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Author Name: Patrick Alabi
Number of articles: 1
I was going to write about something else in part 2 of this article but the numerous and mixed responses... (0) Comment


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Ruminating Over The State of Our Nation
Author: Patrick Alabi | October 30, 2006



I was going to write about something else in part 2 of this article but the numerous and mixed responses I got from the readers of part 1 had motivated me to temporarily digress to something very important. Importance in the sense that some Nigerians do not even know the enormity of the multifarious problems that are facing the country if some of their responses are anything to go by. Importance in the sense that some Nigerians simply want the prescription of one-solution-fits-all kind of thing. Importance in the sense that some Nigerians simply are not prepared to experience the tortuous waiting-period, the painful transitional period in which things are needed to be put right. I need to make it clear that we need not deceive ourselves, as much as one is optimistic that things can still go right as we want, it must also be noted that the problems have degenerated to a stage where even if we start solving the puzzle now, it will still take a long time before the light at the end of the tunnel is seen. Thinking otherwise will be practically the same as living in cloud-cuckoo-land! We cannot continue to be living in the fantasy land just as some people think. Needless to say, our situation in Nigeria is very complicated and thus difficult to understand. Needless to say, winning the battle is going to be the culmination of years of commitment and hard work by all. Needless to say, Nigeria has found herself in no-goal-no-win situation. The goal must definitely be produced if anything good is expected. A problem shared they say is a problem halved. Based on this, if we are well familiar with our problems, maybe they will be easier to deal with. There are a lot of things that are often ignored or taking for granted in Nigeria many of which culminate to bigger problems. All too many individuals are in the state of obtuse ignorance, which is dangerous, because if you don’t know your identity, someone will identify you. Maybe, if we start making diagnoses of the problems from all angles, some solutions may become more obvious. Maybe if we know some of these problems of our fingertips, who knows we can readily piece together the jigsaw! Have you ever wondered why researchers carry out a “literature review” exercise prior to designing a methodology and prior to coming out with many scientific discoveries? To a researcher, doing it the other way round will amount to simply putting the cart before the horse. In Nigeria today I realized our leaders have been on a wild goose chase because no one is yet to fully identify some of the Frankenstein's monsters called our problems. • This is the time again to visit the “literature review” chapter of our numerous problems in Nigeria. • I say this is the time again that we need to play the role of an attentive audience, listening attentively and taking notes. •This is the time again that we need to take our papers and pens to start jotting down some of these things that we often ignore. • This is again the time that we need to visit the log-book of our recorded problems that are constantly waved aside. • I say this is the time again that we need to re-visit our jotters to check out in detail the blind-spots of some of these seemingly faceless problems. • This I say is also the right time we need to scratch beneath the surface of our identified problems. • This is also the time to create a new checklist of our problems especially the ones that are not already on our to be-solved plate. • This is the time again that we need to start troubleshooting some of the causes of these ever-present problems. • I say this is the time we need to visit our black-box again to find out the causes of these problems in our in-tray. In essence, this is the time all Nigerians need to know that the identification of “cause and effect” is a precursor to finding a meaningful and germane solutions to the nagging problems. Doing things otherwise will be tantamount to simply air-kissing the problems. Perhaps to paraphrase again, it’s always a good idea to run a spell check on some of our recognised problems in order to see if we have fully captured all our mistakes. It is a good idea to break the Kola-nut into smaller pieces so that people who are unable to see the bigger picture can at least have a bite and feel of what we are talking about. Therefore, it is a not a bad idea to go back to basics with the chief aim of sensitizing Nigerians to the “Loch Ness Monster” and problems being faced by our nation. In view of all these, I have decided once again to run a query of some of our problems in Nigeria with a view to creating much awareness among some of our people who seem not to know or who seem to have forgotten. To travellers who have visited France, it is often said that one needs to climb to the top of the “Eiffel Tower” if one wants a bird's eye view of Paris. Therefore, I have decided to dig deep to some of these problems that are often being ignored in Nigeria but which have forever been present in our in-box. To cut to the chase, forty six years after her independence, Nigeria has remained an economic basket case. Yet, a life of privilege enjoyed by our politicians knows no bounds. Forty something years after her independence, corruption among our leaders has not ceased to make all the headlines. Forty six years after her independence, Nigeria has been most of the time under-led. In Nigeria today, it is not so clear to me again if the country is operating a written or unwritten constitution. Nigeria today is a classic nation where the fittest must survive at the expense of the “weak”. Nigeria today has become a place where the poor people get poorer while the few rich people get richer. Yet there is no twilight zone! In Nigeria today, there's one law for the rich and another for the poor. Politics in Nigeria today has become a get-rich-quick scheme. Like the tale of Siamese twins who fell in love, there is a great chemistry between our leaders and corruption today. A typical leader in Nigeria today is a hawk, a bird of prey. Nigeria today is a characteristic example of a nation where often there is a great dichotomy between what politicians say before coming to power and what they do thereafter. In our nation today, a metaphorical ocean lies between our leaders’ promises and the delivery that the citizens actually get. Of course, it goes without saying today that cautious steps need to be taken to humanise our political system. In Nigeria today, our “country people” have been reduced to mere chambermaids in the same hotel owned by them. Metaphorically speaking, for how long will our leaders enslave the populace to clean and tidy bedrooms in a hotel? When will our leaders stop breaking our hearts? It is only in Nigeria that the tripod formed by the three arms of government constantly develops high blood pressure. Where is the “principle of separation of power” being practiced in the country? Where is the system of checks and balances that should be visible in a democratic setting? Where is the “trinity” who is supposed to steer our ship in the right direction? Our Politicians can get away with anything in Nigeria even if it is unconstitutional in as much as they are ready to paint the ground with “egunje” In as much as “Naira rains” nothing is impossible for our Politicians. This may sound like a far-fetched story, yet it is a stark reality. Maybe a bird will start to sound like a bird in Nigeria and a rat will start to sound like one when the three arms of government start doing what they are supposed to do in the way things are supposed to be done. May God help us. Where is the rule of law being observed in our nation? Most countries in the world do observe the rule of law without any discernible differences, but the rule of law in Nigeria is an exception that proves the rule. I still remember in those days when I used to read about the supremacy of law among others from J.B Olawale’s government text book. In Nigeria today, where are the features of the supremacy of law that we read about being obeyed? It is sad to note that our law in Nigeria today is not supreme but only exists on papers. With a reduced “due respect” to our lawyers, I must say this. Are our lawyers –lawyers? I don’t have to be a lawyer before knowing that something is wrong with our judicial system. The growing contradictions from the opinions of our lawyers whenever there is any major issue say it all. Our lawyers have always been consistently inconsistent in their views whenever there is any national issue. What is happening? Are lawyers not supposed to air their views devoid of any emotion? Sentiment apart, professional lawyers are needed in Nigeria. Our lawyers and politicians have consistently raped the due process and the constitution they are supposed to uphold. It is either they do not know the right thing to say or maybe they are just playing a game or acting on the script handed over to them. If Nigeria is now operating unwritten constitution they should let us know by laying the cards on the table. "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the quietness of the elders because of their selfish interest; the incessant folding of arms and showing of ego by the so-called “important individual” when things are falling apart; and lastly the silence of the voice of justice when it matters most that have made it possible for evil to triumph" Our lawyers need to work together as a unit and form a common front. I enjoin our lawyers to learn from the snakes. It is the lack of unity of snakes that makes them the object of ridicule before the human race: if boa, adder, python, rattle and other family of snakes decide to have a joint stroll, human being will always display a flipper of heels or take to their heels. Even with their individual strength, the inability to work as a team by snakes proves to be their Achilles' heel. Have you ever tried to ask our youth in the universities and colleges about their opinion regarding enriching oneself with public money? The various answers they gave will make you cry for the disappointingly soon-to-be-reached future of the country if their thinking is anything to go by. Among others, their wishful thinking immediately after graduating is to embezzle public money wherever there is an opportunity. They will tell you some names of cars they wish to ride (even some names that you have never heard of). If our youth have started nursing the ambition of steering the path of this same social vice called corruption, the one that has eaten deep into the fabric of our nation, what future do we have as a country? In the flower of their youth, should corruption be their path of least resistance? Are the youth not supposed to be committed to wiping out vices in our midst? Is Nigeria then fully equipped for the future? Unfortunately, for how long will the country be ensnared in this quicksand? The country is being plunged into an abyss of violence and lawlessness day in day out going by the dangerous activities of the Militants in the Niger Delta. There is seemingly a state of anarchy in Niger Delta today. Foreigners and citizens of Nigeria alike are being kidnapped and killed at an alarming frequency. For God’s sake, even though everyone feels their plight and predicaments, the Militants thus need to be constantly reminded that killing and kidnapping or holding “people” to ransom are now archaic, barbaric, unrefined and outdated way of pressing home one’s demands. The foreigners they are kidnapping are not the people that have masterminded the problems at hand. The Niger Deltians need to be told and encouraged to take their grievances to the doorsteps of our government and leaders through a proper forum and consultation. I believe proper dialogue will yield a more meaningful outcome than violence. My people need to be told to weigh up all the pros and cons of violence. The foreigners don’t kidnap or kill our professionals abroad. We have thousands of Nigerians (if not more) working abroad as professionals. Don’t we? I am pleading with my Ikwere people, the Ijaws and Itshekiris to please let us make peace in the country. Oh my God, how can I forget my Urhobo people……..Urhobo weldo! weldo omo mi! We salute your courage! Let us put an end to this kidnapping of a thing…..we should not wait until the foreign Newsmen now tag our Niger Delta people as kidnappers! Na wa o! Everything that is happening still boils down to one thing - our government, our bad leaders…. It is so crystal clear. No be so? It is sad to see that support for environmental issues does not cut across any traditional party line in Nigeria today. Environmental issues and sustenance have been a global concern nowadays if that is what my people in Niger Delta are genuinely fighting for. For heaven’s sake, our leaders do travel outside the country; they see what goes on in other parts of the World. For instance, you could go to a Bank to withdraw money at 2:00 a.m in some countries outside Nigeria, please don’t go to Eko Idumota in Lagos or Alagbaka in Akure at 2:00 a.m or worse still, Onitsha, everyone knows what will happen. Crime and poverty are epidemic in our cities and towns today. Offices of our leaders are established no-fly zone. Is that not disheartening? Our leaders always turn themselves to “gods” after assuming power. In a situation where the citizens do not have access to the leaders they elected and the leaders do not even want to see any electorate after election. This is very wrong. I could walk into the office of my Mayor here in Canada to talk to him if I have any issue. No stern-looking “kill and go” police-man will prevent me from doing just that, unlike Nigeria. Our cities and towns in Nigeria have been adjudged as the neatness of all in the word. The heap of refuse on our streets says it all. A flying visit to Lagos and Onitsha will be good enough to show the intensity of neatness with various unused and unwanted items being indiscriminately littered around. The level of filthiness is unequal! Can you blame the people when there is no refuse dump and collector in place? In respect of this latter point, there is also the issue of indiscipline among our common people in Nigeria which should not be overlooked. What about those narrow streets without parking spaces or lots, crowded with countless shops and warehouses, the sea of dirty and tattered trade signs, the forest of buildings lacking maintenance, if available at all the filthy look of the open channels (called the gutters) where anopheles mosquitoes are bred, zero traffic lights and signs, lack of central sewerage system – the innumerable ancillaries of our cities. One needs to visit Lagos and Port Harcourt to appreciate what I am describing here. Are my people not aware of the buried drainage pipes or the new “trenchless pipe technology”? Needless to say, three years later after the idea was conceived, London in the United Kingdom had the first underground sewerage system as far back as 1859. As at 2006 (147 years later), Lagos and some other major cities in Nigeria are yet to witness such a tremendous development. Our inability to properly manage our waste poses disastrous consequences for public health including a seemingly endless sequence of cholera epidemics. You need to visit our tropical lagoon to see the rate at which excreta is being indiscriminately deposited. Each day, several million tonnes of untreated human excrement flow in our lagoon and rivers while others are deposited in the nearby bush. If only lagoon could talk, the echoes of its scream and yelling will sound round the world like gunfire! Albeit, Nigeria is not the poorest nation in the world, a proper waste disposal system should be available There are good numbers of Nigerian water & wastewater engineers who can handle successfully this type of project if funded. The effects of cholera outbreak have echoed through the ages. Are we not ready and resolved yet to build a modern sewerage system? What about the incessant flooding? Ask Enugu and Victoria Island local residents! Still on the issue of our narrow streets, even in the newly developed areas that have sprung up, no provision is being made for packing lots. Go to Woji area in Port Harcourt (our garden city indeed!) to see things. There are some streets that cannot even hold traffic in both directions at the same time. It’s so bad to the extent that if you are at one end of a street driving, you will need to pray and also watch closely to be sure that no other vehicle is entering the same street at the other end, otherwise, passers-by are going to witness head-on collision. Now, are my people in Nigeria not aware of the new global sub-urban development and renewal? People erect houses indiscriminately without proper planning and no government is monitoring that. Where are the town planners? Our urban and regional planners are roaming the streets unable to get jobs. Why not create jobs for these people? If you are lucky enough, you can be stuck in a traffic jam in Lagos for hours, what if you are unlucky? The reason for all these is simply because of not doing things right in the first place, improper planning they call it. In as much as I do not want to be accused of divulging vital professional and privileged information, I still remember how contracts are being awarded in Nigeria. I still remember those white elephant projects. I still remember those inflated contracts. I still remember the bribery and corruption going on in order to be awarded a contract. I still remember the collusive behaviour. I still remember those contractual conditions/terms and how they were willingly being broken. I say I still remember those unfinished contracts yet being fully paid for. I still cannot forget the “conspiracy of silence” going on. What about those economically infeasible projects that are being embarked on? In simplicity, I still can remember how the fund for ten projects was being spent and wasted on only one. Who is to blame for all these? I must say this, this is not the case of gods are to blame. Of course, the “people” to be blamed are our professionals, our government officials, our leaders, the foreign and local companies alike and albeit Nigerians in general for keeping mute. In Nigeria of today, we are not doing well in the areas of agriculture anymore. People think they are now wise. People have grown wings. They have found a better and faster way of making money – politics of course! It is sad to note that a nation that has its root and origins in agrarian economy has forgotten the application of the basic principles of sowing. I cannot help mentioning this, my Province in Canada is the world best producer of Wheat yet they have only about 4 to 5 months to do all the cropping including harvesting in a given year. This is because crops can only grow in my Province between a latter part of Spring to just before Fall season surfaces. With such a natural and huge constraint, the Province still manages to be the best producer of Wheat? How does this Province do it? The answer is simple…..commitment to be the best and this involves proper planning among others. Nigeria is blessed by God to the extent that any crop can be grown through out the year if a proper irrigation system is put in place. River Niger continues to flow ceaselessly to the ocean like coals that are being carried to Newcastle. Yet no other good use in form of irrigation is put in place to increase our agricultural produce. It is only in Nigeria that a big Dam like Kanji is under utilised. After the water is used to rotate the Turbine at Kanji, where does the water go? Of what use is the downstream water? Are my people in Nigeria not aware of the Riparian law? Has Nigerian government not heard of “multi-purpose” Dam? Are my people not aware of mechanised farming? Can we now say Nigeria is not blessed by God? If some of the funds being wasted to search inexorably and relentlessly for seemingly never-to-be-found Crude Oil in the Chad-basin are used judiciously to enhance agricultural produce in that area through a modern day mechanised farming, smile will be on the faces of Nigerians. Where is the Oil after so many years of exploration? Sheer wastage of funds, resources, time and energy! I could say with full conviction today that nobody of age 45 years or below can boast of cocoa/coffee plantation in either Ekiti or Ondo. If there is anyone, it is either the person got it through inheritance or outright purchase from his elders. So from my analyses and from what I have seen, most of our cocoa trees and coffee trees are very old. Can you now see the reason why there are dwindling supplies in such perennial crops? It takes little intelligence to know that this will also mean lower earnings. If the above trend is not reversed, what will happen to our “Theobroma cacao” in the next 20 years? Your guess is as good as mine - extinction of course! People now prefer to drive “Okada” to make quick money. But one cannot drive “okada” for life! This may sound like a parable or another book of revelation- anyone who has ears let him ear now…….. A time is coming when the sustenance of cocoa production in the western Nigeria may become impossible. That will be sad. A time is coming when the people of Ekiti and Ondo may not have to worry about cocoa black-pod disease. A time is also coming that roadblocks will be put up to prevent people from making money through politics. That will also be good! A judgement day is coming that all our looters will be put to shame. A time is also coming that everybody may have “okada”! That won’t be a bad thing! But my people should remember that the cock-crow that was laughing when the bush-fowl was being slaughtered may become the victim of the knife itself. Therefore, I enjoin all my people to quickly disembark from the laugh-now-cry-later journey that they seem to have embarked on. “Bo se wa ni obi lo wa n gbanja o!” The same can be said of Hausas who are not interested in planting groundnut and Tomatoes anymore. What about the “Bendelites” who are unwilling to plant Palm trees any longer? What happened to our Kolanut production? The yam planting /bountiful harvest in the middle-belt is becoming a thing of the past. What happen to cotton production in Nigeria? Can people stop from putting on dress? Animal husbandry is fading away like early morning dew; mixed farming is no longer what our people will practice. Still on the issue of cocoa production, if Ex governor Fayose truly wanted to be a farmer, helping in the area of revitalising the good old and booming days in Ekiti and Ondo (when we used to see tons of trailers and exporters coming in their numbers to purchase our cocoa and coffee) will not be a bad idea. Those were the days! Helping the peasant farmers with the up-to-date researched and innovative cocoa seedling by Fayose’s led government would have helped in no small amount. In many cases, economic returns from this development would have contributed considerably to farmers’ incomes in the state and would have also made sustainable cocoa agro forests and other cash crops more attractive to farmers. By extension, there would have been large production of crops like plantain, banana, rubber trees and kolanut because a newly planted cocoa seedling is often sheltered by a different type of tree or crop. Since the “White” cannot do without drinking coffee and chocolate; since the chocolate industries cannot stop production, won’t it be wise for Nigeria to stay active in the production of crops in which she has comparative advantage? Have we forgotten the basic theory of comparative advantage that we read about in O.A. Lawal and O Teriba, our economics text books? The Ricardo’s concept is still highly important and valid in modern international trade theory. Even if the country is not very sophisticated enough in producing cars and computers, we should at least make use of the natural “domain” that God gave us. No matter what happens today, the Britons, the Canadians, Americans etc. cannot produce Cocoa or Coffee. But they will always consume coffee and chocolate. What are we waiting for? Chocolate could bring the forest back! I still remember the good old days when Nigeria used to be the world’s largest producer of Cocoa. Based on the data at my disposal, Côte d’Ivoire by far has taken away the trophy from us. While Nigeria is currently at fourth position on the scale, some experts say Nigeria may still fall further to the bottom rung of the ladder if nothing is done urgently to bring back the glory of the old time. Just for information sake, the prices of cocoa and other cash crops in international market are on the rise. How can Nigeria be more relevant in the global trade with a mono product (in this instance, crude oil) that she is more comfortable to sell? When our professionals are abroad, they excel in their various fields. There are lots of Nigerian Doctors abroad doing well. We have a lot of our Engineers, Economists, Accountants, Computer Scientists, Lawyers etc. living abroad. Do you think the “White” will employ them if they are not sound enough or if they are just “mediocre at their best”? Yet these Professionals will not stay in Nigeria or come back home because the atmosphere is not very conducive. To train as a Medical Doctor in developed nations, it costs a student so much that immediately such a Medical Doctor starts working, he starts paying back so much debt he incurs while at the medical school. Hardly can anyone train as a Medical Doctor in a developed nation without getting a loan. Our Doctors in Nigeria (now foreigners) are trained in our Universities without incurring any debt especially the ones that went to the Federal Universities. Do not get me wrong here, by the time one looks at how much it costs to train as a medical doctor in say Canada compared to Nigeria, the difference is clear and huge. After their education, majority of Nigerian Doctors and other professionals usually find their way out of the country because the atmosphere there is not conducive to practice and because of many more logical reasons. Can you blame them? The big question now is how do we then make the atmosphere conducive? Here you go again - the question of not having a good leadership rearing its ugly head! The issue of security is also there - can the killing spree in the country even ginger up the professional wizards to come back home to help? There is also the question on available infrastructure. Rather than being useful to us in Nigeria, our Professionals travel out of Nigeria only to be useful to other nations. We are losing our future because of all these visionless old cargoes leading us astray. It is only in Nigeria that bulk of our engineers and other non-banking professionals are working in banks just to make ends meet. What hope do we have in the country? Forty six years after her independence, it's depressing how many people there are chasing so few jobs. Look at the political crises in Oyo State! Oyo state is an archetypal example of a place where the power behind the throne is not invisible. A Sole administrator has been appointed in Ekiti. OBJ and Atiku are still busy in the ring slugging it out. The corridors of power are permanently plagued with Pneumonia. The duo have not ceased to bandy words with each others. They have now formed a perfect duellist rather than a strong “duet” that people expected of them. If there is no unity between the two leaders how can there be progress? The situation can be likened to a situation where a husband and his wife are not in good terms. Will there be progress in the home? We all know the answer. Nigerians are asking, when will the duelling politicians agree to settle their scores? If they cannot, I guess they know what to do. Nigerians are tired of listening to arguments and counter arguments. Nigerians are not prepared to be their buffer zone! You see, our leaders are not setting good examples. Adopting Chief Olu Falae slogan, people are crying, we need a change!! A change is inevitable. I was on a visit to one Local Government Secretariat in Nigeria the other time, the whole place was very dirty and the Chairman was enjoying in his big Land Cruiser Jeep. I asked the officials what was going on, they said they had not been paid their salaries for about 7 months……. I just smiled. Is there anybody in Canada who has not collected salary for the past 7 months? If yes, let the person signify and I will take him to my pastor for serious prayers. Local Government Chairmen are enjoying, other workers are suffering. The Local Government chairman will say there is no fund even though the allocations from the Federal pocket never fail to arrive on schedule like Boeing 707 airplane. Is it really true there is no fund after all? Mr. Chairman knows where the money is hiding and going. The ripple effect of this is that a worker who is not paid regularly will take to corruption in one form or the other. But is this an excuse to be corrupt? Sometime ago, I wanted to stamp my international passport at MMA (Lagos Airport) and they were expecting me to pay about 200 naira. Though I had 200 naira on me, I refused to oblige. Everywhere you go, it is “give me something”. Everybody wants to collect ‘something’. Many people will still remember what we passed through at Seme Border when going from Lagos to Accra for Canadian visas (thank God, Seme border is better than Aflao border....) Don't worry your pretty little head - Accra and Aflao are in Ghana! How many times have our Nigerian travellers witnessed the “give-me-something” episode in Heathrow, or John F. Kennedy Airport? Do they ask Nigerian travellers for money before getting their passports stamped at Frankfurt or Amsterdam Airport? It is sad to also see that Nigeria is one of the known countries where the issuance of passport is not well monitored and regulated as to who get what. Recently, politicians were killed in Ekiti and Lagos. These people suffered a lot to attain their positions. Engineer Funsho Williams, where is he today? Is it easy to get an Engineering Degree from the University? Dr. Daramola was murdered! People are being killed everywhere. The cold-blooded murder of Chief Bola Ige left a lot to be desired…………How could a whole Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nigeria just pass away like that in great cruelty without being able to unearth who the killer was? Can this happen in a developed nation? Even if it takes them years to unravel, Canadian government among others will get to the bottom of even the death of their “rat” because they care for their citizenry. Do Nigerians still remember Okija shrine where they supply human parts and blood to "big men"? What happened to those that were caught? The shrine is still in existence while the “ritualists” are still plying their trade. People are listed as missing often, yet our government doesn’t even care. Do we even have missing persons bureau in Nigeria? I'm not happy because of the kind of lives that my people live in Nigeria. East or west, south or north, home they is the best, I pray my people won't go missing before I return to Nigeria. Like I always say, please let's pray. Pray for our people. Suffice to say, many Nigerians have been indirectly banished into exile because of our bad leadership and its concomitant. Hmn! Year 2007 is around the corner. It’s time to create political awareness among our electorate again. Let me quickly say something about some of these old cargoes aspiring to be our president next year. Haba! General Marwa is still there campaigning all over the place to be the ideal President and leader for Nigeria even with the palm oil blemish in his white “Agbada”. I heard Marwa was in Oshun State recently to campaign. People are asking Marwa, is airline business not lucrative enough again? Marwa now wants to be our president because he needs extra cash flow to fortify his business that he started with money stolen while in government. We enjoin Uncle Marwa to go to the Stock Exchange Market to generate fund. From Governor Marwa to General Marwa and now to Pilot Marwa! I laugh! Is he now Jack-of-all-trades? As if these were not enough, General “Oliver Twist” wants to be called President Marwa again. God dey o! Nigeria is the only place where you see a viable and big-time company with a very robust balance-sheet being owned by a one time Politician or leader. This company will be so robust, a blueship-like company, yet no shareholders, yet it’s a sole proprietorship. Where do they get the money from? I don’t know. As simple as ABC, Marwa is not the messiah we are looking for! Egbon Marwa is another snake in the grass! I could not help laughing up my sleeve when I heard that IBB is contesting for the Presidential election next year...ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ha....! Is this not insane? This is another joker! He has started speaking "big English" now.... June 12 was not annulled but cancelled. Where did he get that from? People are asking, what is the outcome of his either annulment or cancellation (and whatever English word he is using to bamboozle people around)? Annulment or cancellation, did they not produce the same result? Even though majority of the electorate wanted Chief MKO Abiola (of blessed memory) in power then, IBB did not care a hoot. Not even the agitation from other nations could convince Mr. Ibrahim to restore democracy in the country. The ghost of June 12 is still there looming! As part of his success stories while in power, IBB introduced the country into many never-known crimes by legalising 419. As if this was not enough, his failure to appear at the Oputa panel further emphasised his lack of respect for the Nigerian judicial system. Among what he is noted for was the hand in the death of Dele Giwa. Gloria Okon’s issue is still very fresh in our memories and that cannot be deleted from IBB’s long-but-disappointing resume. We enjoin IBB to go and clear himself first with Mama Vatsa’s family before bringing forth himself to be cleared by our electoral commission. He hurriedly dispatched his best friend to the great beyond based on the premise of a phoney coup. Such was his penchant for power-at-all-cost. Poor Mrs. Vasta, the same Babangida that signed her into matrimony as the best man at her wedding was the same demon that ushered her into widowhood. “Baba Agba” (A.K.A Maradona) was our President for good eight years without anything meaningful to show for it. Having served the country for so many years, ordinarily, one would expect IBB to possess some wealth of experience to lift the country to a higher ground, but unfortunately, the experience my Alhaji possessed among others is to loot the country and to legalise corruption in all walks of life. Nobody wants to have a repeat of those “suffer-head” years he spent in power with only his “419 boys” enjoying. Alex Akinyele of Ondo town has started making noise all over the place now. If my memory does not fail me and if all our political followers will bear me witness, some of the big words that we learned from our Newsmen during the Chief MKO Abiola saga included: Political impasse, Political imbroglio, Annulment; Economic doldrums among others. Where was Babangida then when every newspaper in Nigerian was reporting that the 1993 presidential election (purportedly to have been won by the SDP flag bearer) was annulled? Is the man just coming back from his trance? Out of curiosity I even went to check my dictionary to see the difference between the two words. Honestly, Babangida is sick. He is even daring enough to confess that he cancelled the freest and fairest democratic election ever done in the history of Nigeria while at the same time aspiring to come back to power. He is so shameless and does not have a good adviser. If “the evil genius” wins the presidential election next year (that is assuming our people even allow him to contest in the first place), the results will be cancelled (not annulled). Will that not be very painful to Mr “freest and fairest”? I’m sure it will. Perhaps, IBB needs to be told that we are not in a “Government 101 class” receiving lecture and thus, he should stop reminding us that 1993 presidential election was the freest and fairest of all in Nigeria. IBB is a sly old devil-we should not trust him again to take the helm. As a one-time researcher, I believe in trends. I believe that the fair measure of what a man will do in the future is a function of what he has done in the past. That should say it all! For the next president of this country, we need someone with passion, inspiration, competence and commitment, a leader who genuinely cares about our country and who has a great vision and not a “tortoise” vision that IBB has. Albert Einstein once said that leaders are the bridges that connect people to the future. As Phillip Massinger also put it in 1625, one who would lead others should first be the master of self. Leadership is more than just macro-managing. We need a role model, a leader who can walk-his-talk! We do not need someone who blows an uncertain trumpet. Sorry for the little but further digression. The truth of the matter is that our leaders are corrupt and followers are also corrupt because they don't even love Nigeria and to make matters worse, our leaders don't have the fear of God in their hearts. Egunje dem say spoils Lagos. It is not only Lagos now it is everywhere in Nigeria. In Nigeria today, it is a sad story of “If you can't beat them, join them”. Some Lagosians are quick to tell you that they did not come to Lagos to count bridges, but to make quick money. So, if it is not bridges they have come to count in Lagos, are they in Lagos to loot? Are they in Lagos to carry out shady deals? What about the looting at the national sea ports by the notorious “area boys”? It's God's transformation that is needed in our country my brothers and sisters. But there are still some of us who love the country and believe in a complete facelift and corporate existence of Nigeria. To those that love Nigeria, we can't be happy until the situation becomes better. I can go on and on for ever because the list of the problems on our database is endless. Surprisingly, one thing that is common to all of our problems is corruption. Surprisingly, corruption is the only vice that appeared in all of the results of my queries. Looting in the high places! Looting of the highest order! Looting from the “grassroots” to the “pinnacle”! Perhaps our leaders should be asked more questions! What legacy is our leaders leaving behind for those yet unborn? Do they even care about the future of the country? I do not know of any Governor who is very committed to the anti corruption crusade. With all the resources that are in our disposal, these are not reflecting on our roads, electricity, water supply, health care, job creation, security of our people, waste collection/treatment, education and so on. Our roads are death trap. Another name for our health-centre is mortuary. Many of our people at this age still depend on rain-water from water-butt, that is, rain-barrel as Americans will call it. Our people have been living on the streets, foraging for scraps and sleeping rough! My obodo Ibo people say that a man needs only to be buried up to the waist to be killed. Think of it very well, the Ibos know what they are doing before coming up with such a wise saying. Our leaders need to be told that we have had enough of their corrupt practices. Nigerians will not wait until our leaders suffocate us to death. Our people can no longer serve as horses’ winter-forage. Enough is enough! Need I say more? Nigerians have the facts and figures of some of our looters including their properties that they will never live to enjoy. If you do well, people will say it, if you do otherwise, legacy is there to tell. The elders say, good name is better than Gold and Silver. Can Nigerians forget people like Chief Awolowo, Chief Azikiwe, General Abacha among others? These are the names no one can forget in the history of Nigeria - yet there are names and there are names. Some of these names are so great that their great-great grand daughters will still prefer to use such names as a double-barrelled name. What kind of names do our current leaders want, a name cast in gold or the one cast in the mud? Our leaders have been pathologically locked in their babies. But they however, need to be told that Nigerians don’t want to be baby-sitters anymore! Just as it’s ridiculous to expect a two-year-old baby to be able to read, our leaders in Nigeria just reminded me of a toddler learning how to read and write. Yet our leaders seem to be too clever by half. In this day and age, no one can afford to preserve those kinds of leaders. There is such a great contradiction between our potential as a nation and our current situation. It’s time to throw out the trash. Funnily enough, our cupboard contained all kinds of strange things today. But our leaders seem not to know the enormity of the tasks at hand. I heard that Ex-governor Ayo Fayose was busy there distributing “Ragolis” water and lanterns to the people of his State in this age. The same can be said of many of our other leaders. Don’t they know of any developmental programmes? Perhaps, our leaders need mentoring. Hmn! But wait a minute- I have a concern about this - “You can train a turkey to climb a tree but you’re probably better off to hire a squirrel”. Food for thought! But for how many years do our leaders want to stay in power stealing our money? Many questions keep coming to my mind and I don't have the answers. However, I convincingly believe that a lot of these problems on our inventory as itemised above can be solved easily if the commitment and focus are there. I guess some of these issues were what Buhari and Idiagbon were trying to address before the devil used IBB and the “evil genius” took over from them. Anyway, it’s of no use crying over spilt milk, however, one thing I do know is that we can become the champion of our own lives. It is not too late. I still believe that patriotic Nigerians are not flogging the dead horse. Openness to new ideas, solutions and new ways of behaviour is the basic ingredient in the recipe for any success. Nigeria is a poor financial statement that can be turned around through determination. We have determined and thus so resolute to improve on all of our financial ratios. Having said this, we need to praise Ribadu and those that are doing well. Ribadu, please go ahead and teach them lessons. What Ribadu is doing now gives me a ray of hope that all is not lost! To some who call it a last-ditch effort, call it anything, Ribadu reform will succeed, we are very positive. I know Tafa Balogun will be regretting his actions today. Let’s start complimenting the efforts of the EFCC rather than showing open hostility towards the commission. My prayer is that God will provide Ribadu with a better net and trawler to catch the big fishes. There are still more fishes in the sea! The Sharks have grown big enough to be caught; we should not wait any longer until they devour all our innocent minnows. The economic committee also deserves commendation. Kudos needs to be given to our press for a job well-done. I’m talking of some of our political journalists who have kept us current of all the happenings without practicing “cheque book journalism”. How I wish our lawyers could emulate them! Many a true word they say is spoken in jest. Purposely, I have made a lot of very simple, long and easily understandable points and humorous remarks in this article yet which contain serious and truthful statements. I want all readers to ponder on some of these issues maybe solutions can even be fashioned out for our plethora of problems in Nigeria. Need I say; there are a lot on our plate in Nigeria today. As one writer puts it, those who make possible impossible only make impossible possible. As my father will say, you can only soar in direct proportion to your degree of determination to rise above your circumstances. There is no “lucky dip” anywhere! Therefore, a great increase must be fought for! Even though the pieces don’t fit now, the ugly monkey is still ours! Let’s ALL be prepared to leave our comfort zone sometimes. We should not let our past and present dictate or limit our future. Let’s ALL begin NOW with the end in mind. We will get there. Long live Nigeria! Please watch out for part III of this article. Contributors: Patrick Dare Alabi (Patrick.alabi@usask.ca) Ayodele Ogunyemi (ayuze86@yahoo.com)

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