As the sword of Damocles hangs over Nigeria
A beleaguered nation already neck deep in the throes of security crisis woke up yet again to another distressing report that Olajide Sowore , the younger brother of Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, has been assassinated by armed men suspected to be Fulani herders along Benin – Ore portion of the ever busy Benin-Shagamu highway.
In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city once came a report that a gun-trotting policeman threatened to shoot the publisher – the convener of #RevolutionNow.
From the Nigerian Atlantic littoral to the Sahelian plains of Northern Nigeria have been reports about bloodshed by a band of aggressive expansionists from the Futa Jalon masquerading as herdsmen. This has attracted different interpretations by concerned Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.
Today, everything is in sixes and sevens as telecom operators have reportedly shut down 240 base stations in Zamfara, one of Northern Nigeria’s desert states over the activities of hardline insurgents.
A few weeks ago came yet another distressing report of an armed invasion of the nation’s military university – The Nigerian Defence Academy which left scores of officers dead.
On the north-eastern flank of the country rages bloody insurgency which has dragged on to this day.
There has been no end to abductions and killings by bandits and insurgents across northern Nigeria. No sooner had the government in Abuja read the Riot Act to perpetrators than the killings and abductions for ransom continued with undiminished intensity.
The security crisis in the region has spiralled out of control so much so that the nation’s highways are now seen as valleys of death – a gross departure from the once sunnier, salubrious climes.
Schools in the region have been hard hit as scores of students have been abducted which redounds on our academic calendar.
Today, the doctors have proceeded on a nation-wide strike with repeated pleas by the Federal Government to return to work fallen on deaf ears thus leaving Nigerians noosed and hooded.
Amid throes of this obviously sad situation the Janjaweed expansionists from Futa Jalon have long commenced their ill-conceived plan to overrun the country via ethnic cleansing as many Nigerians are being hacked to death in their communities. We really have never had it so bad.
What agitates this writer is the obvious departure from their campaign promises in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
He did expressly say Nigeria was being managed by wrong hands and promised to fight like a Trojan for a better Nigeria where life would be super abundant.
On the economic front, the situation could be better imagined than real. Nigeria – a potentially great economic superpower has been reduced to economic backwater as many businesses have relocated to neighbouring West African states. Many Nigerians solicit for alms in the streets of Europe. Does this not suprise you? This is heart-rending if you ask me!
The government in Abuja continues to tell Nigerians otherwise when it is crystal clear it has not only failed woefully but abysmally!
To tender our international passport before foreign immigration desk or foreign passport control is almost tantamount to a crime and to say one is not surprised would be an understatement as the Abuja regime continues to feign ignorance of this.
The Federal Government’s ruinous economic policies have set Nigeria backward which speaks volumes for the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad in search of the proverbial greener pastures.
Many Nigerians have been forced out of their homelands into the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of North Africa for perilous sea journey on dinghies to Europe and many have perished in the course of this needless adventure with little or no reaction by the Abuja regime to stem the tide via formulation and holistic implementation of reinvigorating economic policies to improve the lots of our people.
Fellow Nigerians, we cannot continue like a lamb to the slaughter except we say we are contented with the status quo which I am sure no sane person is. To keep the records straight, I am no advocate of secession, hence I should therefore not be misconstrued nor mistaken for one. Those asking for total disintegration of the country should have another think coming because it is an ill-wind that will blow no one any good. All I crave is a better and even larger Nigeria run on true democratic norms, ideals and valies.
Far from disintegration of our country, we are better off in a larger Nigeria under the leadership of a band of competent technocrats – a one, united and indivisible Nigeria run on the ideals of social justice and mutual respect among the diverse elements that make up the federation.
There are some technocrats par excellence who presently occupy leadership positions whose states have benefited immensely from their wealth of experience.
States which were neck deep in debts have swam out of it via reinvigorating policies. We know them. Edo State is a case in point that was saddled with a massive debt burden under Mr Adams Oshomhole while governor but his successor Mr Godwin Obaseki has successfully redeemed his state and navigated her out of debts foisted on it by his predecessor during the prodigal years of his misrule. Edo as one of the green states under Governor Obaseki today boasts of good service infrastructures and youth empowerment programmes that have repositioned it in the path of development and economic prosperity.
Rivers State under Governor Nyesom Wike is another case in point. This is one governor that has continued to give his state a facelift via service infrastructures in the midst of scarce resources.
Governor Ortom of Benue State is another man who is committed to purposeful leadership that has done a lot to better the lives of his people in spite of the raging insurgency in his state that has sent many of his people untimely to their graves.
Ethnicity and religious affiliations should be cast overboard by true lovers of Nigeria in our quest for able hands to lead the salvage operations.
Today, a casual visitor to Kaduna State in North Central Nigeria would think he is somewhere in one of the metropolitan cities in Europe. We owe this to the exemplary leadership of Gov El- Rufai.
Lagos the nation’s number one city under former Governor Ambode recorded giant strides in terms of infrastructural development which I often stand in awe of.
Kano under Engr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso witnessed infrastructural development. Goodness knows if his successor has maintained that pace to this day.
There is no gainsaying the fact that purposeful leadership by competent technocrats ethnicity and religious faith notwithstanding would revitalize the obviously decadent paralysis. The ruling All Progressives Congress and the esrtwhile ruling party – the Peoples Democratic Party abound in them.
Hence it is for Nigerians to scout around for the best among the lot to lead the salvage operations of which we urgently stand in need or else we shall continue to move round in circles which would not be in our best interest after all.
Many great nations today once had their challenges and Nigeria’s case is no exception.
Rivers and Lagos States have set the pace in our quest for fiscal restructuring while others are reportedly studying the situation before following suit which is about the best thing to do under the existing circumstances.
Party affiliation should not be allowed to erode our sense of reasoning while our people continue to thrive on dirt and dirty surroundings.
This is where I irrevocably stand as the Sword of Damocles hangs over Nigeria.
Iyoha John Darlington, a former governorship candidate in the Edo2020 governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Party of Nigeria is a writer, an opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues.