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Nigeria Must Set Forth At Dawn By Dr. Ekiyor K. Welson

October 28, 2014

The lesson to be drawn in the irony of stomach politics is that if Atiku or Buhari had won the presidential election, Nyako would still be the governor. A cursory look at the political cemetery of Nigeria would reveal that such issues bothering on stomach economics and politics are all over the plane and the horizon. Sadly, politicians in Nigeria hate history and constantly repeat the negative sides of it, to the detriment of the democratic growth of the people.

For many the day begins at dawn but to the wise, the day begins before dawn. The cocks in the villages crow at dawn and alert the normal and ordinary that it is time to rise and start the day.

As usual as this is, there is wisdom in the idea that before the cocks crow, the birds that would catch the worms must wake up before dawn or else too many beaks would struggle for the too few worms. Countries that woke up before dawn outplayed and outgrew their contemporaries.


For example, in 1960 when Nigeria got independence, countries such as Brazil, India, Singapore, China, Indonesia to name a few were third world countries but categorized as having great potentials.

Today, because they set forth before dawn and set up principles of social interaction and fair principles of association, they are among the most industrialized countries in the world while Nigeria is still groping in the dark, having systems that are at best medieval and building cities that are primitive and reminiscent of the cave era.

Nigeria stayed behind to sleep some more after dawn and the effect is where we are. However, once gain another opportunity has come to set forth, so let it be before dawn.

That Nigeria is once again tottering on the brink is obviously trite. It is obvious to every socially conscious person that the future looks gloomy for the country unless urgent and critical decisions are made.

As it was in 2011, when the writer made some prophetic declarations, there seems to be another clarion call for all and sundry to be concerned about this country. The writer proclaimed the mind of God mixed with some philosophical and sociological analysis in 2011, when he warned about the implications of a Jonathan’s presidency.

Today, it would be very subjective to speculate and do any analysis on the aftermath of the events of 2011 on the social-political realities of 2014. The answers and responses one would get would obviously depend on one’s political interest vis-à-vis pro and anti-Jonathan. Sadly, this is what discourses in Nigeria and on Nigeria have become. However, recent social and political events corroborate the fact that the mistakes of 2011 have caught up with Nigeria.

The first premise is the recent election in Ekiti State, where the incumbent Kayode Fayemi was roundly defeated by Ayodele Fayose. Recall that in 2011, Ekiti State voted for PDP in the presidential election even though it was a state administered by Fayemi who was an ACN governor and who bluntly refused the candidate of his party. Ribadu, the presidential candidate of ACN lost in Ekiti State and the whole of the South West with the exception of Osun.

The import of this anecdote is that if Ribadu or Buhari had won that election, Fayemi would still be the governor for a second term as a performer. Fayemi, sadly became the victim of the mistake of 2011.

The charade in ACN states in 2011 was largely an outcome of the lack of ideological politics in the country. Ordinarily, there was and there is nothing common between Jonathan and Fayemi beyond undeclared and clandestine interest.

The next premise in my work of logical social-political analysis of events in Nigeria is the misfortune of the former governor of Adamawa state Murtala Nyako.

In 2011 once again, the country remembers that Nyako overtly and covertly worked against the interest of a fellow Adamawa man, Atiku Abubakar, during and after the PDP primaries and went a step further to rig the election in the state in favor of Jonathan, when Buhari was the clear favourites of Adamawa people.

The lesson to be drawn in the irony of stomach politics is that if Atiku or Buhari had won the presidential election, Nyako would still be the governor. A cursory look at the political cemetery of Nigeria would reveal that such issues bothering on stomach economics and politics are all over the plane and the horizon. Sadly, politicians in Nigeria hate history and constantly repeat the negative sides of it, to the detriment of the democratic growth of the people.

Today, the country is once again at cross roads and the politicians look confused and disorganized, while the people stand aloof, wondering what is going on. Imagine a people being spectators in their own affairs.

The main issue unarguably at the core of the political quagmire of the country is Jonathan’s second term in office. He wants a second term desperately at all cost and by all means but he is seriously challenged by politicians in both his party and in the opposition. In fact, the opposition is hell bent on replacing him with their own, after the realization that with the political alliance of the South West and the North, the numbers favour them.

There is right now no thawing in the tension that has been generated. The scourge of insecurity in the northern part of the country is hitting harder and inflicting deeper wounds on the citizens daily, while kidnapping in some Southern parts of the country in addition to oil theft tend to be on the increase.

The insurgency in the north being waged by Boko Haram in the thoughts of T.Y Danjuma seems to be in the grip of the terrorist group. This much he let the president know. As these simmer in the boiling oil of the Nigerian society, the Niger Delta nouveau rich aka militants threaten fire and brim stone for their kinsman Jonathan. Their point is still not very unclear though.

The premises enunciate so far in many climes brings out the strength of the leader. Little was known of the gentle George W. Bush till 9/11. It is the leadership that ought to step on the scene and moderate the temperaments of the different agitators with the idea of quenching the fires through the instrumentality of law and morality.

The leaders employ the relevant provisions of the law in matters of criminality decisively; and the principles of morality to persuade or convince people on the “good”. In all cases, the reason which must cohere with public reason is to solve problems and create the atmosphere for citizens to enjoy their freedoms, rights and achieve their life-goals.

On this particular module, there is a unanimous consensus that leadership at the highest level in Nigeria has failed woefully. Whether this is true or not, depends on one’s argument, because nothing seems to be good or bad; true or false in the country again except as it serves one’s interest.

It seems that leadership failure in Nigeria has led to the complete breakdown of the state, to the point where the state no longer has the monopoly of force.

One attribute of a state according to Leftwich (2007) is the monopoly of force. For instance, in a state of emergency in Borno state, Boko Haram is sacking villages and legitimate local government councils and flying their own flags in gross violation of the sovereignty of the Nigerian state. Leadership failure allows this to fester and the implications are grievous.

To some extent, some people argue the suspicion of leadership complicity as a way of disenfranchising citizens of those areas in the 2015 elections, having being taken over by Boko Haram. This fuels the suspicion of leadership collaboration and the inability of leadership to take a decisive step or action to stop this gives fresh vent to this conspiracy theory. 

The recent utterance of TY Danjuma in drawing the attention of leadership to the fact that the war against Boko Haram was getting too long and was tilting towards the insurgents spoke volumes; and with leadership tongue tied and offering no rebuttal, thus tacitly accepting guilt. 

Also, more than three months after the abduction of the Chibok girls, leadership is yet to bring them back in apparent reference to a very weak state apparatus.  Leadership failure is also being highlighted in the current political tension in the country, as crises are being recorded in Nasarawa, Rivers, and Edo after the PDP hatchet jobs in Ekiti and Adamawa states.

To say the least, there is a tensed outlook at the moment in the political space as the opposition has vowed to fight back.  At the root of this failure, as being speculated is the ambitious quest of Jonathan to have a safe berth of his second term ship in 2015 and the opposition’s resolve not to have any of it. Conscious of this, it is believed that Jonathan has declared war on the opposition with the mission to decimate, decapitate and disorganize them.

With the foregoing, there is need for national salvation. There is fire on the mountain set by politicians but poised to consume citizens.

Citizens must therefore set forth before dawn to quench the fire. Nigerians must, as matter of urgency set forth before dawn to pull the brakes on the speed to destruction by the ship of state as captained by Jonathan. Jonathan needs help not to take the country into perdition. With the failure of the national conference to offer any hope of solution, the people must set forth to outline what are their strategic interests and plans for their state.

Leaving it for politicians alone cannot help the people. There must be a sharp departure from the past practice and module of being aloof and unconcerned about the issues that affect the state, bearing in mind that sovereignty lies with the people and not the politicians or the government. Reason being that no social contract involves the government but is done by the people among the people.

Nigerians must set forth before dawn to seek and find the leader in the mold of Mandela that would put an end to insecurity, corruption and ethno religious divisions urgently. History teaches that the twin problems of insecurity and corruption were tackled decisively in 1984/1985 by Gen. Buhari and as a people, Nigerians must set forth before dawn to seek and find that leader that would reverse the trend of corruption that is fast becoming a culture and tradition in the country. 

There is no magic, neither is there any special potent prayer that can redeem the country beyond conscious effort by patriots and lovers of Nigeria who know that they are social and political animals whether they like it or not. People must rise above narrow and personal interests and embrace the bigger interest of the “common good”.

Nigerians must set forth before dawn to explain and drum it into the psyche of leadership that the country is bigger than any individual and sacrifices should be the hallmark of current leadership.

Obasanjo in his first episode as Head of State stayed for only three years when he could stay longer, Abdulsalam Abubarkar stayed as head of state for only one year, even though the mood of the country could have accommodated a longer transition. There is therefore, no reason why Jonathan cannot rise above the mundane and lame argument about constitutional rights or not to bow out and allow for the resolution of the crises peacefully. As the people set forth before dawn, they must do what they must do to achieve social justice and political stability even if it means giving the leadership the “calabash to drink”