Nigeria as a nation had a good chance of becoming great following our somewhat hasty and unplanned independence of the year 1960 and the commitment of the energetic, committed and patriotic youths, however this opportunity not to be as it was truncated by a set of radical exuberant military boys. While their decision was noble and also patriotic, their view of moving Nigeria to a great height within a short period was different, they strongly believed that Nigeria development could be accelerated using available human and natural resources of that era and through a forced option.
Although inexperienced in the process of governance, these young men and women of the late 50s and early 60s have good intentions but lacked planning, a necessity for a huge nation like Nigeria. By the 80s, a new generation of leaders was blended with the older generation, majority of whom thrive in self-aggrandisement, insatiable appetite for stealing of our commonwealth, particularly the civilian regimes and their military collaborators, spanning from the era of President Shagari and up until the era of General Sanni Abacha and and the post-Abacha transition. While the military duties include among others, the defense and protection of territorial integrity and service to the fatherland, these military boys supervised the destruction of our nation, the entrenchment of corruption and promotion of kleptocracy. There was a major shift in the psyche of the youth of these generations and the promotion of corruption become the centre focus of our nation.
Briefly, the Shagari regime came on board in 1979 through a fraudulent general elections perfected by General Olusegun Obasanjo team after the demise of a Nigerian hero, General Murtala Muhammed through the hand of Buka Suka Dimka’s and his group who mowed down the well-meaning Nigerian in a hails of bullet; whether Dimka’s coup was planned and executed by a few but known to many is never revealed but the fact remained that few of the military officers did not feel comfortable about Muhammed style of zero tolerance for corruption and also, some of the officers were rearing for leadership too. As such, the leadership challenge of today was by design and the likes of Obasanjo cannot be held blameless as he by default fraudulently handed over the huge leadership responsibility of our nation to people that were not ready for governance. Whereas Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other progressives were ready to probe past leaders, Obasanjo and his cabals would have none of that.
The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) messed up as expected because the house hurriedly built on sand without solid foundation will definitely not survive the least of winds, many of their leadership have no clue of what governance was all about and rather stole the nation dry with significant impacts on the federating states that formed the Nigerian nation. The exceptions were the states of South Western Nigeria and Kano in the North which were held by the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) lead by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and People Redemption party (PRP) under Mallam Aminu Kano both icons of blessed memory respectively. UPN and PRP invested in people and the states where they held sways, unfortunately the NPN ruled the central and the majority states in Nigeria like drunken sailors. 1999 presented another opportunity for Nigeria to retrace its steps and do things right but it will appear that the Nigerian leadership was thrust again into the hands of a party, the People Democratic Party (PDP), that only made the looters of the 70s and 80s look like saints. Knowing that most NPN members transmuted to PDP, a change of character should not have been expected. The new leadership came with new lootership methods and milk the nation dry with no consideration for tomorrow. Over a 16 years period while PDP held sway, stealing was institutionalized and praised, illegal accumulation of wealth became a competition among these criminals and impunity was the order of the day. Perhaps, some of these individuals became richer than the state while they held powers.
To wrestle power from these bandits, former military General turned democrat, General Muhammadu Buhari contested for the fourth time under a broader coalition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) after three failed attempts to ascend the throne via democratic means. Due to broader acceptance by the Nigerians who were tired of looting of our commonwealth and his perceived integrity, the progressives won the 2015 Presidential elections. Because the APC is a coalition of forces necessary to remove the PDP dealers, many unscrupulous politicians and remnants of the deadly evil capitalists, majority of whom were PDP members, found their ways into the ruling APC. For a party that took over the national government within two years from its formation and is still at its infancy, these evil politicians were to be tolerated for a time, after which frank discipline and reasoning must hold sway. Dealing with such ephemeral evil must be done sincerely and squarely.
Leadership is a collective and no single person can do it alone. Mr President has proved that he is a man of unquestionable integrity and he needs people of integrity and like minds around him. We speak of people that have passion for humanity, not slaves to material gains of this world, and who have clean agenda and dedicated focus for development. The President will also need a master political strategists to dislodge the current satanic group and match them from within the organisation. It must be realised that the full identity of these elements from within and outside the organization (APC), this is an arduous task. Those identified must be removed immediately and such efforts must continue unabated. The recent political storm within APC is therefore not surprising.
It should not a surprise that some politicians will be proud to destroy the same platform that gave them prominence and shift base to form a new party or join the CUPP of sorrow. For any individual to think of joining league with PDP again to re-plunder the country is detestable, where is the integrity here?; where is love for the downtrodden here?; and where is political ideology?. Is power all about chasing money and fame? It is unfortunate that these criminals still have followers due to some reasons which may be related to survival or pure greed of ordinary Nigerians as well. Nigerians have lost the real value system. However, know that every gang up against the people’s mandate will fail unless God had deserted Nigerians.
As a way forward, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should swiftly conclude all corruption and criminal cases and put the guilty behind bars, including the past head of states if found wanting to enable us have peace in the land. A strong deterrent to criminals is needed to set the country on a course of development and real growth.
Secondly, the government should work with the people in Diaspora, who are genuinely willing to contribute to Nigeria’s development. Identifying the genuine Diasporans should not be another globe-trotting window dressing shopping for relatives and friends by current office holders. Recent mishap of the Chinese Railway Engineering training should serve as a bitter lesson for Nigerians. Filling such important position (diaspora quota) should target qualified, passionate and incorruptible political champions.
Youth and peoples reorientation programs is key to success of this administration and come 2019, the second stanza must be sung. APC should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians to retain power in order to consolidate on gains made so far.
Strengthening institutional capacity and fight using the anticorruption principles are not a 4 years project.
Lastly the effect of money politics should be reduced drastically. A politician with no service to render will buy his way into office because he/she has nothing to offer. Such money mainly goes to the gullible and extremely poor. Perhaps, giving money for vote should be a capital offence punishable by death.
The present day desperate good for nothing politicians should not be allowed near the corridor of power in the nearest future and never again. This should not be done violently but by the thumbs.
God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria, God bless the people President, God bless Nigerians.
Engr. Bola Babarinde
Chairman, APC South Africa Chapter and Oyo State Governorship Aspirant
With Contribution from
Prof. Oludayo Fasina
Secretary General, APC South Africa Chapter, he works with the UN.