Opinion: Nigeria and enemies within – By FOLA OJO
Life has taught me about these two worlds. There is the world that embraces change, and one that cuddles status quo. The world of change is dynamic, releasing its ebullience and fragrance into the life we live. The world of status quo is stagnant, breathing despondency down our necks. The latter must not be anybody’s choice. In stagnation, time is wasted where it should have been conserved. And its captives become prisoners to stench and fetors. It is against the precepts of God for His people to remain stagnant. Heart-wrenching it is for citizens of a country to be stuck in a rut with no visible, discernible, or admirable progress. The same experiences of horror and tribulation lived over a long time cause the people to become detached and withdrawn. Hearts of men wax cold. Hate and anger then make their minds a dwelling place. Whatever catches your delight, my friend, it is ugly to settle for, and with stagnation. You must quickly move your mind and body out of it. If you don’t move them, nothing in your world moves.
Why is Nigeria stagnant? Who is causing the country to stay in molly-cuddly tango with stagnation? In this election season, fiery fingers will be pointed at President Muhammadu Buhari. Some proffer that if Nigerians get rid of him from power, all things will be well, and Nigeria will be better than Japan the next day. Of course, who else do Nigerians blame today for all of Nigeria’s woes? Me? My bald head wears only the ecclesiastical cap. President Buhari must smile through it all putting up a public showing of his frontal diastema when he is called Jubril from Sudan, an illiterate with no certificate, a lifeless man who cannot read or write. These insults and assaults come with the territory in a nation brewing with acerbic division, anger, and frustration. The head that wears the crown must not wear a frown when the boisterous wind of criticisms from both the sage and nagging nincompoops bear down on the head that holds the crown.
Atiku Abubakar holding the banner for the PDP can’t escape undulating and rippling obloquy either. Many have accused him that as a Customs head-honcho for many years, what should have come to Nigeria’s purse went to him and his many women. People have railed that as Vice-President for eight years, he sold Nigeria to himself, and he remains a willing buyer of the remnants of our patrimonies. From what has been funnelled to him, we heard he bought his jets and built his businesses. From proceeds that should service towns and villages, Atiku now lives large, it is told in some corners. These are some things we heard from his political adversaries. Atiku’s fiercest critic has always been his old boss for eight years, that is until recently. You can ask Olusegun Obasanjo for confirmation of these words. Everybody is blaming everybody. Some fools will even blame the dead; suggesting that an excavation of dead and dry bones and the supplanting and replanting of the same somewhere far from the Nigerian soil will open the floodgates of prosperity for Nigerians. Blame about Nigeria’s many afflictions is in surfeit proportion that can go around and not leaving anyone out.
Doctors first diagnose the cause of pain on your chest wall before prescribing a remedy. Why is Nigeria not moving forward as fast as expected? I read in the Holy Scriptures that “a man’s enemies are members of his household”. What it means is that problems and challenges confronting a man were unleashed on him by those close to him. Is that not the truth? Many of Nigeria’s ills are not launches from outside; the country is in a do-or-die duel with enemies within. And they are many. The defunct Nigeria Airways was founded in 1958 and existed until 2003. Waste and corruption became too overwhelming for the airline to keep breathing. In the early 80s, its fleet comprised about 30 high-end aircraft; but at the last hour of its official demise, the airline had incurred debts of more than $60m. The debt has now risen to over $100m. A competent aviation source told me a while ago that some former employees of the defunct national carrier now hawk parts of the old aircraft piece-by-piece to some local carriers. Enemies within killed Nigeria Airways. In the last 45 years of Nigeria’s existence, about 14,776 Federal Government projects were started and abandoned. On projects that were originally projected to cost $650m, we ended up spending between $5bn and $10bn. Who really are we as a people?
Professor Ishaq Oloyede is the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board. His testimonies about the depth of the miseries caused Nigerians by enemies within brought tears into my eyes when I read them. These were his words in a public outing not too long ago: “In terms of corruption, I have seen how very wicked we are against one another in this country…Nigeria is dominated by thieves at the helms of affairs, I mean certified thieves. Let me talk about JAMB for instance, since over 40 years that JAMB has been established, the total money generated before we came in was N52m…After we finished our examinations for 2017, we generated N9bn, in which I returned the total sum of N7.8bn to the Federal Government. Members of the National Assembly marvelled at this feat; they wondered how I came about the figure” Is Nigeria dying today? Thank God she’s not dead. She may be wobbling, but she’s still breathing. She may be standing still, but she’s still standing. Her problems are not thrown like darts from enemies without; her challenges are results of inside jobs from enemies within.
Who does not like change? We all cherish and desire new things; especially where the old is gory. We all love new moves; new songs; and new ideas if the prevalent is sickening. I hate staying in one place; doing the same thing, and for far too long. Life comes with its susurrous swirls. Staying stagnant in one place may cause you to lose your bearing and your auditory grip on whispers of life. In life’s whispers, you are instructed to change some things about your living. Where there is no change, you become flabby around life’s assignment. It is un-Godly to stay stagnant. There was never a man who ascended the position of presidential leadership in Nigeria with the expectation and desire to fail. But many of them failed flat. Millions are still hungry and dying. Till today, Nigerians are still waiting to see evidential result especially in the drastic degrading of the statistics of hunger and poverty. Corruption is still hiding under some big Babanriga in some governors’ mansions. Big dollar cumshaw has been caught on the sleuth’s hidden camera. Some evil civil servants are stealing; and leprechaunish legislators are looting. Tangible and commonsense construction and reconstruction in any form cannot impactfully and effectively take place in a system where corruption has taken deep roots. Corruption in its brazen, brutal, barefaced, and blatant form remains Nigeria’s Achilles’ heels. If it doesn’t die, Nigeria will not live. And enemies within want to keep stealing alive.
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