to join the Nehemiah Band to rebuild this country from its rubble. And so here is the thing, we should organise to isolate all these dealers who masquerade as leaders especially since 1966. The younger ones who have tolerated the locusts thus far should not allow the destruction they have unleashed on this beautiful country to provoke us into break-up warfare. Yes, they don’t care if Nigeria comes to harm. We elected them to improve the economy, they looted the treasury and cried foul and set up anti-graft agencies to search and try only petty thieves. We elected them to improve education standard but they destroyed the schools and set up their own schools and universities with their loot that anti-corruption agencies can’t detect. We elected them to provide good roads. They are looting road infrastructure funds to buy private jets to fly over the bad roads. Nigerian wicked power elite knows that Nigeria can work, but not under them. The world powers to know that Nigeria can be great and become a big player on the world stage. The seven big men in suits (G-7 leaders) know enough to know that Nigeria has inestimable brainpower that can be harnessed to be one of the greatest powers on earth. They all know from White House though Kremlin to Whitehall that Nigeria is Africa’s Power House. They have not forgotten that it was Nigeria that (spoke for Africa) in January 1976 looked them in the face and told them point-blank, Africa has come of age…Yes, they know more than Mandela that Nigeria is the face of Africa and indeed the black race. That is why they can sell even deadly weapons to insurgents that can fast track Nigeria’s failure. Yes, in the main, I believe, that we do not need to break up before we can restructure to develop. Yes, we can emerge as a world power only if we can sacrifice to defeat the current wicked political class that continues to rule and ruin our efforts to get the world to respect Africa through Nigeria, yes Nigeria that can earn that respect as even the legend, Madiba saw it.

Epilogue: There is something worth celebrating: Something that gives me a flicker of hope that we will make it too. Hold your peace! It was within the last 60 years that we built a brand new capital Abuja, a Centre and Symbol of Unity our leaders are threatening to violate as a Centre of Unity. That too will experience a time of restoration. Let’s celebrate, please! It is 60 hearty cheers to our Dear Country, Nigeria.

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