Nigeria: A Nation Split Apart and the Micaian Moral Codes
The late South African revolutionary, Nelson Mandela, was quoted to have said that: “The world will never respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world are looking up to Nigeria to be a source of pride and confidence…” But the irony confronting our nation is that year after year, tenure after tenure of political leadership, Nigeria seems to keep spiraling downward in geometric progression. And till tomorrow, the African Literary luminary, Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian, would continue to be right that the trouble with Nigeria is leadership.
We cannot understand it, we cannot explain it and cannot stopped being bothered by it either; and it makes no difference whether or not you are political or apolitical; educated or not; living in affluence or squalor; stationed in the diaspora or domiciled here at home. The truth is that we have in our hands a fundamental problem that concerns us.
There’s no drama so farcical at its climax as the story of a nation that is still reeling under self-inflicted post-colonial traumas after more than half a century of independence. Now, protest marches and choruses are rising from every corner of Nigeria over one thing or the other. It seems to me that protests are the drum beats that civil conscience uses to rouse a political culture, that perhaps is decisively sold under insomnia dyslexia and performative melodramatic syndrome.
The rate at which crises are brewing from every section of the country seems to defy the political might and the human abilities that we have in this nation. From economic problems to a malfunctioning academic system, to employment and security challenges and police brutality, and to other nefandous realities, we look strangled in the process as by a dangerously damaged machine with a history of neon years of existence.
Where did we in Nigeria go wrong? What is our collective category? It might be Sisyphean to decide. But somehow, the British gave us our moral, academic and political categories, and somehow we have dutifully dumped morality in the religious houses while piloting a national leadership that is bereft of it. And as a consequence we have not come near our former task master in our academic and political categories.
And when are we going to get it right politically, economically, and educationally? When are we going to crawl out of the canyons of political leadership of personal, party and ethnic interests to the ivory tower of transformative political leadership for the good of all? Why do we have so many political leaders but so little political leadership? When will our political leaders see their political portfolios as responsibility laden privileges instead of opportunities to satisfy their utilitarian orgies?
While we are yet clamouring for restructuring, are we not already a nation split apart along so many lines? Why do we have so much national discord? Why the tumultuous rising in various segments of the society? Is it not because we have shunned the eternal verities of truth, love, justice and mercy which God demanded from the children of Israel through Prophet Micah?
And throughout history, and in the platonic dictum, as well as in the prophetic voices of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we are confronted with a well punctuated recurrent evidence of the great difference between a nation that lives by the eternal verities, and the disharmony within a nation that shuns them.
So why would there not be stirrings in every direction when oppression is very obvious in the land? Why would there not be crises at every turn when injustice looms large everywhere? You ask me how? Are the poor and the fatherless not crying and their tears are falling on the ground like drum beats of rainstorm? I mean, is it not enough oppression that retired workers hardly receive pensions, not to mention their gratuities, and some have died fighting without any results and have transferred the struggle to their children?
Is it not enough injustice that politicians are schooling their children in Ivy League schools in America and elsewhere while our own education system remains a collosal wreck and object of perpetual quarrel between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)?
Have we not exact selfishly on our collective wealth to the detriment of the poorest of the poor? Today, very many Nigerian families can no longer afford to eat rice due to high cost. Do we know how many will go to bed hungry tonight?
Have we not become so merciless in our policy to promote home grown industries that many are either going hungry or dying of hunger on daily basis as a result? Are we really promoting home grown establishments or trying to settle those who supported us to the hilltop mansion? I believe we have got to access ourselves and our leadership motives.
I refuse to believe that leader after leader must be only a superman at power-mongering and not at good representation and transforming leadership. I refuse to believe that we cannot lead beyond mindless ethnic leadership imperative and party sadism. I refuse to believe that the vitriolic and vilifying exchanges between the leaders and the led cannot be buried as a past time if we all decide to edit the present and pursue the future with a decisive commitment to do better than yesterday.
I refuse to believe that we have to spiral down the militaristic stairways the second time while we are still yet to recover from the ravages of 1967-1970 Civil War. I refuse to believe that accumulative intelligence in this nation cannot handle our national problems.
I choose to believe that a Nigerian political leadership of today or tomorrow armed with the Micaian prophetic moral codes of truth, justice and love for all, will do better than all the previous administrations with their wealth combined! I believe in Nigeria and I believe in God!