POLEMICS: NIGERIA’S CENTENNIAL STYMIED DREAMS OF GREAT NATIONHOOD – BY SHAFT

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Nigeria came into existence in 1914 following the unilateral colonial contraptions of amalgamations. In 2014, Nigeria rolled the drums amidst fanfare, marked and celebrated the centennial anniversary of the contraptions as a sovereign geopolitical entity.  Before the advent of Independence in 1960, Great Britain held sway as the colonial master and welded together the disparate territories, and peoples and cultures in the Niger area to form Nigeria despite obvious or seeming inherent contradictions and contrasts. Britain’s colonial power in Nigeria expired on October 1, 1960 at the advent of Nigeria’s Independence as a self-governing sovereign nation and state. On attainment of Independence to date Nigeria’s political course and orbits traversed different trajectories. The political pendulum characteristically has swung precariously from civilian democracy to military dictatorships amidst leadership challenges and other shortcomings. Nigeria also was enmeshed in a 30 months civil war and blood bath from 1967-1970 with Biafra over secession. Nigeria in the post-Abacha dictatorship era and in the contemporary civilian democracy dispensation currently is over-shadowed by multiplicity of serious challenges. Ranging from national security threats posed by the persistent extremists islamists Boko Haram insurgency in the North East to endemic and un-pacified militancy in the Niger Delta region; resurgence of self-determination and separatist bids in the South East by MASSOB and IPOB; criminal banditry in the North West to the ubiquitous herders’- farmers’ conflicts in different parts of Nigeria.

The current portrait of Nigeria as a nation is a curious mixture of contradictions or paradoxes and namely self-inflicted ones. Nigeria is fortunate and naturally blessed by nature with great assortment of natural endowments with oil deposits in different locations across the country. Nigeria, notwithstanding is less fortunate in terms of optimal utilizations of her diverse potentials to achieve greatness in the global community befitting her status as a richly endowed nation relative to peer nations with less potentialities. With estimated population strength close to 200 million mark and strong Diaspora contingent and presence globally, Nigerian citizens are considered the greatest assets of Nigeria in terms of human capacity index as a critical catalyst to spur socioeconomic development and greatness. However, Nigeria’s image and reputation is likened to the medieval Ottoman empire of the Byzantine civilization dubbed the ‘’ the sick man of Europe’’ on account of legendary inherent contradictions and weaknesses which led finally to the dismemberment and demise of the empire as a behemoth in the nineteenth century.

In the contexts of Nigeria’s centennial 1914 historic amalgamations and nearly six decades of post-colonial existence as ex-Britain’s colony with effect from 1960 as independent nation, Nigeria to keen commentators, observers, and watchers continually has gained notorious recognitions for gross under-performance or under-achievement given her huge potential capabilities and latent potentialities. Preeminently, Professor Ali Mazrui, one of Africa’s best intellectual minds and erudite scholar of international acclaim analyzed and contextualized Nigeria’s puzzles as befuddling and lamentable from African contexts and global perspectives.

Polemicspresents Professor Mazrui’s in-depth analytical research study on Nigeria’s proverbial failure in different facets of the journey to nationhood and greatness from 1960 to the contemporary times especially viewed from the spectacular achievements of peer nations of the Asian continent. Mazrui’s facts-based pungent arguments leave no iota of doubts concerning Nigeria’s systemic failure to be rooted more specifically in the failures of the post-independent leaderships and political elite class drawn from civilian and military blocs and interest.Colonial contraptions and amalgamations challenges and problems associated notwithstanding, Nigeria’s failures can be located evidently in circumstances and questions surrounding the poor styles and unpatriotic leaders who cornered and commandeered Nigeria’s commonwealths based on insatiable greed as the primary motive among political leadership jockey, according to Mazrui’s treatise and submissions. With about estimated 90% of Nigeria’s wealth under the control of less than 10% of the population greatness shall remain a mirage except political and economic powers is radically and strategically devolved to impact significantly on majority of the populace. The clamours for deepening reform initiatives and holistic restructuring of the Nigeria nation are some the best options available constitutionally. Failure to embrace these peaceful methods on the part of present Nigerian political elite apparently guarantees less pleasant consequences. 

It would be wise to sound some warnings in advance of the probability or possibility to experience some emotional or psychological trauma arising from the revealing information based on Mazrui’s shocking disclosures. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Over now to Professor Ali Mazrui.

Ali Mazrui called it the “The Tripple Heritage” ; the tragedy that is the undoing of our Country Nigeria..read on:-

EVERY NIGERIAN THAT LOVES NIGERIA OUGHT TO READ THIS WITH PATIENCE.

The biggest country in Africa that the United Kingdom colonized is Nigeria.

The biggest country that the United Kingdom colonized in Asia is India (which then comprised the present Pakistan and Bangladesh).

When the UK came into Nigeria and India, like all other countries they colonized, they brought along their technology, religion (Christianity), and culture: names, dressing, food, language, etc.

Try as hard as the British did, India rejected the British religion, names, dressing, food, and even language, but they did not reject the British technology.

Today, 80.5% of Indians are Hindus; 13.4% Muslims; 2.3% Christians; 1.9% Sikhs; 0.8% Buddhists, etc.

Hindi is the official language of the government of India, but English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a “subsidiary official language.”

It is rare to find an Indian with an English name or dressed On the other hand, Nigeria embraced, to a large extent, the British religion, British culture – names, dressing, foods, and language – but rejected the British technology.

The difference between the Nigerian and the Indian experiences is that while India is proud of its heritage, Nigeria takes little pride in its heritage, a situation that has affected the nationalism of Nigerians and our development as a nation.

Before the advent of Christianity, the Arabs had brought Islam into Nigeria through the North.

Islam also wiped away much of the culture of Northern Nigeria.

Today, the North has only Sharia Courts but no Customary Courts.

So from the North to the South of Nigeria, the Western World and the Eastern

World have shaped our lives to be like theirs and we have lost much or all of our identity.

Long after the British and Arabs left Nigeria, Nigeria has waxed strong in religion to the extent that Nigerians now set up religious branches of their homegrown churches in Europe, the Americas, Asia and other African countries.

Just like the Whites brought the gospel to us, Nigerians now take the gospel back to the Whites.

In Islam, we are also very vibrant to the extent that if there is a blasphemous comment against Islam in Denmark or the US, even if there is no violent reaction in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic headquarters of the world, there will be loss of lives and destruction of property in Nigeria.

If the United Arab Emirates, a country with 75% Muslims, is erecting the tallest building in the world and encouraging the world to come and invest in its country by providing a friendly environment, Boko Haram ensures that the economy of the North (and by extension that of Nigeria) is crippled with bombs and bullets unless every Nigerian converts to Boko Haram’s brand of Islam.

In the East we have IPOB.

While in the South – South region, Mend, Avengers and so on destroying the Heart of our Nations Economy.

We are indeed a very religious people.

Meanwhile, while we are building the biggest churches and mosques, the Indians, South Africans, Chinese, Europeans and Americans have taken over our key markets: telecoms, satellite TV, multinationals, banking, oil and gas, automobile, aviation, shopping malls, hospitality, etc.

Ironically, despite our exploits in religion, we are a people with little godliness, a people without scruples.

It is rare to do business with a Nigerian pastor, deacon, knight, elder, brother, sister, imam, mullah, mallam, alhaji or alhaja without the person laying landmines of bribes and deception on your path.

We call it PR, facilitation fee, processing fee, transport money, financial engineering, deal, or whatever.

But if it does not change hands, nothing gets done.

And when it is amassed, we say it is “God’s blessings.”

Some people assume that sleaze is a problem of public functionaries, but the private sector seems to be worse than the public sector these days.

One would have assumed that the more churches and mosques that spring up in every nook and cranny of Nigeria, the higher the morals in our society.

But it is not so.

The situation is that the more religious we get, more ungodly we become.

Our land never knew the type of bloodshed experienced from religious extremists, political desperadoes, ritual killers, armed robbers, kidnappers, internet scammers, university cultists, and lynch mobs.

Life has become so cheap and brutish that everyday seems to be a bonanza.

We import the petroleum that we have in abundance, rice and beans that our land can produce in abundance, and even toothpicks that primary school children can produce with little or no effort.

Yet we drive the best of cars and live in the best of edifices, visit the best places in the world for holidays and use the most expensive electronic and telecoms gadgets.

It is now a sign of poverty for a Nigerian to ride a saloon car. Four-wheel drive is it!

Even government officials, who were known to use only Peugeot cars as official cars as a sign of modesty, have upgraded to Toyota Prado, without any iota of shame, in a country where about 70 per cent live below poverty.

Private jets have become a common toy for many citizens who have no known business.

A nation that imports toothpicks and pins, flaunts wealth and wallows in ostentation at a time its children are trooping to Ghana, South Africa and the UK for university education and its sick people are running to India for treatment.

India produces automobile and exports it to the world. India’s medical care is second to none, with even Americans and Europeans travelling to the country for medical treatment.

India has joined the nuclear powers. India has launched a successful mission to the moon.

Yet bicycles and tricycles are common sights in India. But in Nigeria, only the wretched of the earth ride bicycles.

I have intentionally chosen to compare Nigeria with India rather than China, South Korea, Brazil, Malaysia, or Singapore, because of the similarities between India and Nigeria. But these countries were not as promising as Nigeria at the time of our independence.

Some would say that our undoing is our size: the 2012 United Nations estimate puts Nigeria’s population at 166 million, while India has a population of about a billion.

Some would blame it on the multiplicity of ethnic groups: we have 250 ethnic groups; India has more than 2000 ethnic groups.

Some would hang it on the diversity in religion: we have two major religions – Christianity and Islam; but India has many.

Some would say it is because we are young as an independent nation: we have 57 years of independence; India has 66years, while apartheid ended in South Africa only in 1994.

We need more godliness than religion; more work and less hope; and more action and less words.

Let everyone tidy up his or her corner first and demand fervently that our leaders tidy their areas of governance. Our nation is degenerating at a fast pace and we need to save it now.

We as a people must positively change our attitude towards our dear country!

Please SHARE this with every Nigerian you know.

Editor’s Note

Polemics is a regular Column created and managed by ShafT.

Original articles on pertinent subjects verging on the advancement or wellbeing of the polity are welcome for consideration and publication on the platform. An article to merit consideration for publication shall be assessed to be balanced, objective, and from credible source.

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