Monday, October 3, 2011

Nigeria at 51: My Reflection on Governance.

“We seized power to stamp out tribalism, nepotism and regionalism…” These are the words of the Late Major C.K Nzeogwu led group, which struck on the morning of January 15, 1966, the first military coup in Nigeria. Like the Yorubas will say “Ìjínjí ayé won… (From the inception of their existence)” it was from the beginning of our existence as a free nation that bad governance has etched into the fabric of Nigeria. As early as the 1962s, mismanagement of resources, corruption, and bad leadership was already a clearly noticeable trait militating against the future of Nigeria as it were then. However, one would be forced to admit, at least, hat such a false start is still permissible or excusable; not even when you put into consideration the perceived ineptitude of our political leaders at that time in the art of governance. The Yorubas already excused them when they say “Owó tómodé bá kókó rí, àkàrà ni ó fi je.” A child spends his first earning on frivolities.

However, like a rational being would do, attempts were made to salvage Nigeria as portrayed by the spirit of the first military coup, and the efforts of the successive administration. From the Aguiyi Ironsis to the Gowons, different dimensions of repositioning efforts were attempted. For those of us reveling in the positives of that era, our joy of a hope of a greater and better Nigeria was however short-lived when the one widely regarded as the messiah, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, fell to the bullets of Dimka in a failed coup. From then till now, it has been a tale of one bad moment to another.

Even though we all may take personal consolations in some few positives, the largely disappointing state of governance in our nation cannot be overemphasized. At 51, with a population of 150 million people, a huge human resource base and almost innumerable mineral and natural resources, to say Nigeria should be rubbing shoulders with world powers such as the U.S.A, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and even Japan is an understatement.

Like my mother would say, I do not have the luxury of time to rub powder for a dolly; a short man with a taller ambition best describes Nigeria, if we will keep putting up with the form of leadership put on offer by the crops of politicians we presently boast of. A people, whose idea of governance is massive looting of public treasury, and gross neglect and abuse of fundamental human rights; a people, whose crux of leadership is self-immortalization. With so much finesse, they institutionalized corruption and made it a culture.

I say without apology that the labours of our heroes past have gone in vain; so it seems, at least in the temporary. Heroes, who with unflagging commitment, truest of intention, and purest of heart fought for our independence. Worse still for Nigeria, save the few untainted young revolutionaries, the soul of her youths, and even the young children has been infiltrated by their concept of governance. They patiently wait the day they will have the opportunity like their fathers, just to wreck further havoc.

Anyway; I refuse to be frustrated by all these, and I take my personal joy in that Nigeria is still blessed with the untainted young revolutionaries I speak of. The young revolutionaries, whose idea of governance is “resist the dangled carrot and corruption, even if it means taking a mortgage to own a house after service.” To these ones I say let us fight on, for the Nigeria of our dream is realizable. It does not matter the degree of havoc they would have wrecked before their extinction. After all, God says “if only I can find a few untainted ones, then I will not destroy the land.”

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

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