“The country was at one time very prosperous, and powerful, but there is probably no other country on this earth more torn and wasted by internal dissensions, tribal jealousies, and fratricidal feuds, a state of things which unhappily continues up to the present time.”
Dr. O Johnson, History of the Yorubas, Published 1921
This is the sad reality of our nation this day. Even though, the above quote was directed at the Yorubas as at then, it in no small measure fits into the modern reality of our beloved Nation Nigeria.
It is not far-fetched nor hearsay that our nation is on the brink of a second civil war with imminent breakup going by the various agitations all around the country and deep-seated mistrust to other ethnic groups and nationalities and amongst ethnic configuration as well.
Our leaders, if we have have become sounding kernels of war and rumors of war, quick to point fingers and everyone drawing the battle line and trying to amass troops. Violence walk the streets in broad daylight and bloodletting roams the streets, nooks and crannies with abandon like a breeze…unchecked. And at night, the terrors howl through the night, crawling into your skin and keeping you awake all night with tremors and trepidations.
But for how long? How did we get here?
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came in 2015 with the message of hope and change. 6 years down the line, we are asking ourselves the question, is this the change we really sought? Is there any hope for Nigeria to be ever salvaged?
The truth is, the rot in the country backdates to the very beginning of the nation Nigeria and how we have cocooned ourselves into a nightmare without really sitting down to ask ourselves salient questions about our nationality and our common agenda. We can readily say that pre-military was a sane period and that the military ravaged this country especially the IBB years but the fact remains, we are who we are. The dormant inured nature to evil and corruption was just waiting for a catalyst to activate like a ferocious volcano.
Let’s not take too much of a step down history lane, but let us ask ourselves one question that is quiet pertinent, what is our duty really as Nigerians in the scheme of things?
Ok, should you be wondering if this is about civic duty, you are not far-fetched. But it transcends beyond the civic duty to our individual roles and activities in this nation state called Nigeria.
The Blame Game
Every administration that had governed Nigeria had put the failure or shortcoming of its deliverables on the immediate and preceding past administrations. No current administration has ever taken the responsibility for failing in their deliverables as an elected government to be held to account. And when the time comes for them to be appraised by their employers (electorates) what happens? A pass mark is awarded for them to carry on and we turn a blind eye to their shortcomings and wipe it off in exchange for a plate of porridge.
Inadvertently, these same electorates will turn round and cast aspersions and blame the government for their inactions and shortcomings demanding for miraculously result… the same government they just awarded a pass mark too, for ineptitude on Election Day.
So here we are, with a cycle of government failure and we the electorates giving them a pass mark for another term. Ohh I forgot, our votes don’t matter right? Shucks!!!
How often has anyone of us taken responsibility for our actions and inactions? Are we not quick to point out and out the blame on others? Or rather, don’t we tacitly support wrong doing and only cry foul of the law finally does catch up or act like, it’s the culprit’s unlucky day to be caught? The fact remains that, as. Not continue to point fingers at our leaders for failing to take responsibility for their actions and inactions when we, in our little corner fail to take responsibility. Wondering what responsibility? Traffic violations…the most rampant, environmental laws…throwing waste carelessly around and littering the drainages, illegal wire connection to power…should we go on?
Let’s look at taking responsibility from another angle. Every 4 years we hold election in this country. And it is our solemn responsibility as citizens to vote for a candidate of our choice, the best fit for the job right? But do we really go out to vote? Ok let’s back up. The process that leads up to the election, the primaries, the sifting of candidates, the vetting of candidates are we involved at all? How do we determine the qualifications of a candidate when we are not involved in the process of putting them on the ballot papers? And why? Politics is dirty…godfather syndrome bla bla bla. The question is, who gave rise to godfatherism? Who allowed imposition of candidates? Who didn’t go out to vote? Rhetorical questions right? It is good that there is now a general awareness of our voting rights and responsibilities. But we must move beyond just the Election Day to pre-election process and post-election process. For that is the crux of one of our duty as a citizen. Involvement in the whole process.
We have a responsibility to call our leaders to order, after we ourselves have called ourselves to order in the discharge of our civic duties and responsibilities. Only then can we have the moral right and ground to appraise them and determine if they are worthy of the post. And it goes beyond the Election Day as I pointed out earlier. What is the depth of the intelligence of the people we put forward? The men we need are;
“Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking”Josiah Gilbert Holland (24 July 1819 – 12 October 1881).
To be Continued.