Nigeria is a special country, scoring many firsts on many fronts but often negatively. This put a big question mark on those that superintend her affairs. Can it be that something is wrong with the state of the head or the head of state?
With great potential and unlimited resources – human and natural resources – one would have expected Nigeria to excel on every index but the reverse is the case because we play dirty politics with our corporate existence. A people blessed on all sides suffer amid plenty because of leadership questions – a puzzle that the people had refused to solve. Instead of facing our existential problems squarely and proffer lasting solutions, we live in the world of fantasy with the hope to pretend peace into existence. This is a belief built on false foundation with damning consequences – and the people pay dearly for it.
Nigeria is the only country in the world that tries fruitlessly to add “one” to her name to go with the tag, “One Nigeria” yet her constituents’ members remain divided at heart, and this division tears her apart. “One Nigeria” is a loud testimony of forced marriage among strange bedfellows. It reminds the members of a painful forced togetherness that at its best brings about deceitful experience. What a mantra of deception – and a creed of distrust!
The struggle for dominance and domination, the attitude for suspense and suppression, the acts of falsity and falsification, the clamour for arrogance and complexity, the brazen display of superiority and mischief, the outright murder of equity and justice, the open rape of ideology and monstrous deeds of impunity in the society amongst other nauseous and despicable acts make one wriggles in pains especially on seeing the unchecked and unmitigated levels of distrust and wickedness where love and peace should have reigned. What a waste of resources that wastes everything and everyone everywhere?
Everyone pays allegiance to his tribe and religion at the expense of the country. It seems that nothing but a marriage of inconvenience keeps every constituent member separately together. Everything is stupidishly politicized and all things are viewed from the prism of ethnicity and tribalism. We would rather prefer an incompetent pig that is one of us to a refined fellow that can put us on the part of freedom and civilization because he is from our tribe and religion. The system is purely an absolute “ism” affair meant to protect our interest at the expense of others but it ends up putting the people in chains and bondage. Society is not free when someone is in bondage, and in Nigeria more people are bondage. And regrettably the captive idolize their captor. Yes, those in bondage worship those that put them in the bondage.
One of the things that divide Nigerians along ethnic lines is politics. A tribal nation, Nigeria is a place where most people would vote for the worst candidate from their tribe instead of the best candidate from another tribe. Politics of ideology is almost nonexistent in Nigeria. It is rather a nepotistic game played with lies and propaganda fed by tribal favouritism and sustained by mischievious calculations and voodooistic manipulations. The politicians who will stop at nothing to manipulate the people can go to any length to master and practice the game of deception, telling their audience what they want to hear at every given time.
The country bleeds from endless political wounds because prudence is a scarce commodity on our clime and accountability is missing in our political dictionary. A call to serve ends up being an invitation for sleaze and selfish aggrandizement. Those at the corridors of power are not only idolized but they are worshiped with cult followership.
Another thing that makes Nigeria’s politics unique is religion. When it comes to religion, many people lose their sense of reasoning – and nothing can be more dangerous than fanaticism in politics. With a manipulated mindset, by those that ought to guide and preserve life, people can become worse than beast, maiming and killing in the name of religion, religious politics and the politics of religion and such barbaric acts often go unchecked and unpunished; emboldening the perpetrators, giving room for more. Where evil is commended not condemned, the weakling resign to fate especially where such can be linked to those in position of authority. Bringing religion into national politics has done more harm than good to Nigeria and Nigerians – and feeding on human beings, the monster grows bigger by the day.
The power gotten through the back door has ways of promoting shortcuts, at least for the benefits of those that bring it into existence. This breeds and sustains bad governance. Administrative recklessness makes life miserable for the masses. No society can survive the brazen acts of impunity that go on in Nigeria. To perpetuate the cycle, there may be an “association of past rulers”, a “college of past prostitutes”, an “umbrella of past presidents” or a “nest of killers” whose primary responsibility is to indoctrinate the new covert and milk the society dry – and among them might be the proxy president that dictates the tone and calls the shot through whatever means bearing in mind that politics is a game of intrigues. Like vampires that prey on their victims, these ancestors feed fat on the masses and will never talk when they are eating unless the relationship goes sour and the cat will be let out of the bag, proving that indeed vampires don’t eat themselves when there is something to eat but when they are done with their prey and there is nothing left to feed on, they will eat themselves.
To score cheap political points, directly or indirectly, the political class resort to ethnic profiling which makes the victims offensive and defensive. It becomes worse when someone who rides to power through national appeal turns around to bite the fingers that feed him. People revolt when they are neglected, marginalized and excluded. This is one of the reasons for ethnic militia and tribal agitation. People defend their lives and fight for their rights.
Those who get to power through the wrong path end up abusing offices. They have no regards for rule of law, due process and constitutional provisions and so will be averse to the merit culture. And where there is no merit culture, things are done to achieve premeditated goals and satisfy some interests. There is no rule for the game – and where any seems to exist, it will be abused, leading to lack of value for the human life.
In Nigeria, every Nigerian is a suspect before his or her fellow Nigerians – and the suspicion polarizes the state the more. Anything not affecting one’s tribe or religion would likely get a different understanding and interpretation. The degree of sentiment is irrationally high – and the ripple effects are enormous.
This is the place where the head destroys what he is supposed to preserve and the citizen’s unite for disunity with distrust being elevated to a national anthem. Dressed in nepotistic regalia, the ruler divides the country along ethnic lines and reign with impunity, treating criminal elements from his side as angels while demonizing human right activists from other zones as rascals that must be destroyed by any means at all cost.
There is absolute distrust in land as there is nothing to unite the people who are more inclined to their tribe and religion. With truth being relative and scarce in this modern day Animal Farm, what is the way forward?
It is time we redefined our political, political processes and politicking approaches. Should we get it right politically, Nigeria will be great. The world is watching.
Writes from Lagos