By Aliyu Nuhu
Call me a military apologist, l don’t care. Democracy is a big let down in Africa. It is an anathema to its growth. You can say all the virtues and beauties of democracy, but the truth remains that Africans and Nigerians are too indiscipline, tribalistic and bigoted to let it work. In fact some of the conditions needed to make democracy work are not yet attained in Nigeria. They are; large middle class and some level of educational attainment among the citizens. On every failure we blame the West. Now tell me it was the West that advised us to promote Almajiri education to state virtue or told Dasuki not to buy the weapons. Tell me it was the West that told us never to punish anyone for stealing. Even when the western countries jailed their nationals in scandals that had to do with us, we promoted our own criminals to position of leadership and blamed the West for our inadequacies.
The Wilbros, Halliburton and Siemens scandals had portrayed us as an unserious nation. Democracies in Uganda, Congo DRC, Republic of Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, CAR,Togo, Angola and Cameroon are better left to history books and historians. In Nigeria, the kind of leaders we saw in the past 23 years are making me to have nostalgia for the military.
The nation did not stagnate under military. There was less crimes because as a nation, Nigeria had the capacity to punish criminals then. The military executed armed robbers, drug traffickers, murderers and terrorists; including their sponsors. Today as we entered our most violent period in peace time, civilians have not been able to carry one death sentence even as terrorists are blowing the nation to pieces on daily basis. No military government will tolerate school abduction and ransom payments the way we see it today. State government officials organize bandits to kidnap students and they withdrew money for ransom and have the students returned after few days.
Armed robbers, kidnappers and ritual killers are living in utopia. The state is on perpetual holiday in dealing with violent crimes. Even with all they stole in the past, at least the military leaders built Third Mainland Bridge and Abuja. No government under this dispensation can build a bridge the length and breadth of the Third Mainland or build a brand new city like Abuja, not even on paper. The military created the states and local governments and demarcated their boundaries. All our social and economic infrastructure were built by them including all the refineries and LNG.
General Abacha in particular, spent 70% of his budgets on capital projects and we are still plying his PTF roads. With all the billions civilians received since 1999, they have failed to repair Lagos-lbadan express or Benin – Ore Road. But Babangida built Abuja – Kaduna – Kano dual carriageway in under 2 years. The road saved lives. In 23 years Abuja – Lokoja express is still under construction. Meanwhile it was Abacha that rehabilitated Port Harcourt – Enugu express and built Aluminium Smelter company in Ikot,-Abasi while Obasanjo built Aladja steel rolling Mills.
The military have really tried and most of our today’s enjoyment as a nation is directly tied to their hard work before and now!