CAN NIGERIA CONTROL ANARCHY?
It is beginning to look obvious that gradually we are heading for the rocks going by the gradual deaf and dumb attitude of our leaders. We do not need a soothsayer to confirm that we are heading for anarchy by the day. Figments of advice left seem to be falling on deaf ears and from all indications, civil disobedience many not be very far and unavoidable. But can Nigeria survive or handle anarchy? Good and bad things come in small packages. As I write, this truism is the obvious fact again today in Libya, it is playing in Syria and very present in Greece. Some are crying, while others are rejoicing in the face of the fact that some leaders are either out or on their way out and news ones are in government. These are but pointers to the fact that more falling leaders will come our way sooner than later. But what lessons are there for our current leadership in Nigeria?
EFCC is currently trying some of the immediate past governors. That is good radiance. What happened to all others before them? I mean Samiu Turaki, James Ibori, Dariye, Nnamani the list again is long. What is happening to Dimeji Bankole?
It looks just like yesterday when it started in Yaba in Lagos in 1993. A group of people gathered there to appraise the June 12 1993 election and before they knew it, the military under the leadership of General Ibrahim Babangida sent a team of armed soldiers to disperse the 'miscreants'. And before our own eyes, death was all that was recorded, But within days, weeks and later months; the seat of power had become so hot that IBB chose to step aside. Wiseman! Had he thought otherwise, by now he would have been history like Saddam, Bin Ladden and now Gaddafi. General Sani Abacha was not that lucky. He ate “Apple” from some sweet sixteen's and that became his waterloo. Then Obasanjo came with a third term agenda even though he stoutly denied it, all these were bad omen at the time of their occurring, to the principal actors, and indicators were then, that they remained futile efforts but were ignored.
Again, the arrivals of Chief Earnest Shonekan, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Musa Yar'adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at various times were a great relief also to a people who were tensed up at more than regular intervals through the missrule of their regular accidental leaders. But the question to ask based on happenings around the world is this: Can Nigeria withstand or control the coming anarchy as has been observed in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and now Libya while it still ongoing in Greece and some other nations? The indicators are all there yet there is every reason to suggest that the elemental readiness is lacking, but like Volcano, the nation is waiting to explode.
Col Muammar Gaddafi is the latest victim in leadership of self destruction. Before him were Saddam Hussain and Bin Laden all of which are not only dead now, but on the bad side of history. Jean Peddel Boukassa, Idi Amin Baba, and a host of others have gone their way and no one remembers them now. Who does not like to be remembered like Martin Luther King? Forget it that Ben Alli of Tunisia and Hussain Mubarak of Egypt may face long jail terms, the Bible already told us that no one praise God from the grave. It remains better to be alive and have the chance to repent than be the dead. The revolution around the world has not ended yet, but while our leaders watch, read, and feel the experience of others, they have refused to learn from these experiences. A look at the happenings in Nigeria today would confirm our worse fears.
Nigerians were unanimous in electing Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; forget that the CPC took him and the Peoples Democratic Party to court, without emotion the election was won fair and square but that is for the court now. But the joy of my countrymen seems to be ebbing by the day. With a lot of promises before the election, everyone expected action right from the take off date of May 27 2011. But that was not to be. The much touted transformations in the Energy, Education, Road, Health, Industry and Commerce or fixing the Oil sectors to mention a few seem to have vanished. Instead we have Six (6) year one term agenda, denial of N18,000.00 minimum wage (promised the electorate during the elections) and total removal of fuel subsidy all these in addition to the existing malady of bolted salary of National and state assembly members along with local government Chairmen and Councilors. Do all these today executives buy from different market with the populace? In George Orwell's Animal Farm he told us that all animals were equal. But later some animals became more equal than others. That exactly is what we see in Nigeria today. A friend who just won election into whatever office only in May this year has already deleted the names of his old friends from his list, reason? He told one of his new associates that they were boring him. I am waiting to send him Christmas greetings.
We the people of this country have continued to bear the burden and cost of governance without being governed. The latest craze is the Oil subsidy removal. Whose interest did the earlier removed subsidy serve? The roads are still none existent, people still die of minor ill health, electricity has remained ever epileptic despite huge billions spent in that direction; small business operators in National Association of Small Scale Industries – NASSI, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises- NASME have remained dry docks! Housing policies have only been best of proposals and worse in implementation as cost of building materials are settled on the roof tops. What are the practical things on ground in Agriculture? Only last week the nation was awoken to the reality that over N100Billion has been spent already for the importation of only Rice for Christmas consumption! Industries have all relocated to Ghana leaving us with high unemployment profile. Has the government at all level taken any opinion poll at all? President Barrack Obama of the United States had a less than appreciable midterm report even in the house within his party. When the result was published, the humble man returned to the trench, told himself some home truth, received some hard advice and rose from the recess more determined and even as l write, evidence are there that Obama is headed right despite stepping on the toes of the high and mighty. Yet Obama's annual salary is by far lower than our legislators overhead! While our Assembly men pocket the salary of 750 civil servants at N18,000.00/month which they have refused to pay, Professors and academicians who taught them to read and write are groaning.
His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan came on board with the situations the way they are. He inherited, reviewed and accepted that he could fix them. It was not for nothing therefore that we had high hopes, the reality however is that we are seeing more cosmetic applications than pragmatic approach which make the danger we foresee to appear more real. In all these the leadership appears to be creating a state of anarchy and looking for someone to blame! Do we have the antidotes? Several instances have proved that we cannot handle control an overcrowded stadium, how much more disorder in four cities in a row! Or angry mobs? What informs the leaders that those they may ask to quell situations would not join or arm the mob? Who are we deceiving to believe that positive change is in sight anyway? Not many anymore. Yet we can still do something. Positive change is a matter of minutes and it takes a mad man to be on the seat. GEJ is a good man no doubt, but he is not the main man. Sure he will try, but the main man needs to be mad enough. Jonathan is in the hole, held up by cabal but how I wish he remembers that he owes himself and posterity especially as he has only one term to prove to all that he is the man voted for.
In all the countries where testaments are available, it took a simple thing to ignite the fire. Just like it was at the square in Lagos. People died, oh yes people will die as martyrs but revolution certainly will take full course if and when it begins for good or bad. All we see happening in Nigeria today with impunity must not be construed to mean that the governed are stupid or ignorant. In fact to think that is to suggest that the leadership has remained inept. Everything has time and season. The time for Lootocracy is gone. The time for Oleocracy is going. Now is the time to warn and advice the various arms of the government should they heed then, calamity would be nipped in the bud or averted. If not, the obvious volcano shall erupt and like Tsunami, Whirlwind, Tornados, Ogunkpa flood, Hurricane, it will engulf its victims no matter where or who they are in a jiffy.
As we count the days drawing nearer, let it be known that issues when they occur shall not be based on religion, ethnic group, or tribe. The destruction will not toe any party line. Anyone who think thatunrest the type we see daily now cannot befall Nigeria is deluded. Just as water has no enemy, yet it drowns, chokes and therefore kills, fire on the other hand has no friend. The question today is: Can we control anarchy? A word is enough for the wise. Good luck Nigeria.
Mike O. Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt