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Nigeria Still in Crossroads at 59

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In the ‘Trouble with Nigeria,’ Chinua Achebe, suggests, “Nigerians are corrupt because the system they live under today makes corruption easy and profitable. They will cease to be corrupt when corruption is made difficult and unattractive.” Out of despair, Achebe states, “Corruption in Nigeria has passed the alarming and entered the fatal stage, and Nigeria will die if we continue to pretend that she is only slightly indisposed.” Achebe said that corruption in Nigeria has grown because it is highly encouraged.

The reality of Nigeria today, different as it was from the reality of our society one hundred years ago, is and can be important if we have the energy and the inclination to challenge it, to go out and engage with its peculiarities, with the things that we do not understand. The real danger is the tendency to retreat into the obvious, the tendency to be frightened by the richness of the world and clutch what we always have understood.

There is now a Government of the Federation that is sustained by corruption and violence and is therefore tied to the ambitions of the Northern Feudalists.

There has been a considerable amount of bloodshed, chaos, and tribal bitterness among such people.

Government cannot claim to represent the Government of the people of Nigeria and to fight for the unity of Nigeria while constantly rejecting fundamental human rights for all people forming parts of Nigeria.

The Federal Government cannot claim to be genuinely interested in the progress and welfare of the Nigerian people while at the same time inflicting the bloodiest warfare on the people of Nigeria and employing unscrupulous Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani Herdsmen in a total war that really destroys hundreds of our people and the economy of our nation. What a Nigeria? One may scream!

In the words of Achebe: Every Nigerian knows that there should be accountability, that people should be accountable. But if the president — the person running the whole show — has all of the power and resources of the country in his control, and he is also the one who selects who should be probed or not, clearly we will have an uneven system in which those who are favored by the emperor have free rein to loot the treasury with reckless abandon, while those who are disliked or tell the emperor that he is not wearing any clothes get matched swiftly to the guillotine.

Nigeria’s story has not been, entirely, one long, unrelieved history of despair.

Fifty-nine years of independence Nigerians have begun to ask themselves the hard questions: _How can the state of anarchy be reversed? What are the measures that can be taken to prevent corrupt candidates from recycling themselves into positions of leadership? Young Nigerians are desperately seeking solutions to several conundrums. How do we begin to solve these problems in Nigeria, where the structures are present but there is no accountability?
_
Other pressing questions include: _How does Nigeria bring all the human and material resources it has to bear on its development? What do we need to do to bring an end to organized ethnic bigotry? How can we place the necessary checks and balances in place that will reduce the decadence, corruption, and debauchery of the past several decades? How can we ensure even and sustained development and so forth._ And that would be a big debate to keep Nigeria busy for a long time.

For these past years, Nigeria as a nation has not been able to enjoy economic, social and political stability. In recent times, Nigeria is being derided amongst the comity of nations as a failed state. Nigeria currently witnesses economic clamp down, of the nation coupled with the continuous dwindling of national currency and the gruesome killings by the Fulani herdsmen, unemployment, high cost of fuel and transportation, high cost of education and health care.
The fear of the dictatorial approach of the president who has blatantly, flouted the rule of law is yet another trouble with Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari has clamoured for another mandate and now he has captured Nigeria for the achievement of his political ends. And now he not only corrupts the entire system but has also obviously manipulated the legal, judicial cum political postulates of Nigeria with no regard to the rule of law.

In a nutshell, my fellow Nigerians, as we commemorate our 59th independence today, we have to ask ourselves these questions: _Where is the Nigerian state-ship heading? Those that found themselves at the steering of this state-ship in the last election, how far have they gone in what they promised? Is the living standard of the citizenry better off today or worse? Has the security situation of the state improved from what it had been? What socio-economic guarantee can the state education afford an average Nigerian?_ Perhaps, the above questions can help in bringing to the fore the defects of Nigerian democracy and the struggle of the political class in their quest to remain perpetually in power.

If Nigeria is to enact a new political dawn, the populace should strive to free themselves from the grip of democratic ignorance and state politics, by widening the horizons of their knowledge and understanding the political permutations cum maneuverings by the political elites, who strive to keep them at bare through controlled media that gives sieved information to the masses, knowing that information is key to political enlightenment.

The truth is that, Nigeria, even at 59 is still at crossroads, with increasing level of uncertainty and disunity among Nigerians fuelled by nepotistic and sectional attitude of the central government. Nigeria is currently experiencing, in the words of Dickens, “the best of times and the worst of times when some people are going to heaven and some to the other place.”
In the characteric Achebeic word, “It is my view that the political future of Nigeria rests with all the people of Nigeria.”

Happy independence day celebration!

# I am Eminent Nworji Celestine Dibor

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