Remembering The Mobile Shrine In The Era Of Belching Priests
Forty years ago, Brigadier General Murtala Ramat Mohammed was killed in a bloody coup. His murderers truncated his dream of having a Nigeria free of corruption. His death only threw Nigeria many decades backward. His killers succeeded in establishing a revolving throne of Nigerian leaders with increasing desperate tendencies to perpetuate 'lootocracy' every time the chair revolves to the next 'pocket-based executhieve'.
Late Muratala Mohammed was indeed a mobile shrine who unleashed the “gods” against corruption and corrupt Nigerians. The former military Head of State hoped to place the country on the path of development earlier truncated by military incursion in 1966. Forty years after he was cut down brutally at his prime, Nigerians still duff their hats for his legacy even when his physically presence is now memory.
The mobile shrine is gone, those expected to be priests and custodians of the shrine are belching from overfeeding on the gifts for the gods. Nigerians continue to toil and slave for these gluttonous priests whose beast of hunger cannot be fed, sea of thirst cannot be quenched. Alas, Nigerians have had enough, luckily a protégé of Murtala was available to liberate the drowning country from a ship captained by the immediate past president bludgeoned by all manner of challenges.
The problem a protégé of Murtala will have to deal with in the present day clime is the ever growing awareness among Nigerians who are more advanced in reasoning, more fragmented in cleavages and deeply rooted in blackmail, lies, criticism. The peoples president, General Muhammadu Buhari , who is seen as a good student of Murtala ideology may have gained leverage through afore mentioned sentiments, but nine months after victory at the polls, same vicious circle of challenges that beguiled his predecessor, same blackmail hauled against him appears to be looming. It is indeed heart wrenching that only the container is changed in some level of governance, the content is still the same. The time to clean the system within has dawned.
Buhari certainly wants to be remembered like Murtala, Buhari surely wants to live up to the overwhelming mandate given to him at the polls by Nigerians. Yes Buhari wants to change the social, political and economic situation he met in 2015. But the belching priest around him are still set with their abnormally large proboscis to suck the last pint of blood out of the already fainting economy. The budget obliquely hijacked by these belching priests is the most troubling episode of the flip-flopping road to achieving the present day change.
For the budget miasma, some people allege that the new administration has failed to manage the outcome of their own so called “Budget of Change”, some call for probe, some call for public apology by the President, others call for the resignation of some ministers. While it is sad for expectant Nigerians to be confronted with a very embarrassing flipside of a most celebrated administration like the one presently led by Buhari, it is indeed a wake up call, which suggests that most of the people working with Buhari are either unprepared to lead, lost in the euphoria of the historic victory at the 2015 polls, engrossed in puerile propaganda against the immediate past administration, engaged in vendetta or a combination of all.
The reality check has left many informed Nigerians wondering if the change expected is here or not. While some have vowed to turn a blind eye, regardless of the direction to register their unflinching loyalty to the “change” government, some Nigerians, and that includes me will always raise flags once there are issues. If the ship of nation building is coasting to dangerous waters where rocks, sharks tempest reign supreme. It therefore amounts to encouraging a kid performing poorly in school to continue failing exams, once everybody choose to give approval nod at every nasty fail under the present administration. We can indeed help by inundating the system with the truth.
In three months time, it will be one full year the administration assumed power. A lot of inconsistencies in policies, government positions against reality. The dollar is on a supersonic speed against the crawling Naira. People are alleging that those who stashed stolen funds are responsible? This class of armchair economic analysts believe, once the “looters” hit their required target after making many times what has been stashed, the looted funds will be returned with little or no dent to their growing reserve, leaving the country with nothing at the end.
Late Murtala would have ordered with “immediate effect”, a legendary slogan during his brief but purposeful administration to deal with corrupt leaders. The heat would have been on and a lot of paper works, heavy sanctions, seamless clampdown. His gain as a military Head of Stated is a loss for Buhari under the civil rule where interconnected red-tapes leaves him without much traction. Never again will the military rule Nigeria, but the democratization of virtually everything appears to be clog rather than traction for the present change leadership at the center.
If the change mantra wielded by this administration must yield positive results, it must look inwards. Those belching priests who assisted the ex-president Goodluck Jonathan to a catastrophic miasma are still on the prowl, shielded under the protection of civil service or evil service? They are not afraid of the change yet because government is completely not looking their way. The ongoing corruption war is basically targeted at politicians in the opposition. While some of the politicians in the opposition deserve to be locked away for the rest of their lives, some especially ex-governors will simply be at the mercy of their vindictive successors who are simply eager to score cheap political points.
There is limit to the time Nigerians can wait. Already the usual clogs are primed to tackle Buhari's good intentions. Soon Nigerians who are known for their legendary impatience will start dancing to another rhythm – then the belching priests would have won in forcing Nigeria into a full reverse gear. These class of leaders feast on impunity, corruption and everything devious. They are “seasoned” technocrats insulated by civil service orientation but with lethal viral venom. They are working the system to their own whimsical interests.
Still on the belching priests, President Buhari must take heed to avoid recycling them. Though the process has started to clean the rot, a good juggling of key civil servants in top positions must be effected. It is instructive to intimate that some civil servants have refused to accept promotion for many years only because their present position give them more influence and affluence. If the president really wants the truth, the belching priests also include some of his ministers, especially those who midwifed the PDP to its present cul-de-sac. That they are now in the All Progressive Congress (APC) does not absolve them of their past abysmal records. These priests have desecrated the shrine, which Murtala tried to sanctify 40 years ago. They are good for nothing except to kill every good seed planted.
Writte by Israel A. Ebije.