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“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.” ~Winston Churchill
I wish to congratulate all Nigerians as we place another candle on the proverbial national birthday cake to celebrate 52 years independence. Indeed, 52 years ago today, I was privileged enough to witness the brand new flag of our great nation Nigeria being raised as the Union Jack that had dominated our skylines for almost a century was lowered and folded away. The green white green waving in the cool breeze against the backdrop of fireworks, huge cheers and celebration marked a turning point for millions of young Nigerians like me who were looking towards the future with great hope and excitement for better things to come. Sadly, many of the friends and colleagues I celebrated with on that historic day died without witnessing the fulfilment of the dreams of our founding fathers.
As the years past, I witnessed the gradual emergence of new generations of Nigerians who despite many disappointments and truncated national aspirations, continued to celebrate every October 1st still carrying the same sense of optimism that the next independence day would be better than the last. Even after our troubling history and the recent upheavals that have put the nation through trying times,the Nigerian spirit of resilience has kept faith, love and pride alive in our determination to remain united. I want to urge all Nigerians to take courage and remain steadfast in their prayers to support President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in his efforts to restore hope, justice and good governance to our nation.
It is heartening to note that Nigerians are beginning to find their voice in this young democracy in their demands for their rights and better governance. We all as Nigerians have the responsibility to build on this opportunity to forge our own destiny. We must all increase our collective effortsby actively participating in building a better nation where all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, tongue or creed will have a better quality of life.
As for the unfortunate comments credited to the Northern Elder’s Forum that, “Jonathan’s Government is worse than Obasanjo’s” (Leadership Newspaper, October 1, 2012, pg11), it is disappointing to note that other Nigerians who should have been steering the course of nation building decided to pull those pillars down by sowing the seeds of enmity, divisionism, and political hypocrisy in order to distract Nigerians from the truth. Rather than rolling up their sleeves to actively find solutions to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians, they chose to pull us backward again and force us to play the blame game. The hydra headed monster of collective responsibility in the nation’s downfall also has thousands of fingers pointing straight back at those who sit in judgement in the Northern Elder’s Forum. For they have all, at one point or another contributed to the quagmire we find ourselves today. For as Robert Bloch (an American Author)once wrote “The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone else he can blame it on.” Wasn’t it recently that Obasanjo himself was quoted as saying, “I just dey laugh…”?
How short is the memory of these Nigerians that they would choose to sweep away the cases of massive corruption that plagued the Obasanjo administration or the flagrant disregard of court judgements? What about the elections that brought violent ethnic and religious crisis? The Jos and Kaduna crisis all happened under his watch! Have they so easily forgotten the crisis in the aviation industry that saw a season of death through multiple air crashes? What ever happened to the power sector he bequeathed to Nigerians that both the Yar ‘Adua and Jonathan administrations were left with? Or did they suddenly forget that an investment of $16 billion after 8 years in office did nothing to end power failure? What about the privatisation drive that has been riddled by shady deals and political intrigues, the repercussions of which are still being felt today? What about the Niger Delta crisis that raged on in full force during Obasanjo’s reign? Or did they also forget to realise that the solution to the Niger Delta crisiswas brought about thanks to the establishment of the amnesty programme by President Yar’adua and which was continued by President Jonathan? And where were they when the “Third Term Agenda” was being rolled out of the propaganda machine? How many of them were courageous enough to stand up against the manipulation of the nation’s constitution to serve one man’s selfish ambition for power? This was part of the messy legacy that the Obasanjo administration left for his successors to clean up after him and for which Nigeriansare still suffering from today.
Besides that, the story doesn’t end there. Obasanjo has managed to design his resurrection in such a way that he continues to haunt the corridors of power to whisper into the left ears of his cronies. He continues to manipulate the system to put stumbling blocks in the path of progress in Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration all in a bid to perfect his own will and ambitions.
The analysis of the nation state by the Northern Elders Forum that President Jonathan’s Administration has been the worst since independence can best be described as naïve, highly subjective and mischievous. I am surprised that such conclusions could be drawn by so called eminent and scholarly elder statesmen whom ordinarily should have known better than to drag the national discourse into the gutter. Instead of standing up against tyranny and hypocrisy to find real solutions to the nation’s problems, they chose the cowardly path of using this blame game as a distraction to create confusion and mistrust…or are they also playing to a piper’s tune?
As Werner Finck once said, “Everybody wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes.” 52 years ago, independence was not given to us on a platter of gold. Most of our founding fathers not only washed dishes, they swept floors, washed toilets and shed their own blood. Let us not let their legacy die in vain. We must also roll up our sleeves and work towards building the nation we want to have.
It is time for all of us to shun treachery, intrigue, religious bigotry, tribalism, hypocrisy, corruption, all types of prejudice and violence and support President Jonathan in trying to correct the ills of the past and the present. For as Almighty God in His infinite Wisdom decided to place President Goodluck Jonathan on the mantle of leadership, he should also take courage in the fact that he has the authority to take bold action against any evil political manipulations that might pose a threat to the nation’s unity. President Jonathan should take this opportunity to break down all the ethnic and religious barriers and reunite Nigerians under one family with a commitment for peace and justice for all. We all have a collective responsibility to contribute to a better future for our children, our people and our Nation.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
October 1st 2012