WILL NIGERIA BREAK UP IN 2015?
As the nation prepares for the next 'do or die' general elections, it is important to recall the warning of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) of the US to the effect that Nigeria may soon be no more if it continued on its present socio-economic and political path. The warning was in June 2005.
Then, the NIC had looked into its crystal ball and seen nothing but doom and apocalypse for the Nigerian nation on or before 2015. It said that except some drastic economic and political measures were taken, the nation possessed every ingredient that would make it pass for a failed nation. Since that prediction, many states which shared the same fate with Nigeria as per the NIC's prediction, have failed.
Sometime ago, this writer had gone on the blog to awaken the spirit of patriotism amongst Nigerians – particularly those in the Diaspora -asking them to get into the next plane back home for our country was about to fail. Drawing inferences from the prescriptions of the NIC apocalyptic prediction of doom, I had urged them to wake up and come home and fight for the survival of dear native land. This write-up is, derived from reactions I got from the blogosphere where I chastised Nigerians living abroad for their seeming lack of patriotism.
Almost all the reactions were unanimous in the presentation of common obstacles militating against a massive return home to help develop the Nigerian nation and by so doing prevent the doom prescribed by the American NIC. Those who would want to return to Nigeria said that if they did, it would not be because they love Nigeria but because they loved their ethnic groups and miss its people. They would return, not for love of country but for sake of family ties. All were unanimous in the condemnation of Nigeria, which they likened to, a giant with a clay foot and irredeemable cause not worth fighting for. Nigeria to them may as well go to hell.
Nonetheless, a few were nostalgic about the good old days of yore and would think of coming back only if a percentage of the quality of lives they lived in the past could be restored. They reminisced days gone by when Nigeria earned less but lived well; when ten tins of milk cost one naira and a cup of Garri sold for nothing. They reminisced a period when the Nigeria railways operated optimally and the Post and Telegraph did its part. They reminisced the days when civil servants retired without stupendous wealth, content that they were the proud parents of Dr. this and that, the moms of Engineer this and professor that.
Most said they can't come back because they have school-going kids and a growing family whom they are not prepared to leave behind in any foreign land for the harsh realities that follow the uncertainties of the Nigerian land space. Most appreciated the need to return home to fight for a shirt in defense of motherland from itself. Paradoxically, all declined the offer. Here are some of their reasons.
One was emphatic of his good life abroad where at least, he could enjoy such life's basic amenities as frequent supply of electricity and good transportation network. 'What is the essence of life if it is wasted simply for love of a country that cared less about your personal and collective well-being? Only when I'm ready to die should I contemplate going to Nigeria to take a shirt in that fight of yours, to make her whole again.”
“Lookia”, he concluded, “If I died in this your struggle to save Nigeria, nobody will remember me. Nobody would remember my family. I would merely end up as a number in the statistics. No member of the Nigerian thieving elite will be there for my family – nuclear and or extended.”
Said another: “how can I die for a country that does nothing to prevent the daily carnage on its pot-hole ridden roads? Nigeria may be good. Nevertheless, it kills its people. Crime is on the rise, with those in uniform forming the bedrock of most of the crimes committed. A good parent does not kill his child. A good parent does not see his child go hungry. A good parent who cannot afford a car buys a good bicycle for his child. A good parent provides his child with good and quality education to the best of his abilities.
A good parent would rather die than see his child fall sick or die of preventable disease. A good parent takes every preemptive and preventive measure to shield his child from harm's way. The Nigerian state as a metaphoric parent does not do its bit. The elite in Nigeria have cornered Nigeria's riches to the exclusion of the masses.'
“In Nigeria, politicians rig elections. The best candidate never wins. Only those with connections and deep pockets win elections. When people attain position through crooked ways, they do everything crooked to maintain their position. They legislate laws crookedly. They execute laws of the land crookedly and the results most of the time are as well, crookedly finished product. Because of this, the mass of the people suffer. At least, in the foreign land where I live, I have a voters' card. I could vote and I could be voted for in usually transparent elections.”
“Living outside Nigeria even in the neighboring Republic of Benin gives the average Nigerian a sense of comfort,” said another. “Electricity supply in the Republic of Benin is 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. In all, I lead a quality life that Nigeria my place of birth, could not offer me. There are no signs out there in the horizon that my country Nigeria, will any time soon, be willing to prepare such a ground for me living abroad or millions of its citizens living at home. It hurts me so much that, if there is a war today between the country where I live and Nigeria, I will think very hard before I fight on the side of Nigeria.
No, I will fight against Nigeria. It is as bad as that. Nigeria is a failed state. Gi'me a break, there are many negative indices there to prove me right.” After reading all the reactions, which came in torrents, I replied some and deleted some. I was cold and introspective for a while. I was taken aback that none understood that the topic that provoked their comments was an innocuous clarion call to arms, to save motherland, to save Nigeria from imminent collapse. A call which had urged them to begin to return back to mother land to help in any small way they could.
Truth be told, Nigeria is gradually withering away and its leaders are busy pursuing inanities. Nigeria is burning and its elite are busy siphoning the people's commonwealth overseas. Nigeria is going. It is going and it may soon go. Nigeria's social institutions, such as hospitals and schools have, particularly in the past two years or so, been reduced to the Stone Age quality, yet its leader's fiddle. Nigeria is burning while its leaders see every outcry for restitution in the pursuit of a new path, as an affront by renegade individuals. Nigeria is overwhelmed by a cabal of individuals who are masters in debauchery and in abundant possession of a buccaneering mentality.
Now, flash back to five years ago. It was in the month of June 2005. That was, when the highly respected American National Intelligence Council (NIC) went to town with its matter of fact-findings on the state of the Nigerian nation. The institution had in its no holds barred prediction warned that Nigeria would be no more within 10 years if its leaders continued with their methods. It noted almost with pain, resignation and trepidation then, that the country possessed in abundance, all the ingredients that are the hallmarks of a failed state. Then skeptics, most of them from the Nigerian ruling class, including the former deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu went bananas. The uproar was so loud that it almost dented Nigeria/ US relations.
Having papered over the 'little' crack, the US crude oil interest in the Gulf of Guinea region intensified. Having put out the smoldering fire inadvertently ignited by the NIC report, what happened in Nigeria and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa became a passing internal problem with a “no go area line” boldly drawn by policy bosses in Washington and the diplomats on the field obeyed. As long as oil flowed and there was equilibrium in the international oil market, nothing else, mattered for the United States.
So much so that while the US continues its search for a better life for its unborn children, the Nigerian counterpart practiced perfected denial of basic amenities to its citizenry and in the process mortgage the lives of its populace, unborn. Corruption is each passing day wearing a new and refreshed look as state governors compete to outdo each other in their race to stash away the people's money.
Some governors who are fingered, arrested or voted out soon get rewarded with juicier contracts or appointment as federal ministers and chairpersons of boards of sensitive federal institutions. To the Nigerian ruling class, it is the best of times, to the average Nigerian on the street; it is still the worst of times. To the country itself, it is the continued wait for 2015 – the year of apocalyptic.