Analog Nigeria In A Digital Age (1) By Temple Chima Ubochi.
I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God. Amen (Martin Luther)
One of the consequences of excessive centralization and the military rule that facilitated it is that the Nigerian President is the most powerful president in the world. It would have been well if we can always have self-less sages as presidents. But, all we have experienced since the 1979 Constitution are rapacious individuals awarding oil wells to friends (including girlfriends) and getting us into Halliburton, Siemens scandals, 52 pieces of luggage unchecked and Mainagate (The Vanguard)
Nigeria is truly the maddest place I have ever had the pleasure of living in. It’s a country that constantly feels on the brink but never quite goes over the edge. It feels like you are living in a giant soap opera with all the joy and tragedy that goes with it. It is a nation blessed or burdened with an extraordinary cast of characters. It can make you want to cry with laughter or with tears. ”where else?” said a friend. That you have to bribe the attendant in a lift just to be allowed out of it; or you will be hassled in a church for a donation or where you will go to a lost but found office only to be told that nothing has been handed in this entire year. What you may not have heard about is the sheer exuberance of this country. They should hand out earplugs in Nigerian weddings because the noise is so intense! Millions truly believe that tomorrow could be the day they make it big. The language here is unbelievably colorful. A top official once described a former president as an honest fool, who held the horn while the others milk the cow (BBC’s Martin Patience while leaving Nigeria after 2 years service as a correspondent).
Because Nigeria remains an analog country when other countries, which are doing fine, have moved into the digital age, was the reason an analog president was elected in this 21st century. How can we elect a president, who is at his best, an all round illiterate – a president who turns a laptop upside down; a president who doesn’t know that East and West Germany unified in 1990; a president who does not know that Angela Merkel is not the president of Western Germany, but the Chancellor of the whole Germany – a president who does not know that Germany has a ceremonial president, but, Angela Merkel, as the Chancellor, is the political leader of that country; a president who does not know the full meaning of his own Party, APC, and called it All Progressive Confidence.
In fact, we all have failed Nigeria, big time, by electing a cave man as a president in this century. How come that we made such a grave mistake? Just as the Vanguard pointed out, it is all very well to say that things will be better in the long run. But, Nigerians, like anybody else, don’t live in the long run. They live now; and they have waited for almost three years and things are going from bad to worse. Now, the same man that has done nothing for almost three years, is promising Nigerians heaven on earth, just to hoodwink them again, in order to get re-elected, and then, it will be business as usual.
I wish Nigerians will learn from South Africans and force Buhari out of office, even before the end of his tenure. I know that this is a fantasy that will never turn into a reality. South African President, Jacob Zuma, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, resigned, because, his Party, the ruling ANC party, finally turned against him after nine years of corruption scandals, economic slowdown, and falling popularity. The Punch reports that “in a 30-minute national television address, Zuma said he had “come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect”.
Come to think of it: his own Party turned against him because of his misdeeds. That’s how democracy works and thrives. When a leader breaks the law, he is supposed to be forced out of office, as every office should be bigger than the occupier, unlike in Nigeria. President Buhari is grossly incompetent, and has committed uncountable atrocities; but his Party, The APC, will be the last to criticize him, and will never contemplate asking him to resign.
The Stupid constitution the military crafted for Nigeria is the main source of the problem. Because, those buffoons in military uniform, calling themselves “General” were dreaming of becoming civilian president after removing their military uniform, and they made sure that the presidency of Nigeria becomes the most powerful office in the world. That’s why the Nigerian president does not know why he was “elected”, and does not see himself as a servant of the people, but as the “Lord”. The Vanguard noted that the Centralization of power in Nigeria has created in our Presidents the same feeling expressed by Louis XIV, 1638-1715, King of France who declared L’Etat C’est Moi” or I am the State.” Once in Aso Rock, they treat Nigerians including state governors as their servants at best or slaves at worst. A Nigerian President took five months to select his cabinet and still has not appointed board members for most agencies. Can Trump or Macron get away with that? “We must begin to think differently, think big and come out of our comfort zones so the world would not continue to leave us behind.” Let us ask ourselves: when in the last three years have we heard that sort of appeal? Great leaders challenge their people to reach for the moon; not to wallow in the blame game; not to spend almost three years lamenting what they inherited but charting the way forward”.
There are no ideologically distinctive political parties in the country – that’s why we’re in a political quagmire in Nigeria – as all political parties have only one cardinal aim of taking over power and looting the treasury for its members. That’s why a PDP member will easily decamp to APC, and vice versa. In saner climes, it will be hard for a liberal to join a conservative party, and vice versa, but in Nigeria, what we have are politicians calling themselves democrats without telling us if they’re leaning towards the right, left or centre – we have only a bunch of thieves (one thing they all know how to do well is plundering).
South Africans have shown Nigerians that they are not playing in the same “league” – that they are politically sophisticated than Nigerians. Have you ever seen a Nigerian politician resign from office as Zuma has done? Nigerian politicians commit all kinds of atrocities, and when caught, will evoke the ethnic card instead of resigning, and many Nigerians will still condone that. We, the citizens, are part of the problem due to our parochialism, as we tend to defend a criminal politician from our tribe, and will not want him or her to face justice.
Buhari is not better than Zuma or Mugabe who have all gone, but he still hangs on to power and is even planning to contest again. The difference is that South African citizens are more politically astute or sagacious, and the Zimbabwean military is more patriotic than their respective Nigerian counterparts. Just as someone commented, we know that Buhari will never resign, but he should just finish his term and go quietly to Daura, as Nigeria needs younger and dynamic leaders in this century.
In saner climes, Buhari would have been history by now – in other words – Buhari is overdue for impeachment or resignation, but, unfortunately, none of these will ever happen. Because the National Assembly is not equal to the task – it is only a congregation of thieves hiding there just for the immunity against prosecution it offers them; and Buhari has no integrity or honor, in himself, despite his claims to the contrary, to do the right thing by tossing in the sponge.
We were better off without Buhari, and Nigeria will get better when Buhari leaves. I’m irked, because, despite the fact of being one of the few “lonely voices in the wilderness” against Buhari’s candidacy during the 2015 election, I’m now being forced, again, to appeal to Nigerians to right their wrong by voting out, in 2019, whom they voted in, in 2015. Nigerians are seeing what I was warning them about in 2015. Who would want Buhari to remain as president after all he has put Nigerians through? Since Buhari came to power, we have been inundated with words seldom heard, priorly, such as the other room; fantastically corrupt; snake swallowing millions of naira etc (I will comment on this in subsequent parts of this article).
If Nigerians are conscious citizens, they would have behaved like their South African counterparts, thereby forcing president Buhari to relinquish the office he is under-qualified to occupy. But, since Nigerians are so docile, the best they can do for themselves is to get their respective Voter’s Card now, so that they can force Buhari out through the ballot box.
Why should Buhari leave us? No other Nigerian leader has played the ethnic card like Buhari; he has eroded further, more than any other ruler, the fragile cohesiveness of the Nigerian nation; and has entrenched mediocrity above meritocracy by appointing his relatives and cronies to very important and sensitive positions, even though most of the appointees are unqualified for the job, and may not beat a brilliant and smart primary six pupil in any exam – suffice it to say that the Buhari’s extended family is running Nigeria on their own.
Nigerians should blame themselves for “electing” Buhari, and since then, he has debased the Nigerian society, the more, through impunity and incompetence.
Samuel Ajayi, in an article captioned “Jacob Zuma: As South Africa Shame Nigeria Yet Again”, published by Sundiata Post, summed it better thus:
“Jacob Zuma, the embattled President of South Africa, has resigned. But that is not the news.
I carefully followed the events that led to Jacob Zuma’s exit and the whole thing lasted less than FIVE days. Again, that is not news.
But note these:
* In the build-up to Zuma’s exit, no one played the ETHNIC card. His place of birth in South Africa did NOT matter.
* Again, RELIGION was not an issue. Nobody even remembered he bore a Christian name.
* The party was more interested in saving its NAME and LEGACY, than saving Zuma.
* Zuma did not deploy police and army to seal off the venue of the ANC meeting and teargas his party members.
* There was no rented crowd at the ANC secretariat singing Zuma’s praise and trolling Cyril Ramaphosa.
* It was NOT even ANC that reiterated the supremacy of the party, it was Zuma himself.
Like I wrote earlier in the week, politics is played everywhere. It can be fun and interesting. But is it played FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE SOCIETY? IT IS TO IMPROVE THE HUMAN CONDITION.
But here, ours is for the self, our family and cronies and people of our ethnic and religious backgrounds.
IN NIGERIA, IF A PRESIDENT GRABS THE GUN OF HIS POLICE ORDERLY AND SHOOTS A CITIZEN, or DOES ANY VISIBLY DESECRATING ACT SOME OF US WILL STILL DEFEND HIM.
Were it to be Nigeria, Zuma would not leave office. Never. He and his supporters could throw up all sorts of mundane excuses to remain in office.
** Do you now see why Toyota, Mazda, Daimler Chrysler, BMW, Volkswagen and so on all have Assembly plants in South Africa?
** Do you now see why they generate almost 40,000 megawatts and we are calling thanksgiving service for 7,000 megawatts?
** Do you now see why they successfully hosted the World Cup?
** Do you know why our citizens rush there?
South Africa has again shown that it is NOT about the black man. We are not intellectually inferior to the white man. Something is just fundamentally wrong with Nigeria and its LEADERSHIP MANAGEMENT.
And that thing is INSTITUTIONS. Both at governmental and non-governmental levels.
As long as we produce LEADERS that we MAKE STRONGER than our INSTITUTIONS, we will NEVER make progress!
No be curse…”
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe went by force; Jacob Zuma of South Africa has just gone by force; Buhari of Nigeria should also go by force, and your Voter’s Card will be the weapon to chase him out of Aso Rock in 2019. Get yours today (please get this message across to others who have no access to this)!
To be continued!
Temple Chima Ubochi.