Nigeria: a Nation of Executive Complacency.
On thing is almost certain come 2011, Nigeria will have a general election. But whether it will be for the good of this nation is another issue all together. That was the conclusion I arrived after reading about the carnage called bombing at Eagle Square Abuja at the 50 th anniversary of Nigeria. But that drew me to the title a nation of executive complacency.The warnings have all been there for many years as events waiting to happen. But our leaders will not see, will not listen and will not act because of their quest to out loot themselves in public funds meant for our common good.
It started like child's play on the day of glory for late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. At such feast that the best brains in the Egyptian Air Force, Army and Navy would display the best in their Armory, all of which are Weapons of Mass Destruction WMD as (former President George Bush jnr.) nick named them. It was a usual annual event and so, alternative plans were put in place to usher in the death of President Sadat. He got it coming, but ignored all advice and feelings after the signing of the Camp David treaty with former President Jimmy Carter of United States, which Egyptians and the Arab world publicly rejected. Sadat's Effigy was burnt as a mark of discontent. He did not listen or hear his inner man. He died. The rest is what we read now-History.
Back in Nigeria, our own dear native land, changes had begun. In Bulumkutu faraway Maiduguiri in Borno state, a group of Islamic faithful called out for a revolt. The sect was named Maitatsini. What was their main source of grudge? Simple, whether to face the sun or not in prayer! In split second, based on this, they burnt the entire city. Air ports were closed, travelers were stranded and before it could be curtailed, spillover effect was felt strongly with mass killing of Christians in Sabon Gari area of Kano. That was in 1982. From then on, the catalogues of religion riot in Nigeria became tittles for books in study of crises management but it has not abated. Now we have NEMA National Emergency Management Agency for managing crisis created by disgruntled elements with huge financial muscles. They have are in different names like Izala, Anwarudeen, Ansarudeen and so on.
Recently Boko Haram had reared its ugly head in Bauchi, it occurred the first, second and third time, even when the victims of the first are yet to recover from their sense of loss in the Bauchi massacre it has spread with pretentious check. Attacks and reprisal attacks have become the lot of the people who once lived as peace loving brothers and sisters and the Government remains watching as if helpless.
In Jos Plateau State, Governor Joshua Dariye was a scape-goat in one of the early episode as he was suspended from office despite handing area to his deputy before traveling overseas on leave. It is no longer news that all concerned in Plateau State have murdered sleep due to ineptitude of our leaders.
The Niger Delta stigma started with the unpleasant high handedness of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. Rather than make effort to pacify the people who then, was called extreme minority of the minorities, they were totally ignored. Then the people declared for self Government in Kaiama. The government in blind justice torched down on Odi, Odioma, Garamatu and their nearby villages with military high handedness/command - in a Democracy! The result became youth restiveness, militancy and now kidnap. It has been full blown unrest ever since, just as it is no longer news to hear of issues of gun distribution everywhere.
In all these happenstances, the constituted authorities stood a loft as if nothing happened after all their direct kits and kin have been flown overseas for safety. While all the misdeeds happened heroes were made of those dissidents specially financed to carry out the nefarious activities. Scape goats were arrested and thrown into cell. But to date no Nigerian, expect General Zamani Lekwot (for political reasons)have been tried and jailed for their part in all the crisis that have bedeviled the nation. Or we do not have security reports of their backers?
Some time ago it happened at Jukun in Taraba State and Elder statesman Gen.Theophilus Danjuma lost all he had with same nonchalant effect. These days at the National Assembly the two houses have treated us to shows of shame in their physical fight over National interest ? No. Over greed called ' I before others '! It has happened a number of times in Edo State House of Assembly and Ogun State has done their script. Our own Abdukareem has graduated from the Terror School to give Americans a special Christmas treat last December. Now, it is full blown, so can we still query the CIA for our inclusion in Terror list? Ask Nigerians whose family members were victims of the October 1, 2010 at Eagle Square Abuja, by what name the attack ought to be given. If it is not terrorist attack, certainly it was not a present specially bargained for.
What is the Government doing in all these? Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo ( as he preferred being called then), once had a farm in Otta, Ogun State Nigeria. He captured the situation like this. His farm was popularly called Obasanjo farm Nigeria Limited (OFN) christened after his Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) during his first adventure in the leadership of Nigeria. Obasanjo had one of the best Poultry in the country then, but there was austerity measure ( also introduced by him ) while in office. Things got so hard with uncle Sege that he could not trust the managers in the farm any longer, so he directly supervised sale, payment of proceeds into the bank as well as return of unsold chicken. One day, as the Chief himself was at the door, one of the female agents with a child on her back returned all of her chicken unsold and was in tears. Not so much that she did not sell, but that with the scourging sun, without food, she had nothing to take home to her family to justify the days Job. Uncle Sege did not give her any chicken, after all he is known for being a shred businessman. He called the woman and told her that she could not sell, not because she had bad product, but that attention has shifted from luxirus meals to essentials like ice fish not chicken! Emphatically he said 'the chicken have come to roast '. In the darker days at the farm, yours truly was also a client to the farm. Then all the birds had gone and the Nylon extruding plant was rented out to us for processing Nylon sheets.
We have gone full circle also in almost everything exception positive presentation of Nigeria at 50. At 50, we are certainly one country with some of the best laws and policies. But we have always promoted the 'Nigerian factor' in frustrating efforts. Is it possible that retired General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in all his eight years as president could not get just one of those Islamic promoters of Jihad on Christians in a multi ethnic country as ours behind bars if there is no connivance - even as evil genius? Is it possible that neither Obasanjo at his first and second incursion in office or Abacha could locate the 3 rd forces frustrating leadership and staining Nigeria's image? I will forgive Retired General Abdusalami Abubakar. Reason? His tenure was not only brief, but purposeful and focused on delivering democracy and he did. What about now? Is it possible that security reports were not nipped in the bud before the dastard act of October 1 October 2010? If we do not have answers to any of these questions now, it portends a bleak future for everyone.
Our leaders who today are in fools' paradise would be worse for it sooner than later, if appropriate measures are not taken to ensure safely, security of lives and properties of all and sundry. These days it is no longer news that Aba the Taiwan of Africa is a 'no go area'. Just a scenario there, last month September, a boy was killed because he refused to have sex at the command of the hoodlums, with his mother. At seeing her dead son and being prompted again, the woman volunteered that the second son should do it. Today she is better off with a son in that cursed act than die. And we have the police, the Local Government, and the State Government officials in the place. Is that the country you want to celebrate at 50?
On Sunday 3, October 2010, almost every church in Nigeria preached the message of hope and peace for the Nation. Same was the message in the mosques in Friday 1 October. And most of those who were involved in the planning, financing and executing the bombing at Eagle Square were among the prayer warriors. Oh God! You alone see the thoughts and attitudes of men.
Everywhere there was signs in the air the paraphernalia of celebration reminiscent of October 1, 1960 and 1999 repeated this year. But the celebration was marred. Rather than rejoice, it was sorrow, tears and blood before mass burial of charade souls! Thank God I did not see it.
By this act, the executive and Legislative arms of our Government have been put on notice that there are no safe heavens any more. On the other hand, our security organs have also received a notice of serious overhaul. Your Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, let me prophesy that if you win the next election, and my prayer as that you should, you better do away with all your indecisions. A lot of forces will fight to rubbish your tenure. We need an assertive President on the driving seat of Nigeria. Use all instrument of your office and fish out everyone involved in the failed October, massacre time is on your side. Do the needful. We are watching.
Mike O. Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt