POLITICAL violence is rearing its ugly head already: here, there, and everywhere, most disappointingly of all in the State of the Virtuous. Adding politically motivated violence to the litany of deadly criminal, cultist and terrorist violence in the land is likely to be too much for the nation to survive beyond 2023! Just why our political elites and ruling government do not understand this plain handwriting on the wall beats the imagination!
The question for the wise to ask is: why all these violence and agitations, predominantly by young people? Overwhelming poverty, joblessness and misery: simple. The next question is: why should that be, in a land flowing with milk and honey with abundant human resources? Whereas there are diverse – and possibly equally correct – answers to this grave question, one of the deepest answers is that the totality of actual wealth available in Nigeria is terribly small indeed, and to make a bad matter worse, it is selfishly cornered and provocatively displayed by a tiny minority of the political elite who fight to the death to be in charge of it – the “free” oil money.
Since General Yakubu Gowon and the dawn of the oil boom till date, successive governments, majorly military (military government being a crime against humanity and a disaster in itself) have been too busy cornering oil money for selves and associates, too slothful and unpatriotic to even mobilise Nigerians to prospect and add value to the crude oil by ourselves. Since then till date, it is largely in the hands of foreign multinational companies. We get paid in arrears and distribute the earnings to Federal, State and Local Governments. Those manning those places then deploy the fund as they please, knowing full well that though, it is our common patrimony, it is utter deception that it is tax-payers money – the struggle to be in charge of that oil-rent money is the politics/election that Obasanjo labelled “do-or-die.” The consequences of 60 years of oil money mismanagement, or selfish-management, are what we are harvesting today.
Since discovery of oil, all coup d’états have been about controlling that money, as all politics too, while frustrating every other effort at creativity, productivity, innovation and industry! All promises by every incoming government, civilian and military to diversify productivity and move away from a single product foreign exchange earning economy have ended up as lies and lip services. At all time, the target is the oil money for selves and associates, except in a few shining exceptions. The situation was helped and made worse by the adoption of the unitary system of government by the military since 1966, which, in every opportune republic, civil politicians have refused to correct.
Utter disregard for genuine federation as foundation structure for our democracy; enforced unitary mould; unpatriotic, parasitic nature of majority of the political elites; and their undying love for free oil money are the reasons for Nigeria’s social, political and economic misfortunes, from which only every current ruling section of the political elite profits, and the reasons for their fervent opposition to restructuring of the country for genuine federation. Indeed, who would have thought that by today, six years after the historic win by the All Progressives Congress, Nigeria will remain not restructured: oil still the main foreign income earner, war amongst the political elites on who controls it still the politics of Nigeria?
The grave anomalies have pushed Nigeria to the brink. Rather than having a rethink and committing once and for all for formatting and re-installing our political operating system first before going on, all that even the best among our “statesmen” are hustling for is who will next be in charge of the about-to-crash-system! RESTRUCTURING SHOULD BE OUR PRIORITY, NOT ELECTIONS if we can read the bold, clear handwritings on the wall! Devote next two years to restructuring Nigeria then proceed to hold elections based on genuine federation and republic, else they may wake up from their hallucinated dreams into a real nightmare country, God forbid.
Lack of genuine federalism is a roadblock to creativity, productivity, nationalism, patriotism, national unity, politics-of-service and national development; it is the root cause of sectional agitations, domineering politics, political violence, corruption everywhere, violent crimes, self-help, terrorism, and compound underdevelopment. How do any sensible government and ruling elites thence propose to ignore the volatile situation and make election on the foundation of a long-running travesty its priority? Like Murtala Mohammed said, “…for too long, we have paid lip services to the idea of remoulding our nation… now is the time to rethink, reflect, and to act.”