In Act-V, Scene-IV of William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, King Richard III yells out loudly this famous phrase, “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!” In the middle of a battle, his horse was killed, while the king wandered to find it in the battlefield for hours, killing everything coming his way with fatalistic rage.
In this play, Shakespeare shows that inconsequential things, like a horse, could become more important than a whole kingdom. The sense in this line is ironic, as King Richard III wanted something insignificant to complete an important task. The king here meant that if he did not find his horse, he would lose his kingdom.
This play graphically captures the present wild goose chase of the PMB administration’s so-called anti-graft war to the detriment of every other aspect of the nation.
Nigeria is crumbling
Right under our very nose, Nigeria is crumbling like a pack of cards, in a manner that is unquantifiable, unqualified and inexorable. Many Nigerians seem to be numbed and dumbfounded at this incongruity. How come the most prosperous country in Africa, number one, as rebased by World Bank and IMF, with over $500b, in 2015, has suddenly been brought to her knees in 16 months? There is mass disinvestment and capital flight. Nigeria’s economy recorded a total decline of $2.1bn in investment inflow to $647 million in PMB’s first year in office. From PDP’s fuel subsidy, APC now dishes out dollar subsidy.
It is often said that nothing in this life is new, and that whatever that is happening here today has happened somewhere before. Says Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been done will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” This is why many Nigerians are now clamouring for a paradigm shift of strategy on how to think outside the box and vote meaningfully during elections. To have leaders who are ill-equipped mentally and intellectually lead millions as a nation, in our present digital age, is most dangerous. This has been our quagmire as a people: Our inability to elect credible leaders, devoid of primordial parochial considerations.
Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773), British statesman and writer, once wrote:
“The perfect knowledge of history is extremely necessary; because, as it informs us of what was done by other people, in former ages, it instructs us what to do in the like cases. Besides, as it is the common subject of conversation, it is a shame to be ignorant of it.”
What manner of “Change”?
Many challenges we are currently facing in Nigeria already have solutions provided by the history of other nations far ahead of us, but who had experienced such challenges in the past. The problem is that our leaders lack capacity for research and a deep sense of world history, thus the ceaseless turpitude of misgovernance. A government that voluntarily promised us “change”, is suddenly “changing” the narrative, saying “change begins with me””. No sir, you voluntarily promised Nigerians change. We believed you. You cannot now rewrite history. We are suddenly being cajoled to believe that it is a crime for a Nigerian to send his children abroad to study, a culture Nigerians have enjoyed for over 300 years. Government is suddenly telling us it is treason to ride good cars, live in beautiful houses, or wear imported clothes. Even most of our nationalists of the 20s, 30, 40s, 50s and 60s schooled abroad. Indeed, Sapara Williams, the first Nigerian lawyer, was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple Inn), London, on 1st of November, 1879. Herbert Macaulay studied Civil Engineering in Plymouth, England from 1891 to 1894. Tafawa Balewa, former Prime Minister, schooled in the University of London Institute of Education in 1944. Zik of Africa schooled in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, and the University of Pennsylvania, in 1932 and 1934, respectively. Obafemi Awolowo (degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of London and called to the English Inner Temple Bar on November 19, 1946). Ahmadu Bello (Local Government Administration, England, in 1948). Odumegwu Ojukwu, was sent by his father, Sir Louis Ojukwu, in 1946, to United Kingdom at the age of 13, to study at Epsom College and Lincoln College, Oxford University, England. Yakubu Gowon (Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, United Kingdom, 1955 – 1956) and Ph.D, political science, University of Warwick, England, in 1983). Olusegun Obasanjo (MONS Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, England, 1958 – 1959 and at Wellington, India, in the 60s. Major Nzeogwu Chukwuma Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England, in the late 50s and early 60s).
So, who is browbeating us that it amounts to unnecessary “foreign taste” for Nigerians to train their children abroad, when our same leaders’’ children are all in Ivy League schools abroad, mostly with tax payer’s money? Who is fooling who? It is now suddenly a crime to be wealthy, or to have plenty money in your account, or even keep a domiciliary account. The naira is on a free fall like Esan Egbabonalimni acrobats (N120 naira to one Ghanaian cedi) and N500 to one US Dollar! Because investors and other Nigerians panicked and withdrew their money from bank vaults in one fell swoop once they were given a temporary reprieve from an earlier ill – advised ban. Voodoo economics! Government’s fiscal and monetary flip-flop has destroyed our naira. We are being forced to embrace poverty, destitution and hardship as puritanic virtues; to queue up for essential commodities (“Essenso”), as we did under the then General Buhari in 1984 – 1985.
Where are the trillions we were regaled with, as having been “recovered” from corrupt politicians, or repatriated from Dubai, UK, US, Switzerland, etc.?
How much TSA is idling away in the icy vaults of CBN? How much “loot” (a pet word), has been “recovered” from thieving politicians, with an insatiable bacchanalian propensity for primitive acquisition? Who are they? So much for bare-faced propaganda.
Many Nigerians have short memories, or deliberate selective amnesia. Like the Bourbons of European history, who learnt nothing and forgot nothing. I, for one, do not buy into such hogwash, balderdash, such poppy cock, such gibberish, gobbledygook and malarkey. Because the very purveyors of these ethical inanities, flap doodle and banality, are themselves swimming, with their families, in opulence, affluence and the good things of life, using our commonwealth resources. A leader should lead by example, not by precepts. A leader commands respect, not enforce it. A leader says do as I do, not do as I say. A leader leads from the front, not from the rear. A leader inspires, animates and enkindles, not discourages or distresses. Nigerians are being made sacrificial lambs on the altar of governmen’st indolence, cluelessness, ineptitude and directionlessness. We are worse off today than we were 16 months ago. The government has dragged us by the neck from prosperity to asphyxiating recession. Infrastructure has decayed abysmally, with virtually every national institution in tatters and schism. The World Bank has just authoritatively pronounced Nigeria, as a leading light in the unenviable league of the poorest nations in the world. Transparency International has even recently adjudged Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations on the face of mother earth. All these, inspite of government’s much celebrated and trumpeted “anti-corruption war”. Elections are either made inconclusive, or brazenly rigged with official connivance, in a most atrocious, ignoble and hideous manner. Smiles have since turned to frowns, laughter to lamentations, plenty to want, joy to melancholy, celebration to grouch and hope to disillusionment. All these within 16 months! Nigeria appears to be driving on auto pilot, cataclysmically. God, please, come to our aid. You have always proven yourself to be a Nigerian!
At 56, Nigeria is still practising pseudo “feeding bottle” democracy, where popular dissent, criticism and plurality of ideas are treated as treason, with incredible paranoia on the part of government. Deification, fawning, canonisation, bootlicking and cult-worshipping of those at the helm of affairs, have become the order of the day. Ethno-religious crisis, mutual suspicion, nepotism, cronyism, tribalism, historical revisionism, political banditry, decimation of opposition, social crimes and economic anaemia have heightened, with mass retrenchment, unemployment and inflation on a geometrically spirally ascension. Hunger, squalor, despair, disillusionment, despondency, hopelessness, haplessness, pauperisation, witch-hunting, sensational media trials, pains, pangs, blood, anguish and gnashing of teeth, have enveloped our people. At 56, Nigeria still wears baby diapers, flogged, demeaned, degraded, raped, despised, vanquished and tormented by her own uncharitable and prodigal children, led by eccentric, self-centred and wayward leaders, since our flag independence in 1960. God, rescue us.
There is graveyard silence and morbid fear in the land. Freedom, liberties, human rights, rule of law, transparency and accountability are decimated, nay murdered. A bag of rice has risen geometrically from N7,000.00 in 2015, to over N20,000.00 now; fuel from N86.00 to N145.00 per litre; cement from N1,200.00 to N2,500.00, and still counting. Stealing, even of pots of soup, garri, beans, rice, condiments, etc., has become rampant. The new talk by government to sell the remaining commanding heights of our national assets and economy is corrupt, cheap and puerile. They now want to sell Nigeria to themselves. They have already sold our yesterday, mortgaged our today for peanuts, and now desire to auction our children’s future. Nigerians must rise up and say no to this “Alawada keri keri” histrionics, theatricality and buffoonery. Nigerians should resist this archetypal Nichollo Machiavellianism and sorry state of somnambulism.