Nigeria’s Long Road to Salvation

By Jude Atupulazi

These must be the most trying times for those who still believe in Nigeria, even though they are few. The country has been turned to a theatre of the absurd by ridiculous, greedy and selfish politicians who have never cared about anyone but themselves, their families and their cronies.

These politicians are without a soul. They travel to the best countries of the world and see firsthand what good governance is all about. But they come here and forget what they saw and continue doing as they like. When they go abroad where the system works and where there are powerful institutions that make for a better society, they toe the right path because, there, the law is not a respecter of persons or riches.

That is why sometimes we see some of these people standing inside the trains or buses there. They cannot afford to do otherwise; lest they be apprehended. The case of the Ekweremadus is still very fresh in our memories.

For long, these people have held Nigeria by the jugular, with each regime striving to outdo the one it replaced in bad governance. The one we may have next, if God doesn’t save us, will succeed in making Muhammadu Buhari a saint, based on what we’re already seeing. Whereas Buhari pretended to be ignorant of what was happening around him, and occasionally went after some crooks, the incoming (God forbid) government may be the worst in terms of corruption,

disregard to rule of law and brigandage. In Fanny Kayode, Bayo Onanuga, Festus Keyamo, we see an assemblage of what any country should abhor if it indeed wishes to do well.

Even the manner they were declared winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, proved to everyone that bandits are about to hijack what is left of our country. They simply do not care what anyone says or does so long as they have what they want.

As if what they did in the presidential and governorship elections wasn’t bad enough, we saw the show of shame in Adamawa where a man that has no business with announcing election results went ahead to announce it, even without result sheets. The maddest thing there was that he was fully protected by senior police officers who at the end of the charade escorted him out. This can only happen in Nigeria of 2023.

That Nigerians are mourning because of the way they were robbed of their mandate is of no concern to these people who are already gathering and hovering like vultures to feast on Nigeria. Except something happens, they may well have their wish. But then, at every point in history, something happens that the applecart will be upturned.

Perhaps that is why Peter Obi, the man believed to have won the last presidential election is telling Nigerians to be patient and not to lose hope.

It is that hope that some people, including me, are holding on to, believing or wishing that something will happen. I have always told myself to be hopeful and I have kept reminding myself too that all the great empires in history collapsed at some point, no matter how strong or powerful they were. I’m sure that at the height of its glory, the Roman Empire, for example, would have laughed at anyone who suggested to it that it could collapse.

Back home in Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, once bestrode the country like a colossus. It believed so much in its strength that it declared that it would rule the country for the next sixty years. But lo and behold, it lost the next election which it even conducted and today it is groveling like some hungry beggar at the foot of the ruling party’s dining table. If this could happen to the ancient Roman Empire and the behemoth called PDP, who says it cannot happen again; this time, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

As long as this hope exists, we will hold on to it and see it to the end.

See why they don’t want to relinquish power?

Within the week this story came out of how the Delta State governor got the state assembly to pass a bill on Delta State Pension and other Benefits for ex-governors into law. Now let’s go over what that law provides for ex-governors.

In the case of Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, when he leaves office soon after eight years he will enjoy the following benefits:

  1. To receive N50m yearly
  2. A furnished duplex in Delta State or any other state in the country worth over N300 million
  3. 350% gratuity of his basic salary for the first tenure
  4. Gratuity of 450% of his basic salary for second tenure
  5. Pension of 70% salary of first term
  6. Pension of 80% salary of second term
  7. Medical treatment for him and members of his immediate family
  8. Two vehicles, including a utility vehicle, not below the sum of N20 million each, every two years
  9. Two armed policemen and one Department of State Security officer
  10. 15 days’ annual vacation in any place of his choice and other benefits
  11. An office with four aides, each of the four domestic workers will earn N100, 000 monthly

Although the commissioner for information in the state denied this, we know that this is not the first time such a story would be told or heard. In fact, many former governors today are milking their states dry in the name of such entitlements. Who has forgotten how Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to be cornering virtually everything in Lagos State till this day after he left office many years ago?

With such entitlements is it any wonder that many of our politicians will fight tooth and nail to occupy public offices? Is it any surprise that those in the system are not in a hurry to leave?

This is why today the rogues in government are fiercely fighting to retain a mandate that is not theirs. That is why they can clone somebody whose mandate they stole in order to cause some mischief that will discredit him and possibly make him lose his case in court. That is why they tap into some people’s private telephone conversations in an attempt to get something incriminating in order sustain their stolen mandate.

Peter Obi whom Nigerians voted for appreciates the enormity of the task of removing these people and that is why he is urging lovers of the concept of a New Nigeria to be steadfast and remain focused and prayerful. He knows the status quo will not give up without a fight.

The prospects may seem daunting and bleak but Obi is no stranger to such battles, having successfully fought it in his time as governor of Anambra State which was at that time a microcosm of what obtained in the larger entity called Nigeria.

Obi represents hope to the hopeless in Nigeria today. He represents a better tomorrow. He is the vehicle through which we are hoping to drive into that new Nigeria he is espousing.

Nigeria is at the nadir of everything that is not good. That is why many people are leaving the country today more than ever before. I’ve not given thought to leaving but I can’t swear I’ll not leave if the opportunity presents itself because what I see ahead if these rogues succeed in stealing our mandate is terrible.

I have since lost hope in this country where nothing works. We are probably the worst country in Africa when it comes to power generation. Rather than get better with the passage of time, it is getting worse and it is at a time other smaller African countries are having uninterrupted power supply. This does not shame our leaders because they are inured to our pain. They can afford to use giant generators non-stop because they have the means.

This is why Obi’s gospel of cutting the cost of governance is infuriating them and making them resort to any means to sustain their stolen victory.

The journey to salvation is only beginning. It will be long and tedious but remains a journey we must undertake until we reach Nirvana. It is not for the chicken hearted. It is like a long distance race and only those who persevere will breast the tape at the end of the race.