One major problem responsible for the current state of instability and insecurity plaguing our nation is lack of restraint on the part of politicians. The Nigerian politicians, I regret to observe, have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. They seem not to be guided by the experience and incidents of the past. The major preoccupation of many of them, as far as their attitudes and utterances are concerned, is how to satisfy their inordinate ambitions to the detriment of the nation. They care no hoot about what consequences their actions and utterances could have on the peace, unity and progress of the nation.
As I had since observed in this column, Nigeria is a country well-crafted by God and endowed with overflowing human and natural resources to be harnessed for the good of the nation and its people. But what have our politicians done to Nigeria? They have sowed seed of discord everywhere and conducted themselves in a most untoward manner.
Why are there so much hatred, spitefulness and bitterness among us? Why do we hate one another so much that we can even kill and maim without any modicum of conscience? Yes, we may belong to diverse tribal, political and cultural affiliations, but should that constitute a danger to the sovereignty of our nation? Since independence in 1960 our nation has constantly been buffeted by politicians with their negative and selfish tendencies, even to the point of endangering our nascent democracy.
The gale of bitter criticisms against one another has reached a worrisome level in recent times. There is no single day that passes that we do not read frightening reports about what evil that is to befall Nigeria. Politicians heap tons of curses on one another and threaten one another with all kinds of calamities. If some are not cursing their political adversaries, wishing them dead; some others are sounding the gongs of war. In all of these, who will bear the brunt if anything should happen to Nigeria? When two elements fight is it not the grass that suffers?
The masses of this country have suffered so much in the hands of politicians. When the economy is mismanaged and life becomes difficult, it is the masses that suffer. When politicians, in their indiscretion, create upheavals, it is the masses that bear the consequences? What of when political parties squabble with one another over inanities? It is the same masses that bear the cross.
The truth is that I have never seen a country where politicians apply dishonesty, cantankerousness and crookedness to achieve political ends as is the case with Nigeria. This is why I once described Nigerian politicians as too power-hungry and egotistic. What other explanations would you want from me for my position when you, the reader, are a living witness to all the atrocities that have been committed in the name of politics?
Look at what is happening all over the country. There is no part that is not witnessing one form of crisis or another. Unfortunately, these crises have been deliberately created by some disgruntled politicians to destabilize the country and paint Nigeria black in the eyes of the world. The manner some of these crises were instigated and executed smacked of treachery, mischief, sabotage and arrogance of power on the part of the perpetrators.
From Edo to Adamawa, Nasarawa to Borno, Rivers to Ebonyi, it is one crisis after another. Impeachment threats rent the air. The various Houses of Assembly across the country have found a new pastime in impeachment and threats of impeach of governors and legislative functionaries. Curiously, these things are happening less than one year to the birth of a new Republic. What exactly do the perpetrators and sponsors of these crises stand to gain from their mischief other than to truncate our democracy?
The crisis in Edo is unique. It has become a theatre of strange happenings, where 7 out of over 20 members have suddenly become the majority. The same situation is obtainable in Rivers where less than 5 members claim they are now the majority. Situations as these make us a laughing stock before the outside world. Yet our leaders do not see anything wrong in them. There is no way we can continue to condone such recklessness and at the same time expect to be progressive as a nation.
I had hoped by now our politicians would have grown out of their infantile behaviour. Many of them still see acquisition of wealth and transient powers as the ultimate goal of their political odysseys, forgetting they would give account of their stewardship some day. Painfully, these merry-go politicians have failed to learn from the travails of their predecessors.
Those who walk the corridors of power today, thinking they own the world, will someday – not long from now – become ordinary citizens like many of us. How do they plan to reintegrate themselves into the society they so recklessly and heartlessly mistreated? Definitely, they will not find peace and solace since they murdered these values while walking like drunken princes on the floor of a slippery palace.
There is nothing as transient as power. What will they do when they wake up the next morning, after handing over power, to discover the retinue of security men around them is gone and are faced with the realities of life? This is why some of them die of unknown ailments while others die in installments under the weight of the brutalities and injustices they inflicted on others while the party lasted.
I am sorry for those politicians who are yet to change their attitude to power, because they do not know the harm they cause themselves and their dependants. I know of some politicians who could not live among the people they governed, because of the burden of guilt and the humiliation they suffer in the hands of their chastised people. For such politicians death is a better choice.
If this is so, why then do those now serving not learn from their bitter experiences? The reason is simple: they whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad. Like Pharaoh, these politicians have chosen to harden their hearts and tow the path of infamy. That is what we describe in local parlance as ‘chop and quench’.
One fact about power, which our politicians have often forgotten, is that it is ephemeral. Sadly, our politicians carry themselves with too much air around them as if they would rule forever. The tragedy of our political development has been the tendency of politicians to go to extreme levels to achieve their political ends. It does not matter to them if there is a word called ‘decency’. All they care about is the entrenchment of their political will, even if it brings the nation down.
The beauty of democracy lies in the latitudes it provides everybody to air his or her views without fear of molestation. However, this freedom has been abused, going by the verbiage and felonious utterances spewing from the mouths of some of our politicians in recent times. Yet, they see nothing wrong in their actions. Instead of showing remorse and turning away from their evil ways, they have rather continued to fuel the embers of hate and instability among our various peoples.
Nigerians are groaning under the weight of the indiscretion and recklessness of our politicians. And this unfortunate situation appears to have dwarfed the efforts by government to provide amenities for the well-being of every Nigerian. Most politicians spend the greater part of their tenures fighting perceived enemies, instead of providing the dividends of democracy to their people who elected them.
The bane of our modern-day democracy is deceit on the part of politicians. They promise their people one thing and do another as soon as they gain control of power. While some shield themselves from their people, some others even choose to antagonize them. These politicians see themselves as demigods and commit all kinds of atrocities to remain in power.
Why would anybody be in league to bring down his own nation if such a person is not wicked and selfish? Should our selfish desires obfuscate our sense of reasoning? I have asked these questions, because I am scandalized by the public utterances of some of our politicians who ordinarily should be role-models to the budding politicians. They say whatever they like, whenever they like and to whomsoever they like. They no longer respect constituted authorities or feel anything positive for the nation. It is this type of politicians that foments trouble and causes the hullabaloo that has been our lot in recent years.
Is it not preposterous that some politicians are really working to see Nigeria destroyed? Why? Have they forgotten they have no other nation to call theirs except Nigeria? What will they gain from pulling Nigeria down? They say Boko Haram is a tool being used by some politicians to destroy Nigeria! How true is this allegation? Nobody has yet produced any convincing evidence to support the allegation. If it is true that Boko Haram is being sponsored by some politicians for nefarious agenda, then all of us are in trouble.
For me, I have always seen Boko Haram as a product of an unbalanced social system, even though they might have been infiltrated at a latter day by mischief-makers. That may also explain the perilous dimensions the conflict has assumed of recent.
Let me offer some pieces of advice to the sponsors, if any, of the dreaded sect: they should desist from their evil act or be consumed by the wrath of God. If any politician has any grouse about the government he should not direct his anger against innocent people – killing and maiming them? Just as nothing in life lasts forever, so does evil. Evil has an expiry date. When your cup is full, God calls you to face judgement. Those who kill under whatever guise will face the same fate someday soon.
As 2015 approaches feverishly, it is time for our politicians to do an introspection to see where they have failed in their duties and expectations of the masses. They need to re-examine themselves and reconcile themselves with those they have offended and ask for God’s forgiveness. We cannot afford to sweep what is happening under the carpet and go on with life as if nothing is amiss. Many things are wrong with our nation and they must be rectified if we are to continue to live as one. The ongoing national conference is one of the ways the present administration intends to address some of these knotty issues. But does the conference actually have the capacity to deal with these issues. The attitudes and utterances of some of the politicians in the conference do not give us much hope. They have carried their crookedness to the conference, trying to disorient it.
I am compelled to ask, at this juncture, must we play politics with everything under the sun? Politics is a serious business that should not be trivialized. Nomination into the national conference should be seen as a privilege and call to service rather than a tool for mischief-making or settling political scores. The conference can only achieve the objective for which it was established when its members come to terms with the real reason they were nominated in the first place.
What I expect the leadership of this country to do urgently is to call everybody who is misbehaving to order, irrespective of the political party to which he belongs. We must be seen to be fair and equitable in the discharge of our duties. If we want genuine reconciliation, the first thing to do is to do justice to all manner of people. Nigeria belongs to all of us and every Nigerian must be made to feel he belongs.
Politicians should be made to account for any atrocity they commit, no matter how highly placed such a politician maybe. It does not make sense to do selective justice and still expect the nation to be united. Some politicians have grown wings because they seem to be backed by some powerful individuals. If we subject every Nigerian politician to constitutional scrutiny then we will have removed one huge impediment on the way of our attaining democratic freedom and sustainability.
There is no peace among the peoples of Nigeria for the simple reason that we seem to have forgotten that we belong to each other. That we belong to different tribes, religions, political parties or cultures does not make one not to be a Nigerian any longer. It is just an accident of history that God made us the way we are and to be where we are. Instead of fanning the embers of hate we should apply our God-given talents for the advancement of our collective interests.
We must place every politician under surveillance as we approach 2015. This has become imperative since we now know they are a major threat to national unity and progress. Failing to do so will amount to deliberately walking into a trap set for us.