By Omoh T. Ojior
Are Nigerians hearing the cries of Nigeria? Nigeria is crying and calling on its children, for the rescue; it’s getting dark when it’s supposed to be brighter; darkness is the absence of Light; Light cannot co-exist with darkness. The amount of human energies, the human capital, resources, intelligence and intelligential, the natural environment and intellectuals knowhow, all to the envy of African adversaries, are all available to Nigeria and Nigerians. Nigeria ought to be glowing in the light of understanding; understanding to know what to do in such a situation when lopsided appointments from one ethnic group are made by a president in a country where there are 371 ethnic groups. This is part of the beginning of Nigeria’s recent great challenges.
When a mother hears an unexpected cry of her child on the outside, she would always leap from her hidden room like a wounded lion at the direction of whence came the baby’s yells. With all that is happening and happening wrong all over and, over again throughout Nigeria; it is like nothing is happening and, Nigerians are unconcerned. Some are chasing shadow instead of substance. They are sloganzing that change should come from the North because power is held by those in the Northern part of the country. What a misplaced idea!
Seventy-eight, one hundred and two hundred respectively, of Nigerians, died from the wound by the guns and machetes of the Fulani herdsmen in one day, Nigerians did not come together to mourn their brothers and sisters in protest in a democracy. Nigerians are slaughtered in cold blood all over the country; in their farms, women are raped by the herdsmen, pregnant ones are raped while babies in their wombs are cut open and killed with their mothers, yet Nigerians, together have had nothing to say in unison. In the beginning of his Administration, the President, (rtd) General Mohammad Buhari and the cabal appointed only the persons of Fulani extraction to all the positions of authority and substance in the country. Some of us who questioned the rationale were told by some Nigerians that Buhari should be able to appoint whoever he knows and is pleased with. But I knew something was very wrong. However, in spite of all that were visible and audible, Nigerians did not see the handwriting on the wall then, and therefore they seemed to look away.
Members of the law making bodies of Nigeria, the legislatures (the Senate and House of Representatives) have not helped the country. They, since the beginning of the presidential Democracy and the return to democratic form of government in the country, the law makers, have not done any appreciable legislation to appease or ameliorate the plight and poverty of the people; this is in a country so rich that it is the envy and fears of the racists, the Negrophobic and the imperialists of Europe and the West. It became public knowledge that every Nigerian legislator does not take home less than N30 Million every month as financial benefits. Also it is in the public domain that Nigerian legislators earn more than their counterparts anywhere in the world, yet this was not enough to prime the populace into action to call the politicians to order.
First Lady, Aisha Buhari told Nigerians that there was “a gang of 9” that is ruling Nigeria and not her husband. She said that 178 millions voted for her husband during the election, but that of the “gang of nine”, only two members are actually ruling the country. She then asked, “Where are the Nigerian men,” in other words, where are the Nigerians to rise up and take over Nigeria from the gang. Still, Nigerians, low and high, students and farmers, women and men did not rise up to the occasion with a view to protecting the Nigerian Democracy.
Furthermore, in addition to other atrocious transgressions intolerable in a democratic system of governance, President Buhari, unilaterally and unconstitutionally removed a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and replaced him with another person that is of his ethnic family. This sudden change and replacement of the country’s CJN ought to have been seen by Nigerians as a covert plan to ensure Buhari’s victory at the Court should any litigation is brought to the Supreme Court on the account of the last presidential election in the country. And it has happened. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s appeal considered as the litmus test of legitimacy for the Nigeria’s Judiciary has been rejected without any explanation as to why a legitimate appeal as the one brought by Atiku was rejected at the Supreme Court. According to the new CJ, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad the reason or why the appeal was rejected will be given later. What a slap in the face of Nigerians who were waiting anxiously for the outcome of the appeal! As at the time of my writing, Nigeria is still quiet and the people have not said a word except Mr. Peter Obi, Atticus’ running mate who expressed his disappointment.
My question is: What is wrong with the people, what is wrong with Nigerians who have remained unperturbed in spite of all the wrongs that have made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world and the world acclaimed most corrupt country of the world? Nigeria is not in a Military, why are Nigerians not participating in the Nigerian Democracy? How do we expect the system in Nigeria to progress if the people are not interacting with the political system and those entrusted with the authority to manage the system? In the words of President Lincoln of the United States, democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Contestably, it is the people’s interactions with the system that makes it democratic.
The Nigerian Constitution which is based on democratic principles and social justice grant the people the power and rights of participation. Chapter II, Section 14 (2) (a) states that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through the Constitution derives all its power and authority. Section 14 (2) (c) also states that “the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” Why are Nigerians not participating in their government in the face of misplaced authority? Where is Nigerian Union of Students? There are many ways of participating; contacting your representatives by letters and telephone calls to commend, express opinion or your displeasure; voting to make your choice and or to protest about or against a given situation or policy; litigation is part of participation because some will go as far as suing government or other institution pertaining to an issue that may affect the public interests, etc. Protests and demonstrations which are very effective are more appropriate in certain situations and issues, such as the happenings in Nigeria at these times of ours including all that have been going on that are expressed in this article. Nigerians cannot afford to keep quiet while praying to God to grant them dividends of democracy.
For example, in this year alone there are many heavy mass protests and demonstrations going on in many part of the world by those agitating for political reforms in their countries; calling for political democracy; protesting and demonstrating against corruption in their governments; against human rights abuses or protesting and demonstrating over government increase in the prices of their commodities and ordinary transport fair increase. In Iraq, Lebanon, Australia, Hongkong, Barcelona and Ethiopia, to mention but these few, all kinds of protests have taken place and some are still going on. The miserable conditions of life and the happenings in Nigeria are worse than what is drawing the large protests and demonstrations in these mentioned countries for over two months now.
While am still on this issue, here came news flash that VP Osibanjo’s 35 Aids have been sacked without his knowledge. The news also has it that Buhari have been in London since October 28, 2019 and that he had signed into law the amended Deep Offshore Act in London. Is London now Aso Villa, his Official Residence? These events are great aberrations in the life of a people that should draw the political wrath of the people. Why are Nigerians failing their system of government; a system in which power belonged to the people? Many Nigerians are adducing the failure of the people to act to the Military and Police brutality. They claim that at each protest in Nigeria, men and women in uniforms have always shot and killed many unarmed civilian protesters and demonstrators. There is no doubt that the claim might be correct. I have seen a couple of evidence of the brutality of Nigeria men in uniforms. The Nigeria Police are ignorant of the fact that their allegiance first is to the people with whose taxes the armed forces’ salaries are paid. The duties and allegiance of the Police and Army is the protection of life and property of the people. The violation of this principle by the Police and Army notwithstanding the people cannot shirk the responsibility to ensure today for tomorrow. In other words, Nigeria must be prepared today to ensure that our children and young people of today will have a better life tomorrow.
*To be continued.
*Omoh T. Ojior, Ph.D., is a Professor of Political Science and Executive Director/CEO, Onima Institute for Tradition and Development USA, Inc. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph. 404-740-5597