All of a sudden, it has become a necessity to save Nigeria. Everyone is on high-gear for the mission, but through different, uncoordinated routes. The national outcry is so loud that the confusion in the rhythm has distorted its harmony, creating unpalatable noises, instead of a chorused melody.
There are too many actors on our national stage with varied interests, less interactions and, unfocused. But the only question I have been asking is this: who among these actors is sincere enough to save Nigeria and, save Nigeria from whom? If there is integrity in everyone’s aspiration to really rescue Nigeria, why the disunity?
I could not help myself with laughter when I saw a picture of former President Olusegun Obasanjo with his former arch enemy, the Afenifere group. In sheer desperation, it has become necessary for Baba to pitch his tent with the Yoruba advocacy coalition. The perceived urgency has taken the antelope to seek refuge in the lion’s den. What an interesting development. The same Obasanjo who admonished the group a few years ago and, paid less attention to the death of justice Bola Ige, has been compelled by circumstances to form an alliance with the bloc. Chief Olusegun knows that if he fails to unseat Buhari this time, he is, forever, demystified.
Last week, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state, in a rare feat, paid a courtesy call on Nasir el-Rufai and Mohammed Ahmed Makarfi, in Kaduna, to discuss the urgency to restructure Nigeria for peace and progress. It is not surprising that Dickson would lead the advocacy to devolve the central authority. According to him, it has become very necessary for the devolution of power to forestall the overlapping regional baggage on the national grid. Once a true federalism is established, each region is then ready to grow at its pace. While this assertion could be correct, the underlying tone, measured from his perceived urgency, is about resource control. It is not a controversial claim that Bayelsa, which is the least populated state in Nigeria, is the most endowed in oil and gas resources. Therefore, if the country is restructured in line with the governor’s aspiration, Bayelsa’s financial wherewithal will surpass even Lagos state. The rest of the country, especially the poor northern states can languish in penury.
The current structure of Nigeria is carefully crafted in such a pattern that each state can takeoff in any desired direction. This means that, Bayelsa state, which receives billions of the monthly federal allocation can delve into economic prospects of its choice. It does not have to wait for Kogi, Nasarawa, or Sokoto state to drag it down. The constitution of Nigeria is clear and concise on the freedom of existence and independence. Lagos state is on the move, and its enormous financial resources are being properly invested to propel growth, through expanded infrastructures. The South Western States are on active march to develop and improve the lives of their citizens. They do not intend to wait for the “restructuring” of Nigeria before embarking on viable developmental projects.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, seems uncomfortable with his current political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), and from his body language, he is in an overdrive to move his group, the new PDP, yet, to another political coalition to rescue Nigeria. If the People’s Democratic Party’s calculus enumerated in the news is anything to go by, the desperation to save Nigeria is ripe and obvious. The party has shared plum and juicy political offices to Saraki’s bloc, enough to cajole his pride to join forces to dethrone the APC in 2019.
What is confusing to me is how the various actors align and misalign their groups in every election year to suit an outcome. Every four years, dissatisfied politicians consider it as an urgent task to save Nigeria from their previous allies. The moment a group is marginalized, the urgency calls to rescue the nation rain on the polity. The callers would go everywhere necessary to persuade their cohorts to move to another perceived higher ground, but in self-preservation and self-help.
Nigeria’s political landscape is in such a disarray this time that, not even the current dominant party, the All Progressive Congress, is certain of victory in the coming elections, except if, as usual, the adage of “might is right” is employed to favour the outcomes. If everyone’s interest is in dissonance with the party, how can the variations be reduced to a unitary goal? This is the crux of the matter; everyone in the party deserves to be recognized, but not everyone can be given a political office, which is the most desired outcome of the actors. I have not seen anyone in politics in Nigeria today that is in it to safeguard the nation or Nigerians. It is about me, what is in it for me. Therefore, as in a raffle draw, once a politician loses out, he or she is dissatisfied with the system, and raises alarm to save the nation from his /her perceived enemies.
There is no doubt that President Buhari means well for Nigeria. It is also not in doubt that the President miscalculated in the appointments of his lieutenants, which have brought discontentment to his party members, and, invariably, Nigerians. But if the APC loses in the coming elections, which I find hard to accept, except there are visible fractures in the party’s platform, then the results could end up in a stalemate. If Tinubu’s faction walks away from the party, or another prominent bloc, like the Saraki enclave, then it will be difficult for a single political party to achieve the necessary recipe for a clean victory at the centre.
The PDP formula for victory is easy, but very corrupt. It emphasizes the sharing of positions, juicy goodies to influential members to ensure its trickle- down effects are embraced by all. As practical and effective as it seems, the resultant outcome has dragged the nation into immense poverty and delusions. It is the architect of the current economic quagmires that have warranted uncontrolled calls to save Nigeria.
The call to rescue Nigeria is loud and clear, but those making the call should also search their soul to inquire why the urgency now, despite incessant past warnings. Baba Obasanjo wants to wrestle Nigeria from Buhari and, probably hand it over to a puppet that he can control. If the former President was so concerned about Nigeria, why didn’t he tutor his former deputy, Abubakar Atiku, to take over the reforms he claims to have started. Obasanjo’s prophesy that Nigerians would one day regret his departure is maturing, but no one is crying for him this time. It is visible from all directions that his fraught to save Nigeria is an overarching effort to project himself as the only available saviour.
The dire security issue in Nigeria is an orchestrated effort of those who wish to see the end of a united country. If those in charge of safeguarding us are incapable, President Buhari’s inattentive posture should be questioned. He is the chief security officer of the country, who seems helpless at this point because of the overgrown political opponents. If we cannot work together to rescue the country from malicious criminals and their sponsors, then whoever takes the mantle of leadership will suffer the same fate.
The political outcry to save Nigeria must be guarded with genuine rhetoric, not politics for the sake of winning the next elections. Buhari has enormous leadership weaknesses. He seems lost in limbo of politics, especially when his foot-soldiers are at variance with his objectives. The urgency to save Nigeria didn’t start today, but since the advent of the second republic.