If Nigeria falls there will be a blame game; that is, an effort by scholars to ascertain who is responsible for the fall. We do not have to wait for the anticipated fall before we find out who is to be blamed. Let the blaming game begin. In my view, the two ethnic groups who mostly ruled Nigeria during her 52 years of post-independence existence are responsible for destroying her; they are to be blamed for making a country that could have made black men world-wide proud a shithouse. Shame on them for failing the black race, and for reinforcing the universal perception that black folks cannot do anything well.
Who Is Responsible For Nigeria’s Anticipated Disintegration?
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
On October 1, 1960, after 46 years of British rule (1914-1960) Nigerian obtained independence from Britain. Upon independence Abubaker Tafawa Belewa, a Northerner was the prime minister of Nigeria.
On January 15, 1966 Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, an Igbo, led a military coup that toppled the elected (sort of) Abubaker government. Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo, led a military government from January to July of 1966. He was overthrown by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon (from the North).
Thereafter, Northerners ruled Nigeria until the assassination of Mutala Mohammed and the emergence of Olufemi Obasanjo (a Yoruba man) as the military ruler.
In 1979 Obasanjo handed government to Shehu Shagari, a Northerner. Shagari was eventually removed from office and a string of Northerners ruled Nigeria (Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abdul Salami). A Yoruba, Shonikan and another Yoruba ruled Nigeria (Obasanjo, from 1999 to 2007).
Obasanjo handed power to Umaru Musa Yaradua, a northerner. Yardua died in office and Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw, came to power two years ago.
From 1960 to 2012 is fifty-two years. Out of those fifty-two years Northerners have been in power for 39 years; Yorubas have been in power for 11 years, Ijaws have been in power for 2 years and Igbos have been in power for all of six months!
For all intents and purposes Nigeria has been ruled by Hausas and Yorubas. Igbos have been bystanders in the power calculus of Nigeria.
If this picture is correct and it is correct, if Nigeria falls who should we hold responsible for her fall; who should we blame for Nigeria’s anticipated disintegration? We must hold those who have ruled her accountable for Nigeria’s fall.
Under the watch of Hausas and Yorubas Nigeria became the corruption capital of the world. Virtually nothing gets done in Nigeria without someone bribing someone. You simply have to bribe to get what you want. If you want the rag-tagged policeman at a road side check point to let you pass you have to bribe him; if you want to obtain a form from a government office you have to bribe the clerk dispensing the supposed free form; if you want the officials in the ministry of your business interest to do something for you, you have to bribe them; if you want contract to do some work for the government you have to bribe whoever awards the contract; if you want to become a member of the legislature or executive or judiciary you have to pay your dues (to the power brokers of Nigeria); if you want to attend a university in Nigeria or obtain a job at one of her forth rate universities you have to bribe someone there.
The Nigerian budget has 80% of its money budgeted for recurrent matters (that is, as salaries to the less than one million people working for the government…less than one million people take 80% of the money that is supposed to serve 140 million Nigerians) and the balance supposedly for capital matters. The money for capital projects is mostly redirected into the pockets of those in government. Can you actually imagine the government constructing and maintaining capital intensive projects? Not in your wildest dreams. The toilets at the various airports do not even work; the entire damn airports are seldom swept for weeks; we are talking jungle here! And Nigerians expect economic development under these circumstances? If they do they are not for real.
Nigerian legislators pay themselves the highest salaries for those performing similar jobs in the world. The member of the National Assembly makes over one million US dollars a year (and if we factor in other remunerations and we are talking about several millions). The president pays himself a salary higher than those made by David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkle and Barak Obama and has a fleet of planes available to him. These massive expenditures on themselves are in a country where the average citizen lives on less than two dollars a day.
Nigerian rulers have one function in life: to gather at Abuja and share the money coming from oil; looting oil revenue is their sole reason for running for office. Doing something for the people is not part of their job specification.
These folks actually accomplish nothing for Nigeria; see, they cannot even get electricity to work nonstop for twenty four hours! The people drink worm infested waters and contract all sorts of diseases hence die young (the average Nigerian life span is 43 years). Medical services are so primitive that anyone who can afford it goes overseas for medical treatment (and to die).
The thirty six states (let us call them what they are, counties in the unitary, not federal government of Nigeria) literally do not generate their own revenues; they totally depend on the monthly allocations they obtain from the Federal government (from looted oil money).
State governors go to the capital, Abuja, to get their monthly allocations and pocket whatever percent of it they desire and the rest goes to paying those who support them and that way nothing is done.
Cities look like jungles. If you go to Nigerian cities they look as if no human beings perform the functions we ordinarily expect city governments to perform: provide electricity, water, maintain roads, remove sewage, provide health services etc. It seems that no one is in charge of these cities; actually, thieves are in charge! And folks expect development here? Get real, my friend.
The infrastructure left behind by the British have virtually collapsed; Nigerian schools are no longer schools but training grounds for only God knows what. The roads have since been reclaimed by tropical rain and the jungle is fast reclaiming the so-called cities.
The few factories built by the nationalist rulers of Nigeria (1960s through 1970s) have fallen apart and Africa’s jungle have reclaimed where those factories used to be.
The enumeration of what is wrong with Nigeria can go on and on but the point is that nothing gets done correctly in this shithouse called Nigeria.
If abominable things took place under the watch of Hausas and Yorubas who are to be blamed for them but Hausas and Yorubas? If as the CIA predicts Nigeria is scheduled to disintegrate and it disintegrates who is responsible for her disintegration? Certainly it is not Igbos (with their only half a year of ruler-ship of Nigeria) who are responsible for the anticipated collapse of Nigeria.
There is oil in the Niger Delta; Northerners and Westerners have their eyes set on stealing that oil, and they are doing so. They actually went to war to bring the East back to Nigeria not because they give a hoot for Igbos welfare but to have access to the cash cow oil. These people subsequently pretend to have a government in Nigeria but actually what they do is provide enough security for them to have opportunity to maximize their looting of what does not belong to them, Southern oil revenue.
It is oil money that keeps the cabal of thieves in place and when there is no more oil to steal they would have no revenue to pay for their goons-squad (military) that enables them to steal to their hearts content and thereafter like the cowards they are would flee from power as Nigeria collapses.
If Nigeria disintegrates the fallen house would become another Somalia; law and order would break down and Boko Haram would kill as many persons as satisfies their blood lust. Nigerians seeking refugee status would flee to other West African countries. Just imagine millions of Nigerians slushing all over Africa seeking accommodation; it is going to be a mess. And yet such tragedy needed not to have happened if honest human beings, not thieves, ruled Nigeria.
Nigeria cannot sustain for long what she is currently doing; it is impossible for an organization to be this corrupt and last long. Everything indicates that Nigeria will fall. If she falls who is responsible for her fall?
Who shall we blame for being unable to rule an African polity cobbled together by a British buccaneer and adventurer, Frederick Lugard in 1914. Many Nigerians could not even organize a polity for themselves and it took a foreigner to do so for them and they allowed it to fall.
Nigeria has been around since (1900) 1914 and probably would disintegrate in 2014, exactly a hundred years after it came into existence.
We must blame Hausas and Yorubas for the anticipated fall of Nigeria. We cannot blame Igbos for the fall of this once potential great African republic.
Perhaps, if Igbos were in power in Nigeria they, too, would not have made a difference? I think that I know my fellow Igbos quite well. They are driven by the ego’s desire for prestige; they all want to be chiefs, to be very important persons. Perhaps, in their neurotic drive to seem important they would have done something to develop Nigeria, for a developed Nigeria would have gratified their egos desire for importance?
I have a sneaking suspicion that if Igbos had ruled Nigeria for any substantial number of years that they would have made a difference. See, in the three years they were in their own enclave, Biafra, they actually made some technological innovations, a first for the benighted black race.
But we would never know if Igbos would have made a positive difference in Nigeria’s fate. Talking about what could have been is wishful thinking.
What is empirical is that Hausas and Yorubas ruled Nigeria and ran her to the ground. The necessary conclusion is that they are not capable of ruling modern polities; they are disastrous in governance (yet Hausas fancy themselves born to rule and see Yorubas as born to be bureaucrats and Igbos as born to be petty traders).
This is too bad for the black race for it goes to reinforce the perception that the black man can only have sex, produce children he does not take care of, eat and dance but not do anything that contributes to science and technology and human progress in general.
This is sad, very sad, indeed. Let us hope that the predicted does not happen, that Nigeria does not disintegrate.
But for that to be we must have men of integrity, not thieves ruling Nigeria. Are we ever going to have men of honor rule Nigeria? Can good come out from Nigeria?
Finally, consider this syllogism:
Yorubas and Hausas have run Nigeria to the ground. (Major premise)
Adamu and Ojo are Hausa and Yoruba respectively. (Minor Premise)
Therefore, if given the opportunity to rule, Adamu and Ojo are going to run Nigeria to the ground. (Conclusion)
Human beings do draw logical inferences from their antecedent behaviors. Folks past behaviors predict their present and future behaviors; the good they say that they would do in the future is mere noise that deceives no rational person. No good can come from known looters, and if you believe otherwise I have a bridge to sell to you. We need those who have not ruled Nigeria and made a royal mess of her to rule her. If Nigeria is to survive past 2015 her next president should be an Igbo or Edo person.
If you say that the above syllogism is based on stereotyping of people, not on looking at them as individuals, well, I can tell you this: we expect Germans to be disciplined and work hard; we expect French men to be very rational; we expect Englishmen to be deceptive; we expect white Americans to be entrepreneurs; we expect black Americans to see themselves as victims, to always excuse their failures with whining about what other folks did to them; we expect Italians to be romantic and we expect Russians to be chaotic. You only deny national traits at your peril. I am Igbo and behave exactly as you would expect Igbos to behave: achievement oriented and individualistic (and since character strength has its converse, weakness, whatever weaknesses Igbos have). Although overgeneralized and exaggerated, there is always a germ of truth in every stereotype. If you want work done right and on time give it to a German; if you want shoddy work give it to a Russian; if you desire merit based behavior look at Igbos; if you desire nepotism, well, look at those in charge of shithouse Nigeria. Of course, there are exceptions to these general rules.