Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria on the Brink

By Kayode Emola

There is no doubt that everyone in Nigeria, as well as those in many other countries, know that things are not right with the country. Nigeria has oft been touted as the country that will be the soul of Africa, it was looked on as the saving grace for the entire black race. Alas, the country who was termed the giant of Africa, for obvious reasons, failed to find her feet when it really mattered most. Former President of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela, was quoted in an interview as saying that once Nigeria gets it right, the entire African continent will have hope. Yet it rather feels like the giant went into a deep long sleep, forgetting that it was already daylight.

Many political powerbrokers in Nigeria today will deny that anything is wrong with this sick child of Britain. This is simply because they are benefiting from the status quo and any attempt to dismantle the current architecture will mean the dismantling of their political empire. Like every sick person, the reasonable thing Nigeria and its leaders should have been doing now is critically accessing the cause of her current ailment. Once diagnosed, appropriate treatment could be deployed to try and rescue the situation. More often than not, it seems like the many problems of Nigeria has been caused by its leadership and, whilst this is well known, few actually know what the solution should be.

The current downward trajectory of Nigeria is not a recent phenomenon, it has only just taken a new dimension. The usual solutions our leaders have adopted in the past for any problem relating to Nigeria is to apportion blame, and this blame always lies with others except themselves. For instance, in the 1980’s our problems were the Ghanaians, and the excuse given then was that they took all our jobs and for that reason “Ghana must go”. More recently, the ‘we versus them’ approach is seen going on everywhere. In all, I see a country that has failed to mature, accept responsibilities and for once fight all the major challenges that have confronted it. Rather, the country leaders encourage their supporters to be vocal in deflecting the blame from the leaders, and heap it instead on either their predecessors or the opposition.

The multitude of problems facing Nigeria have not solely rested on the part of the leadership; its followers are as bad as the leaders, if not worse. As the saying goes, you can only produce a fruit after your own kind, and that is what the situation in Nigeria has been since its independence. The bad Nigerian leadership today is the reflection of its citizenry – after all, that is the crop from which the leaders have been selected. Nigeria has a docile citizenry that tends to accept whatever fate comes their way, even if it means them going willingly to the slaughter. Nigerians fail to question their leaders on important issues that affect their day-to-day life. This attitude, amongst others, is the bane of our society, and it will take a great deal to change us from this attitude.

The vast quantity of cracks in Nigeria are now beginning to cause great distress and concern, and it’s only a matter of time before the country falls like a pack of cards. Just few days ago, during an interview with Arise TV, renowned Nobel Laurette Prof. Wole Soyinka pointed out that with the way Nigeria is going, it may not celebrate another democracy day. In another interview with the Alaroye this week, leader of Afenifere, a Pan Yoruba organisation, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said that, if the country fails to restructure, then there will be no election come 2023. In his view, Afenifere will have no other choice than to follow Prof. Banji Akintoye’s call for Yoruba self-determination. There is no doubt that the remarks of these two notable figures in Yorubaland is the echo of many of the Yoruba people both at home and abroad.

With Nigeria now currently on life support, one might have expected the political leaders to call for an urgent solution to this ailing country. Unsurprisingly though, the political class are currently plotting the best strategy to adopt to further the suffering of the innocent masses who are caught in the crossfire. When looking at a country in distress, two major seismic events usually occur prior to the total collapse of any nation. These are economic and political collapse which, when it occurs, will tear down a country. Then, if the country fails to wind down, these will cause untold hardship on its people.

Nigeria as it stands today is facing the most serious of economic collapse. Not only has the country recently defaulted on its loan repayment of $200 million to the Paris club, the President has just recently accepted a $2bn loan from China. As someone who has worked in the financial sector in the last five years and more, I know the grave danger of defaulting on a loan. Whilst the lender may give additional time for the loan repayment, the interest repayable becomes even greater, becoming more of a burden than a relief. Likewise, economic woes follow a political collapse which is not far from what we have in Nigeria today. It is not hard to see that majority our politicians jump ship whenever a new party is in power. They do this because their very existence lies in what they can get from the government coffers, rather than how they can help the people they are meant to serve.

For every problem, there is always a solution and the Nigeria situation has a solution that would work if only the people and their leaders would be candid enough to accept the reality. It is starkly obvious that Nigeria is no longer viable; and for an unviable country, the best solution is to peacefully wind it down. There is no point continuing to run a business that is beyond redemption. The management of the business call in administrators to help see it through a hard phase of winding down. In this instance, the company is liquidated and the assets used to pay the creditors, with every creditor receiving a repayment proportionate to the asset to debt ratio. If this were to happen, it could ensure that there is a smooth transition period.

I expect that, with the way Nigeria is going, the ethnic nationalities that makes up the architecture of the country should urgently start preparing a road map for their indigenous people. Nigeria is not likely to recover from her economic, political, security and other woes that continue to plague her. The Yoruba people need to increase their campaign for the emancipation of their people. It is increasingly evident that the series of ongoing campaigns and mass awareness for self-determination by the Yoruba people is a right step in the right direction. It goes to show that in the face of oppression, the voice of the people still matters. The question now is, if Nigeria has exhibited all the symptoms of a failed state, what, if anything, could save it from the brink? A broader look at the situation suggests the only viable solution would be to peacefully break it down and allow each indigenous people to find their own path. This would ensure that all the component parts that form the country are not burdened with a nation that has no life to offer its citizens, nor the world in general.

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