Armchair Critics Are Destroying Nigeria


It is being asserted that Nigeria faces great and severe challenges in her

march to nationhood. some of the challenges include poor leadership,

corruption, poverty in the midst of plenty, insecurity, defective federal

structure etc.
Nigeria should change their political structure this New Year in order to

allow democracy to grow. In the U.S which we like to copy so much,

immediately after the election the loser steps aside and allow the winner

an opportunity to at least rule. In Nigeria, opposition and politics

continue until the next election. So it is politics and 'opposition' for

the next four years and as a result governance is seriously affected.

Not many people take notice that a serious problem facing this country is

the so called 'opposition' and armchair critics. In Nigeria, immediately

after the elections or a new government is set, opposition emerges. One

easily gets confused whether the opposition is in good faith or not.

Having started with the parliamentary system, the 'opposition' culture

particularly in Western part of the country does not seem to have left our

Consequently, immediately government is set up at the Federal level, those

who lost the election will immediately set up the 'opposition' and ensure

that government does not have peace or does not work until the next

election. The late President Yar Adua faced the same situation. Few months

after he took over government, they described him in the Nigerian press as

'Baba Go Slow'. Suprisingly however, it was this Baba-Go-Slow who sorted

out the Niger Delta militancy in a classical manner and brought peace to

the Niger Delta, a crisis that almost destroyed the Nigerian economy.

Surely it was not the strong man of ODI that brought peace to the Niger

Delta but the Baba-Go-Slow.
President Goodluck Jonathan successor to Late President Yar Adua has been

the worst victim of Nigeria's armchair critics. President Jonathan's case

is worse in the sense that immediately after the election results were

announced and Jonathan was declared winner, opponents took to the streets

destroying lives and properties. He therefore started on a sour note. No

sooner than he was sworn in than opposition started. Nothing that he did

or said was right. In recent times, attacks have become mostly personal

against Jonathan. From perverse criticism the attacks have turned to

He has become not only the most criticized but the most abused and

insulted President in the world. The tragedy is that if he loses power, it

could turn out that he was innocent and that all what he critics wanted

was to get him out of power no matter the reforms he wants to bring to the

Those who are old in Nigeria know that this is the tactics used to bring

down governments over the years and if military coup was fashionable now,

the military wold have taken over, the important thing is for the

government to fail no matter the consequences on the nation. In fact the

present defections could still be regarded as a coup.

Media bashing of Nigerian leaders did not of course start today. Media

bashing encouraged the military to sack the Abubakar government of the 1st

Republic on allegations of corruption. But when they were overthrown most

of the stakeholders did not have a house of their own. Sir Abubakar is not

known to have had a house anywhere. Government of Yakubu Gowon was also

toppled on grounds of corruption after series of media bashing. When they

were overthrown, most of the Governors returned home as paupers. Late

Governor Esuene who ruled South Eastern State for nine years did not have

a plot of land in the State capital or anywhere apart from his country

home built on bank loan. Gowon himself is not known to have built a house

during this period. Most of the infracstructures they built are still

being used till today.
Another victim of media bashing was Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He was accused

of being weak and his Lieutenants corrupt. As usual, the process was being

prepared for him to be overthrown by those who lost the election and he

was accordingly overthrown. Shehu Shagari was not known to be corrupt. He

was a great and acceptable leader. Today he could travel to any part of

the country without security. Although the politicians were jailed

hundreds of years by the military junta, there were no serious cases of

corruption against them. Dr. Joesph Wayas, Senate President (as he then

was) returned to Calabar his State no a rich man. Compared to what is

happening now they were angels. When the Shagari government was

overthrown, the military was welcomed and celebrated but the honeymoon did

not last long as the media attack continued particularly when journalist

were jailed and the reforms Buhari & Idiagbon tried to bring was aborted

by the Babangida coup. Many people believe that if Buhari's reforms were

allowed to grow, Nigeria would have been a better place. Though

dictatorial, he tried to discipline the country which is what Nigeria

needs even till today.
Our fellow countrymen should not get us wrong, we do not condone poor and

corrupt leadership but there is a trend in the country that if a set of

politicians loose elections, they join forces with the enemies of the

regime and ensure that it will not have peace and be able to implement its

programmes. Such regimes are not even given the chance to announce the

policies when the attacks start coming. We should try to drop this

political structure to allow the country to progress. President Jonathan

has not even been given the the chance to implement his policies. The

implication of this media bashing is that one does not know whether the

criticisms are in good faith or not.
The irony is that even the ruling party men join in attacking their

government than even the opposition. This is strange and can only happen

in Nigeria. Nigerian politicians do not have or show class in what they

do. Top members of the PDP attack their government and get away with it.

This is the genesis of the crisis in the PDP – INDISCIPLINE. A situation

where an immediate past president and immediate past chairman of the Board

of Trustees who left the government barely years ago join in attacking the

government that he set up, who then do we hold accountable for the wrongs

of the government. The open letter written to President Jonathan by his

predecessor and his earlier newspaper criticisms is AB INITIO wrong, if

not for anything but under the general principle of 'COLLECTIVE

RESPONSIBILITY'. Even a card carrying member of a political party should

not openly criticize the government set up by his party because of this

principle not to talk of high ranking officers. Political parties should

insist on discipline of party members. That is why for example, the APC

should not jubilate too much over its recent political fortunes because

the APC is now dominated by by the nPDP and if care is not taken they

might bring the culture of indiscipline to the new party. With due respect

to the politicians, it is not act of impunity that is affecting the

fortunes of the PDP but indiscipline. it is hoped that whoever takes over

in 2015 will be given opportunity to rule without distractions.

Finally, on the issue of corruption and insecurity, the National Assembly

should play less politics. They should grant some emergency powers

(subject to check an balances) to the President to deal with severe cases

of corruption and those who perpetually cry for bloodshed or those who

instigate insurrection against the government all in the name of politics.

Without emergency powers, there is not much the President can do. It is

difficult to investigate most corrupt cases and most security breaches

without Emergency Powers.
Ita Akwaowo, is a lawyer.
[email protected]