Nigeria is a country God Almighty has blessed with abundant material resources: including crude oil. She is also endowed with human resources; including professionals in diaspora, who are making great contributions to the development of the countries of their abode. The bane of our problem is bad leadership; like in many other African countries.
So far, God has not allowed natural disasters, like: earthquakes, tornadoes, and landslides, to ravage the country. We have been praying and searching for a true leader, to steer the ship of this country to the “promised land”: to salvage the country from: poverty, hunger, disease, and their attendant rising wave of crimes. The nation has been able to produce rulers and masters; both civilian and military who held sway, since our political independence from British Colonial Masters, in 1960 – about fifty-three years ago.
From available reports, over five hundred billion dollars, have been siphoned from the country’s treasuries, since we started ruling ourselves. As a result of massive stealing, over seventy percent of the citizens are impoverished.
Until recently, the country has been bedeviled, by mostly selfish and tribal rulers, who use ethnicity and religion, to divide and rule the helpless masses; while paying lip-service to nationhood. Most of our rulers are religious hypocrites. They occupy front rows in churches and mosques; and make donations here and there; and play politics with religion. As well, they acquire countless number of honourary awards and titles, from their sycophants and hangers-on, to boost their ego, whom they in turn pay back with stolen money.
They love propaganda. These power hungry persons; carry out propaganda on the electronic and printed media, in attempt to redeem their battered image, with the help of their stooges. The more they oppress the people, and loot the treasury, the more they make noise all over the place, in effort to counter growing oppositions to their misrule. They are empty vessels, that make the greatest noise.
Military rule is one of the worst things to happen to this country. Soldiers who imposed themselves on us, were the worst human right abusers. They ruled with impunity: arresting real and imagined opponents of their ruling junta, and clamping them into detention. The judiciary was highly restricted, following suspension of the Nigerian constitution, by military dictators.
There were lots of political assassinations; mysterious killings of outspoken critics of military government. Sometimes, their deaths were blamed on armed bandits. Puppet military tribunals were set up to try suspected enemies, (sorry coup plotters). Before you know it, they had killed them in an underground shooting range. We also experienced mysterious plane crashes. One could hear of planes exploding in the mid-air; suggesting conspiracy somewhere. It was easy to setup probe panels , to ascertain the causes of the crashes. After that, nothing could be heard of them again. At times, passenger planes would be affected. At other times, military officers would suddenly loose their lives on missions.
Some of our past military dictators shed much blood in this country. called Nigeria. After surviving coup plots on each occasion, they would line up “convicted” principal actors, and get them shot dead, despite the pleas from within the country and international committee. They tried and killed people for coup-plotting: same offense they themselves committed in climbing to power. They are murderers!
When the righteous is in power the people rejoice. But when the wicked is ruling, the people mourn. Many of our past rulers belonged to secret societies; and patronize shrines, juju priests, and other evil men.
Yet, they put on religious garb. They reactivate their so-called powers of invincibility, they acquired from those devilish places. Devils used them to unleash all manner of atrocities on the people. Their conscience was so seared, that they killed people and won’t be moved. They setup puppet military tribunals, to try cases which outcome in most cases were predetermined. They looted the country blind, especially during the period of oil boom; and banked the money in foreign banks. They had their countless number of mistresses, whom they bought exotic cars and houses for. As well, they sponsored their jamborees abroad. Of course, they lavish cash on them. They had countless number of collaborators, including civilians including civilians. Today, vast majority of the youths are unemployed or under-employed, including graduates. The figure runs into millions. Our people are impoverished by selfish and wicked rulers; who don’t care about the down-trodden.
There are two main classes of citizens: the very rich and the very poor. The rich is getting richer; while the poor is getting poorer. The middle class is virtually non-existent. It is survival of the fittest. The situation is so pathetic, that multitude of people are fleeing the country to other countries, in search of means of livelihood. Nigerians are all over the world including America, Europe, and other African countries.
Many of them do menial jobs to sustain themselves; despite their high academic and professional qualifications, as well as skills. It is no gainsaying, that suffering in Nigeria has caused upsurge in crime waves like: kidnapping, ‘419’ crimes, robberies, and all worth not.
Majority don’t have access to adequate medical care, or train their children properly in school; or care for them. This is the main reason why you hear of child trafficking, prostitution, and so on.
Our political independence, has not translated into the economic well being of the down trodden. The wealth of the country– bulk of which is from oil money– is concentrated on few hands (the elites). If you go to Niger Delta area; where the oil is being explored, you will be shocked by the high level of degradation, and poverty among the indigenes. However, the present Federal Government is up and doing. I shall come to that later.
The simple truth is that, had it been the colonial masters are still in charge of affairs in Nigeria, we would have been much better of economically. Standard of living of common man would have been much improved. He should have been able to eat three square meals a day; live in a comfortable house; be able to carter for his children, and train them in school. Had it been half the annual proceeds from our oil wealth is shared to everybody equally, each person should be able to get up to one million naira every year. Our people have been enslaved by our own rulers– wolves in sheep clothing!
Anybody, that steals money or wealth meant for millions of people, is worse than an armed robber! You can call him pen-robber or unarmed robber! By so doing, he has deprived millions of people of man amenities. By siphoning the money into foreign bank accounts, he has deprived multitude of people he is ruling, of more job opportunities like: industries and hospitals. As well, he has caused some ill-equipped schools
The high level of corruption in Nigeria, is a reflection of corrupt leadership at the highest level. When the head is sick, the rest of the body will be affected. At a stage, Nigeria was rated the most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International. That year, she won ‘gold medal’ in corruption. The following year, she was rated second position –thereby winning ‘silver’ medal in corruption. Later she won ‘bronze’ medal.
In recent years, there have been significant improvement on the fight against corruption, and financial crimes. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission– ICPC, and other graft agencies were established. The fact remains that the number one citizen, who cannot be probed or investigated by these agencies, while in office, needs to resolve by himself to change; so that others below him will follow suite. Example is better than precept.
Bad rulers have a sit-tight mentality. They see their positions as opportunity, to perpetuate their looting of the treasury. The more they remain in power, the more they see their positions as their personal property, or of their fathers’ property. They surround themselves with their tribesmen, stooges, concubines, name them. They are in turn partakers or accomplices, in the ‘devouring’ of the national cake.
Bad rulers seem to forget that God reigns in the kingdom of men. The Lord dealt with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the past. Because of his pride and arrogance, he was given the heart of animal. He lived in the forest and mingled with other animals for seven years. Then, God restored him back to normal human life, and he sat on his throne. He realized God Almighty reigns in the kingdoms of men. He removes whoever He wants from whatever position, and replaces him with whoever He wants; even the basest of men.
God, the creator of the universe has time table for the stay of anybody in this world. When the time He allocated to an individual to live on earth is completed, He will take him: whether in young or old age. People of all age groups, and all works of life die.
When the time for someone to depart from this world is come, nothing can stop it. No amount of security, or medical care can stop it. Man that is born of a woman is like the beast that perish. He dies and leaves behind his belongings.
I have seen dictators in power both military and civilian. They flourish and wax strong in their domains. Initially, it would appear nobody could challenge their obnoxious and wicked lifestyle. But after a while, you look for them, they are no more. In the time of God’s visitation, such inhuman and wicked persons, will be swept away from this world.
In Nigeria, the past heads of state are never arraigned for questioning, or tried for their corrupt practices when in office. Their surrogates are the ones subjected to detention and court trials, for a while. As long as they remain in detention, their arraignment in courts attract much publicity and drama. But when they are granted bail with sureties, the case will fizzle out from public glare. You will hardly hear of the outcome of the case. Instead, you see them move around freely.
The only former head of state in Nigeria that was probed, was late General Sanni Abacha. This is because he is dead. About I billion dollars was recovered. Had it been he is still alive today, nobody would have dared to try him, or any member of his family; not to talk of recovering any money from them!
There are persons who ruled much longer than him; and even looted more than him. But, nobody has ever summoned them for questioning. They retired or were forced out of power as billionaires, with bulk of the ill-gotten wealth in foreign banks. They amassed wealth to the detriment of their ‘fellow’ country men.
That is why there will always remain a very wide gap, between Nigeria and Ghana, as far as democratic process and good governance, are concerned. Few decades ago, a young man, Jerry Rawlings started a revolution that has transformed Ghana, into it’s enviable position in the continent — a pacesetter in democracy. He held the past rulers accountable for their misdeeds. He purged Ghana of selfish and wicked rulers. Up to this moment, anybody ruling is conscious of the fact that, he can be called upon to render account of his service to the people, long after leaving office.
Some of our past rulers or overlords, still have the affront to stage a comeback after all the embezzlements, looting, and atrocities they committed, when they imposed themselves on the people. When in authority, they will do everything possible to remain there, as long as possible; even by killing people with opposing views. But, when the public outcry against them becomes unbearable, they will have no choice than to step down.
As time goes on, they will discover decline in public attention, and praises of sycophants. They think on what to do with the billions they stole. They then reason that the only way forward, is for them to stage a comeback to power (to their fathers’ empire). They now withdraw part of the “interest,” from their accounts abroad, and change them to local currencies. Then, money will become “catholic”. They use it to organize their political jamborees in every nook and corner, with their well-fed posters everywhere. They have inordinate ambition to come back to power, not that they have anything to offer the people they exploited.
Rather, they want to perpetuate the dominance of their tribe, in the governance of this country since political independence. They wipe up tribal and religious sentiments, in order to cause instability. Their hope is that by so doing, the opportunity for them to climb back to power “their birth right” will be realized.
We all thank God for the changes He is bringing into the body politics of Nigeria. With the coming on board of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President. He is currently bringing in a lot of changes and innovations into governance. He is breaking through tribal and religious politics; and shattering them! Can he be the true Nigeria leader, the impoverished people of this country are yearning for? Time shall tell.