Sunday, 2 March 2014
Wanted: Patriotic Leaders for the Nigerian Revolution By Qansy Salako
Like the rain-laden monsoon wind, the ongoing protests in Nigeria over removal of the so-called fuel subsidy certainly forebode an uncertain future, particularly for many in our unscrupulous political class. Anyone from this class who may still be thinking that the current scam democracy we are running will survive for long is in grand delusion.
Such a honorable may as well believe that the emerging modern history of Syria will end in Assad's favor. History usually doesn't write itself in favor of despots or insanely corrupt politicians. A country with annual economic growth of 7% but correspondingly poorer citizens like ours, cannot be expected to survive for long.
The spontaneity of the Occupy Nigeria revolts is a sign that the current Nigeria merely exists in a bubble.
Until it busts, the bubble will only be bobbing about precariously. Unless something gives.
That thing is the inevitable change that Nigeria beckons with its brand of irresponsible governance, year after year.
Nigeria would most likely hatch into modernity via any or a combination of the following three paths.
1. Occupy Nigeria Protests
Given the instantaneous eruption of the social insurrection, one would have expected that Nigerians would expend their pent up anger in streets of inferno razing down homes and properties of known corrupt leaders. Despite involving thousands of revolting citizens however, the protests have been
surprisingly peaceful though, as expected, police have killed and maimed dozens of protesters and would most likely kill more before the cock crows on a new day over Nigeria.
As is the standard response of the Nigerian government to social discontent, government has begun militarizing the cities by spitting out more kill-and-go soldiers to the streets than are protesters.
But it is not about some phantom subsidy stupid, it is about reckless looting of the Nigerian state.
It will not work, for monkeys to be doing the plowing and a few crazy baboons to be pillaging the harvests.
By these Occupy Nigeria protests, all in the decadent political class are on notice. The days of expensive democracy that brings no development to the people are treacherously numbered.
Government may deploy all means of repressions in its arsenal to intimidate, quell or kill its citizens out of the many freedom squares in the country till Babangida comes back to power, as long as kleptomaniac democracy rules, citizen anger will reign in the open. Repression will only be as effective as a bandage over an open wound. Anytime a typical mindless government expenditure or policy breaks, peoples' fury will flare. When 30% of national revenue is shared in an official con game that plays export/import abracadabra with our crude oil and up to 50% revenue is spent on recurrent expenditure, no one should expect any meaningful development for either the country or its citizens. Nor should anyone expect that Nigeria will remain a safe haven for looters and wreckers of our collective heritage.
Nigeria, welcome to your future. The child who forbids sleep for his mother will himself not sleep with both eyes shut.
The government of Nigeria has murdered sleep of its citizens and everyone is fully awake now.
Regardless of how the current batch of protests ends, the Occupy Nigeria uprising has begun a new era in the history of Nigeria.
It will continue in some fashion for a very long time to come.
Like eating the elephant, this new era of alternative followership will dismantle the existing culture of rot in our society, bit by bit.
2. Violent Revolution
Those who make peaceful change impossible, will make violent change inevitable.
It's either Occupy Nigeria breaks the egg and the chick hatches or a fire breathing dragon breaks the coconut and the water spills.
Going by how dirt poor majority of Nigeria's 160 million population are, Nigeria is not a rich country.
It cannot afford the kind of democratic system on which it is being forced to run.
The country cannot afford a yearly presidency office budget of about N7.2 billion for overhead (or N20 million per day), N724 million for local travels (or N2 million per day, including weekends), N951 million for international travel (or N3 million per day), N1 billion for food (or N2.5 million per day).
This gargantuan waste of public funds may be possible in other countries, it is not and cannot be sustainable in poor Nigeria.
Nigeria is making revenues in millions of US dollars every day.
But senseless waste is the real reason Nigeria is broke, not because of some fuel subsidy.
It is the reason money is not available for development of the people and the nation.
It is the reason millions of Nigerians are forsakenly ignorant and mercilessly poor, toiling endlessly daily under the colossal feet of selfish and uncaring successive leaderships.
Over time, violent rebellion will be unavoidable. There are already two potential war fronts to ignite this - Delta militia and Boko Haram. Never mind the absurd western-book-is-bad nonsense philosophy of the latter, lack of development for the peoples of Nigeria is the root cause of newly
emerging warring groups.
While most in the political class of the country are busy bleeding the country to the bones, new bellicose groupings will be forming in the back streets of forgotten country sides. As vagabond politicians take their loot out of Nigeria to buy cynosure properties in the main streets of Dubai,
London and America, newly formed local insurgents will take their discontent into the abandoned alleys of our inner cities. In the end, there would be more belligerent citizen groups than our crude and under-developed military will be able to fight. And the bubble will bust.
All bets will be off and there will be no predicting which former honorable will be able to keep their ill-gotten wealth or fame.
3. Revolution by Patriotic Leaders
If we could find just one president who could die for Nigeria, perhaps getting the nation out of the woods might be rapid and less traumatic, and millions may live.
I have always viewed the depth of our rot so low as to require a war similar to the one Colombia waged to extricate itself from the grips of local cocaine power blocs back in the 80s. During that period, Colombia lost a series of newly elected political leaders (presidents, judges, governors, etc) who came in determined to retrieve the stranglehold of the drug cabals on their nation state. Italy did something similar losing a series of high judges who dared preside over the trials of fearful mafia clans.
Just a few good men/women. They confronted their national demons, saved their countries and emancipated their people.
This is exactly what Nigeria needs at this time.
Government system in Nigeria is currently looking every bit like an organized crime syndicate.
The things that ail Nigeria are past empty and dopey speeches or promises by leadership in our highest offices who are simply members of the Costa Nostra elite gang. Impunity is the order of the day.
Any honorable can commit any crime against the state and get away with it.
Politicians or public servants who loot blatantly hardly ever get dispossessed, jailed or even lose their national merit award.
Killers among them sometimes even stand for and win elections from behind bars.
The system has the most odious judiciary in cahoots; nobody is looking after the polity.
The citizens are utterly abandoned to grope through their lives without electricity, jobs, housing, water, medicine or food.
We have many in the leadership crop of the country who are plainly enemies of the Nigerian state. They started from nothing but dubiously ended up with our common-law properties and funds in their possession. Arrogantly, these exist above the law of the land and are mightily untouchable. They have infinite resources and would do anything and everything to prevent Nigeria from benefitting the largest number of Nigerians.
We need a few good leaders who would fight all opportunist cabals and
recover Nigeria for the larger good. Any candidate seeking election into our highest office at this point in our 51-year history ought to know that he could die on the job if he wanted to do the right things for the citizens who elect him/her.
We don't have the time anymore for presidents, VPs, governors, senate presidents, house speakers, LG chairpersons and collaborating high civil servants who would yell at us in speeches, bare their teeth in policies and in the end simply pat our problems on the head and leave us worse off than they met us.
We need a president who could hit the ground running, knowing exactly what to do.
We don't need a president who wants to solve all of our problems in four years, that would be both dumb and unrealistic.
Our number one priority is corruption. It is the most debilitating of all our national woes.
We need a president who could wage a relentless and intolerant war against corruption.
Chase bastard Nigerians and their collaborators who are stealing and carting away our collective resources anywhere they may be found, on land and on the sea. Repatriate back our properties and subject them to the full extent of the law that is administered by a new reorganized judiciary. We need legislatures who will remember and look after downtrodden citizens who queue up as early as 5:30AM after Fajr prayers to vote at polling stations that don't open until 10AM, sometimes at noon, maybe even 4PM. We need leaders who would defend with their last breath, the territorial integrity of Nigeria and not compromise the security of our suzerainty over sleazy Chinese business dealings or wicked policies that pander obsequiously to the whims of international financial organizations. We need a leader(s) from any one or all tiers of our government structure who would champion a truly remarkable change in our lives and be ready to die in the process, if need be.
This is what we need at this time. Anyone seeking political powers over us should know and beware that leadership positions in Nigeria are now high risk positions. We don't need EFCC smokescreens, detestable attorney generals or incompetent alien national security chiefs. We need a leader or
leaders who are fearless of cabals, fearful of God and tenderhearted to the plight of Nigerians and their right to our common inheritance.
Moving forward, anyone who seeks the highest offices in our local governments, states, judiciary, legislative and executive arms of government, must seriously ask themselves if they are ready to die on the job.
If you cannot answer in the affirmative, then you are not fit for the job. Move on with your life, leave us alone.