When Alan Panton, a South African novelist wrote “Cry the Beloved Country” in 1948, he certainly was only deeply worried and faithfully concerned about the ravages of apathy’s system on the people of his native country, with no mind to what is to transpire in a country like Nigeria.
Apparently, ‘Cry the Beloved Country’, is the best way to lament the happenings in Nigeria today, especially in the political space.
The majority of people in politics in Nigeria are not really in politics to impact positively on the lives of the people, but rather for the sake of what our brand of politics offers in terms of access to the common purse and usage of the resources of the states for personal advancement.
In 2015, I interviewed an elderly psychologist, who studied, worked, and spent all his adult life in the west and during our session, the grey-haired man in his 80s made a statement that has since agitated my mind and staggered my imagination. I simply asked him to assess the performance of our politicians across the board, irrespective of their political leanings or persuasions. He adjusted himself on the sofa where he sat, cleared his throat, looked me straight in the eyes, and said that in the country where he lived before relocating to Nigeria on account of age, none of the people who masquerade as our leaders would be allowed to take care of animals. He told me agonizingly that some of our politicians are victims of substance abuse and therefore not mentally balanced to be entrusted with leadership. He also said leadership is not just standing in front of the people with an over-starched ‘agbada’ with a long cap and utter inanities.
I was worried about his verdict and a vote of no confidence on the political elite, which he maintained was the reason why the country is stagnant. What the now late man said has played out in this season of ELECTIONS which looks more like SELECTIONS to me.
Politics is a platform for service in the world over, but in Nigeria, it is the most lucrative route for the acquisition of unmerited wealth. It is for this reason that some Nigerian politicians would go to any length to breed and impose thugs of various ships, assassinate their opponents, influence the electoral umpire to compromise by any means necessary, and play on the age-long card of religion and ethnicity to deceive and sway the sympathy of gullible Nigerians who forever are high on the cocaine of religion and tribalism.
Democracy does not thrive in a largely illiterate society since the choice of leaders becomes the prerogative of those who know next to nothing except how to survive daily. And this is the bane of Nigeria.
I was a witness when Nigeria was working and there were high hopes and expectations that Nigeria would cease to be a mere country and attain nationhood. Today it is neither a country nor a nation and due to poor, wayward, incompetent, and profligate leadership across the board, some of our so-called politicians lack the credentials needed for quality service to the people.
A fraudulent politician who manipulates the electoral process to emerge a winner in any electoral contest should not be expected to offer anything worthwhile to the electorate. Only fools accept the gift of clothes from a naked individual. Possession of an army, police force, national currency, and the flag does not translate to statehood. Strong institutions are required to maintain law and order within a state. Rule of law is fundamental to prosperous countries and developed economies. Apparently, in Nigeria, the absence of the rule of law has resulted in anarchy and a jungle existence.
The military destroyed Nigeria and imposed a culture of violence. The military men who shot themselves into power were soldiers of fortune who had no love for the country. They only wanted their share of the national cake, which they got through the dubious accumulation of land, properties, and connections to the seat of power. Cry the beloved country Nigeria because she is gradually becoming a wasteland due to poor leadership.
Corruption as we know is already a national religion in Nigeria. Those assigned to fight corruption and bring perpetrators to book appear to be oblique. Mostly, only in Nigeria is a person arrested, detained, or taken to court on charges of corruption if they have no link to power. There are many unanswered questions all over the country about corruption.
Shortly after the presidential election on February 25, 2023, a friend called me from one of the Nordic countries where he ran to escape ‘Buhari’s Nigeria’, and wondered why the country is always in the news for every wrong reason. Some international newspapers and magazines were already writing that Nigeria did not disappoint the pundits who had bet heavily that the country would not get its electoral bearings right. Now we have the Governorship elections and others postponed due to INEC’s inability to fix machines and gadgets needed for the election.
CNN also attested to the fact that this is not the first time Nigeria postpones elections on “very” short notice and even for that matter stated that some countries believed the Presidential elections “lacked transparency”.
Let me drop my pen here because my ranting is endless.
Unless God and its people intervene, it is almost midnight for Nigeria.