By Tunji Olaopa
It is now axiomatic that Nigeria embodies fundamental contradictions that define the extent of her predicament. This predicament is a multidimensional one that revolves around the inability of Nigeria to make a developmental headway of her existence since 1960. For sixty-one years of statehood, Nigeria is still to make a headway with her development in spite of her immense natural resources. The Nigerian state is demographically youthful in a continent that is itself in its demographic stage of youthfulness. And yet, Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate is one of the highest on the continent. And finally, Nigerians constitute one of the highest achieving ethnic groups around the world, and the most educationally distinguished, for instance, in the United States. And yet, this does not translate into any significant human capital dynamic for the Nigerian state.
Recently, after the conclusion of the Big Brother Naija reality show, the winner of the show—Laycon—went home with a whooping N30m in cash, as well as other assorted goodies. And the media went into a frenzy of reportage over the winner and his celebration by Ogun State as her youth ambassador. Nothing is absolutely wrong with that really, at least going by the huge budget and promotion that the sponsors put into the programme. The issue is that if Laycon enjoyed so much social awareness, especially on social media and even in the traditional media, then the likes of Dr. Matthew Aneke, a former postdoctoral award-winning researcher in carbon capture and biomass gasification, Andrew Akala, the African Awardee for research excellence in space science, or Yusuf Olalere who graduated first class and the best graduating student of the Nigerian Law School in 2020 or even Ogwubie Chkemzi Praise, who got the 2020 WAEC result, should also be celebrated in some measure. None of these got the media coverage even in the shadow of what Laycon got. And none of them certainly went home with anything that reflected societal measure of appreciation of the value of their contributions. With this gross disparity in human capital appreciation, as well as the media reportage of human capital achievements, we arrive at another critical dimension of the Nigerian predicament. However, we must give kudos to the media on the growing trend to profile first-class graduates, even if more within concerns to sell the papers than as grand narratives.
The art of celebrating achievers is however not a new one. Indeed, over the centuries, it has become a distinct mark of civilizational renewal; an act of encouraging courageous invention, unorthodox creativity and foresighted innovation. From artists to entrepreneurs, and from scientists to writers, the society recognizes the intrinsic worth of unique achievements that break frontiers and move the boundaries of the society forward. Indeed, productive innovation, ingenious research findings, scientific breakthroughs, thought-provoking bestsellers, outstanding achievements, etc. are valued by the society as the sources of the novelties and knowledge required by the society itself to keep renewing its boundaries. No wonder Maya Angelou was very ecstatic about it: “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
However, celebrating achievements cannot be for its own sake. Neither does it exist solely by itself in a vacuum. On the contrary, celebrating achievers is factored into a society’s and nation’s understanding of itself and its objectives. And this is even all the more so in the case of educational and academic excellence and its relationship with a nation’s understanding of the role of human capital in national development. Indeed, recognizing excellence becomes meaningful if it is part of grand national human capital development and knowledge capital formation value chain. In other words, any state with a purposeful and strategic development plan immediately recognizes the definitive role that human and knowledge capitals play in initiating a performance and productivity curve. And this implies not only factoring education into national development but also factoring educational and academic excellence into such human and knowledge capital development. This implies fundamentally that a reality show winner will not get more celebrated than academic A-graders.
One significant aspect of the Singaporean transformation story, as narrated by Lee Kwan Yew, involves creating a strategic socialization ecosystem within which A-graders can cultivate long-lasting relationships that are aimed at regenerating the excellence that Singapore believes plays a huge role in her national transformation hinged on an incentivized human capital made aware of the significance of the knowledge economy and the urgency of placing Singapore right within its dynamics.
Whether we like it or not, this is one of the exigencies of the 21st century that farsighted states must factor into their national reflections. This has been my reform thinking for many years—the strategic place and role of an innovative education reform in national and institutional transformation, and the need to rethink and rejuvenate human capital development through a deep reflection on Nigeria’s higher education dynamics. Anyone old enough will understand the historical narrative behind the sociology of encouragement and incentives that attended brilliant students, and specifically the role that parents and the society placed on functional education. When I was growing up, being a whiz kid came with certain expectations of societal recognition and assistance in all forms. However, a whole lot has happened to our sociology in ways that have occasioned the negative reevaluation of values. Crass materialism, nepotism, and a rentier mentality have led to the emergence and establishment of a culture of “something for nothing” that undermines the spirit of deferred gratification. Nowadays, competitions for positions have become too politicized to be founded on merit. Not even the hallowed ivory towers have been immune from the rat race. Thus, we have now found ourselves at a significant point where we have those with no demonstrated academic orientation making claim to having a doctorate, and when someone is introduced as a professor, one needs to do a forensic investigation of the person’s intellectual quotient.
For example, at a recent Edo State performance review conference, I had highlighted in my keynote presentation the need for Governor Godwin Obaseki to do an overall total strategic anticipatory view of the revolution his education reform is creating in Edo. Governor Obaseki’s EdoBest educational initiative has deployed all manner of educational reform innovations at the primary, secondary and technical levels to achieve an all-round qualitative learning and competency objective facilitated by teacher education reform, quality assurance and an enhanced learning environment that bring out the best in the preparation of human capital development. The problem, however, is that when these students graduate from their reformed learning experience, they will be forced to find places in several of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions that are not so founded on institutional reforms and sound education philosophy. This implies that we will not arrive at a desired human capital development rehabilitation that will undergird Nigeria’s national development even if different states, like Edo and Kaduna States, are doing their utmost best to transform their education and academic spaces.
How might we then begin to rejig this whole social and institutional anomie that has engulfed Nigeria’s development effort? How do we restore values and standards that are critical to developmental culture? How might we restore competency-based human resource management in public sector institutions even with required allowance for diversity management and affirmative action? The broad goal is to generate a policy-based reflection on what education philosophy can backstop Nigeria’s engagement with the emerging knowledge economy and national development planning. And then to factor in how such a philosophy can generate an ideological basis for a total-system-wide primary, secondary, tertiary educational dynamics that link the federal to the state in a coordinated human capital development dynamic. And where best to jumpstart such a critical national trajectory than within the nation’s media as the custodian of the public sphere of national conversation on what is right and good? The implication of being referred and canonized as the fourth estate derives from the media’s sociopolitical influence to not only frame political discourse but to also generate deep advocacy on issues that matter.
The media’s capacity to shape national discourse places on it the responsibility to project significant questions about Nigeria’s developmental status, and the critical elements that are missing. Such an ongoing discourse will then put into proper national, and even ethical, perspective the relationship between the media and national development. Indeed, a serious discourse on human capital development will place a proper mold on issues, and situate each element in the human capital framework in their place without neglecting one for the other. The proper reportage of educational and academic excellence becomes the first condition for kicking off national reflection on Nigeria’s seriousness with becoming a developmental state, with a focus on reengineering her human capital dynamics. The media’s contribution derived from profiling excellent performers rather than pandering to sensationalism that sells news items. The profiling and reportage then serve as the critical opportunity to raise critical issues about a system that produces A-graders without the supporting institutional dynamics to transform them into a critical mass of human capital required to rejuvenate Nigeria’s economic and infrastructural development visions. We need a national discourse not only on a pragmatic education philosophy that puts competency at the foundation of education, but also on what supportive structures of national qualification framework can serve as the crucial foundation for skills pricing, national talent management, knowledge management strategy, etc. These issues are critical for any attempt to structurally and institutionally reengineer and rebrand Nigeria’s national development profile and value reorientation in its desire for global competitiveness.
The point is to get our priorities right, and the media owe Nigeria the national duty of signaling the critical issues that ought to remain in the limelight. Getting Nigeria’s human capital development right commences from giving proper attention to those achievers whose small achievements constitute the first steps in their journey towards becoming the human capital Nigeria requires.
Prof. Olaopa is a
retired Federal Permanent Secretary
& Directing Staff, National Institute
For Policy and Strategic Studies
(NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .
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Exposed: The Real Peter Obi
By Promise Adiele
Today, I am possessed by the spirit of exposure. Without let or hindrance, resistance or disputation, I surrender to the service of my fatherland to expose, perhaps in the process, educate the foolish and enrich the wise, nothing more. While exposing, I didn’t consult the Ifa oracle or Delphic oracle, both Yoruba and Greek prognostic divination essences famed for revelation. Exposure, that act of revealing the unknown, invades my conscious mind while the revered apostle of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud watches with keen interest. I admit to being a helpless captive of the spirit of exposure. It goes beyond the paralyzing mental hypnosis suffered by victims of religious ecstasy. I am fully aware and awake, with no hallucination, reverie, or phantasmal anecdote. I have no choice in the matter, therefore I must expose, reveal, uncover, and inform. St. John suffered the same fate as I do today which inspired him to write the Biblical book of Revelation. Exposure is different from prophecy, the alter ego of prediction. While exposure reveals what exists but is not known, prophecy reveals what does not exist, therefore not known. Today, I am not predicting anything. I want to expose many things about the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party Mr Peter Obi. Every presidential aspirant must be exposed, nothing hidden. No guesswork. No half-truths.
My determination to expose the real, undiluted, factual, identity of Mr Peter Obi inheres from the tumultuous effect his persona is currently having on the Nigerian political horizon. Interestingly, the emergence of one man in our country’s political maturation is causing a tsunami across the length and breadth of the land. In my commitment to unravel Peter Obi, I have engaged the remote and immediate peculiarities of his identity, his historical existentialities, and the sublunary ethos that foreground his groundswell among Nigerians at home and abroad. Also, my objective is to steer the wheel of our contemporary political discourse away from obtuse, unreasonable circles to centres of rational, objective thinking. Granted that we can make mistakes sometimes, but we shouldn’t hug idiocy forever. Nigeria is on the cusp of collapse due largely to the mistakes of 2015 when we collectively plunged into a semblance of Hades for failure to expose what needed to be exposed. But 2023 offers a good opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. Peter Obi’s exposure? Here we go.
First Exposure: His full name is Peter Gregory Obi and his nickname is ‘Okwute’. He has a clear, real, and honest identity. There should be no contention or controversy about the identity of the potential of the next president of Nigeria. ‘Okwute’ in Igbo language means rock. The muse reminds me of the connection between the Biblical Peter and rock. Recall that the Master told the Biblical Peter, “upon this rock will I build my house and the gates of hellfire will not prevail against it”. Today, we have a potential president of Nigeria whose real and nickname are subsumed in that divine declaration by the Master. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi’s identity draws on celestial and terrestrial possibilities which explain the wildfire his emergence on the political scene is provoking. Surely, the gates of religion, ethnicity and other nebulous metaphors that represent hellfire will not prevail against his name. Remember, his name is Peter Gregory Obi. No questions. No stolen identity. No one adopted him as a child. No family is denying his parentage. It is only a deluded generation that will vote for anyone whose identity is shrouded in secrecy. Identity denominates human existence therefore a fake identity presupposes a fraudulent personality. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi is his name. He does not have any other name. Go and verify.
Second Exposure: Mr Peter Obi was born in 1961 and he is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. No controversy. That is his origin. Did you know that? He has an identifiable genealogy and definite origin. Any political office aspirant with an indeterminate origin is a disgrace to the political process and unbridled insolence to the electorate. Peter Obi’s origin is well known. His origin is not an object of infinite conjecture. He did not migrate to Anambra from any of the neighbouring states or countries. The next president of Nigeria must have a specific origin known to all Nigerians. No guesswork, no permutations, no lies, no mysteries and no sophistry. Anyone, even a foreigner can aspire to any political office in any part of the world, but hiding one’s identity is criminal, therefore morally disqualifies anyone from any political office in the land much less the presidential seat. Peter Obi is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. Go and verify.
Exposure Three: Did you know that Peter Gregory Obi is arguably the only former governor in Nigeria that does not collect a kobo as pension from his state Anambra? Go and verify. Some past governors have impoverished their states by appropriating the exchequer and collecting almost 70% of the Internally Generating Revenue. Such states have the potential to be like Dubai or even better but because their former governors, cronies, and family members have the states in their pockets, the states wallow in inadequacy, leveraging the average, not aware of their vibrant potential. Peter Obi’s wife does not control any part of Anambra State. His only daughter does not control any market in Anambra State. His only son does not own properties in Anambra State. Peter Obi does not have thugs all around the State as a murderous arm of violence and civil menace. A man that does not collect a pension from his state as a former governor is not greedy. Nigeria does not need a greedy president who will turn state coffers and structures to private use.
Exposure Four: Are you aware that Peter Gregory Obi is healthy, fit, and agile? Now you know. He can engage in physical exercise and do thirty to fifty push-ups in a few minutes. He can jump on the treadmill in a jiffy and remain there for a long time. Did you know that in 2022, he plays football, table tennis, and lawn tennis? He does not have any known medical history which will impair his official function as the president of Nigeria. Given Nigeria’s experience under the current administration, the country does not need a septuagenarian, sickly, frail, and senile president. According to Suyi Ayodele in his Tuesday FLATOUT column in the Daily Tribune “a town which makes the invalid its king does not prosper because the health of the king determines the prosperity of the town”. No one gives a sick baby to a sick nurse to look after. Nigeria is sick, very sick therefore requires a fit, proper, agile, and healthy president to fully take charge of our collective affairs. Remember, when Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power in the country, he lamented that age was affecting his performance and wished he was younger and healthier. He went on to spend considerable time in a London hospital while the country suffered in parturition. This must not recur. A body led by a set of rotten eyes will inevitably head for disaster. Nigeria should never be led by a sick president again. Peter Gregory Obi is healthy and rearing to go. Kindly go and verify.
Exposure Five: Peter Obi attended Christ The King College Onitsha Anambra State. Afterwards, he was admitted to the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1980 to study philosophy, the acclaimed parent discipline. He graduated in 1984. Some lost souls are peddling the propaganda that he spent twelve years at UNN studying philosophy. Well, Obi graduated from UNN in 1984 at the age of twenty-three. If he spent twelve years studying philosophy at UNN, that means he was admitted to the university in 1972 at the tender age of eleven. These greasy-brained detractors will stop at nothing to merchandise falsehood of impudent dimension. Anyway, he attended Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School and the International Institute of Management Development. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of North-Western University, Said Business School of Oxford University and Judge Business School of Cambridge University, go and verify, no controversy.
As Nigerians feverishly trudge towards the 2023 election to save the country from imminent collapse, all the presidential hopefuls must be exposed and critically scrutinized. We must also remember that our present condition is the end-product of an odious conspiracy in 2015 by a few people with vaunting, inordinate, self-serving objectives. It appears that APC’s only objective as a political party is to preside over the liquidation of the Nigerian federation. Do they think we are stupid? We cannot succumb to ennui at the most critical moment of our corporate existence and allow the ruling potentate to further imperil our existence. We must ask the basic questions about all the candidates, their identity must be exposed, health profile, education history, and place of origin. I have exposed the Labour Party candidate. Expose APC and PDP candidates honestly and straight to the point.
Mountain Top University.
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The Failed Government Of Muhammadu Buhari
By Victoria Praise Abraham
We do not have problems in Nigeria. What we have is a failed leadership and a failed government of the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari. His government cannot effectively tackle insecurity, unemployment, food security, incessant strikes by various bodies in the country and many other leadership challenges presently plaguing our nation.
When Buhari of the All Progressives Congress took over in 2015 we all thought our many problems as a nation were finally over. We thought that our great messiah had finally come and that our lives as a people would now finally get better, richer and healthier. The Buhari government had promised change and we were already in a bad place as a nation and as a people. Alas, this was not supposed to be.
Today, we all can testify that it has been a change from bad to worse and from the frying pan into the fires of life.
Life as a Nigerian living in present-day Nigeria has become extremely difficult, frightening and a great ordeal and struggle. Everything that can collapse has collapsed. The health care system, the educational system and even the economy is in the sliding bend. We have never had it worse than this and our prayer to God Almighty is for urgent interventions and deliverance from this clueless government that has helped to mismanage the economy and our naira.
We have been bruised and battered by the lack of leadership or poor leadership by this APC-led government of Muhammadu Buhari for more than 7 years. Our sensibilities have been assaulted as we daily now live in the fear of being kidnapped either on trains, on the roads and even in the air. The situation is dire, pathetic and desperate at all levels of life. The daily kidnappings, killings and abductions have now reached alarming low levels the kind we have never seen before to the point that the president himself is lamenting the situation. How on earth can you as a president lament the troubles in your nation? This is a clear and glaring sign of a failed leader and a failed government because it means that you are fed up and unable to properly cope with the challenges that you are facing as a leader in the 21st century Nigeria.
We are assaulted daily by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, abductors, armed robbers and pen robber in the same Buhari-led government. If not, how do we explain the humongous thefts of our collective wealth by top people in the Buhari-led government? A case in view is the high-level theft by the accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris who stole billions of naira from the coffers of the nation.
Unfortunately, we have a president whose greatest pastime is jetting all over the globe in search of pleasure and peace while his own nation burns under the fires of terrorists, bandits, armed robbers and pen robbers. It is an open secret that Muhammadu Buhari is the most-travelled president of Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari at the slightest invitation from any country and for any occasion is quick to accept these invitations and of course there are also his many medical trips abroad at the expense of the Nigerian state.
It has never been this bad in our national life. People no longer sleep with their two eyes closed especially in the areas worst hit by terrorists and bandits in Nigeria. The north and the south of Nigeria including some parts of the east and west are being bombarded and we are daily losing precious lives of our Nigerian youths and even the middle aged and elderly. Women and children are not spared by this daily ordeal of insecurity, and instability.
A large percentage of Nigerians can no longer eat three square meals because of the prevalence of poverty, food shortages and this is further compounded by poor or no health care systems. The power outages are another pathetic showing in the life of this APC-led Buhari government.
For the average Nigerian, it is hell on earth because they cannot eat well, they cannot sleep well and whenever they fall sick there is no access to good healthcare and so many are dying under the terrible hardship that never gets reported in the papers but this hard reality of the ordinary Nigerians is clear for anyone to see because more and more people have taken to begging for their daily living.
There is no job for the poor man. There is no peace for the poor man. There is no joy of any kind for the poor man. Even the educational sector is not spared in this great failure of leadership by the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A large number of Nigerians live below a dollar a day. This situation is so bad that Nigeria has been dubbed the poverty capital of the world. Most of our youths are jobless, helpless and hopeless. The government has not deemed it fit to create an enabling environment for job sustainability.
There is nothing concrete and planned on the ground to curb youth restiveness, so you find most youth taking to crime because somehow, they have to find a way to live.
The Buhari government of the APC party has failed to provide these teeming millions of youth jobs to secure their future. A president that cannot think outside the box and be creative enough to find solutions to our myriads of problems is not my ideal kind of president.
During the campaign season just before Buhari took charge of the running of Nigeria as president he pledged to tackle insecurity, unemployment, and corruption. In his presidency these problems have worsened at a frightening rate.
Under this Buhari-led presidency Nigerians have become poorer and impoverished in an alarming fashion. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has been on a free fall for years now and the central bank governor under the Buhari-led government does not seem to know what to do about the problem.
The economy has been battered and bruised because of the lack of proper structures that can help grow the economy. Nigeria is importing everything and exporting less and less. Even the oil that is produced in Nigeria is again taken out of the country for refining before it is again imported back into Nigeria.
Our economy continues to struggle at the lowest levels. We are rich as a nation but poor as a nation and as a people. This is a great mystery, misnomer and travesty.
We are unable to travel interstate to do business with each other as Nigerians because of incessant abductions. Economic activities continue to dwindle to an all-time low since the Buhari-led government took over from the Jonathan-led government in 2015.
Buhari has borrowed so much from international bodies and China that we will spend many years repaying all that he and his government have borrowed in the last seven years and more.
We are in desperate times because our innocent citizens are being kidnapped, and killed daily all over the north. There are problems of IPOB in the eastern part of Nigeria and we all remember the killings in the Owo massacre of Sunday the 5th of June 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari never deemed it proper to visit Owo to commiserate with the indigenes of Owo over this dastardly act of terrorists in South West Nigeria. This lack of empathy and compassion from Buhari is unbelievable and acceptable. It shows that as a leader he lacks compassion and a very strong attribute of a great leader is empathy and compassion.
The Buhari government has not deemed it proper to enact laws that will stop Fulani herdsmen from roaming the lands of Nigeria and wreaking havoc on the innocent land owners of the south. We have a government that prefers cows to the precious lives of its human citizens in Nigeria. Under the present Buhari-led government we have become more divided as a people and as nations. Nigeria is a marriage of many nations and a wise leader will work at uniting these different nations with the Nigeria nation and not work hard at dividing it as the Buhari government has done in the last seven years.
Our present situation as a nation is pathetic, frightening and we are in need of quick divine interventions from God. On a practical level it is time for the impeachment of Muhammadu Buhari because in his time we have had unprecedented records of death of innocent Nigerians, more corruption, higher levels of the unemployed Nigerian youths and general insecurity and traumas.
The problem we have as a nation is not the myriads of problems but rather a failure of leadership or no leadership at all. Our leaders at the highest and at all levels have failed us a nation. We are rudderless, leaderless and clueless as a nation.
Our leaders at the highest helm of governance has failed woefully and it is time for them to all bow out and retire back to their bases.
It is time for the Buhari-led government to be impeached to save our fatherland and our unborn generation from further slide, decay and destructions.
We do not have problems in Nigeria, what we have is a president that prefers to jet around the globe to seek pleasure and peace in faraway Britain, Dubai, France and Spain rather than stay in Nigeria to fix the challenges confronting his leadership.
What we have in Nigeria is a leadership problem because everything starts and ends in leadership.
All these other countries that Buhari prefers to stay in is as a result of leadership that works, that is effective and promising. We have leaders that lack the know-how, of how to properly solve problems in Nigeria.
In 2023 we need a president who is visionary, intelligent, fearless, selfless, courageous, compassionate, a unifier, sincere, competent, charismatic and a good communicator to help us rebuild our nation Nigeria,
We have fallen as a nation and we need a rescuer and a builder to help us rebuild and restructure the Nigerian nation.
As it is now, we are yet to find the messiah. As we begin the countdown to the search for the next crop of leaders, we must be very clear and discerning so that we do not choose leaders that will traumatize us as a people. We must choose credible, competent and compassionate leaders going forward. We truly do need ‘CHANGE’ now not the change Buhari promised us in 2015 but the change that will help to move our great nation forward forever. The APC-led Buhari government has failed woefully. He must now do the decent thing by resigning or be impeached by the senate.
A new Nigeria will emerge by the special grace of God Almighty.
. Abraham is an award-winning author and CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Ltd.
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Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The Muslim-Muslim ticket which the APC under the otherwise shrewd and perspicacious Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has adopted promotes and reinforces a dangerous narrative which the seven years of the Buhari administration have negatively entrenched in the minds of Nigerians. For, before Buhari, it was largely in somewhat hushed tones that the mythical Fulani ownership of geographical Nigeria was discussed. Not supported by any instruments of pre- or postcolonial relations, that dangerous supposition was essentially in the minds of a few and believed by fewer persons. For most southerners it was a joke, an infantile joke to claim that the rich waters and oil of the Niger Delta belong to some fellows who live one thousand miles away. It is like the Israelis claiming that the oil fields in the Arab states belong to them because God had promised them the land flowing with milk and honey!
With the style and composition of the Buhari government, the irredentist president made his plans clear to all – government was by a section of the country, for a section of the country and for a particular religion! To boot, Fulani from some countries in Africa have started assembling in the country to make Nigeria their home. The hostile scoundrels who kidnap, maim or kill are not indigenous to Nigeria, I dare say. The baffling thing is that southern leaders could not effectively challenge the gradual dismantling of a national consensus that had governed interethnic relations since 1960. Most of them in mainstream politics simply latch on to the received wisdom that to gain power in the centre you must suck it up to the holders of power from the north. So, they sacrifice their people on the altar of greed for power!
In 2003, before the grand alliance of unlikely forces that finally gave Buhari access to federal power, Bola Tinubu was reported by Wikileaks to have said that “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity’. It is true that the Tinubu camp has vigorously argued that their principal never said any such stuff. But Farooq Kperogi in Notes from Atlanta (December 4, 2021) has laid the authenticity of the statement to rest by asserting that ‘I took up Tunde Rahman’s challenge and showed that Tinubu indeed said what he was quoted to have said – and worse’, citing diplomatic cables wrenched from Wikileaks trove.
READ ALSO: Rivers APC Ex-governorship Aspirant Resigns From Party Over Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket
In skewed appointments both to cabinet and non-cabinet positions, Buhari made no bones about telling Nigerians that he meant to govern Nigeria as a colony of Fulani hegemony. Nowhere is this hegemony so evident than in the security architecture of the country. Also, the marauding herdsmen in the country never fail to remind abductees that Nigeria is their patrimony and that accounts for the soft approach of the incumbent government in dealing with the menace posed by terrorists and bandits. Nigerians have cried aloud about the skewed appointments in favour of one section of the country. Nothing has entered the ears of the Commander-in-Chief! Suddenly, the successor administration if the APC wins is a Muslim-Muslim band. Not good for the sight. Not healthy for perception. Not healthy for inter-religious harmony.
Nations build institutions which sustain and protect the core values of the country. In a country as multiethnic and multireligious as ours, no individual or administration should violate those core values. It is possible to argue that the fundamental principles for national unity have not been defined and nationally accepted. For example, power rotation, the place of religion and ethnicity must be worked into the Constitution. Nothing must be taken for granted. No section or religion must claim or preach superiority. It has the capacity to implode the country, either now or in the future.
It is against this background that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket must be resisted by pressure groups, ethnic and religious associations. The issue must be on the ballot box on election day. A northern Christian who was Legal Adviser to APC resigned his position because of his objection to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Ironically, Senator Tinubu and the APC had expressed reservations about the same-religion ticket in 2015. It was for this reason Professor Yemi Osinbajo was drafted in with his impeccable Christian credentials as a pastor in RCCG. What changed in 2022 or 2023?
The ethnic tension in the country that has reached a crescendo is alarming. Whether by design or default, the Tinubu and Shettima ticket is an attempt to further increase the tension and permanently destroy the fragile attempts at inter-religious harmony. It promotes the inane idea that one ethnic group or religion is superior to others in the federation. It is foolish to believe this nonsense, even if the ethnic group is numerically stronger. The point must be made that this rejection would not have mattered if the operating conditions in the country were settled or acceptable. For as we know, a Muslim could be as bad as a Christian in governance and vice versa. In other words, promotion of a religious faith does not bestow administrative or governing competence on anybody. The list of those who have misgoverned the country includes Muslims and Christians, with religion playing no moderating role in attitudes to the commonwealth. The ruling APC which has mismanaged Nigeria into a freefall is slapping Nigeria further in the face by tying to force an anomaly on the nation.
The APC has attempted to make things look good by appointing spokesmen who are Christians. This is after suggesting that a Christian from the north as a running mate to a Muslim from the south is not good enough to attract votes from the north. What a slap to northern Christians. This accounts for the bold and resolute reaction of the Dogaras and Babachirs, something we must take seriously.
All Nigerians must queue up to vote for their candidates in 2023. Hopefully, votes will count this time around. If they do, the Nigerian people will speak on who they want to govern the country. Sadly, the PDP ticket is also guilty of negating one of the assumptions that had governed the country – power rotation. We are therefore in a fix with the two old political parties. What will the end be?
Professor Eghagha writes from the Department of English, University of Lagos.
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