Failure: What options for Nigeria?
Nigeria is presently hovering on a precipice. By the foregoing, no pessimism is intended. It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – so help us, God. Danger ominously lurks around our psychological and physical environment. It is palpable and threatening. The Nigerian firmament hangs like tragic morass waiting to descend on mother earth in a torrential deluge. Only the honest will admit this reality, but the malevolent will continually stew in the sauce of denial. For the first time since the evil genius was deposed in ignominy, Nigerians are unanimous in their position about the failure of the Buhari-led APC government. Yes, Nigerians agree that the present government is a colossal failure. This position collapses the boundaries of religion, ethnicity or even political affiliations. Everyone agrees that Buhari has failed in his capacity as the President. Everyone agrees that Nigeria has reached its nadir, suffering from an acute lack of leadership. Nigerians are united in their condemnation of the present power machinery. I read an apology by a once avid Buhari supporter who admits that he regrets every second committed to supporting the current hellish rule. Such an apology is a common sight on various media platforms now. There is regret everywhere. I wrote mine long ago.
Recently, a video of members of the national assembly trended on social media where they seem to have woken from sedating hypnosis to condemn the present administration. One after another, from the North to the South, all the honourable members condemned the Buhari government. Not that the President is a bad person, no. He is a distinguished Nigerian having dedicated his life to serving the country in different capacities. But currently, he is confounded by the intricate science of governance which is evident in Nigeria’s precarious situation. All over the country, the narrative is the same – insecurity, death by the hours, criminality of a heinous dimension, the emergence of bandits and terrorists, progressive kidnapping and sustained violation of the social space. It cannot be more tragic. Yet, Nigerians march on, believing that God will descend from heaven to deliver them. Of course, He does. He did it in the past.
Perhaps, if life was guaranteed, if safety, by any stretch of the imagination was assured, just maybe, Nigerians would have hope and trudge on. But now, the situation is different. Life is not guaranteed and tomorrow is not assured. Therefore, Nigerians are deeply troubled and concerned about the state of their country. Faced with failure, confronted by imminent disaster, threatened by death and anguish, what must Nigerians do to save what is left of their country? This is a question every concerned, reasonable Nigerian should ask. What is the way forward or is there no way forward? Should we throw in the towel, every man to his home as we finally drive a nail on the Nigerian coffin? What options are open to Nigerians in the face of the current malady? It is only a certified victim of insanity that would continue to walk the same road when it becomes obvious that the road is laced with snares of all hues. While I acknowledge that there are many options open to Nigerians, while I concede that every Nigerian has an idea of what must be done as a remedy to the present malaise, I hereby examine three options one of which I think will serve our purpose now.
The primary responsibility of any government is the protection of the lives and properties of citizens of that country. If any government fails on that score, the same government has failed on all scores and has lost the moral or ethical justification to continue to hold power. Those who fashioned the science of democracy had a good reason to create the three arms of government to act as checks on one another. In Nigeria’s present situation, the executive arm of government has failed woefully and it does not appear that there is redemption on the horizon. For this reason, the legislative arm of government should commence the impeachment process of the present administration. Another distinguished Nigerian should take over to steer the ship of state. There are more than enough grounds for the legislature to impeach the current government.
Even though we may timidly deny it, Nigeria’s situation deserves a declaration of a state of emergency. We can’t live in a country where no one knows when bandits and kidnappers will storm schools to lead many children away. We don’t even know what schools they will visit. What confounds the prudent and wise among us is how the bandits and kidnappers peacefully lead many school children away without encountering any security roadblock. This contrasts with hundreds of road blocks manned by the heavily armed army and police officers across Nigeria harassing already harassed innocent citizens in the country. Kidnapping has graduated to new levels with more sophistication and the conscious observer knows this. No one knows who will die tomorrow. No one knows what village or town will be visited tomorrow with deaths and agony. That is where we are. Since it appears that the presidency is helpless in the present milieu, the legislature should do the needful, that is, if they have the will and determination to do so.
During the reign of Goodluck Jonathan as the President of Nigeria, many Nigerians advised him to resign when it became apparent that his government was rudderless. Even Buhari, as an opposition presidential aspirant, advised Jonathan to resign. Various media outlets were inundated with calls for the President to honourably resign. Those who called for his resignation were either concerned citizens who genuinely wished Nigeria well or those who just wanted to wrest power away from the South for obvious, even if undisclosed, impenetrable reasons. Well, the situation in Nigeria today is far worse than it was some years ago when Oga Joe held sway. It is in order and good conscience for anybody who loves Nigeria to advise our President to offer an apology to Nigerians and quietly resign as the President of the country. By doing so, he will be immortalized in the annals of Nigerian history. Mr President has done well for the country but in the present circumstances, given the flotsam conditions Nigerians have found themselves in, his best is not good enough. He should make way for someone else to mount the podium of leadership responsibility. Nobody is bigger than a whole country. The interest of one person cannot supersede the interest of over two hundred million people. Nigerians cannot continue to die in large numbers every day. If the dying continues, the geography of victims will surely spread to affect those who think they are protected by power, position, and location. I was one of those who called on Jonathan to resign. I am calling on the elder statesman Muhammadu Buhari to resign too. 2023 is too far away. I am in support of any legitimate process to save Nigeria and resignation is a legitimate practice in government.
Finally, the different components that makeup Nigeria should meet and dialogue if they want to continue to co-habit in one country. Those who know me can attest that I am an unrepentant believer in the continued existence of Nigeria. I have canvassed for one Nigeria on different platforms because I believe in the country. In fact, my optimism offended many people and drew vile remarks. I have engaged many people in debates and intellectual exchanges about why Nigeria should continue to exist. But right now, common sense naturally demands that I re-examine my position given the prevailing situations in the country. The signs are not good and as the days go by, it continues to become obvious that the continued existence of Nigeria is a mirage. There is so much distrust all over the country. The dichotomy between the North and the South is manifest. The decibel of discordance is deafening too. I have always supported my argument of the continued existence of Nigeria using the principle of ‘unity of opposites’, the Hegelian dialectic of innumerable possibilities. Perhaps you may call it unity in diversity. Just as Esu and Orunmila, despite their opposition, complement each other on the iconic Ifa prognostic divination tray in the Yoruba metaphysics. But the opposites in Nigeria seem not to agree. Perhaps their opposition contains infinitely disagreeable substances which have not been discerned and configured by elemental forces. Let all the regions in Nigeria decide if they want to remain in the marriage. There is no need to force a union that daily rejects unity.
We must collectively find a solution to the present debacle facing us. All the writers, columnists, and social commentators in Nigeria should show commitment and engage these pertinent issues. It will be insensitive for any writer to ignore the present uncertainties in Nigeria and engage in mundane, ephemeral, trivial subjects. Let everybody proffer solutions no matter how weird they may be. We must all show concern to the present state of affairs in Nigeria. If any of the suggestions I have given above can lead us out of Golgotha, the land of crucifixion, so be it. I have only expressed my personal opinion which, of course, I am entitled to do as a concerned citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Let the debate continue, we must find a way to get out of the present doldrums we have found ourselves. If we keep quiet, if we move on and pretend that all is well, history and posterity will not be kind to us.