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OPINION: As Nigeria staggered into 2018: A food for thought. By Abdullateef Ishowo

Date: 2018-01-03


Black is the colour of the devil, charcoals and several other unpalatable objects. Africans are black and that probably explains why the whites made the colour of tyres to be black. After all, in the whites’ accounts, African nations were in dark era when the Europeans came to colonize them.

At the moment, the cloud is dark in Nigeria as the nation’s economy wears a dark toga and sings a dark song. The proverbial hen won’t be so unfortunate and lay black eggs, they have to be white is no longer relevant; as black eggs have started to be deposited by the hen. The situation is not the same in Nigeria where the nation’s economy lays dark eggs. It is so bad that Nigerians have begun to ask if oil is actually a blessing to the nation or a curse after all.

Is Muhammadu Buhari the problem? The answer is of course an affirmative no; we’ve on different occasions said Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Jonathan were. The situation is as complex as simultaneous equation in the field of mathematics. But on who is the responsibility of fixing Nigeria lies, the leaders or the led? Of course the led has always fulfilled his own part by performing his civic responsibility of coming out during elections to cast his votes for those he believes would represent his affairs and interests well. The other part (governance) lies with the leader; needless emphasizing the obvious that long ago, common sense has taken flight in the governance environment of the country; as we’ve always experienced excuses for failures of governance and blames are being apportioned by a reigning government to the previous ones. It is called blame game. It happens in individuals lives too, where you decide to blame others for your failures.

The deprived ones in the society, I mean those who are under the weight of poverty, those who know what it is to be hungry are sometimes prone to blame their fortunes in life on ill-luck. Many cannot reason beyond blaming someone else for their failures. Many go as far as blaming their creator. But those who don’t resign themselves to such thinking begin to look for a way out of their challenges.

No matter the amount of popularity President Buhari may enjoy among Nigerians, the reality shows a man who isn’t personally corrupt when we view it from financial perspective but lacks required ideas and intelligence to transform the country and surrounds himself with corrupt individuals who are ready to do the biddings for him in the political front using same Nigeria money we claim he’s not looting. It sounds paradoxical! He therefore looks same in the mirror with other Nigerian leaders who develop excuses for their failures.

Believe it if you like, our dear incorruptible president has joined those he can’t beat and turned his back on those that can be beaten. Who doesn’t enjoy the taste of honey or sugar or where appropriate, the taste of salt? Only the styles or techniques applied are different but every ambitious man is ready to engage himself in a rat race that will lead him to power and eventually achieve everlasting happiness for himself.

The irony of it is that, power doesn’t usually bring happiness. Everything attached to power game is devilish. Nelson Mandela of the blessed memory seemed to understand power better than all of us (the whites inclusive) and that was why he punished his soul by quitting the stage while the ovation was at its loudest momentum. I doubt Buhari will be able to do same; he is not extraordinary. Mandela was. Even if Buhari wants to do so, he would be compelled by his loyalists who benefit a lot from his weaknesses to continue. He isn’t as principled as we think. Babatunde Idiagbon was.

As a matter of fact, nothing brings happiness to man like contentment. But how many men are contented with what they hold? Not even myself. Every man wants to acquire more and more till death strikes him like an avenging ghost. If Buhari was contented, he wouldn’t have come back. Contentment is quite a difficult attribute to possess. Taking a cursory look at conditions of men on earth will reveal how lack of contentment leads men to experience the other side of life—how the mighty do fall, how those that are deprived of sight, limbs, etc think other men are happy and contented because they have organs of their body intact. Forgetting that many are going through life in impaired health, some suffer the sorrow of ungrateful offspring, some watch the toils of their youth get wasted and in their old age blame nature or government, become unhappy and ungrateful to everyone including their creator.

The ones we see as being successful in life are not contented or happy either. Many of the so-called successful people spend the last part of their life or career in endless seasons of litigations, in courts, in police/EFCC cases and security investigations warranted in most cases by lack of contentment. If we but spare a thought on the vicissitudes of men which must teach us that we are subject to the law of sowing and reaping—a just law that ensures that the returning fruits do not miss their originators.

No Nigerian leader, past or present, is free of litigation. They’ve all committed one criminal act or the other in the past; from financial scandal to certificate forgery, falsification of age, to many others. For instance, perusing our dear president’s profile reveals a brilliant child who sat for his SSCE at the age of 11 in 1953 and was commissioned to the Nigerian Army in 1957 at the age of 15! The SSCE certificate is still a subject of controversy till date. But unfortunately, the fortunate ones judge the less fortunate in any given society. Such was the fate of Socrates in the Greek City.

Abraham Lincoln, J.F Kennedy, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Gen. Ironsi and Gen. Muritala Muhammed were assassinated not because they were bad leaders but some people felt they should be excused from the surface of the earth. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Tunde Idiagbon, Dr. Olusola Saraki, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Bola Tinubu, Dr. Bukola Saraki and a host of many others had one time or the other faced one form of litigation or the other not because they are bad some people wanted them out of political arena to settle personal scores.

As we staggered into 2018 as a people in a nation, there is the need to have new resolutions on how we can be sincere with ourselves if we must move the nation forward. As we approach 2019, an election year in Nigeria, there is the need to desist from the thought of regime change; system change is all we required. Happy prosperous 2018 to us all as we continue our endless queue in fuel stations.

Abdullateef Ishowo is an author and a public affairs analyst based in Ilorin

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