2011 POLLS: A NIGERIAN'S PETITION TO GOD
Our God and our father, I come to you this beautiful Monday morning to lend my voice to those of millions of Nigerians who cry to you daily for a way out of the myriad of problems bedevilling our nation. Because you are all-seeing, all-knowing and all over the place(omnipresent), there may be no point listing all the problems your children, God's children, have had to contend with in this animal farm called Nigeria, with these set of animals called leaders.
You know some of the problems already. You know what your people have been going through in the hands of our nation's treasury robbers since you gave us this beautiful land and blessed it with abundant human and natural resources. You hear the cries of your children. You see their tears. You feel their frustrations. You know that at 50, this is not where we should be as a nation.
You know we should truly have been a giant in all ramifications, but for our leaders(eaters, actually), who have stunted our growth and arrested our development.
At 50, our song is the song of lamentation, instead of redemption songs or songs of joy. We lament our excruciating unemployment level; we lament insecurity in the land; we lament hunger and frustration; we lament our lost glory in education where many university graduates can't spell their names correctly or tell the capital of Lagos State . We lament our seeming bond with the god of darkness. Electricity remains an unrealisable goal. Forget what our rulers say and would want the outside world to believe, things are really rough for us as a nation and as a people. Except for the hypocritical, we are at point zero right now searching for a hero to lead us to the Promised Land, the land flowing with all the good things of life which you freely gave but cruelly denied us.
But what do we have? Instead of tackling headlong our infrastructural decay and forging a new direction: getting the youths engaged by creating sustainable jobs, providing health care, pipe borne water and constructing durable roads, at 50, our rulers have asked us to roll out the drums and celebrate the fact that we are still together as a nation, despite our travails and our bloody 30month fratricidal feud. May be. But the question is: are we truly a united nation? Are we one people? Even if the ordinary Nigerian cares neither about tongue, tribe nor creed, our rulers and politicians truly do not want us to be one people and one nation. They beat the drums of war. Sing the songs of violence and blood, and sow seeds of hatred and discord.
The language of the moment is zoning, rotation, region and the like. This can't be the language of people who love this country. This can't be the language of people who want the best for the country. This can't be the language of progress. Why can't the best man get the job to get the best job done? Why can't we bring down the 'Berlin' wall of ethnic colouration of politics? Why can't we judge a man by the content of his character, the soundness of his judgement, the sharpness of his mind and the integrity of his words, but the geography of his birth?
God, you blessed us with the black gold but they turned it to blood in our mouths; you blessed us with good vegetation and conducive environment to grow any kind of food, but they messed things up by not harnessing this rare potential. The result? Today, millions of your children sleep on empty stomachs. Thousands of infants are dying of malnutrition and other preventable infant diseases. The only people who are not feeling any pangs are the privileged few in the corridors of government and their hangers on. Not the ordinary Nigerian. Not the masses.
God, you blessed us with brilliant citizens. But we can't harness their talents for the progress and overall development of our country. The result: most of our best brains and capable hands have all fled to Europe and the United States of America where their worth is recognised and their intellectual acumen are deployed to make those societies the envy of all. In America our citizens are to be found in intellectually and scientifically challenging endeavours: Medicine, space engineering, amongst others. Even those who have decided to stay back and contribute their quota to the development of this country are daily frustrated. They are either owed months of salaries that are in actual fact not living wages or underemployed.
Oh God, you know that over 65percent of your creation in our country live below the poverty line; millions of others have no jobs; young Nigerians graduate from school without jobs and with no hope of securing any. At this moment, our country has the shameful record of producing the 16th set of graduating students who roam the streets without any means of livelihood. Yet, over 70percent of your children, our people, live on less than 65cents daily.
Indeed, the above are all notorious facts about our country, the country you gave all but ruined all through inept leadership, through backward policies that only ended up impoverishing the vast majority. Our successive leaders have only ended up outdoing their predecessors in infamy and larceny. We have not only been recycling bad leaders, we have also produced more brutal rogues with each new leadership. God, many times our people have had cause to ask in frustration if you have not forsaken our land? And if you haven't, why do you allow the bad rulers get to power, stay long and misrule your people?
This is not an attempt at blasphemy.
No man can query God or His motives. God knows best. God knows why. But, dear Father, our cry for purposeful leadership should by now have flooded your blessed throne. We can't wait for you to turn our tears into laughter; our waste to wealth; our frustration to hope. We pray and we receive your answer to that prayer. Amen. Now, this brings me to the crux of today's piece, the essence of my petition to you, dear God. You know it, even before I write about it: the January 2011 polls. The year(2011) that has since been dubbed the make or mar year. The year we either move to the comity of developed and progressive nation or walk the road to Kigali, the road to ethnic strife, the road to disintegration.
There are fears that this may be the end of Nigeria, except the politicians caution themselves in the way they are going about the whole politicking and their quests for power. Former American Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has sounded the alarm bells: Nigeria watch it. You are on the road to strife and disintegration.
Before Campbell, former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, had similarly warned in an interview with DAILY SUN: 'I fear the Somalia-sation of Nigeria.
There may be no Nigeria if we don't get 2011 right.' Other Nigerians have expressed equal sentiments. And there is no reason to disagree with them. Many Nigerians don't have to be a Prophet T. B. Joshua or an Olabayo to see that things may not go well in the forthcoming polls going by the desperation of some of those seeking the presidency of this nation. God. you can see the 'do-or-die' desperation in their eyes and that of their campaigners and supporters. You see in their eyes the desperation of men who will not think twice before pulling down the roof if the contest does not go their way.
You see in their eyes images of men who are going into the race either for ego reasons or people being egged on by the whims of their greedy followers. It is this level of desperation that frightens some of us, observers of the political atmosphere. Are we not surely on the road to Kigali? Are not on the march to the land of infamy? Except the parties call the aspirants to order and caution the campaigners on the use of intemperate language, we will have it! God forbid!
God, don't let any desperate politician get an inch near Aso Rock in 2011. You know no desperate person can ever mean well for us. You know that a desperate person will only get there to compound our already worsening crisis of survival. Whilst desperate politicians plot how to get power, send the spirit of confusion into their midst.
More importantly, we ask you, dear God, to open the eyes of Professor Attahiru Jega and his men to see evil and speak out against evil; give him and his lieutenants the courage to stop evil men from their practised art of rigging, ballot box stuffing, falsification of results and manipulation. And for our people, may we have the courage to embrace the doctrine of one man, one vote. A hundred Jegas conducting election, without the will power of our people to insist on what's right by defending their votes, will not produce the credible leadership we yearn for. Thank you Father for answered prayers. Did I hear you say a loud Amen?