By Adegbeyeni Abiodun Sagacious
On a day like this in 1960, Nigeria got her independence from Great Britain and subsequently received its freedom charter from Princess Alexandra of Kent who represented the Queen alongside Sir James Robertson at the defunct Racecourse which was subsequently named after Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who was the first prime minister. People would have thought that that landmark achievement would be a turning point for Nigeria to get better with each passing year but how wrong were they!
A line in the national anthem reads ‘One nation bound in freedom;’ the question is are we really one when some regions of the country are more Nigerians than the others let alone being bound in freedom? Is Independence worth celebrating, considering the state of the nation? Are we alright as a nation when those who say we are better together are the ones dividing us along ethnic and religious lines? What are the roles played by incompetent leaders vis-a-vis the woes ravaging the country?
Recently, Nigeria marked 22 years of uninterrupted democracy albeit autocracy. Nigeria’s kind of democracy is one of the costliest in the world as far as I know. The system was put in place to enrich the minority at the expense of the majority. For over two decades of arming myself with knowledge, I’ve come to discover that successful nations pride themselves in infusing the affairs of their nation with brainy people who will roll out wise policies and ensure the narrowing down of developments to the populace because it takes is right to do things right. It’s quite unfortunate that what we see in Nigeria are direct opposites of the aforementioned.
In Nigeria’s democracy, anti-people policies are made on daily basis by leaders who only exercise authority while wielding and arrogating powers to themselves. One is not surprised with the words of the renowned Chinua Achebe that Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be. Suffice to say that the government is not serving the people but the other way round. Whether or not they are not on the same side of the political divide, politicians in many other countries prioritize the interests of their people but in my own country, politicians will rather fight for supremacy tagging themselves with different names like the Ronaldo of politics or what have you, to mention just but few. The worst of us are the ones ruling the best of us.
The vulnerability of the populace is leveraged upon by these buccaneers and they use it as a license to do whatever they want without recourse to law. In a country where we breed leaders that have no regard for the rule of law, such a country automatically enthrones anarchy. Succinctly, the makers of law in Nigeria are the breakers of the law. Aforenow, I’ve never seen a government that has a penchant for flagrant disobedience to court orders like the present-day government. On the other hand, some judges have become stooges to the government that pronouncing judgments without fear or favor has been exchanged for Ghana must go bags. To say the judiciary has been bastardized is the least word that comes to mind.
Another area harm has been done more than good is the economy. I’ll be understating it if I use the word shambles for the state of Nigeria’s economy. As a country, we’ve never had it so bad economically. People are gnashing teeth under a harsh economic condition with our naira being devalued. As of today, a dollar equals N575 and there is no sign of coming down, anytime soon. Amid this bedeviling woe; Mr. President keeps borrowing outside payment convenience.
Some people have been blinded by a proclivity to know that excessive borrowing without a long-term economic sustainability plan is dangerous. On the 16th of September, 2021, the debt management office of Nigeria published an update that reads ‘Nigeria debt rises to N35.5trn, each citizen now owes N165,500.’ In the last two quarters of 2021 alone, debt servicing gulped about 72% of FG revenue. Under the watch of the government, Nigeria still retains its position as the headquarters of poverty. There is an astronomic increase in the prices of commodities while minimum wage remains N30,000.
The spate of insecurity is now worrisome that gunmen, bandits, and killer herders now have a field day while going on a killing spree. Compounding this worry is the fact that our security architecture has been compromised. Many people prefer connecting with their loved ones via phone calls rather than traveling for visitation due to the fear of being kidnapped. Gallant soldiers putting in their best to defend the country are being killed by Bokoharam due to the negligence of the government in showing seriousness to wipe out these bloodsucking demons and this action underscores Gen. Sani Abacha words that “Any Insurgency that lasts more than 24 hours, a government official has a hand in it.
Like I’ve always said, if as a Nigerian, you still have your sanity despite all the happenings in this country, you deserve an accolade reason being that we are being gaslighted on daily basis. Many people have been forced to question their sanity. Come to think of it, I’m still thinking of how best to explain to my unborn Kids that unarmed IPOB was declared terrorist groups while killer herders who booked their spot on the list of the world’s terrorism index are walking freely. How I’ll be able to convince them that one Sheikh Gumi, the bandit’s solicitor still walks freely while Sunday Igboho is being hunted hasn’t occurred to me.
A few days ago, I was reading online a portion of the NYSC security awareness book where it was stated that corpers traveling high-risk roads should alert their family members, friends, and colleagues in order to have someone on hand to pay off ransom that could be demanded if kidnapped and what came to my mind was how did we get here? These and many more are the complicities of the government of the day. I won’t shy away from saluting the doggedness of Southern governors under the chairmanship of Arákùnrin Olúwarótìmí Akérédolú(SAN) for taking the bold step of enforcing anti-open grazing law while I charge them to do more.
Instead of the government finding a lasting solution to all these plethoras, its focus is on the 2023 general elections. The message is that anyone can go to hell as long as it doesn’t affect them. The truth is this, we know our enemies in Nigeria but we are not ready to fight them with the tools at our disposal and that is UNITY rather than dissenting voices. Our freedom begins the day we rise and say enough is enough. Today, we have many individuals who are fighting for the masses but it’s pathetic that those who fight for the masses hardly get their supports and our leaders keep capitalizing on this discord. If at all elections will hold in 2023, what would be our fate? Jonathan was bad but Buhari’s ineptitude made him a hero. Would Buhari’s successor not make him a superstar? Perhaps we shall find an answer to that question come 2023. Till then, let’s watch on as the drama unfolds. Happy independence, Nigerians.
© ADEGBEYENI ABIODUN SAGACIOUS, public affairs/political analyst.