Never mistake motion for action. ~Ernest Hemingway
With the benefits of hindsight, we can absolutely say the marriage that birthed NIGERIA was not built on love or affection. Though the courtship lasted all of 46 years, not much of interaction and integration took place to create an amalgamation in the real sense of the world. The amalgamation, in its conception and in its execution, was just a paper union that made it easier for the Colonial masters to carry out their plunder; it was not to make the ethnic groups a unified major group with a sense and feel of National Identity. In essence, the emergence of Nigeria as a Nation-State in 1960 was a mismatch in its crudest form.
Alas, that was just the extent to which we could blame Britain for our woes. For the deplorable state where we are today and for the ignominious history we have been able to pen for our nation since 1960, Nigeria and Nigerians must take full and absolute RESPONSIBILITY. For the history, I will not dwell on that, smarter brains and sharper minds than mine have put all that in textbooks, in magazines, in newspapers, in journals, on tapes, on websites, and on so many other other means of storing information for the sole purpose of posterity. The past cannot be changed, neither can it be re-written, we can only learn from it, something we have not done up to this moment. I am concerned about the present and what it reflects and portends for the continuous existence and the desired prosperity of Nigeria.
Nigerians, individually, are industrious and hardworking. Nigerians have always learnt to ignore their government and depend on themselves and their neighbours to find solutions to their problems and forge ahead together. Nigerians, through Community Development Associations (CDAs) contribute funds to buy transformers, poles, cables and meters from PHCN, they even pay for the workmanship to get everything fixed, fitted and erected. Then, PHCN refuses to supply electricity, and Nigerians will still go and get power generating sets and start generating their own power. Nigerians have grown accustomed to not asking questions and not demanding for their rights. Typical Nigerians build their own houses which has its own bore-hole or well; its own power generating set in form of Mikano/Lister/Honda; its own security in form of private guards/maigurads; and every other thing needed. This on the back of huge and multiple taxes they pay at source, especially when they work in the private sector, and most especially when they reside in Lagos state. Nothing works in Nigeria. The Hospitals become death traps, Nigerians patronize private hospitals and pay through their noses. The schools are closed, Nigerians send their children to private schools and pay through their noses also. Nothing works and no questions are asked.
Disheartening the more, those were not the only traits Nigerians share. Majority, and I am talking about a very large majority, of Nigerians are the archetypal specimens of bigotry, tribalism, and religiousness. These are etched into the consciousness of Nigerians to the point where nothing gets done because Federal Character will not make it work. Every interaction is conceived in Tribalism, executed in Bigotry, and sustained in Religion. Little wonder nothing gets done.
It is well-known and amply documented that the myriads of problems that drove Nigeria to this “Precipice of Hopelessness” where we hover at the moment can be traced to Institutionalized Corruption; but the final push that will plunge Nigeria into the “Abyss of Disillusionment” is Institutionalized Inaction. Do not get me wrong, there is action everywhere: corruption in high places is still sewn into the fabrics of our daily lives, and terrorism has become the order of the day to the point where I believe there is a template on the desktop of the President aide’s PC which only requires them to change the date and the location whenever a man-made disaster strikes, because what we hear every time is the same mumbo jumbo. The President has recently even gone to the point of saying he is powerless, quoting Psalm 91, but the last time I checked, we do not run a Theocracy. Mr President, like the Jews say: do not be wise in words – be wise in deeds. When the government borders on non-existent, through its inaction, that is a huge tinderbox waiting to explode.
Nigerians are capable of protecting themselves, but if they have to stand up and do it by themselves, that is the end of Nigeria as we know it. It will lead to Anarchy, probably Military Intervention, and worst case scenario a Civil war with its attendant horror of wanton destruction and genocide. I am not a doom-monger, I am only pointing us to the past in a bid to point us to a future which should not be allowed to become a reality. What happened yesterday in Kaduna is reminiscent of the two coups of 1966, and it is as simple as Newton’s First Law of Motion. If the President allows Nigerians to take actions into their own hands, that might be the end of Nigeria as we know it. The President came to power on the back of a campaign of hope, themed with the popular “I had no shoes” slogan, and promising a better future through his “Transformational Agenda”… Like the Italians would say “Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.” …A year has rolled by, but the only things that have transformed are: government ineptitude, institutionalized corruption, and terrorism; they have transformed into gigantic multi-fanged monsters gearing to consume the whole nation.
Nigeria, now is the time to ask questions; request answers; and demand actions.