Nigeria at 51: Is It Worth Celebrating?

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Crises in all forms and shapes that have defined the Nigerian existence since independence have induced, even in the most patriotic Nigerians, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness of our situation. Nigerians have become fatigued from irresponsible leadership, reckless, visionless and dishonest political class, lack of infrastructure and services, absent state institutions and existential uncertainty. In order words, Nigerians collectively suffer from what can be termed “Citizen Fatigue”, a socio-political psycho-somatic illness.
Nigeria has never really had any peace in about fifty-one years of its existence. The Civil war was a spill-over from the ever-boiling crisis pot. We have no recollection of any moment in our history of which we can say we are proud. We have no historical moments of national lucidity for which we can evoke nostalgia. We have no recollection of peace and security. We have no recollection of when anything ever functioned the way it should.
This geographical entity conceived in mischief in 1914 and born into chaos in 1960 has never been able to find its way to nationhood. Calling it a failed nation-state is assuming that it is a nation-state in the first instance. One can only fail an exam if you appear for it. Nigeria as an entity has never appeared for the nation-state exam. Nigerian politicians have always made sure that Nigeria is always absent. It takes more than a flag, currency, people herded behind borders and a horde of marauding politicians (civilian and military) to call ourselves a nation-state. Nation states are built on sincere collective will. It is this collective will that is at the origin of the phrase: “We the people….”. There is no “We the people…” in the contrivance called Nigeria. The trademark of Nigeria is disunity in all spheres of our existence – ethnic, religious and political. I dare ask, what really unites us?
And their “We the people…” wherever it is written, cannot even be described as a declaration of good intentions because nothing of our 50-year existence attests to any good intentions. What have the politicians done in all these years but to highlight and bring to fore all our differences? If ever a collective will tried to emerge (as in June 12), the politicians destroyed it. Where are the institutions that probably would have nurtured and safe-guarded this declaration of intentions? They are also in crisis. We know about how the Police, the judiciary, the parliaments, the banks and other state institutions have betrayed the trust of us trapped behind the frontiers of this country. What hope do we have? What visions can we build for our children’s future? The politicians have no answer to this, and worse, they have no clue whatsoever. They have made the unworkability of our contraption so evident that Nigerianness is very alien to our thoughts. Our debacle stares us in the face. Nigeria is a political experiment gone haywire. This is the worst case scenario any citizen can find himself/herself in.
Despite the “Citizen Fatigue”, many Nigerians in recent times have been expressing their fears for the present and their uncertainty in the future and have been proposing different solutions. Many are aghast at the bombings attributed to Boko Haram from one section of the contraption, militancy from another section, kidnapi ngs from another section, and armed robbery from yet another part. It appears that evil in all its possible forms has taken permanent residence in Nigeria and each evil form has chosen in which part of the country to reside. A child born into chaos, nurtured in chaos can only beget chaos. There must be a way out. Enough is just enough.
 
Among the plethora of solutions to solve the present predicament that this geographical entity has found itself, the most commonly proposed in the media are revolution and convocation of a sovereign national conference. Revolution is not workable in Nigeria. There is nothing that unites the people, not even deprivation or poverty. There is no common front. Further, history has shown that leaders of revolutions always turn out to be worse than those they chase out of power. And besides, who will lead the revolution anyway? Some intellectual safely tucked away in diaspora or a local activist? Even our own local experience has shown that newspaper activists or self-proclaimed revolutionaries are not to be trusted with power. In one of the Southwestern States, there was a governor, who until he was elected as a governor was a regular columnist in the Nigerian Tribune. Believing that he meant what he was writing about, people voted him in as a governor. As soon as he got elected, he forgot about his idealistic articles. He joined the reactionaries! What did he do to alleviate the suffering of the masses? Nothing!
The convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to jointly define the conditions of our continued common existence or the parameters of an amicable break-up looks attractive in our present situation. But who will convoke this SNC? Who will be invited to this SNC?  Will it be the same dishonest, corrupt and continuously recycled members of the discredited political class? Will the political class even have the courage to convoke this SNC? The answer is No! The necessity for this SNC is not new. It is something that has been staring at us in the face for the past 50 years and none of our rulers has ever had the courage to put this agenda on the table.
I am of the strong opinion that this nation should separate so we can all sought our problems base on region.

 Tersoo Adagher .A

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