By Innocent Okon Snr
We have witnessed our rise to greatness and (now ) a decline to a state of a bewildered nation
— General Babangida on August 27, 1985
In order to take Millennials along, the above excerpt is taken from the inaugural coup speech to the nation by General Ibrahim Babangida, the self styled Military President of Nigeria ,15 years before the birth of this millennium.
We are now 21 years into the new Millennium, and Nigeria as a nation state, and Babangida’s coup statement, when juxtaposed with the present state of the nation, can only be dismissed as an attempt at making an Eiffel Tower out of an Egyptian pyramid !
The truth that must be told with the benefit of hindsight, is that in 1985, Nigeria never had any symptom to be diagnosed a “bewildered nation”.
There was relative religious tolerance, internal security and stability in the polity.
Admittedly, there was blatant abuse of fundamental rights of the citizenry by draconians decrees promulgated by the maximum rulership of then General Buhari, but our country was never pushed to the precipice like this !
There was a country that though tribes, tongues and faith differed, there was no overt claim of ethnic and religious supremacy in public space .
If the sage, Obafemi Awolowo, were to be alive today, he would have seen that the country he once described in the 50s as a mere geographical expression is now down with terminal morbid genetic disorders!
An Acute Leadership Deficiency Syndrome ( ALDS) at all levels of governance has ravaged the polity and robbed the nation of internal security , harmony, peace and hope.
Geographical regions now have their private security fronts which is a tacit vote of no confidence on the centrally funded security institutions.
Many Nigerians are apprehensive of what this regional security operatives would be deployed to achieve during elections and ethnic border skirmishes both in the distant and not too distant future !
The cloud is swelling , rumbling and tumbling but the rain doctor is still in deep slumber .
Recently, the President came back to the country after 16 days of medical sojourn . He reportedly told the nation that he was back to ” continue…. ” And trust the unrepentant cynics to ask : continue with what , how and why?
Many expected to hear new deals to bring in drones and even mercernaries to give the terrorists a nightmare in the forests. They wanted to hear new economic policies that would disentangle us from this China/ IMF / World Bank loans run economy next year!
Their expectation also included a definitive statement on when other two arms of government ( Judiciary and Legislature) are going to resume their constitutional responsibilities having been shut down for weeks now!
PMB, by expressing intention of continuity instead of exploration of new options and paradigms in confronting overwhelming national challenges ,seems satisfied with his stewardship!
And you can only disagree if you are afflicted with a ‘contrary spirit’ from the coven of the “Wailing Wailers” ! God bless Nigeria.