Nigeria is at a tempestuous crossroads. It will be a
failed attempt at casuistry to play down the multi-pronged encumbrances
the country is contending with. All is not well. It appears when
attention is turned to one problem, another irritation materialises
angling for notice. Nigeria has never been this tried and tested by in
situ tribulations since the return of democracy in 1999.
Troubling times. While the country is still held in solitary grief by
the violent pursuits of Boko Haram, bandits and kidnappers, another
deadly insurgency rises, like the sun on its most vexed day, in the
south-east. Nigeria is at war on all fronts. The country is like the
biblical Israel hedged about by hostile neighbours. However, Nigeria’s
case is quite peculiar. Those assaulting the nation are not aliens but
citizens born and raised in the country.
We cannot excuse our own role in this cataclysm. Years of directionless, insensitive, duplicitous and reactionary leadership from the 1960s to date led us down this primrose path. It will be uncharitable to stack up the blame for the parlous state of things on any single Nigerian leader. All the leaders, past and present, have a sizeable share in the blame pile.
We cannot also dismiss the underhandedness of those who infected the federal civil service with the virus of corruption and who polluted the political system with the introduction of the presidential system of the government in the 1970s.
Nigeria is like a beat-up Danfo at which different drivers take turns. Each driver comes with his own manual and cannibalises the vehicle without care for the passengers on it. The drivers leave with a part of the jalopy at every turn until nothing but the carcass is left. The leaderships over the years have butchered and cut up the country so violently that it will take an outlier to do the healing.
But, Nigeria is not a lost cause. It is salvageable. Like I said earlier it will need an outlier to retool the country. The good news is there are many outliers who can provide leadership for the country. Leaders are not in short supply here. There is a need for mass mobilisation of consciences and citizens’ engagement on electoral choices ahead of the 2023 elections. We end up with mediocre leaders because the followership is equally deficient, divided, corrupt, and vacuous. The task to save Nigeria must not be left to a select group – everyone must put their hands on the wheel.
I recall the song by Veno Marioghae, ‘’Nigeria go survive’’. Growing up in Lagos I would listen to the song boom from the stereos at barber shops and nostalgic corners: ‘’Nigeria go survive, no matter all the trial, Nigeria go survive; my people go survive o, Nigeria go survive’’.
survived a civil war; it survived militancy; it survived many civil
unrests and riots, it will survive this current crisis.
Nigeria go survive.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist