By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu
A cursory look at the political History of Nigeria right from independence to the present 21st Century exposes the facts that Nigeria at the moment is overtaken by marauders. Five Appeal Court Justices on the 6th of September, 2023 disputed the fact that Nigeria is ruled by drug barons. Glancing through the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, portrayed deep-rooted corruption, lack of vision and quest for quick money.
The younger generations are mocking the courts already for lack of discretionary imperative. Politics in Africa is not decent, orderly and it might as well be adventurous in any other continent. Times are changing and situations must necessarily change with them.
The situation whereby the Nigerian masses are suffering, plunged into untold hardship while the political class disburse and share money in the name of palliative or subsidy removal returns is worrisome, calls for urgent attention. Without much ado, it shows that Nigeria is governed by greedy political moneybags.
You and I can recall what happened in 1970s and 1980s before the slogan of “Power to the People” in the late 1990s. Politics then was dirty, diabolic and destructive. So many gimmicks were employed to seize power and retain power. Political bigwigs like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari and the rest always come to mind.
Some of them have passed on while some are still living. These men did their best to develop and transform the country even with their shortcomings. The situation room of politics in Nigeria reveals that governance is never improved rather political leaders keep devising new ways of looting, amassing wealth and impoverishing the nation.
No matter the system of governance, politicking, the country is hijacked, overtaken by rogues and criminals. A bag of rice that was ₦18,000 before APC took over in 2015 is now sold above ₦50,000. And more than 20% of the population do not earn more than 50k in a month as an income or salary. Majority of Nigerians imagine suicide in their dreams because they do not see the sign that Nigeria would be better from the last 8 years.
The value system is broken and eroded because young people do not believe in hard work, patience and sincerity. The government has shown that these cherished values are non-existent. The first president APC gave to Nigeria had no O’ level Certificate and the second president produced by the same political party has dual nationality, no educational background and questionable source of wealth.
Everything seems to be ‘juju’ but some of our elites are happy and complicit. Revered men of God and prophets are seen calling good evil and calling evil good.
Back in the days, most of the world leaders, rulers, presidents were known to be the poorest of the poor in their various countries while the entrepreneurs and the businessmen were the richest. Former US president Ulysses S. Grant became a pauper after being swindled of his life’s savings by a business partner. Can we compare it with what obtains in Nigeria? Nigerian politicians are not just marauders but they steal a lot of money. The debt profile of Nigeria can testify to it.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869. He was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian Independence Movement. He was a smart man who had some amazing insights into people and societal ills. His list of seven deadly sins include: Politics without principle, Wealth without work, Commerce without morality, Pleasure without conscience, Education without character, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice.
More importantly, Nigeria cannot make any headway until she begins to turn nobodies into somebodies. Yes, we can look up for role models, heroes, impressive and boastful ones. We may prefer beautiful people, the brilliant people or the “successful” people. We want the best and the brightest.
But did Nigerians elect president Bola Ahmed Tinubu because he looks good on the television? Why did Nigerians make that choice? The route to growth, development and progress lies in making wise choices. Electing persons who are nobodies but are willing and possess the qualities for transformative leadership will placate Nigerians in their sorrows.
It might interest you to know that those in the rural areas, living at the outskirts of towns, villages, hardly travel to the centre of the cities nowadays due to the cost of transportation. Corruption in Nigeria is getting deeper, higher, broader, both in governance, civil service, commerce and industry. Why? As the politicians spend, lavish subsidy removal returns, every other citizen would want to cut corners and take the easy road in all matters.
Cooking gas, kerosene, petrol, gasoline are very expensive commodities in the country. The prices of these commodities keep rising when they should be the most affordable. In the past years, Nigerians mocked Zimbabwe for buying bread at $1000. Nowadays, ₦3000 cannot buy a good loaf of bread in Nigeria.
Finally, in our day, much of the world believes little or nothing. People are broad but shallow. Few have a vision of what a New Nigeria is all about. There is anxiety, emptiness, meaninglessness, have gripped much of the world. Our youth are desperately searching for a purpose and a meaning in their lives.
They are searching for fulfilment which they are not finding in governance and politics. By contrast, the “Obidients” stand as shining examples of men who were narrow but deep, certain of what they believed, unswerving in their loyalty, and passionately dedicated to the vision they trusted, and for which they would willingly dedicate their lives.
Nigerians must dream great dreams, embrace great principles, renew their hope, but above all, believe in the New Nigeria which alone can give total meaning and an ultimate goal to our lives.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu writes from Lagos, Nigeria