Man is nothing other than the expressions of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the interactions with the environment and association with one another. The DNA is that trait we get from our parents and mere seeing us confirms the father and mother in us, and an apple, the say, does not fall far from the tree; a dog will always give birth to a dog and a snake, a long thread demonic vampire.
A man does not grow above his culture and his environment, and civilized as USA may be, most people who were born in the projects and high crime areas have the greater probability to be violent and of deviant behaviors. Association is another predictor of human behavior; the bible warns us that evil company corrupts a person, so who we associate with tells much of us. My elementary teacher told us, “tell me who you go out with and I will tell you who you are”. I don’t need to learn much about you, all I need is to tell me a couple of your friends and I will make up my mind of who you are actually, birds of the same feather flocks together.
Nigeria does not lack intelligent men and women, but what we lack are refined men and woman of noble character, men and women who will not be as fickle as weather; men and women, who will not cave in on the slightest pressure. It was in 2008, in Detroit, Michigan and I was having some useful conversation with Prof. Pat Utomi, the discussion was centered on Nigeria. I told Pat how our people assumed different type of colors reflecting the color of money dangled before them, and I maintained that nobody, absolutely nobody could buy me with money. This trait, I got it from my father. I was raised in a poor home but with strong character and up till today, my family still struggles to make it and this promise I made to myself, influenced by my father, will go with me to the grave. Our belief system is another conveyor belt of our actions. If one believes that man is born in this world with nothing and man shall return to the same earth with nothing, one will then be circumspective in what one does. I am not personally happy until I give, share with the little I have, while others will be happy to see others suffer, cry and die in agony; it is our belief system that defines our relationship with others, our attitudes and our actions. Some people are altruistic, mild in behavior, others willing to be wicked, steal, kill, maim, give to the poor, laugh at the poor and confiscate group’s commonwealth; it is in all our belief system, DNA, associations and environment.
Why is Nigeria the way it is? Most of the reasons are that majority of us don’t believe that the poor has the right to live, eat, breathe and prosper. Majority of us don’t think that the poor has right to go to school, live in a good neighborhood, own a house, marry a wife and have children and the pursuit of happiness. Majority believe that the poor or less privileged has no right to be a senator, assembly man or women, a governor or aspires to be a president. The belief of the majority is that the poor should be perpetual servants to the rich and because of that we don’t raise eye brows to enslave others because they are less fortune creatures. Unless we change our belief system, nothing is going to be changed in Nigeria.
Politics in Nigeria is dangerous, because most of the actors have nothing going for them, so their livelihood and maintenance of their false lifestyles depend on occupying one position or the other. If for instance, the governor of Abante state loses election, what else would he do to live and maintain relevance? In USA, most of them are highly educated and when they lose a political post, they either return to a private practice or go and lecture in the university, so politics is not a do or die affair. I read the article written by Ogadinma Imo in Sahara reporters. I will not hold brief for Mr. Imo, but we can pick important elements in his submission.
The job before Attahiru Jega is mountainous, but he can put his feet down and demand nothing other than probity from his field workers. Prof. Jega should know than an average Nigerian contesting for a position can do anything to remain there, so he has to be proactive instead of reactive in his actions. There is nothing stopping him from transferring all the security operatives he has contracted to help him to other states from where they are previously at the eve of the elections. The resident electoral commissioners should suffer the same fate, because an average Nigerian is a corruptive animal. Prof. Jega should not waste time to cancel the election of any state that witnessed violence or intimidation of the voters. Most governors will do anything to go down with their states instead of losing and again if Jega should keep behind his mind that he is not dealing with sane people, but with goats and sheep, he will then come out glorious.
Since, Cecilia Ibru, a woman I hold dear disappointed me, I have no confidence in majority of Nigerian people. In my last article, Attahiru Jega and the Power of one, I wrote that I was rooting for Jonathan, my premise was that Niger Delta has suffered a lot in Nigeria, that region needs appeasement, but not to the detriment of the whole country. Sometimes we have to balance politics and reality. Of course, I wrote in my previous article that Nuhu Ribadu was the only man who can clean and lead Nigeria to a new Nigeria and that is still true and trite. If Nuhu still maintains his pedigree, his time will come in 2015. I don’t believe in this idea of Igbo president in 2015 and I have never seen any Igbo that can match Nuhu Ribadu, the only close contestant is Pat Utomi. I am not disrespecting Ambassador Ralph Uweche, the best president Ohaneze Ndi has paraded till this day, but to me, Nigeria is bigger than any ethnic stripe.
The reason why there is a cry for Igbo presidency in 2015 is the neglect and abandonment the Igbo race has suffered in the hands of “the Masters” since the end of the civil war. The South East is the only region that has not an international airport until recently the incumbent president gave the go ahead order for full take off the Enugu International Airport. Is the Igbo nation not the most international travelers in Nigeria, the most ubiquitous merchants in the nation? Why the punishment? River Niger Bridge is begging for another modern substitute and why the successive past administrations chose to punish Ndi Igbo through the neglect of that important infrastructure that links the East to the rest of the nation is still mystical to me?
I am not given to the present primordial ethnic chauvinism, nepotical approach to the national affairs. We have to grow above this nonsense. The North wants the presidency so that they can dictate where the crude oil flows to, who becomes the minister of petroleum, water resources, power and steel and Chief of Army staff. The reason why my hunch is not for Igbo presidency is that Nigeria cannot grow until we elect a Nigerian president, who can see all the constituencies as his or her own. And it is this hunch of mine that people like Adamu Ciroma and his gangsters do not need to be alive in the coming new Nigeria, they are dragging us to the era of 1966. Let Nigeria make their choice between Nuhu Ribadu and Jonathan Goodluck. I want a president who cannot abandon the Niger Delta question; the region has seen enough sufferings in the hands of the retrogressive Hausa Fulani oligarchy.
2011 is very crucial to the survival of Nigeria, her prosperity, respect in the comity of nations, relevance in Africa and the unity of the country. Let the peoples’ votes count and if the majority votes for Nuhu Ribadu, the voice of the people should be respected and be held supreme. All I need a paradigm shift, a break from the past and a rich country like Nigeria should vote for her first eleven from the state assembly to the presidential candidates. I know Jonathan needs to wake up, let him convince Nigerians that he can harness the different working parts of the country’s machinery into a goal oriented output, to give us an acceptable measure, which is the job of a leader. If he does not perform sterlingly, he will be surprised at the voting pattern of a new Nigeria, 2011 will never be business as usual; Nigerians are angry to the bone.
The civil society, the labor congress, the students, the market women and the artisans should be upbeat to guard their votes, so that those that are really voted are sworn in to lead us in every nooks and crannies of Nigeria. The antecedents of the contestants should be noted and I will reiterate it once more that a lion does not change its skin all of a sudden. A thief will always be a thief, someone who has been found to have committed fraud in a space and time will always steal when the slightest opportunity comes. James Ibori should be a shining example to all, he was convicted of credit card fraud in London many years ago and when he became the governor of Edo State, that animal’s instincts came back. Anybody who associated with a thief in the past will also steal and, check this scenario of swearing in Fred Ajudia as the governor of Delta State, he will sell the whole state through his activities of 419 scams. Blood no dey lie.
Each time I call my relations in Lagos, they always pay glowing tributes to Governor Fashola Babatunde; something must be different in that guy’s demeanor and his past. I have gone to Lagos to see things by myself and I was impressed. I lived in Lagos from 1981, on and off till 1994 when I left Nigeria for USA and I saw differences in the outlook of Lagos, especially the dreaded Oshodi, now a clean place. One of his policies that gladden my heart is the law against opposing driving directions in the same lane that characterized Lagos as animal kingdom and now that offence carries a fine of N50, 000. Thank you Fashola, it is that kind of stringent laws that our people obey. Passionate appeals do not work in Nigeria, but brutal force, very unfortunate.
Please, Jega take a clue from Babatune Fashola; cancel the election of any type that goes contrary to your belief and the well being of Nigerians. Not all of us are animals as our politicians try to portray all of us. Since most of them are psychologically sick, you need to bring them to your operating room and slide scissors in their brains so that they can behave well and you can do that by canceling elections that witness violence, intimidation, brigandage, and indiscriminate shooting to harass innocent voters. Political contestants are ready to arm their gangs with AK 47 and dynamites to kill and to scare voters, watch out for this. The only security operatives that will be seen around the vicinity of voting booths are those you accredit, because 2001 is very important to us. In 2011, we may be talking as a united Nigeria after the elections or raising voices across from eight countries or more, the choice is ours. I will be watching CNN from Los Angeles. Jega, stamp your name in the sand of time; Nigerians are solidly behind you.
Chukwuma Iwuanyanwu writes from Los Angeles.