Nigeria would turn 61 on the first day of October this year. Sixty one years of flag independence from the Great Britain. Ordinarily, a 61-year old man ought to have achieved everything in life according to his destiny or vision. If he is destined to be great and rich then he must have achieved greatness and richness even before attaining three scores and one years here on earth. But if at 61 he still gropes in the dark, wallows in self-doubt or in the valley of dreams unable to discover himself and become 'man' enough in the right sense of the word then something must be wrong with his 'stars'. Of course, something is fundamentally wrong with the Nigerian star!
Since that fateful historic day in Lagos, October 1, 1960, when the imperialist Union Jack was lowered and up in the sky was hoisted the Green-White-Green flag in its stead Nigeria has suffered series of rape, abuse, nightmares and crisis upon crisis. We have had scores of crises ranging from coup d'etat to war, corruption to misgovernance.
Questions abound, sixty and one of them! Questions of Biafra, Oduduwa, Arewa, Niger Delta, Naira, identity, unity, electricity. Question of the efficacy of the law and its enforcement. The question of police and policing of the society. But beyond these national questions the most poignant happens to be the question of the philosophy of statecraft. Why is leadership our perennial problem? How do we govern ourselves effectively harnessing the huge natural resources Providence blessed us with to advance the course of humanity? Why are we rich but at the same time poor?
Over the decades and years post-independence we have had the Biafran unresolved question, the June 12 crisis occasioned in 1993 by Babangidaism and the evil ingenuity that came with it. We have had the Abacha kleptocracy and 'Babacracy', an Obasanjo presidency that ended ingloriously with 'Baba' trying criminally to achieve a third term in office. Millions of Dollars were invested into the project but it failed fortunately. Today we are faced with the crisis of Buharism!
The depth of the rot of the Nigerian presidency is really staggering. President Muhammadu Buhari has lowered the bar of governance to the level that anyone could claim anything at his expense. If the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode could be welcomed back into the APC fold then something is wrong with leadership Nigeriana.
The greatest threat to our collective existence as one people happens to be the alleged Fulanisation and Islamization agenda of the Buhari regime. The President sees everything wrong with other regions, religions and tribes; so he could be said to be only trustful of the people of the same faith or region like himself.
Buhari claims to be a patriot and often talked about a much-vaunted 'integrity' of his persona. Yet we see and hear about presidential actions and/or inactions that portray him as an executive hypocrite with a lying lips. Pray, how can you be a patriot yet does things that tend to endanger national unity and cohesion?
How can you lay claim to patriotism when you openly favour your ethnic stock and religion to the detriment of others in the discharge of your presidential duties? Where is the integrity when you have around you glorified crooks (Ministers Akpabio, Sylva, Amaechi etc) and 'terrorists', Pantami et al (repented or not) working and undermining the national quest for developmental greatness?
Where lies the integrity you pin to yourself when you cannot name and shame (and prosecute) the known Boko Haram or terrorist sponsors? Where is the integrity when fiscal scandals abound around your challenged administration? Where is the integrity found in a situation where innocent youthful Nigerians (especially those in the South-east region) had been brutally killed in many cities by the trigger-happy soldiers or policemen?
For the past six giddy years President Buhari has 'changed' Nigeria for the worst in a rare demonstration of presidential ineptitude never before seen or experienced. From one national crisis to another Nigerians have become 'orphans' abandoned to their fate. Many have died for doing nothing criminal! Many had been kidnapped and wasted even when ransoms demanded were paid!
Many had lost their digital jobs since Buhari banned Twitter for no just cause. Many have lost their ancestral farmlands and sources of livelihood owing to the Fulani herdsmen invasions. Many are languishing in prisons across the federation for voicing out their desire for self-determination, something that is not a crime.
Almost all the national values hitherto held dear are under assault by uncontrollable forces reminiscent of the Jackboot era. The national economy is doing acrobatic dance, drifting from recessions and bouncing back from same. The Naira is in free fall against world major currencies. Security is at its lowest dangerous level with practically everyone exposed to terror, banditry or abduction.
We are borrowing recklessly as if tomorrow would not come. External debts had since hit trillions of Naira yet we have not been told what the Abacha loot, the Ibori loot and other famous loots by politicians and technocrats had been used for after repatriation of the stolen funds. Buhari has amassed so much external debt to the extent that his gerontocratic generation has mortgaged the future of our generation and the next.
As we mark another October 1st ruminating patriotically on the opportunities wasted and brooding over the humongous state resources stolen by the greedy elite we are reminded that the ultimate freedom is not nigh! We have another great opportunity, however, to change our national 'story' for better come 2023 presidential poll post-Buharism. This time, brethren, we must get it right!
We wish happy 61st independence anniversary to the struggling Nigerians everywhere. It has been sixty one odd years of bloody nationhood and sixty and one unresolved national questions.
Let us resolve as one people to begin resolving one question after another. And where to begin is by initiating plans for the re-negotiation or restructuring of the deficient federalism we practise. Whoever says our nation is not negotiable is deceiving himself!
Arise, therefore, fellow Nigerians, and save this nation from the Buharian peril. We cannot, in all fairness, be described, our generation, as glorified victims of the poverty of the mind. Let the large 'zoo' be transformed, for once in our lifetime, into 'paradise' for the benefit of our suffering compatriots!
Long live the restructured Nigeria! Long live Nigerians!!