Nigeria is undoubtedly a blessed country but with majority of her people wallowing in poverty. It has the resources and the potentials to be the greatest country in Africa yet the abundant resources is exploited in favour of a tiny few. In spite of the gargantuan resources people marvel at this great contradiction in Africa ‘s most populous country.
The truth of the matter, however, is that while we revel in abundance of human and material resources, we lack quality leadership in the helms of affairs. This has given rise to the saying that Nigeria does not go to a football contest with its “first eleven”.
Ordinarily necessity which is the precursor of invention should have pushed us beyond the prevailing level. There are certainly competent, articulate and versatile technocrats who given the opportunity can take the country to higher heights. But the nagging problem is whether these people can find their way to the top.
Conversely people who have been ruling us are either “unwilling horses” or people who are put there by the self-style kingmakers to serve a particular parochial interest. Unarguably, the late premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a great manager of human and material resources.
He fought assiduously to get to the federal level where he intended to re-enact the achievements he made in them Western Region. All has attempts were frustrated. Besides him, there were and still are other seasoned technocrats who have desired to get to the top.
A thorough analysis of the Nigerian situation shows overwhelming presence of God in our critical situations. Lest I be accused of plagiarism, I would have titled this piece God Must Be A Nigerian, a title used by Mr Ray Ekpu, the Chief Executive Officer of New Swatch magazine in an article in Daily Times Newspaper two decades ago.
God has always come to our rescue when it mattered most. During the General Ibrahim Babangida’s era, the Igbos left the South-West especially Lagos en-masse for the East for fear of their safety of aftermath the annulment of the landmark, June 12 th 1993 election saying they were going for yam festival ostensibly to escape any calamity that could be fell the country.
In their reasoning which was justified by the events then, they were better off being in their enclave in case of any eventuality. God intervened and contrary to our wildest imagination everything went on peacefully.
Again during the repressive regime of General Sani Abacha when critical voices were either killed, silenced or hounded out of the country, God intervened and made the situation calm. The situation then was so tensed that when the news first filtered in that the Head of State had expired, the best people could do was to discuss in hushed times which later resulted in open expression of jubilation contrary to Africa culture.
At that critical point people were disillusioned and some had even given up that the situation can be put under control. But alas God did it miraculously when we least expected.
In the build up to the General Abdusalam Abubakar transition in 1999, General Babangida together with some politicians helped to secure the release of ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo and propped him to power. Babangida did not do it for altruistic purpose. The project was to serve a dual purpose, to test the political water the acceptability of a General in a civilian dispensation which by extension will mean that he could also mount the throne again as a civilian president. Also, it was meant to ensure his own protection against prosecution.
God had a different plan against the hidden agenda of the Generals machinations. Obasanjo got to power and turned against his “mentor” Babangida. Though Babangida was not prosecuted against popular demand, his ambition to come back to power was scuttled, like he too did with the ambitions of some people in 1992. One might refer to the scenario as the law of retributive justice which ensures that one reaps whatever he sows. But a critical and deep analysis shows God at work protecting the interest of the weak and the impoverished masses.
Ex-President Obasanjo adopted all chicanery and shenanigan in his political armoury to go for third term in office, but he fell heavily. After this failure , he reluctantly endorsed a “green horn” or at best an unwilling candidate one who was not among the leading gladiators in the race for the exalted office of the president in 2007 Obasanjo supported President Umar Musa Yar’Adua ostensibly to ensure the continuity of his policies and more importantly to ensure his protection against whatever misdeameanor he might have committed in office.
But at last, as God will have it, the much cherished policies of Obasanjo which he sang gleefully of, are being torn to shreds. President Yar’Adua has decided to do the wish of the people by enunciating and promoting policies that tarry with the wishes of the people.
The President did the unthinkable among others by revoking the contract of the sale of refineries to the ex-president’s cronies, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola. Other unpopular policies of the former leader were done away with by a president that christened himself a servant–leader. People, the president argues is the thrust of his administration.
If Obasanjo felt his successor was too gentle and pliable, he must have made the greatest mistake of his life not with the latest expose on his daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello. The clairvoyants see the hand of God in all that is happening where the exploitative tendencies of the few cabal will be a thing of the past objective analysts also see what is happening now as a class struggle among the political elites where the war of attrition will have a debilitating effect on each other.
However the final victory will not be won until the masses also support the struggle for God only helps those who help themselves.
•AGBOOLA is on the staff of OSUN DEFENDER.
• This piece, first published on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 Edition is repeated due to popular demand.