Let me start by agreeing with Nigeria’s presidential candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, that a “new” Nigeria is possible.
For that matter, a “new” Nigeria is necessary, otherwise, one of three things will happen: 1) all the peoples living in Nigeria will eventually perish for lack of hope and from exhaustion and dysfunction dealing with the pernicious State and government of Nigeria; perishing does not necessarily mean physical demise; 2) there will be a sudden people’s revolution to overthrow the governance of Nigeria; or, 3) apathy deepens and goes beyond endemic in the Nigeria geospace, and Somali will be haven in comparison.
A new Nigeria is indeed possible and is absolutely necessary; but, it will only come (has to come) from Self Determination exercise. Self Determination is the right of every ethnic nation in Nigeria to choose, determine and manage its own Destiny and its own resources, and enter by choice and consent into any meaningful, equitable, and mutually beneficial inter-national relationships with the other ethnic nations. Self Determination is being practiced in many places in the world today, including even in Britain where, just last month, the small nation of Wales moved towards autonomy, unable to bear any longer what the Welsh nation feels as the overbearing central government of Britain. Sudan / South Sudan used Self determination to solve their problems; now, they can exist side by side and work out their other remaining serious problems while building their by now “new” countries. In other places, using the principle and power of Self Determinations, the peoples have created new Tunisia, new Egypt, new Libya, new Bahrain, and more “new” countries are indeed possible, only waiting in the wings. That’s how to create a “new” Nigeria in these times.
The litany of problems and proposed solutions advanced by Ribadu are not new. All politicians promise this at this stage. That Ribadu has no new ideas and no bold solutions, other than typical politician’s empty rhetoric and repetitious preachment, is proof that neither he, the new kid on the block, so to speak, nor the tired old horses, can do anything tangible to help bring forth a “new” Nigeria. They have all failed.
The one surprise, if anything coming out of Nigeria can still surprise, is that Nuhu Ribadu so soon forgets his ordeals and failures at the hands of the system called Nigeria. Or chooses to. What has changed since his adventures, misadventures, entanglements and failures in the Nigerian political landscape that makes him think that he has anything serious or credible to offer to bring about a “new” Nigeria? The same demons he battled with are still there, waxing strong. The same political bugaboo which he tormented and which tormented him still exists. The same warped politics and incorrigible politicians engulf the polity and the land like immortal amoeba. His nemesis—corruption in Nigeria—even chewed him up and then spat him out, wasted. Ribadu would have been more credible if he had focused on any of these toxic issues that involved him and he was involved in as unfinished business, and specifically mentioned them and then explained how he will deal with them if elected President of Nigeria. He has no answers for those: in all fairness, no candidate has any answers for those, either.
It would really be nice if these politicians and Nigeria’s leaders and elite stopped deceiving the peoples living in Nigeria and deceiving themselves too, that they can solve Nigeria’s century-old and worsening problems by what they are doing now or plan on doing when they get their turn to do. (And left alone, they will indeed get their turn, too, to continue the ruination!)
In summary, this is the age of Self Determination: it will turn any flunky and or oppressive country into a new leaf, in a positive way. A new Nigeria is needed, and it is only Self Determination that will give the peoples living in Nigeria that new present and new future. Nuhu Ribadu’s promises and plans, like those of his fellow-politicians, will not, cannot, have not and could not. It is time for the peoples of Nigeria to press their Self Determination Rights and give that a chance. It works.
By Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
A Biafran Citizen