Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Those Spoiling Nigeria

By Sunny Ikhioya
The foundation of any nation state is based sorely on unity, you cannot attain unity without peace and justice. And, you cannot attain peace and justice without love and honesty. To enable us understand this further, let us look at our national anthem that we all stand up everyday to honour.

 Those who composed our national anthem had this in mind when they wrote in the last verse of the first stanza thus: “One nation bound in freedom, Peace and Unity”. Have we really considered the weight of this verse as we recite when the opportunity presents itself? Have our leaders really tried to govern this country in an atmosphere of fundamental rights, as enshrined in the United Nations charter on freedom?

Has it not been a situation of the strong always oppressing the weak ? Have the minority rights ever been upheld to the letter as enunciated in our Constitution? One good thing that is happening in this country is the discovery of crude oil in places outside the Niger Delta, like in Lagos and a few in the north as being touted in certain circles. Will these oil producing areas be treated the same way the Niger Delta region has been treated, with disdain and neglect? My answer is no.

Already, the rumour mill is rife with stories about relief and compensation given to areas affected by the oil drilling activities in the north, especially to  Emirs. The NNPC is in position to clarify details on this but surely they will not get the Niger Delta treatment. I do not know if our leaders take time to read and digest the national anthem, the second stanza, verses five and six which speaks of  building a nation  “ In love and honesty to grow, And living just and true”. Have we related to ourselves in love and honesty? Where the Jigawa man is saying that the oil in Bayelsa belongs to Jigawa?

 Why have the Niger Delta people been completely deprived of the control of their natural resources? The Petroleum Industry bill, PIB, designed to take care of the interest of all, has been kept in the cooler by the majority ethnic groups in the National Assembly for almost eight years now. Where is the justice in that? The last verse of our national anthem says; “To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”.  It is indisputable that, in a nation where peace and justice reigns, progress is guaranteed. The composers of our anthem noted this fact and all of our past and present leadership have accepted it as such. It therefore follows that all the past leaders,  including the present leader ship have failed to govern with justice, honesty, fairness and equity.

They are all therefore the spoilers of our nation. They are the ones who have made it impossible for the nation to attain great developmental  strides. Hence, all of the challenges  we face today as a nation. Can we have leaders who can govern with justice, fairness and equity? Until we have that, the Nationhood will continue to elude us. You can never stifle the free spirit of man, no matter how hard one tries. If you do not correct the injustice of today, generations  yet unborn will face the consequences and you will never know, all the castles today’s  leaders  have put in place will come crumbling overnight.

The only permanent solution is a foundation of peace, justice and equity. If all of these are not in place 56 years after our independence, the people that we have placed in positions to lead us or, those who have forced themselves on us as messiahs, both past and present, have not done well, they are the spoilers. The spoilers are those who have allowed this country to be sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines all through the years. The spoilers are those who have sold our commonwealth to their friends and cronies. The spoilers are those who have refused to have true census figures thereby denying the nation the opportunity of proper planning which would have enabled proper development.

The spoilers are those who have supported Boko Haram to develop into the monster that it has become. The spoilers are those who through their leadership have encouraged the Fulani herds men to become agents of religious and ethnic genocide. The spoilers are those who preach democracy yesterday when they were in opposition, and, now that they are in office have endorsed the fascist approach of obtaining justice. The spoilers are those who openly canvassed the activities of the Boko Haram in the past but today are asking the press to suppress news of the activities of the sect. Spoilers are those who canvassed the  rule of law yesterday and today hound Judges who have not dispensed justice in their favour.

The spoilers are those who cried for credible and fair elections in the past but today  are openly subverting justice and the democratic process. Spoilers are tribal jingoists, who hail their brothers who have stolen wealth as smart and brand others outside their ethnic circles as thieves or criminals. Spoilers are those who refuse to acknowledge the rights and privileges of others to their God given resources and talents.

Spoilers are those who want to change the facts of history, to suit their own whims. Spoilers are those who have chosen to fight corruption with asymmetric mind sets. Corruption is corruption, there should be no distortion or selective treatment. These are the spoilers of our nation  and until these ones are removed or forced to change their ways, they will continue to hinder our collective growth because they are in power both de jure and de facto. 
*Mr. Ikhioya is a public affairs analyst


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