Monday, September 29, 2014 7:22 pm
BY BOLA AHMED TINUBU
We commemorate this Independence Day because the nation has survived despite its many challenges. We dare not celebrate because the nation has not flourished as it should. 54 years ago, our national trek began with hope and promise, peace and unity.
Today, the nation staggers beneath the weight of trouble stacked upon problem multiplied by hardship. Peace and unity seem to have yielded the moment to violence and discord. We exist as a political unit on a map but we do not prosper as brothers and sisters in one nation, under one flag and pursuant to one accord. We have lost our road and now seem to be on the road of the lost. I am proud to be a Nigerian and would not attach my life to any other nation but genuine patriotism should not induce blindness. We are burdened by too many resolvable challenges that remain unresolved.
This is not a time for fake cheers and elation at the present state of things just because the calendar has touched this day. We need to use this hour soberly by taking stock of the obstacles mounting before us and of the hard direction in which we seem to be heading. I fear this direction, if further taken, will lead us not home but to an appointment with failure and national destitution.
At their inception, every nation is a dynamic interplay of assets and liabilities, promises and threats, capabilities and contradictions. As time passes, the nation is supposed to move forward in mature progress so its assets, promise and capabilities increasingly outweigh their negative counterparts. In recent years, Nigeria has become victim to an opposite dynamic.
Nigeria currently is saddled with the reprobate leadership Awo, Zik, Sardauna and Tafawa Belewa feared. We have entered uncharted territory not so much because we are expanding the outer bounds of national progress. We traverse such ground because this government leads us into places where angels fear to tread and where sensible man should not go. Never has an elected government in Nigeria employed religion as a tool to divide the people, setting Nigerian brother against brother in a manner that allows this administration to function at the basest level of governance while seeking to establish a political domination that seeks no greater purpose than its self perpetuation. Our nation was supposed to advance, year by year, toward greater democracy. Instead, we rush into the pit of arbitrary, imperious rule that smacks of despotism. If we whitewash the reality of our existence by lying that all is well just because this is Independence Day, then we ignore the troubling signals at our collective peril.
The incessant attempts to stigmatize and physically intimidate a peaceful political opposition and the militarization of elections are features of a perverse democracy, a democracy run at gun-point and with a swift and eager trigger, Brazen assaults on the judiciary, the flippant and frequent violation of the constitution and the rule of law, and the elevation of corruption to making it a new and perhaps the strongest arm of government are the instruments that now shape our nation. These things are not the fare of celebration. They are the impetus for political reform and change.
Never has an elected government in Nigeria employed religion as a tool to divide the people, setting Nigerian brother against brother in a manner that allows this administration to function at the basest level of governance while seeking to establish a political domination that seeks no greater purpose than its self perpetuation
54 years is enough to have built upon a solid foundation. If we had embraced a few lessons from India and other countries in similar situations like ours, we would be far advanced from where we presently are. It is sad enough that we have not built well upon the foundation set by our nation’s founders. Sadder still is that those who currently lead us have even weakened and corrupted that once-sound, hopeful foundation.
Under the Jonathan government, the vaunted Transformation Agenda is but an elaborate name for old-fashion pocket stuffing. They do not have a national blueprint or vision. They do have a blueprint and vision for excessive self-enrichment. Their equation is simple. You work, they feast. You toil, they grow fat. You seek a decent wage; they pilfer the collective treasury to enjoy a king’s ransom.