Nigeria, the most populous black nation, is richly endowed with immense natural resources but certainly not with good leaders. The absence of good leadership partly explains why this nation has an incurable endemic corruption which in plain terms has become a cultural defect. None of its past leaders, has been able to address the problem of corruption which has brought the nation to its kneels with numerous problems: acute power shortage, dilapidated and inadequate infrastructures, poor roads, unsafe aviation, unavailability of clean pipe-borne water, alarming graduate unemployment, high crime rate, violence, religious conflicts, ethnic tension, galloping inflation, untold hardship, ever widening gap between the rich and the poor, massive institutional failure, and bitter disenchantment on the part of citizenry.
All these and many more are some of the disheartening problems which have undoubtedly reached an unprecedented climax with the laughable but tragic administration of the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan. It is not unusual in sub-Sahara Africa (and in Nigeria in particular) for the masses to bestow underserving trust on their leaders. It is not uncommon for the masses to be easily deluded by irrational hopes. In fact, the bulk of the Nigerian populace is not only gullible but has a tendency to celebrate mediocrity and mere political euphoria, beginning with the euphoria of independence in 1960 which quickly gave way to bitter disenchantment. Nigerians were irrationally hopeful again when Jonathan emerged as the winner of April 2011 presidential election.
Jubilation greeted virtually all the streets of the backward nation. The point is unequivocal: it is not wrong to be hopeful if there are good reasons for hope, but hope unwittingly expressed or preserved despite overwhelming evidential indication of tragic failure is unarguably the hallmark of foolishness. Hope, as oppose to the complete absence of scepticism, on the part of the Nigerian masses is no doubt one of the reasons why the country will continue to produce terrible and visionless leaders like the rank of Goodluck Jonathan. It will continue to constitute a strong impediment to the much needed revolutionary changes like the enviable political, social, economic reforms of the Arab Spring (and most especially the on-going Egyptian revolution).
Nigerians are perhaps already too corrupt, too weak, too gullible, too egocentric, and too irrationally hopeful to desire a change. The circumstances that preceded the nomination and eventual election of Jonathan as the president of the failed nation clearly indicated at the time that Jonathan would be the worst Nigerian nightmare.
First, his nomination and primary election as PDP flag bearer was not without a torrential bitter controversy and acrimony as it negated the party inner rotation and power sharing agreement. Disgruntled powerful PDP members, especially those from the North, had at the time promised endless war.
Secondly, the lobby among PDP ‘king makers’ that eventually made Jonathan the party flag bearer was to constitute a crucial determining factor of the policies Jonathan will pursue while in office. To everyone who knows Nigeria very well, it was clear at the time that Jonathan had already sold the nations’ progress to his party members in an effort to win their backing. That is obviously what lobby means in the Nigerian politics. It involves sharing what Nigerians shamelessly call, ‘the national cake’ much in advance. Understandably, Jonathan has already awarded contracts that will not be implemented and very possibly scrapped fuel subsidies even before his election.
His arrangement with PDP powerful elites was in essence a contract with Mephistopheles, except that the soul that will be dragged to hell is not that of Jonathan but of the hopelessly hopeful Nigerian masses. More to the point, Jonathan did not come to office as an independent presidential candidate; he was a candidate for the PDP. A rational Nigerian at the time could tell without any doubt or reservation that it would not be well. What precisely does PDP represent? The answer is clear: massive looting, mediocrity, incompetence, and political arrogance. Will Jonathan represent something quite distinct from the tradition of his party?
Impossible, especially in the Nigerian setting! Then, why were Nigerians so hopeful? Why are they now terribly disappointed? Were they expecting God to undo what they have done? Or will they now expect God or some sort of messiah to save them from all the ill-treatments they are unwilling to reject? The Nigerian masses have been and will continue to be the architect of their precarious destiny. No one should expect any change no matter how bad things are untill the people collectively ask for a change. The ethnic tension and religious crisis in Nigeria will continue. Boko Haram will continue seemingly to have the upper hand in as much as it remains a formidable agent of disunity among Nigerians.
It goes without saying that crisis that disunite the masses serves the interest of the corrupt political leadership as it will always put in place sentiments that thwart the possibility of a popular uprising against the forces of oppression. Take it or leave it: Boko Haram accidentally or by design criminally serves the interest of Jonathan and many others benefiting from his cruel administration. This perhaps explains why Former President Jonathan deemed it rational to fire his security adviser for suggesting the arrest or possible prosecution of PDP political elites and other unscrupulous politicians allegedly giving Boko Haram financial and logistic assistance. Jonathan would prefer a fight against the insignificant Boko Haram militants and not the sources of their recruitment and continuous existence. The present state of the Nigerian populace and the level of consciousness on the part of the masses are not in any way indicative of the possibility of any positive change in the near future. Hope in the light of the present circumstance will amount to self-delusion.
Since freedom is never given on a platter of gold, the people will have to ask for it; they should be prepared to pay the ultimate prize. What each Nigerian seems to be prepared for at the moment is individual survival by all means possible. The lots of the masses hope for the day they will also be opportune to have their share of the ‘national cake’ – a metaphor of the Nigerian corruption.
Now that the change has come with the election and resumption of office of Gen. Mohammed Buhari, how are Nigerians prepared to support him revitalised the country?
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