Monday, 10 October 2011 22:43

The Question Of Mental Dislocation Of Some Nigerian Leaders As Nigeria Clocks 51

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Some fiend infected individuals are being baptized with demon in slaughtering their fellow human beings to avenge the election results. Some believe they have monopoly of violence than the rest of the country. When you observe these events you might be thinking that Nigeria could be ending sooner than predicted since these are some of the ingredients for breaking up. ... If breaking up is what will stop the unprovoked violence...so be it.

According to John F. Kennedy, "The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie-deliberate, contrived and dishonest-but the myth-persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forbears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

There have been predictions, permutations forecasts like a failed weather report, that Nigeria would likely break up in the year 2015. Just like the faithful believe that the end of the world is getting closer as another failed prediction about the end of the world FAILED to happen in September 2011.

In the midst of predictions, it is about time Nigerians start working seriously on how to get the country together in the faces of the predictions from all around the globe. Looking at the state of affairs in the country it is very obvious that there is a very serious problem of unity in the country. The leaders in the various zones are not united.

Some zones have been infested with the virus of violence. Some groups are bent in imposing a single Faith in the country; some zones are bent in destroying the country's sources of revenue. Ironically some Nigerians are bent in making life miserable for the innocent citizens. Some leaders believe that it has to be their ways or no way at all.

Some fiend infected individuals are being baptized with demon in slaughtering their fellow human beings to avenge the election results. Some believe they have monopoly of violence than the rest of the country.

When you observe these events you might be thinking that Nigeria could be ending sooner than predicted since these are some of the ingredients for breaking up. It is becoming more obvious when the leaders who are supposed to bring Nigeria together continue to play the taciturn game while siphoning the resources to other parts of the world instead of investing them in the country?

Some leaders are bent in avenging on their subordinates for not respecting them, while they are not returning same respect to the country. It is obvious that if nothing is done in the country we call, Jonathan could obviously be the last President Nigeria would have.

What is this deal about Nigeria breaking up as some Nigerians are so scared of? If breaking up is what will stop the unprovoked violence, religious human slaughtering, spilling innocent blood of fresh Graduates from the Universities in the name of avenging the outcome of an election, and the leaders are virtually doing nothing to stop these, so be it.

The June 12, 1993 political spectrum changed things were truncated, in the country where 80% of Nigeria population live below poverty level; 2% of Nigeria population controls over 80% of Nigeria resources, Religious fundamentalists have rights to kill their fellow human beings, the Nigeria democracy could not encourage religious tolerance operating with mono-economy with States dependency is on the 99% on oil. When the country is not united, how can it be a GIANT?

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What is happening in Nigeria is more or less a continued forced political co-habitation of mutually antagonistic groups spread across the country. We could sample from some countries where they have broken and life still goes on. The most recent is Sudan in 2011. Pakistan and Bangladesh were split; Eritrea was carved from Ethiopia along its line of ethno-religious divide; Czechoslovakia was split up along its line of ethnic division; the former Soviet Union was split up into almost a dozen separate nations, largely along lines of Ethnic divide; Yugoslavia was finally split along ethnic lines, life still goes on in each of these countries.

Who knows what would happen in Nigeria after splitting up, it could be temporary, at least for now the shedding of blood would stop. Germany is now one; South and North Korea have been negotiating to be one. China is insisting that Taiwan MUST be part of China. In the nearest future if the various segments of the country want to be one, it will be mutual then rather than this cosmetic unity we have been living with while the perpetrators are not having second thought about their actions. Unfortunately Nigerian government has been boxed into a tight corner.

How long would an average Nigerian continue to think of safety and their life out of the hullabaloo of the underworld individuals and faceless groups in the name of making Nigeria a united country?

Looking at the Nigeria historical archives we could deduct the mindset of some Nigeria leaders their march on the unity of the country.

Othman Dan Fodio once stated that "The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather. While Ahmadu Bello said in Parrot Newspaper, October 12, 1960, "We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the north as willing tools and the south as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future."

Nnamdi Azikiwe stated in December 1964 that "I have one advice to give to our politicians. If they have decided to destroy our national unity, then they should summon a round-table conference to decide how our national assets should be divided before they seal their doom by satisfying their lust for office. I make this suggestion because it is better for us and many admirers abroad that we should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be a child's play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role."

Wole Soyinka, Africa's first Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, echoed Zik statement in his statement, Reuters Alert, July 8, 2004, that "I consider that Nigeria is on the verge, on the brink of a massive implosion that will make what's happening in the Sudan child's play. We know there are movements for secession in this country. We know that everybody is preparing for the contingency of breaking up."

Obafemi Awolowo, in his 'Path to Nigerian Freedom', Faber & Faber, London 1947

eloquently stated, "Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no 'Nigerians' in the same sense as there are 'English,' 'Welsh,' or 'French.' The word 'Nigerian' is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not."

Awolowo was been supported by Margaret Thatcher, in The Downing Street Years, Harper Collins Publishers, London 1998; "It is difficult to govern a country like Nigeria. It is artificially created, divided into Moslem North and Christian and pagan South"

In 1947 Mallam Abubakar Tafawa Balewa said: "We do not want, Sir, our Southern neighbours to interfere in our development. I should like to make it clear to you that if the British quitted Nigeria now at this stage the Northern people would continue their interrupted conquest to the sea."

He went further in 1948 "Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country, but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs and do not show themselves any sign of willingness to unite ... Nigerian unity is only a British intention for the country."

In supporting Balewa and Awolowo, Sir Peter Smithers [a former British Cabinet Minister in the Colonial Office], in London Times of July 15, 1998 "The creation of Nigeria involved forcing several different ethnic, cultural and religious groups into one political structure. In retrospect of forty years, it is clear that this was a grave mistake which has cost many lives and will probably continue to do so" What Nigeria is witnessing today (2011) is in tune with Sir Smithers'.

Unfortunately Coalition of Atiku Northern Supporters, in Nigerian Tribune, December 2010, retrogressively stated that "We wish to state that we support the position of our mentor, Turaki Abubakar that what Nigeria needs is not a peaceful change. ... This is no threat. Boko Haram will be a child's play compared with the action our members can take. We have been patient enough. And enough, they say, is enough ...The presidency is our right. The fact that we bowed to pressure to allow a southerner, Chief Obasanjo, who has now turned to be a betrayer and a disgrace to us, to become president in 1999 does not mean we do not know what to do to reclaim our right. ...We are happy that Turaki has now seen reason with us that what Nigeria needs is violent change and not a peaceful one,"

No one wishes the country to break up into three or more communities, but when some prominent, highly respected religious, political and social leaders are REFUSING to work out how to resolve the issues, openly supporting the incessant religious bombings, what else is going to be the solution. Unfortunately, the Nigerian youth is helpless.

Food shortages, environmental and institutional decay, mounting debt, and declining per capita incomes are some of the most critical and visible elements facing Nigeria today which are seriously escalating the crises. Nigeria people are almost as poor today (2011) as they were 30 years ago (1980).

The Government has been slow in addressing the management of its economic resources. There has not been any serious consideration in applying tight budgetary controls, enforcing import restrictions been sabotaged by the government agencies. Nigeria devalued currency has not been fully restored diverting the energy into the faceless shadow of Islamic Banking instead of incorporating interest free Banking practice into the Nigeria Banking system; and also the reduction or removal of government subsidises for the poor Nigerians to continue with their abject poverty level.

The Government has been lacking or slow in implementing policies that would stimulate exports, encourage the private sector and foreign private investment, and failing to refusing to introduce performance incentives and user-pays systems for public services, such as health, with Nigeria life expectancy at 48.3 years and crippled education. Nigeria should be celebrating in the midst of plenty.

Majority of more than one billion people around the world living in absolute poverty level, are in Africa, while the largest are found in Nigeria despite its huge natural resources, with serious neglect of agriculture, which is the bed rock of development of any nation.

Agriculture, which accounts for 33 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) with its labor force of 66 per cent, and produces 40 per cent of exports in Africa, is in crisis. It is very unfortunate that as many as one in four Africans (more than 100 million people) in 36 of the continent's fifty-two countries, is threatened by famine and malnutrition. The people most at risk are small-scale farmers who can no longer produce enough food to feed their families, poor people in the cities, refugees, women, and children.

Agriculture, being the mainsprings of sustainable development, has been abandoned completely in Nigeria thinking that buying fertilizers is the only way in improving agricultural products and soil conditions. I wish Dr. Eto, my good friend in Atlanta here, would be incorporated to the main stream of agricultural revitalization in Nigeria to know that different regions have different soil types for specific agricultural products in Nigeria.

Nigeria should devise agriculture policies to provide incentives to farmers to remain on the land and to produce surpluses for sale at market prices. It is about time the country make efforts in getting away from an unfavorable world economy, colonial legacies, and pressures exerted by vested interests among urban elites, and focus on agriculture through very strong policies.

The rapid population growth has not been met with any rapid development to address the rapid population growth in Nigeria. It is obvious that POVERTY is written BOLDLY on an average Nigerian face. The poverty is being associated with poor nutrition and living conditions, low life expectancy (48.3 years - 2010), and higher sickness and disability rates. Unfortunately poor families tend to pay more per unit of consumption for basic necessities, especially food, because they cannot afford to buy large quantities. They work longer hours in unsafe conditions. Their general living conditions, inadequate diet, and poor health combine to produce chronically low levels of productivity. Women and children of relatively large households and minority group members are disproportionately represented among the poor.

In conditions of poverty, women are particularly vulnerable because of heavy workloads of early marriages, and multiple pregnancies. Poverty impels families to think short-term. Again, women are at risk because early marriage will mean that their contribution to the income of the household will not be long-term. This fact removes considerable incentive to invest in women, particularly in their education. A vicious circle of poverty is thus maintained: poor, uneducated, powerless, malnourished, underweight, and vulnerable women bear large numbers of children in households that cannot afford them.

Sardonically Nigeria has been infected with the chronic and intense ethnic and national rivalries and disputes. Unfortunately the country has been pre-occupied with the phantom of violence social dislocation. Cosmetically pretends to be working hard on these essential needs. Treacherously the government looks clueless on how to resolve the challenges possibly arising from cultural systems, based on certain beliefs, actions, and attitudes.

Unfortunately Nigerian government has REFUSED to enlist the involvement and support of civil society organizations on more traditional means of government on legislation, education, employment creation, and economic management that are not seen to threaten or undermine governments, but refused to work with them towards mutually agreed ends. The government is failing to understand that social integration is particularly acquiescent to such a cooperative effort.

In the midst of rapid population escalation in Nigeria under very sluggish economic growth to sustain its development, the government must be creative in providing jobs for the youth who are finding other unacceptable avenues for their survival. Regardless, Nigeria must double up its efforts in the agriculture sector which accounts for about two thirds of employment in Africa.

In the filthy environments, especially in the Nigerian cities, according to World Bank 1992 reports, one third of the world's population does not possess adequate sanitation; 1 billion people don't have safe drinking water, 1.3 billion people live in environments polluted by too much filth, and hundreds of millions of farmers and indigenous peoples who depend on the land for their livelihoods require protection and encouragement from government policies, are not getting such.

Definitely the quality of the environment we live in must be improved. It is clear that clean water and unpolluted air contribute greatly to the quality of life and human welfare. It is clear that environmental degradation as noticed in the oil Delta region can endanger future productivity. Damaged ecosystems, depleted aquifers and soils, and deforested land with incessant bush burning will be unable to support today's rates of economic growth as witnessed in most part of Nigeria, Niger Delta Region most especially. Accordingly, the key to sustainable development lies in finding conditions under which policies for economic growth can be made to complement and reinforce policies that protect the environment. Nigerians are awaiting the magic wands of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to turn around Nigeria economy.

Nigeria should make policies to establish and reinforce positive links between development and the environment by eliminating counter-environmental policies, by making access to resources and new technology easier, and by encouraging the equitable distribution of economic benefits. Such policies must be aimed at particular problems and compel, through the enforcement of regulations and the use of incentives. The economic actors should weigh environmental considerations in their decision-making.

As many have written in the past, including this writer, true Federalism and adequate power supply (electricity) will bring a lot of good things into Nigeria. Nigeria cannot remain in darkness and expect productivity. True Federalism will make life bearable to an average Nigerian. Each State should control its resources. States should be encouraged ownership of refineries and power supply, which will bring healthy competition among the federating units and reduce corruption in the country. In addition the rate of unemployment would be minimized, while Nigerian youths will be gainfully engaged.

Does Nigeria 51st independence anniversary worth celebrating? We thank God that the country is still Nigeria as of October 2011, and we are still alive. Why are the leaders scared of the Sovereign National Conference to talk whether we should stay together? The strength as a nation depends on its level of tolerance; anything that will break Nigeria, such as religion, should be turned around to strengthen 250 nations within the spongy country called Nigeria.

So Help Us God!

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Femi  Ajayi Ph.D

Femi Ajayi was born in Obboland, Ekiti Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria. After his Elementary Education he moved to Ilorin where he attended Bishop Smith Memorial Teacher's College, and College of Education. He spent his adult life, attending Schools and Teaching in Ilorin before moving to the United States of America.

He is an Executive Director, Office of Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that he worked with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia as a Legislative Consultant. During his tenure with the GLBC, he successfully co-developed three major projects for the GLBC: Peach State Black Tourism Association; Institute of Technology Transfer; and Minority Economic Development. These three projects created opportunities for minorities, especially African Americans, to economically empower themselves in the State of Georgia. Dr. Ajayi is also a consultant, on leadership, for the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. The program, Leadership Institute for Mayors (LIM), is an annual one-week program designed to train newly elected Black Mayors on governance. The program entices officials from both private and public sectors, providing information on available sources of Grants and other information that could help them accomplish their goals as public officials.

He has to his background teaching experience at Clark Atlanta University; Served as Chairman, Social Science Department, Ebon International Preparatory Academy, Forsyth, Georgia. He taught at Government Secondary School Bama, old Borno State, during his National Youth Service Corps, Government secondary School, Afon, Kwara State, and at Ijan Otun Anglican Elementary School, Ijan-Otun, Kwara State.

He is the Chairman Advisory Board, African Quest Newspaper, Atlanta, Georgia; Advisory Board Chair, Nigerian Youth Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Femi Ajayi was elected to the Southside Healthcare Board of Directors, Atlanta, Georgia, from 1992 - 2000: Board Secretary in 1994 and Board Chair from 1995 -1999. It has an annual budget of over $14 million. Dr. Ajayi also served in the Student Senate (1981-1984) and Vice President, Nigerian Students Union, 1983 -1984, at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. Under his leadership, Southside witnessed tremendous improvement in quality community health services.

Dr. Femi Ajayi has received many honors, including an Outstanding Georgia Citizen, Secretary of State, Atlanta, Georgia, a Community Service Award, from the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Atlanta, Georgia; All American Scholar Award, United States Achievement Academy.

His public appearance includes Radio and Television interviews on Nigerian issues. Dr. Ajayi belongs to numerous non-profit Associations, Board member of other four Health Care Associations in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Femi Ajayi received his Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, with concentration in American Government, International Relations, African Politics, and Public Administration. His M. A. is in International Relations with concentration in Global Conflict Resolution and B.A. in Public Service from the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma. He obtained his National Certificate in Education with concentration in West African History, Geography, Philosophy and Psychology, he is happily married with four children.