The biggest lie ever told is that Nigeria belongs to a clique. No individual or group owns this country. To even hold such a depraved view in a free society like ours is like living under the illusion that white is black. That we are still discussing ownership of Nigeria, such an awful topic today, is because we live in the worst of seasons. But the question is: what is the contribution of those who say they own Nigeria? Is their claim and arrogance based on the belief of superior education, abundant resources, geography, skills, advancement, rich culture or capacity? Those who contrived that criminal superiority agenda many years ago for personal gains are already stranded; this is gratifying.
The youth of today, I mean the courageous drivers of ENDSARS movement are challenging Nigeria’s thoughtless rulers and the rest of us. They are also trying to secure their future by demystifying development and governance. So, there is fear in high places.
Nobody expected heroism from these “lazy youths” we genially call Indomie children because of their exceptional happy-go-lucky spirit. If you go to Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos for instance, you will marvel at their impatience, organizational skills, discipline, use of technology and courage. That is why everyone is now in panic mode. The truth is that these guys have read and travelled widely. They also broke taboos and engaged meaningfully with their peers from other parts of our country. Now, older Nigerians, including those in power are in a state of shock!
Frantz Fanon, the great French West Indian psychiatrist and political philosopher says in The Wretched of the Earth that “every generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it in relative opacity”. This is the challenge that faces the youth and other Nigerians at home and abroad today.
After all, to rule over a place or a people like the all-conquering British, the French and other colonizing powers in Africa, you must come to the table with evidential claims, finer culture and superiority. I have always wondered why people in their momentary advantage over others, love to spew inanities. Yes, global views and common sense favour free speech. If we cannot articulate our ideas or hold an opinion without fear, then democracy, even as the best form of government, suffers. But freedom also comes with responsibility; that is the only way a representative government can work for the good of all. So, those who run our affairs must constantly be reminded that nobody or faith should enjoy undue advantage in a plural society. Anything to the contrary, gives credence to this phantom ownership that fuels suspicion and alienates citizens.
The good about this unrestrained attitude of dominance which oftentimes hides failure and inferiority is that it raises questions about our heritage. For instance, where were the ancestors of the characters who claim ownership when the highly revered and great kings of ancient Benin Empire took on the world? You think an average Bini man or woman with one of the most beautiful cultures in the world and unmatched generational influences in administration, architecture, art, diplomacy, medicine and law can bow to foreign gods? How about the sons and daughters of the great King Jaja of Opobo, Nana of Itsekiri, Madam Tinubu and families of those extraordinary women who inspired and executed the famous Aba Women Rebellion of 1929?
Unfortunately, we still watch the usual crap on television and also read in newspapers today about how some people cannot be this or that in Nigeria because of their religion or tribe. And those lucky to be appointed from those marked tribes are limited by their good education, confidence, skills and experience. So, promising careers in the public service and even the private sector are programmed to end when the actors are most useful to their country. What an irony!
I am happy that Olusegun Obasanjo, the iconoclast with a reactionary reputation returned as head of government in 1999 and shattered some of the myths about Nigeria. Luckily, our youth are also shattering some lies today.
Obasanjo actually brought new power brokers, appointed service chiefs and military commanders from minority tribes and stepped on the useless toes of today’s gods who only grumbled and cursed back then.
That pan-Nigerian identity and collaboration Obasanjo and those after him began, suffered a major setback in 2015 when this current administration came to power. Today, nearly all security appointments, including positions of importance in the judiciary are in the hands of a people from one region and of one faith. Last year, this administration almost forced RUGA, a distrustful human policy settlement in favour of pastoralists, down our throat. When RUGA failed, Water Resources Bill, another suspicious law appeared. Like RUGA, this Water Resources Bill will also die a natural death.
Nigerians will remember agents of this government more for the evil of exploiting our fault lines and giving advantage to a group in an unfair manner. This unprecedented polarization that Nigeria is currently facing in every sphere of life will haunt this regime and anyone associated with it in the years to come.
But to understand Nigeria’s disorderliness, it is important to evaluate the primordial politics of the ruling elite which does not allow for reason or debate. That is why the country will continue to witness avoidable calamities like the ones currently going on across the country. Young people are dying, not by accident or illness but in the hands of those hired to protect them. In fact, their small-mindedness as rulers confounds. When the government constructs a kilometer of road, renovates an airport or refurbishes an old made in China train, they want the rest of us to crawl and grovel in ingratiating spirit. They also want Nigerians to be grateful to them for increasing their burden and for their incompetence which is evident in the mismanagement of the citizens’ commonwealth.
Under this government, it is now very clear that the years ahead will be tough and rough. But our survival will depend on our ability to fight back. Above all, we must mobilize and conscientize to chase away these vagabonds in power. To break this cycle of corruption and poor governance, everyone must be involved. The youth are already showing the way. Therefore, young children must be compulsorily informed about our history, our real heroes and how these jesters in government stole our country.
Yesterday at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos this administration murdered our hope and our future. The dumb heads that run Nigeria killed our promising young for demanding for good governance in a peaceful manner. They died clutching Nigeria’s flag and singing a meaningless national anthem. May God console the families of those who lost relatives and friends in that murder at dusk. According to Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of the French and one of the greatest military commanders in human history, “death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily”. Goodbye, hope!