There is a dark cloud hanging over Nigeria today! It’s not the dark cloud of rain, but a gross scary darkness that indicates nothing short of doom! The 2011 election is around the corner, with the parties positioning their flag bearers for every office, there is a question that burdens my heart and moves me close to tears – “Who is Thinking Nigeria?” Is there one of these aspirants that is truly thinking about someone other than themselves? Are we dancing to the rhythm of Michael Jackson’s “All I want to say is that, they don’t really care about us” or do we have true patriots whose guiding interest is, what is good for Nigeria?
I have restrained myself from writing anything on this site about our Political fortune as a nation, about what has been, what is coming and my sudden plunge into study of the history of Nigeria and indeed Africa. I have seen the quality and calibre of people who bring change to any nation, I have studied bloodless revolutions, and kept an eye out for bloody revolutions. I have delved a little into countries that beat us in population, and those that we dwarf. I have even learnt a bit about the country that is perceived as our ideological twin – Indonesia, and how they turned their fortune forward. The process for change did not start with the other arms of government, it started with national leaders, who were selfless enough to think about their God and nations ahead of themselves.
Here are the thoughts that burden my heart, and shape my prayers to God. You might find them useful points to take before God as well.
We are more than this!
Nigeria has been called a country of great potentials for too long. We are like that student voted by his classmates as most likely to succeed. Measuring every indices under the sun, Nigeria is meant to be equated and ranked with the greats, but this is not so. From Nigeria alone, we can carve out at least 6 Dubai’s – splendor for splendor, building for building, value for value, but today, if Dubai was a picture of heaven, we are like the other place. We have declined in every aspect and every way. Values? We have moved from a nation where people sell items without being there, to one in which people get kidnapped even when they are there. Leadership has embraced a culture of impunity. The Nations purse has become the personal account of whoever is in power. Our concept of wealth transfer is – “do it yourself”. Corruption is so normal that integrity is getting stigmatized. Infrastructure and Systems? 40 years ago, Saudi Royals came to UCH in Nigeria for medical check up and treatment, in our days, our past president has only their city to run to. While we had television before France, we can boast to have better light than Cotonou or even Somalia – Cameroon is planning to sell us some Megawatts. Education? The real figures without parents paying for mercenaries to help their children during the exams is alarming! Foreign organizations that researched our education say that 80% of the teachers failed the exam questions of the students. National Security? We are currently all prisoners in our own homes, our fences cover the buildings, our security guards are great attempts at job creation, we have built islands of prosperity within the quicksands of abject poverty, suspicious of our neighbors, in fear of kidnap or recently bomb blasts! While the fire burns in Nigeria, our political parties and political class, jostle for positions for their family members, impose candidates and practice the demonstration of craziness brand of democracy.
While our nation falls through the cracks, God is searching for a man, not an assembly, first a man. He sought for a man from among them, who will stand like a Noah, like a Lot, a standard by which the whole dough is leavened. Our prayer should be that God will restore our land, and cause men of value and men of Integrity to arise. Our prayer should be that God sends us a deliverer, whose heart is not towards his personal gain, but who fears God and sees the discipling of nations as a higher call, than the evangelism of individuals.
Prof Jega! Not much to say about a man that is making millions of poor Nigerians warm up to the idea of Billions. My prayer for him, is that he would do his Job with wisdom and not pipe the sound dictated by his financiers – it takes a lot of faith to pray this prayer without wavering, so pray it without ceasing. He holds a sacred position in our history, may he be relevant to doing God’s bidding in our finest hour!
The Aspirants and their Parties!
These are my opinions, I expect them to be debated by those who consider themselves informed enough to have contrary opinions, I expect them those that I lead to reason with it and align, and I expect those in the quest for knowledge to find balancing perspectives to aid their search.
GEJ to me, is like the trusted servant to whom the master entrusted the Kingdom in the absence of the rightful heir and has decided that rather than find the heir, to take the position of “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”. There are few men like GEJ, who will have a really sick boss, and not fast track the process of their own emergence. His demonstration of patience and willingness to accept his fate endears him to many of us. He’s enjoyed 6yrs as deputy Governor, 2yrs as Governor, 3yrs as Vice President and almost 1 year as President. Quantitative aptitude already gives insight to interesting trends. He’s enjoyed in the myth of Nigeria, that always seems to hand over power to the person who refuses to strive for it, but is that still the case?
The era of patience is however over, the President has found the inner room of Aso Rock, and is no longer patiently waiting for power to come. He’s going after it! When we analyze everything in his history and in the last 8 months, we are tempted to say that all that has happened is merely patience and staying amiable to all the parties concerned. After all, as my people will say, you shouldn’t ask for your father’s murderer until you have the swords in your own hand. One school of thought says that GEJ is consistently demonstrating he is vying for a post out of his league, another school of thought says, he’s only waiting to get the sword. The questions I have are… can compromise birth confidence and freedom? In whose best interest is the current play? Obasanjo? IBB? or now both?
I fondly remember a political chant of back in the days “Ba ti e dibo, o ti wole!” – Meaning even if we don’t vote, you have entered. The natural trend is that GEJ may become, and then we hope that he knows what to do with the sword. My prayer here is that God will vote and His vote will count! In America it was God’s vote that changed the tides – out came recession and the scales were turned. In Nigeria may God’s governorship of the nations hold sway.
Buhari – GMD! I have never voted for him, my childhood memories of him were about discipline – War Against Indiscipline. It happened at a time when we easily memorized all TV adverts, so I can quite easily replay a number of the reigning adverts then – In Yoruba and English… “Kai, iwa ibaje ni yen”. My study in the last few months however have shown me, that if ever Presidency was a Job in which your CV of experience and values was required, then he’s the best candidate we have. With a military training the same with the likes of Collin Powell (Same school), with patriotism that warranted fighting in battle to keep a significant part of Northern Nigeria untaken by Chad, with varied administrative experience spanning different administrations with his integrity still intact. He’s tackled the economy – buharinomics, he’s built two refineries (Warri and Kaduna), He’s ensured the completion of infrastructure projects all over the country, in the universities and hospitals while under PTF. He’s denied himself a salary while serving because it clashed with his values. If presidency was a Job, and we were looking for most qualified, he’s far above the league of the other contestants. Oh, there are serious allegations against him… about religious bigotry that allows him to jail an emir, cut the allowance for Haj and ensure zero religious crisis, about backdating the law in order to kill drug traffickers, about jailing some journalists for publishing the ambassadorial list before the countries approved, about one 53 suit cases of money which hasn’t been traced to his account, about selective justice and tribalism in the administration of PTFs funds when he was chairman. Add it all together, his good, his bad and his ugly and he still get’s the Job if on merit ahead of all. There are some aspirants, I forgive and skip their names, who getting the Job will be equivalent to putting a pilot on the seat of the national plane and sticking learner in front.
If all good men voted for good men, and all otherwise for otherwise today, will a good man win? If a people deserve the type of leader that the have, should we get a good man? Are we good? In this chess battle game of Generals, what position favors Nigeria? He’s old, no doubt, and that counts for something. We are not sure if he’s the man that he once was. The only comfort I get is that India and Indonesia were turned around in the last 20yrs by older people who had nothing to lose. They only built a group of arrow heads who were young and ran the country’s engine. My idea ticket, is a ticket that has all the progressives aligning to position someone that has sufficient followership and structure to almost win and create an MOU based relationship where the government of one is the government of all. Prof Pat Utomi, Ma-lam Nuhu Ribadu? To be continued…