By Abdullahi D. Hassan
Nigeria is a nation with Hydra lineament. For a long time, its narratives became a phenomenon in scholarship and startle those that are not abreast of Nigeria’s convoluted history, ethnic chauvinism, election rigging, religious intolerance, cankerworm corruption and heartless politicians with megalomaniac habits, driving pleasure in shady governance to submerge their citizens into gross poverty.
The sarcastic ‘Giant of Africa’ falls into a harrowing moment. Nearly all of the architecture of Nigeria is profoundly rotten, and its stench is sprinkled with endemic corruption, lack of patriotism, decay in moral values, transparent nepotism, and killing is crossbones across the regions. From the fanatic massacres, notably by Boko Haram and bandits.
After three decades of military tyrants and juntas, 1999 turned new dawn for Nigeria. The nation shifted from military dictatorship to civilian government. Policymakers, political pundits, and intelligentsia ascertain Nigeria’s prospect is on the trajectory of advancement. Albeit, the ultra development in multifaceted sectors. Within a decade of pseudo-civilian government, the country’s destiny is trapped in quicksand. Due to ingrained corruption by the three arms of government: executive, legislature and judiciary.
Nonetheless, the dominant ethnic groups, Hausa from the North, a Muslim enclave and fraction of Christian, Igbo from the South, a rife of Christian and Yoruba from the West, shared hybridity of Islam and Christianity. Those ethnic cleavages race for Tour de France in tribal wars, hegemonic politics, religious politics and domineering politics according to the dictum of language, faith and region. Amid the wanton rascality done by the “Zombie”, like Fela, the Afrobeat legend branded soldiers.
Thus, the failure of the so-called democratic government unbridled the ‘darkest History of Nigeria’. A typical Hausa accuses Igbo of the putsch and eliminating Northern leaders, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister and Sir Ahmadu Bello, a remarkable figure to Northerners. In 1966 a bloody coup was orchestrated by Igbo officers. Igbo talk of persecution and pogrom against their race in the North. Among the factors that emanate the unfortunate Nigerian-Biafran war spanned between July 6, 1967, to January 15, 1970.
Furthermore, from the 1999 political dispensation to the current predicament, the country challenges twig onto gloom-ridden forms; politicians turned into confidence tricksters, parliament became the ‘House of Deception’, religious institutions metamorphosed into a commercial enterprise, journalists supplanted into puppets controlled by the connected few and higher learning academic reposition to woman’s assault domain. The former American ambassador, John Campbell, from 2004 to 2007, described politicians in his book Nigeria Dancing On The Brink “the civilian political class behaved as badly and in much the same way as its military predecessor”.
The most populous black nation on earth is about to be a Banana Republic. In the Northern part of the country, hardly a day passes, from sunrise to sunset, without disheartening news breaking in mainstream media. Boko Haram, ISWAP insurgents or bandits kidnap and maim innocent people. The terrorist marauders hold certain villages in the North-West. Similarly, hundreds of public schools are shut down for fear of abduction.
The most recurring questions preoccupying my faculty: Who will lead Nigeria to the Promised Land? When will Nigeria be exempt from being a nepotistic state to an excellent land, with leaders handling the nation based on the principles of democracy? What are the required features to alter the awful chronicles of Nigeria? Why are we divided in a discourse of religious sentiment, ethnic oblique and regional dominance rather than championing the furtherance of Nigeria?
Surreally, Nigeria is the most religious nation on earth! But in reality, it is the most irreligious in the world. The proliferation of mosques and churches crisscross the length and breadth of Nigeria. The anointed citizens were sponsored to Mecca and Jerusalem for pilgrimage from the government treasury. Despite public schools turning into rubble, pupils sat on ruined floors. Pregnant women wallowed in a dearth of medical personnel and drugs to survive early death in rural areas. Another outstanding hypocrisy of the Abrahamic faith’s leadership in Nigeria, the schools were built with the alms of followers. Such schools are barricades for the common man to enrol his children. Their subtle aim was to propagate adulterate gospel and split the masses based on emblems of Christianity and Islam.
As Chinua Achebe says in one of his pieces of literature, The Trouble with Nigeria, “There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leader to the rise to the responsibility, to challenge of personal example which is the hallmark of true leadership”. The book was written 38 years ago. The quote portrayed the decay of systematic dwindling in leadership style patterns. Although there was relative peace in the country at the time, we could travel thousands of miles from Lagos to Borno with confidence. In the absence of the highwaymen and any other obstruction.
Nevertheless, the dethroned Emir of Kano, erstwhile Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Khalifah Mahammed Sanusi II. He mentioned in his impressive Tedx speech entitled Overcoming The Fear of Vested Interest, “the world’s largest producers of crude oil that do not refine its own petroleum products”. In addition, the reverend Economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of Finance and Director General of World Trade Organization. As stated in her book Fighting Corruption is Dangerous. She recounts how billions of dollars were siphoned in a fraud called oil subsidy intervention. Mrs Iweala’s doggedness toward deceitful oil cartels and markets led to the kidnapping of her aged mother. Those two paradigm exegeses gave a sinister view of modern-day Nigeria from the spectrum of the clandestine elite.
The absurdities mentioned above triggered the Igbo to quest for a breakaway from Nigeria and rekindle the Republic of Biafra under the tutelage of Nnamdi Kanu, the ringleader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). The Yoruba seek Oduduwa nation, as some Northerners dream of an Islamic state to govern their affairs based on Shari’a. Those juxtapositions defined the nationhood of Nigeria as a conduit of dissolution.