Nigeria is principally a coalition of the unwilling. She is simply a coercion of the unwilling; a conscription of federated grievances; a boiling cauldron of mutually-assured platonic hatred, mutual suspicion, and collective bottled loathing. To this end, nothing positive could ever be achieved on this platform of potentially explosive unease. No tribe believes in the goodwill of the other. Every tribe is of the worst opinion of the other. There is no good Igbo man as far as a Yoruba man is concerned and vice versa, even when that stereotypical generalization falls short of the laws of logic and thought, which should hold eminence and primacy in any rational postulation.
On this volatile base was erected a nation, which is most unfortunately expected to succeed. National success cannot be predicated upon a base of ontological instability. Hence the Nigerian dream was from conception, compromised and sabotaged to fail. All the attempts at salvaging an iota of sense from this boiling cauldron of dissensions, have failed woefully to avert the certain catastrophic disintegration, and disastrous implosion of this hegemonic geopolitical ogre, upon her inglorious weight.
The colonialists yoked these ideologically parallel nationalities together, to achieve their imperial designs, predicated only on an avariciously exploitative blueprint. They never intended this vassal ship to come to an end. When the wind of change rendered the political heat unbearable for their unwelcome presence, they sought the naturally un-progressive elements, versed in the fine art of imbecilic serfdom; that would hold cosmetic fort for their vested interests, while they suck the honey pot clean in a vampyrean plunder of rapacious proportions. In Nigeria, the Hausa/Fulani North fitted the bill. They schemed out the progressive nationalities that could not bow subserviently at the altars of oppression, from the matrix of power. The progressives were arm twisted and decimated into the emasculated role of figure heads. From this enfeebled position, they were congenitally excluded from the epicentres of reckoning, and hence rendered politically impotent in offering any atom of resistance to British re-engineered plunder of Nigeria.
They could not actually challenge the improprieties of a tele-guided nincompoop. The suppressed exasperation of an enfeebled opposition went in, to devastate their oppressed psyches. The West of Nigeria exploded in a furious wave of self-digestive violence. Awolowo and Akintola battled for supremacy. Lives and dreams had to go up in flames for Akintola or Awolowo to impress their insular and parochial concepts of authority and supremacy on the Western region. Nigeria tethered on the brink. Pregnant expectations of federal action oscillated between puerile consideration and partisan implementation. The West continued to conflagrate. All these mixed with a census fouled up by political farts, laid the nation prostrate and ripe for explosion.
Meanwhile, a group of young ideologically fired revolutionaries waited in the wings. Actually no one treasured the vacillation of Nigeria between a rudderless leadership and engineered directionless ness. Disintegration hovered in the air. Politicians advertised their selfishness and executive incompetence. Tribalism became the operative principle. National unity took a hike to the mountains of irrelevance. Ethnic demagoguery hawked impious nonsense. The people were agitated into taking ethnic stands on national questions. At the height of this, the army struck.
The army that struck was no army of occupation. It was a group of graduated teenagers, appalled by the inglorious manipulation of primordial forces by politicians on the national turf. They had a vision of re-negotiating the path to national felicity. Circumstances conspired to scuttle that vision. And nationalistic young men, armed with a blueprint of goodwill, ended dressed up as scoundrels, to fund the desperate underwriting of a British-engineered politic of dissension. The trajectory of the Nzeogwu-led, January 1966 intervention was simply a revolutionary projectile. The signs of seismic changes were written across the whole ideological landscape of their vision. From the four cardinal points, were men who were collaborators in the torpedoing of the Nigerian dream. They sought and removed the principal actors. Britain, denied of her puppets, feared for her neo-imperial access to Nigerian resource. She could not abandon her lecherous parasitism without a fight. The British Intelligence, that saw to the manipulation of the 1959 elections, to favour British vassals of Nigerian extraction, went to work again.
Fate played ping-pong. Nzeogwu lost his grandiose vision. His coup failed. Ironsi was catapulted by fate, into profiting from a revolution he never conceived nor dreamt. He bought into the peddled rumour of an Igbo conspiracy to hijack Nigeria, as he convoked a government geared towards placating and propitiating, those he perceived as being on receiving ends of Nzeogwu's guns. But when vendetta rapes greed, it sires a corrosively incinerative phobia that either destroys its object of hate or self-destructs in the process. The North was sold the British redacted version of the coup story. All the ingredients for its successful purchase was in place; a dangerously uneducated critical mass; Igbo notorious entrepreneurialism and business adventurism; a widening wealth and holding gap between the Northern natives, and a majority southerners that stepped in to fill the posts of the departing colonial officers; and now a military coup, led by mostly Igbo officers, that saw many Northern leaders dead. All these broiled to brew a social sauce, which was managed by the British intelligence to whip up a frenzy of genocidal pogrom unparalleled in Africa since King Leopold, the Butcher of Congo. Ironsi was murdered with his host. Gowon came to power.
Social evolution is always a history of accidents, and un-intended consequences. Had Nzeogwu ever visualized that some nincompoops would skewer his dream or disembowel his vision for Nigeria; he would have elected to let the country implode on its inglorious weight. Today, people glorify the politicians that rendered the Nigerian dream of those days, a fractured fairy tale. Many passively consult a historical amnesia that betrays buffoonery, while others actively seek to doctor or revise history, in order to rehabilitate the self-battered images of the tribal gods of their political pantheon. For instance, there was a movement a few years ago seeking to canonize Festus Okotie-Eboh, as an innocent victim of blood thirsty Igbo Commissioned officers. But the facts of history painfully recorded Okotie-Eboh as a finance minister, who was a by-word for corruption and veniality. Today equally, those seeking to resurrect Obafemi Awolowo as the best thing not to happen to Nigeria, seem to forget his role in the Western Nigeria Wettie saga, and the fact that history punctually recorded him as the man who led the introduction of tribalism and mediocrity into Nigerian politics. Need we talk of Ahmadu Bello, who never wanted Nigeria´s independence in the first place, and who saw the whole of Nigeria as a conquered territory, that must bow to his jihadic farts; or Nnamdi Azikiwe who preferred convenient compromises to hard choices born of principles, which have been the furniture of immortal and revolutionary changes. These unfortunately, were the principal players, upon whose shoulders was laid the birth and emergence of a nation, from an amorphously, conscripted conglomeration of tribes. Ontologically compromised by circumstances surrounding her birth, it could only take men of great genius, charisma and invincible character, to forge a nation out of a motley band of strange bedfellows. But these men were great and original. The parts of them that were great were not original, and the parts of them that were original were not great. The flaws in their individual characters, was meant to sabotage whatever dreams they claimed to have because the colour of your dreams must issue from the colour of your eyes.
Few years after independence disillusion arrived. The political class killed our dream. The lacked any vision for the people. Their politics became a radical politicization of pettiness. Awolowo stole the Western Nigerian premiership from Zik, as a result of his pettiness. Instead of transcending that, Zik himself became floored by his pettiness. He scampered back to the East to kick out Eyo Ita, from a seat he was ably managing. The spiral continued. The politicians having lost every direction sought to remain relevant. To achieve this, ethnicity was shameless consulted. Mediocrity and grotesque incompetence was crowned. Corruption exploded. Patronization and politics by settlement conferred a sorry legitimacy on nepotism. Nigeria hovered between the Hamletian Question. The chain reaction led to coup and to a counter coup, and to a civil war. Over One million Igbos were massacred; majority starved to death by a war policy that violated every canon of warfare. Biafran children were starved into extinction. Civilians, women and children were bombed and strafed with psychopathic relish and for fun. And the Igbo man had this etched in his collective memory for eternal remembrance. The war saw Igbo brilliance enjoy some meteoric rise and dissipation. The RAP, which should have served as a platform for a scientific revival in Nigeria, was through the consolations of ethnic envy allowed to desiccate and shrivel out of existence.
Gowon sat upon wealth. He swam atop Nigeria's oil revenue like a drunken sailor would; frittering them away in an orgy of a national moronic consumption. The future was never considered. Nigeria embarked on a spending spree characterized by the purchase of the most un-needed rejects of foreign industrial powers. We bought the inconsequential and every shade of non-essentials; even toothpicks and toilet papers from abroad. That was the era of oil money. It flowed in abundance. Money submerged the boiling dissensions of marginalized Nigerians. But Gowon achieved nothing save boasting to the whole world that Nigeria's problems were not making money, but how to spend it. As oil money flowed, the bovine stupidity of Gowon's governance glowed.
This is simply a summary of infamy. Subsequent governments wrecked Nigeria beyond measure. Ethnicity was enthroned. Bad leadership mutated and peaked. Military brigands and civilian thieves held Nigeria to a ransom; creating a cabal of elitist leeches, masquerading as patriots. Nigeria became a playground of coup plotters.
Gowon was sacked for his dalliance with puerility. That was in 1975. Murtala Mohammed toppled him and sat on the wheels. The coup cycle continued once more. He perished a year later; falling to the speaking ends of Dimka's guns. Obasanjo was accidentally thrown up to replace him. He embarked on progammes that were grandiose in their conception and in their uselessness. Operation Feed the Nation (O.F.N) succeeded only on television screens and radio jingles. The funds mapped thereto, was squandered. Some claimed Obasanjo stole it, as the programme may have been a front for redirecting the funds to another O.F.N=Obasanjo Farms Nigeria. Then came the Telecommunications saga handled by ITT; an American company that fits every profile of what John Perkins referred to, as the corporatocracy, which hires hitmen to destroy Third World economies, and ensnare them into inescapable debt. Fela, Anikulapo Kuti, a popular Afro-beat musician angered into exasperation, by the rip off of Nigerians in the ITT contract scam accused General Obasanjo and Moshood Abiola, as International Thieves-(International Thief Thief), mirroring the acronym of the American company. Festac 77 came. Nigeria under Obasanjo continued Gowon's idiocy. Nigeria took that singular opportunity to advertise her wealth to the whole world, though her people lacked the basics of a sound, secure future bereft of want. After oscillating like a scalar quantity with a lot of magnitude but no direction, Obasanjo finally handed over to the civilian headed by a Mallam from Sokoto, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
Under Shagari, the politicians returned as national leeches that they were. Politics became an essential arena for disservice to the country. Funds were embezzled. State policy was predicated not on sound reasoning, but on ethnic considerations or the mood of party stalwarts. Politics became a festival of impunity where men elect to exist on borrowed intelligence. Nigeria was slowly but steadily going to hell. Umaru Dikko became the power broker holding Shagari to a ransom; heading the Presidential Task force on rice, after both the Green Revolution and Operation Feed the Nation have failed respectively. He presided over the importation and distribution of rice to the Nigeria people. Instead, NPN, his party was buying and selling influence with bags of rice and import licenses. Sonny Okonsus lamented the decay in his 1983 music "Which way Nigeria". Prior to that had Achebe articulated his masterpiece "The Trouble with Nigeria"-, where he gave a radical vivisection of how leadership constitutes the trouble with Nigeria; and how the political class are very busy embezzling Nigeria's posterity. They were treated as alarmists. Their warnings fell on deaf ears. It was a repeat of pre-1966 happenings. Nigeria waited for implosion. None came until the military struck again on the 31st of December, 1983.
We must not fail to reiterate that Shagari's government achieved nothing of radical significance or value to the Nigerian project. That government was visionless in everything save puerility. She slept while Nigeria was marooned, aground in the sandbanks of omni dimensional decadence.
Buhari-Idiagbon came claiming a messianic vision, to lead the waters through the Nigerian socio-economic and political Aegean stable. This government tired no doubt. But paucity of days, cannot conduce to a historical assessment of the impact of this government. Even though this era witnessed the reappearance of draconian decrees, and brutality of exuberant soldiers; some Nigerians today, still relish and remember those meteoric days with nostalgia, rendered imperative by the congenital indiscipline, rascality, and thievery of succeeding scoundrels.
Ibrahim Babangida was the first scoundrel to succeed them. He sacked Buhari-Idiagbon in coup, which many have come to see as the triumph of greed and superlative kleptomania. He stole Nigeria blind, debauched her social structures and wrecked her moral climes. Babangida presided over the liberalization of official corruption in Nigeria. He ran Nigeria like only a robber baron would. He bribed those who opposed his Machiavellian manipulative vision, with offices, money or threats. Opposition to his inordinate craze for power was ruthlessly and decisively eviscerated. IBB and two of his intelligence chiefs were fingered in the letter-bomb murder of the Nigerian investigative journalist, Mr. Dele Giwa, who was on the trail of a drug-smuggling story that revolved around Babangida's wife. Babangida manufactured programs and crises to extend his stay in power. His populist policies were briberies designed to buy off opposing voices, or bones cast the way of the people so that they keep their eyes off the excesses of his caprice. When this guy finished dealing with Nigeria, the country was destroyed for good measure. He annulled an election, in which majority of Nigerians, chose to express their exasperation with the military. That election, which was purportedly won by Moshood Abiola, was more of a vote against the military more than it was a vote for Abiola. He wasted over 40Billion naira in an orchestrated transition to civil rule program, which was designed to self destruct. As Nigeria was again tethered on the precipe, he chose to step aside with his loot, but moved to secure his ass, by leaving a co-thief, Sanni Abacha around the corridors of power.
One step shy of the target, Abacha was a dog that no amount of training could ever rewrite his genetic blueprint. He could not keep his eyes off the bone, which was the presidency. Before the hurriedly established Interim National Government headed by Ernest Shonenkan could settle down to business, Abacha, who was in control of the Army, kicked the government out, and installed himself as the new president of Nigeria.
Abacha was a thief on a mission. His kleptomania was hidden behind dark goggles that belied his calculated meanness. He outclassed Mobutu both in the ambitious nature of his stealing project and in the ruthlessness employed thereto. Nigerians sought for hope. None was in sight. He knew that for him to keep the loot he ripped off the Nigerian people, he must be in power forever. To this end, he embarked on a life-presidency scheme, borrowing a lot from the perverse dissimulations of Babangida his friend and predecessor. This guy was a kleptocrat, unparalleled in meanness and scurrility. He only achieved the bastardization of every sane social structure in Nigeria. The state continued to derail. Agents and agencies of state were used as hammers of tyrannical wickedness. Abacha's henchmen murdered Kudirat Abiola for daring challenge her husband's incarceration. Pa Rewane was shot dead in his house for daring oppose Abacha's lewd excesses.
In Abacha, corrupt power connived with eviscerated and disembowelled public opposition, to create a tyrant, who terrorized the citizenry, and destroyed their stakes to posterity, through his dipsomania and crapulent kleptomania. Nigerians scampered in silence. Abacha grew in impunity. Many Nigerians under these circumstances fed from garbage dumps. Abacha basked in opulence. Nigerians slept with hunger. Abacha slept with prostitutes. The knell sounded, as he perspired in debauchery atop imported harlots. And he expired. The professional coup plotter was floored in a coup from Heaven.
Nigeria accumulated a lot of other socio-political, and economic dirt due to these persistent bludgeoning. Abacha's dirt kicked Abdulsalami Abubakar up to a position he never bargained for in his entire life. He was no less a thief. The speed, with which his administration skimmed off billions of naira off the Nigerian coffers, cannot even challenge comparison with that of Abacha. His only achievement was the handing over of power amidst international pressure to a civilian elected government headed by Olusegun Obasanjo, on May 29th, 1999.
Obasanjo came on a second missionary journey. We thought that passing through the shadow of death would sharpen his vision and goodwill. Well, we are yet to see any of the two. His vision becomes more parochial as the days go by. His goodwill became non-existence, while honour was never a watchword of his. He promised Nigerians that there was never to be sacred cows in his fight against corruption. Today, sacred cows have been cloned everywhere. IBB, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and those fingered by the Vincent Azie's audit report, became sacred cows over night. Tony Anenih is yet to account for the roads he purported built with 300billion naira, in the planet Mars. Under his rule, his party the PDP metamorphosed into what Wole Soyinka the Nobel laureate described as a nest of killers. Under his tenure insecurity reigned supreme. A governor of a federating state was kidnapped by the Police in consort with a private citizen, and yet no-one was prosecuted. The number one law officer in his administration, Mr.Bola Ige, was murdered in a mafia-like style, while his orderlies have allegedly gone to eat. No one was apprehended or arraigned for the murder of this guy. Under him, political assassination became elevated to odious levels. Marshall Harry, Aminoasari Dikkibo, Engr. Agom, Jerry Aiyegbeye, Victor Nwankwo all fell victim to assassin bullets. Nobody was ever caught nor prosecuted for those crimes. The criminals all came from planet Venus. The Nigerian police kept protecting public enemies like Chris Ubah and Emeka Offor, while the taxpayers are left to fend for themselves, against the sophisticated fire-power of the armed robbers that prowl unchallenged.
The economy kept up its anaemia. SEEDS and NEEDS or NAPEP and UBE have all failed woefully to better the lot of the citizenry. All the government does it to adopt the discredited prescriptions and mantras of the IMF and World Bank that only essays to pay Nigeria's odious debts, while the citizenry starve for want of necessaries.
That Nigeria is a failed state is evidenced in the fact that no economic or social policy has essayed to impact positively on the lives of the people. The government keeps finding ways of laundering its image, or blowing the trumpet of its achievements, while hunger and inexcusable poverty harass the people daily. Nigeria the 6th largest exporter of crude lacks evidence based on solid achievements to show for the billions of dollars it has earned from crude oil sales since its discovery in Nigeria. Over 67% of Nigerians are still illiterate, without a sound educational policy to attend to that. Unemployment rate is so high as to be immeasurable. Over 70% of Nigerians are now living below the poverty line. World Bank recently reported that only 1% of the population hold 80% of the oil wealth. The country has consistently vacillated between the gold, silver or bronze medals, on the rankings of the most corrupt nation on earth. Her citizens are leaving the country in droves; seeking greener pastures, which is simply a new form of comfortable slavery abroad. Power generation has reach an all time low, as the country now enjoys more electric power outages, than a city in medieval times, ever experienced. Many Nigerians lack access to basic potable water, which is the signature and staff of life. Primary health care delivery is so poor as to be epileptic. Hospitals have metamorphosed into mere consulting clinics, where people go to die. Drugs are unavailable, as government spends more money in debt services, and funding corrupt and questionable policies, than in funding education or other social schemes.