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Published On: Fri, Jun 6th, 2014

Going into 2015

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Question NigeriaBy Leonard Karshima Shilgba

Nigerian politicians never learn or they never learn in time. Nigeria is now divided, not into two parts, but more. Safety of life has become very doubtful. The heart of many Nigerians is becoming calloused with deep-seated anger and hatred in increasing degrees. Disappointment and fear are common emotions on our streets. The man of lawlessness is now in charge of our spiritual engagements, which always precede physical endeavorus.

The four scattering horns push dangerously north-wards, south-wards, east-wards and west-wards, pushing against stability, national confidence, and general safety. But we shall soon have four divinely sent carpenters to smash these horns. These are not ordinary times. It is not time to look for scapegoats; politicians are to blame, just like they were between October 1, 1960 and January 15, 1966. Nigerian politicians are like flies that defy the charming caution and eventually follow the corpse into the grave.

Regional and religious sentiments are being encouraged by politicians. There is a dark prospect of a dissolved union or a second civil war. In the midst of all these, Nigerian politicians carry on as though they could govern in crisis. Less than a year before the 2015 general elections, a whole region of more than 10 million voters is being threatened with an election blacklisting due to growing violence. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is being exhumed just in time before the 2015 elections, probably, as a counterinsurgency against Boko Haram. The president has cried out that there are plans to overthrow his government. I should think that this is highly speculative. In any case, the bungling of national issues by the Jonathan government is highly encouraging of this scenario. Most lately, a member of the national conference suggested a delay of national elections for 18 months, that is, until 2018.

I do not believe that ambitions of a few people should be encouraged at the expense of millions of Nigerians. In 1966, after the first military coup was staged, the Igbos became scapegoats even though there was initial national jubilation at the intervention that ended the crude excesses of politicians. Intervening events thereafter, including a counter coup by northern army officers, drove the young nation into a devastating civil war that claimed millions of souls, and that has yet to heal emotional hurts that are being sustained by even Nigerians who were not yet born at the time.

Then, the anger of Nigerians in 1993 forced General Ibrahim Babangidanto “step aside,” but not before he had installed the first interim government in the history of independent Nigeria. However, that government, which was led by a weak leader, was displaced by General Sani Abacha (whom General Babangida knowingly left behind for the purpose), who held viciously unto power until death snatched him away from the scene. General Abdusalami Abubakar, who succeeded Abacha, being so eager to leave power, hurriedly initiated a civil rule that threw up many rotten apples into the political market, who moved in so swiftly to entrench a kind of politics that has encouraged lawlessness and heart-wrenching corruption that scares not a few from stepping into the arena.

I am yet to come across any insightful Nigerian who sees peace during and after the 2015 general elections. Nigerians and the international community have to make a choice between the politics of now and the salvation of the nation; the 2015 general elections and the rescue of the nation. It is time for real statesmen and –women both in Nigeria and abroad to swing intelligently and quickly into strategic actions to save Nigeria.

What if during the campaigns for the presidential and national elections in 2015 scores of people are killed and bomb blasts erupt here and there? What if the Nigerian military has become too corrupted and divided at the top to rescue a failing nation? The Americans cannot even trust them or the Jonathan government with intelligence reports. What if victory, real or forced, by President Jonathan in 2015 brings the nation to its knees through violent protests? What if victory by another presidential candidate, particularly from the north, unleashes mayhem from a rejuvenated MEND as payback? What if people of the north-east refuse to recognize the authority of a post-2015 elections president should they be blacklisted from the elections? Nigerians must not hope for a reality that is unrealistic by real evidence on the ground.

I love Nigeria more than I would ordinarily wish a friend to win an election. Whether President Jonathan has kept faith with Nigerians or not, depending on individual perspective, regional or religious perception, one fact stands tall: he has not been able to keep Nigeria together in peace and general welfare. And this is a huge national concern. What if an ex-general of the Nigerian army, an ex-president of Nigeria, who has proved in the past a capacity to hold the nation together, is appointed by an internationally-instigated or coordinated arrangement to head an interim government before May, 2015 in order to cool off tension and organize a sovereign national conference that is enabled by a piece of legislation that is forged by some Transition and Reconciliation Council (TRC), headed by the ex-president? The ongoing national conference is like an intermediary meeting of neighbors to save a marriage in the neighborhood, without any legal authority; the couple could ignore their counsel as meddlesomeness if either party perceives some disfavor.

ECOWAS, the AU and the world have a stake in this largest economy on the African continent and the largest black nation on earth. They could either watch it sink and self-destruct or step in to save the Next Big Thing. What the Americans did during the Yar’adua saga is what is needed the most needed now. If the “Doctrine of Necessity” was required then, it is most required now; and the national assembly most do the right thing to save Nigeria. There are yet smart and patriotic fellows there, no matter how few.

I see no meaningful elections holding in 2015? I see danger for people that are at ease now. At eventide there shall be trouble. They have spoiled and robbed the people; they have made a fire that shall consume them; and they shall meet their comeuppance. What if…?

 

Leonard Karshima Shilgba via shilgba@yahoo.com

 

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