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NIGERIA’S CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS: THE HEIGHT OF INCREDULITY

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All things being equal, one hundred years in the life of an individual, a marriage – very rare events, a church, a product, a political party, a business organisation or a nation is a great time to celebrate. All of the above entities would have encountered some daunting challenges in a hundred years of existence. The joy of such longevity is to take stock and see much value added after one hundred years. Falling or failing forward within a hundred years is a great credit to an individual or organisation. God understands the nuances of human old age because He's the Ancient of Days – DAN. 7:9. The geographical expression called Nigeria {apologies to Chief Obafemi Awolowo} was cobbled together in 1914 in the luscious, amorous colonial household of British arch-imperialist, Lord Frederick Luggard and his consort, Flora Shaw. The amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria into a new nation was born by political caesarean section, without minor or major anaesthesia, without the nursing consensus of the over 2,500 nationalities who became fatalities of European imperial aspirations. The innocent nationalities were just herded into a colonial caravan and driven into the orbit of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Their former independence, dreams and aspirations were embalmed under the stolen mandate that Lord Luggard assigned and assumed for his sovereign. An adroit operator, Luggard studied the Nigerian landscape, the Hausa/Fulani, the Igbos and the Yorubas most populated nationalities in it and deduced the terms of success. The Islamic, feudal structure in the north which functioned on slavery, subservience and subjugation of the majority by the minority, aristocratic Fulanis favoured the cause of the colonial overlords. Riding on this imbalance, Luggard enacted his indirect rule system in the north, using the over-fed and pampered emirs to milk, dry and pulverise the unfortunate natives financially and educationally. The indirect rule system had the advantage of filling up the colonial treasury without the British Crown paying for the military and police forces overseeing the occupation. The South was a problem for the British, especially the republican minded Igbos in the East and the monarchical Yorubas in the West who didn't tolerate mass slavery like northerners. The British imperialist therefore settled for the north as the heir of the British, as their preferred candidate, as their SOB. The colonial government calculated that if educated in the school of power and privilege, the North will unquestionably carry on the colonial legacy in black skin. Luggard therefore prepared a False Supper which he force-fed the powerless southern nationalities and northern minorities. In this absurd menu, he concocted false population figures that filled the huge, scanty expanse of the northern savannah belt and wickedly, but purposely reduced the true figures of the irrepressible, republican Igbos and the politically minded Yorubas both of the rain forest belt. Though many British colonial servants have since owned up to this deception, this train of delusion has been indigenised. It's still extant, now sown into the fabric of federal character that the north has a bigger population than the south. And that has been the fodder for arch-northern irredentists like Dr Junaid Mohammed who work assiduously day and night to sustain this naked lie. It reached its zenith in the last census when Lagos, one of Africa's mega cities {Cairo, Egypt is the second} and one of the world's 15 largest cities was awarded an unbelievable nine million residents while Kano, which is not rated a mega city by an scientific study got nearly twice as much! Ab initio therefore, the foundation of the Nigerian Project was fraudulent, faulty, fallacious, fractious and fictitious. Impressed with the frugality of the northern masses while excusing the cooperating emirs who lived in rotting luxury, Luggard deemed the business minded Igbos too heady, uncontrollable and laughed off the education zealous Yorubas as the “pleasure loving people of West Africa.”In the hierarchy of the new order, the north was put above the south and headship of vital national military, security and civil service organs was awarded to them. It came to be seen as their exclusive preserve by right. While the Christian and animist Igbos noisily questioned this abnormally, the Yorubas who have a big Muslim population largely acquiesced. This unfairness wasn't challenged until the June 12 sad episode. Except for the revenue derivable from them, the Nigerian minorities never counted in Lord Luggard's colonial scheme of things even though many of them had more populations than many European countries. By some astute political brinksmanship, the north had until recently, maintained an unfortunate grip on the jugular veins of Nigeria, stifling progress, innovation, education, development, enlightenment, pluralism, equality and democracy. While we may have been somewhat healed of this leprosy when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became president in 1999, the painful scars are still evident. This correspondent x-rayed Nigeria at one hundred years and saw a dismal, abysmal giant being taunted by Lilliputians like Ghana, an adult with the beginner's mentality of a child, a genius in retarded development.

NIGERIA: A GIANT FAILURE AT 100 YEARS
100 years ago, Indonesia and Singapore were economically nowhere. Singapore wasn't even born. Today, Indonesia is a manufacturing Big Boy from whom Nigeria imports everything from soaps to clothes to toothpicks to cosmetics. Today, Singapore is a global economic Tiger in everything from medicine, insurance, manufacturing, journalism, ports administration to education. 100 years ago, Hong Kong was a backwater British possession, Taiwan a desolate island off mainland China. Today, the two city states carry respectful voices in the world markets. The ubiquitous American cable company, CNN,has a major office in Hong Kong. 100 years ago, Malaysia was a poor, stinking hole. It was snubbed and rubbished by the little city sate now known as Singapore when in 1965 it separated from the Federation of Malaysia that hitherto united them. Today, Malaysia is a shinning developed economy with thousands of economic migrant Nigerians. 100 years ago, the modern nation of Israel was just a British possession officially called Palestine. It was largely peopled by poor, uneducated, diseased Arabs and a few hundred Jews. Today, Israel is the economic, educational, scientific, military and educational mistress of the whole Middle East. No Arab state lifts a finger except Israel says so! A First World nation and a technological wonder, its excellent scholars routinely win Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics and chemistry. A living testimony of the fulfilling ordinances of the Christian Holy Scriptures, Jerusalem the beloved biblical city of King David happily remains its united capital. Israel is a proof that you can grow above your circumstances, that the enmity and opposition of 80 million Arabs can't stifle the will power of about 7 million Jews. Israel is evidence that the ancient and modern are possible. The Shekel that was in use when our Lord Jesus Christ manifested physically on earth as man is still the currency of 21stcentury Israel. 100 years ago, Dubai wasn't even born. Thirty years ago, it wasn't even in the womb of development. Today, the ultra modern city state boasts of many firsts and grosses billions of naira from thousands of shopping, holidaying, visiting and transiting Nigerians. 100 years ago, the Middle Kingdom was weighed down with feudalism, poverty, over population, civil war, self immolation and division. Today, China is the world's second largest economy with 1.3 billion people – still the world's largest - and thousands of migrant Nigerians. Today, its expatriate citizens who are least concerned about human rights operate factories all over Africa where our brethren are reduced to slavery and penury. 100 years ago, Vietnam was a French possession, a rice paddy and a market for French manufactures. Today, it has emerged from a ruinous, ideological war with America and France to claim its destiny in the comity of purposeful nations. A manufacturing Big Boy, Nigerians abound in Vietnamese tertiary schools today. 100 years ago, North Korea and South Korea were little more than a big Peninsula village, united in poverty and swallowed up by their influential neighbour, Japan. Today, South Korea is among the world's tenth largest economies with iconic, best selling products like Samsung, LG and Hyundai. It's an economic superpower in engineering, manufacturing, oil and gas. South Korea's winning and evangelizing Pentecostal Christian content and character is globally established. In information and communications technology, South Korea is many years ahead of Europe and the United States. Though a garrisoned nation, North Korea is a nuclear power today, an irritant to democracy, good governance and the rights of the majority. 100 ago, Japan emerged from the amazing results of the Meiji Restoration {1868-1912}, determined to catch up with the west after the disgrace of US Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailing into its territorial waters in 1853 unchallenged to “open” its ports. During the Meiji period, the feudalistic, martial minded Tokugawa Shoguns were shoved aside. Direct imperial rule by Emperor Mutsuhito was re-established, the hierarchical social structure endemic of Confucianism was relaxed, learning was opened to all and knowledge flourished. Inevitably, a new scholarly meritocracy became the norm and Japan transited into a technologically advanced nation by 1889. It humbled Russia in WW 1 and despite losing the Second World War, it had transformed into the world's second largest economy after the United States in 1975. The world's third largest economy today, Japan is a technological marvel in water, space, nuclear and petroleum engineering, car manufacturing, building and military technology. It's a global power in financial services and products. Where will the world be today without Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Sony, NTT Do Como and Nintendo? 100 years ago, South Africa was a political pariah and an economic still born. Even in the convoluted apartheid atmosphere, the monstrous minority government had visions of dominating Africa economically. Today, South Africa is the powerhouse of the continent and its visionary black governments have sought to empower the black majority. The country that Nigeria shed her economic blood for during apartheid now drinks the economic blood of thousands of helpless, harassed migrant Nigerians who are routinely robbed and raped. 100 years ago, India was fighting for its political life, battling colonialism, terrible tribal and religious divides. In the process, Pakistan and Bangladesh went their separate ways. But it has not stopped the Hindu dominated nation from becoming pre-eminence in education, medicine, hospital tourism, science, military, information and communications technologies, space, rail and nuclear engineering, manufacturing and financial services. Bollywood, its film industry is the world's second largest after Hollywood. Its engineering excellence has made it the most preferred destination in the worldwide billion dollars outsourcing business. 100 years ago, Cuba, Peru, Costa Rica and Venezuela were mere blots in the Latin American economic landscape. Today, Cuba is an advanced economy in biotechnology, pharmacy, medicine, manufacturing, military and space technologies. It has for over 50 years successfully endured and defeated the ideological opposition, military harassment, economic embargo, geo-political encirclement and global witch hunt of the world's sole super power, the almighty United States of America. Today, Costa Rica and Peru have respectful economic and commercial status worldwide by reason of respectful educational attainment. Venezuela has a purposeful leadership that correctly defined the country's national interests and goes after them despite the huge anger, unwarranted hatred and ideological hostility of the United States. 100 years ago, Abdul Aziz was the head of beleaguered desert tribes that was not even known as Saudi Arabia. Today, the oil rich kingdom lays claim to guardianship of Islam's holiest places with excellent educational facilities and enviable industrial capacity. By adroit investments in infrastructures; health and education, by parleying billions of oil money into futures, trusts and other investment instruments, it has given its citizens a worthy standard of living. 100 years ago, Egypt, Iran and Turkey were underdeveloped economies. Today, they are nuclear powers in various stages of advanced technological development. 1OO years ago, Nigeria could feed itself. Today, it can't. 100 years ago, Nigeria's nascent educational certificates were envied and accepted worldwide. Now, it's a different story. 100 years ago, Nigerians could access basic health care. Today, we treat common malaria abroad. 100 years ago, what potential could have predicted that a Finnish wood company would later metamorphose into Nokia, perhaps the most enduring global firm in the mobile phone industry? In 100 years, no high profile murder from Dele Giwa to Chief Alfred Rewane to Bola Ige to Harry Marshall to Olaitan Oyerinde has been solved. In 100 years, Nigeria has not built a data base or a finger print unit or a forensic lab. 100 years ago, the potential of Nigeria was more than that of many First World nations today.

WHY NIGERIA IS STILL CARRIED ON THE BACK BY MOTHER NATURE AT AGE 100

In 2011, some Nigerian port executives were in the ultra modern city state of Singapore to learn about port technology. “You were here last year,” remarked the puzzled heard of the Singapore Ports Authority when the same team returned in 2012. “Haven't you learned enough?” The innocent Singaporean technocrat must be forgiven for not knowing that the essence of foreign trips by Nigerian government officials is for BTAs, estacode and shopping extravaganza. After Nigeria attained independence in 1960, Malaysian officials came here to borrow palm tree seedlings. Then, Nigeria was the world's biggest producer of palm oil, a vital product in manufacturing, pharmacy, engineering, orthodox and alternative medicines. Today, Nigeria imports palm oil, margarines, butter, medical oils and fats from Malaysia which is now the world's biggest producer of the product. Today, Malaysia has found about 47 uses for palm oil while Nigeria, OPEC's sixth largest oil producer still imports petroleum products. By deliberate sabotage, highly placed government and private Mafias for decades now crippled Nigeria's refineries and took over the lucrative billion dollars petroleum importation racket. The petroleum subsidy scam is their shameful gift to a blessed, but “suffer head” nation under their demonic grip. Across military and civilian governments, their hold on our national treasury remains firm, tight and increasing. As Hariette Colenso, Walter Sisulu, Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Winnie Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, Helen Suzman, John Harris, Eddie Daniels, Fatoumata Sabaly, Sobukwe, Cyril Ramaphosa and other South African anti-apartheid worthies were fighting to liberate their homeland from modern slavery, Nigeria was breeding vermins in the military, political parties and the private sector. South Africa's African National Congress, ANC,formerly known as the South African Native National Congress, was formed in Bloemfontein on December 18, 1912. An unexpected success, Africa's oldest political party was established by well educated, middle class blacks intent on liberating their country from the shackles of apartheid and making life better for the majority poor black South Africans. The governing party {in tripartite alliance} since the overthrow of apartheid in 1994, it remains ideological driven after more than 100 years of existence. No Nigerian political party formed at independence in 1960 is extant. No Nigerian political party today has an ideological base. We may excuse military governments for this, but if the iron wickedness of apartheid couldn't break the ANC, Nigeria's founding political parties have no lame excuse for caving in to the allure of “Ghana Must Go” {cash} bags. From the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, formed in the Second Republic in 1979 to its successor predatory political robber, the People's Democratic Party, PDP, formed in 1999, Nigeria's political parties are just jobbers satanically embezzling public fund. As foreign governments were enthroning the structures of good governance, the rogue elements that constitute Nigeria's elective and appointive offices ensured that corruption, nepotism, fraud and abuse of office became the directive principles of state policy. Many academic certificates issued in our land today are not worth the paper they are printed on. The schools that produced Professor Chinua Achebe, the Asiwaju of Nigerian literature and Africa's most read novelist and Professor Wole Soyinka, Africa's first Nobel laureate and the Ogbuefi of Nigerian literature – global literary celebrities - now mass produces graduates who can't write the simplest verses in English or Nigerian languages!. In 1914, colonial Britain guaranteed the territorial integrity of the land they forcibly waxed together. By 2013, our federal government had surrendered suzerainty of northern Nigeria to the Boko Haram terrorist brigade, kidnapping and MASSOB squads in the east and Niger Delta militants in the south. Only the OPC, a Pan-Yoruba pressure group in the west hasn't taken up arms against the federal government. In 1914, the amalgamation came about because the north was not economically viable. 1n 2013, just five of Nigeria's 36 states are economically stable. 100 years ago, agricultural products sustained the economy. By 2013, Nigeria was calculated to have lost US$7 billion in oil theft in 2012. When CNN's Christine Amampour in 2013 asked President Jonathan what his government was doing to stem this economic haemorrhage, the leader of the world's largest black nation mumbled that “the international community should condemn it.” 400,000 barrels of petroleum products stolen daily does not bother our president! A simpleton whose “transformation agenda” has only re-surfaced the canvass of corruption, President Goodluck Jonathan was angry at Channels TV for recently exposing the rot at Police College, Ikeja. The excellent journalistic investigation, he fumed, was designed to embarrass his tepid administration! In 1914, the colonial British authorities faced off the encroaching French colonial powers. 100 years later, we surrendered the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun without a fight! 100 years ago, Luggard put the structures of good governance in place. In 2013, a timid PDP federal government has washed its corrupt, blood stained hands off governance. It either consigned its obligations to Nigerians on the eponymous international community or contracted it to the comatose private sector. To access good health, Nigerians go to the western world. Those who can't afford the west go to Singapore, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The lowest middle class opt for Ghana, Togo and Republic of Benin! And the poor run to churches, fake healers and herbalists. The same goes for education and justice. In January 2013, John Akpan, a Nigerian farmer got a Dutch court to pronounce the British/Dutch oil giant Shell Petroleum Plc guilty of polluting his farm. Ex-Delta State governor Chief James “Odidigborigbo” Ibori was jailed in the UK last year for stealing state government funds. Before then, he had secured pathological court victories in Nigeria and held odious thanksgiving services at Government House, Asaba presided over by vanishing, godless priests and pastors. Arms merchant Henry Orkar was nailed and jailed in South Africa in 2013. At 100, Nigerians provide their own water, light, security, roads, education, neighbourhood justice, tribal government and saviour. These indices and the free fall in ethics and values indicate that Nigeria is a failed state. Nigerians should be wailing over gross corruption as exemplified by the Nigeria Police: Tafa Balogun, Police Equipment Fund, Ikeja Police College scandal and the Police pension fund scam: Legislative impunity in Adolphus Wagbara, Patricia Etteh, Ndudi Elumelu, Dimeji Bankole, Farouk Lawan, Nigeria's overpaid legislators the highest in the world: Executive lawlessness in Obasanjo, Yar Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Halliburton, National ID scam, N16 billion faceless Independent Power Projects, N15 billion residence for Vice President Namadi Sambo, N4 billion beauty salon office for Nigeria's First Ghost Worker, Bayelsa State absentee permanent secretary Mrs Patience Jonathan, Femi Otedola, Bicourtney Services contracts, Lucky Igbinedion, Peter Odili, absentee governors Sullivan Chime, Liyel Imoke, Danbaba Suntai. The atonement for serious financial crimes in Nigeria is judicial indulgence like the type that John Yusuf, a deputy director in the Police Pension Board procured for stealing N23 billion. For the pains, misery and agonies that he caused hundreds of police pensioners many of whom died, became homeless, diseased, divorced, broken hearted and weakened when he made away with their hard earned pension, a genial judge fined the rogue N750K or 2 years jail. A human ATM, John Yusuf promptly paid the annoying N750K and was driven home to celebrate with family and friends! The only ones crying are his enemies. But for the outrage from concerned Nigerians and the EFCC, Yusuf's priests or pastors would have held a “thanksgiving service” for him! The penalty for stealing in Nigeria is more inducement to steal more. The biggest heist gets the softest landing. The higher the magnitude of the financial crime, the cooler is the judicial adulation. The only thing working assiduously and walking effectively on four legs in Nigeria is corruption. We should all be covered with ashes and sack cloth, not with adulatory back clapping and meaningless phrases of amorphous unity. It's only in this light that one can understand why the misbegotten “transformation agenda” of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan went on a feet washing exercise called Nigeria's Centenary Celebrations. It greatly assaulted my psyche five nights ago. Did million of disempowered and hopeless Nigerian youths who swim in 57% unemployment and double digit inflation celebrate with him? Why have things gone so awry with this well endowed nation? Why should obsolete bulldogs like Dr Doyin Okupe be re-circled to mismanaging the public image of federal administrations? For this correspondent, our nation should be mourning over many lost opportunities for greatness. In the June 12 debacle, we truncated true democracy and threw away the baby with the bath water. This correspondent thinks that the PDP sold Nigerians a dummy in the Centenary Celebrations. Methinks that the PDP federal government of President Goodluck Jonathan saw this tarnished celebration as a subtle campaign and photo opportunity to showcase his vanishing personality. Methuselah who died at 969 years was the oldest man in the Bible, but he wasn't listed as a worthy man – GEN. 5:27.Longevity didn't confer on him a good recommendation. He wasn't listed in the Bible Heroes of Faith; he was unknown to the Bible's Hall of Fame – HEB. 11: 1-40. He lived long and is long forgotten in the annals of good conduct. Now, can the PDP's henchman, deity and purse bearer sleep better, assured that 2015 is a done deal! Is it?

Historian, freelance journalist and writer, JOSEPH EMEKA ANUMBOR is the author of THE INTERCOURSE OF TROUBLED THOUGHTS, a critically acclaimed discourse on homosexuality published by Author House Inc., Indiana, USA.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emeka Anumbor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Emeka Anumbor