Good governance especially at the national level, is an intricate interplay of combined operations involving the leadership, the led, and to a limited extent, the international community. The full significance of any component of this experience, can only be understood, appreciated, and appropriated in relation to the whole. The world is a web of socio-economic, political, and cultural relationships. The earlier the central government of Nigeria realizes this reality, the better. Strong-mindedness, unbridled arrogance, hedonistic complexes, and a gross lack of patriotism of the political class, are at variance with good governance. Therefore, turning a blind eye to the genuine complaints and agonies of the Nigerian masses, is an invitation to violence. Apologists for primordial religious and/or ethnic sentiments need to do a rethink because the country is very close to the edge of an abyss. Contrary to popular thinking, Nigeria’s numerous problems are not actually rooted in religious and ethnic diversity. Members of the political class are our splitting headache over the years. They regularly use the circumstances of ethnicity or religion to maintain the status quo at all costs. It is a struggle between the ruling class and the exploited Nigerian masses. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be fooled by our gluttonous rulers.
It is a fact, that Nigerian senators earn more than their counterparts around the world. No senator in the world takes up to $180,000 annually. Even the Canadian and American senators earn $154,000 and $174,000 respectively per year. But in Nigeria, a senator takes approximately $2.2 million annually. Politics is the most lucrative business in Nigeria. This is why more and more governors are ending up in the Senate after four or eight years of maximum economic and financial infractions in their states. In addition, most of these former governors and their deputies still take pensions on a monthly basis. The resources for about 200 million people, are being shamelessly consumed by our mindless, godless political class and its business elite. Aside from this, members of the parliament are the ones taking huge contracts here and there without results. The recent NDDC case is a problem of mind-boggling complexity. They are only good in imposing obnoxious laws on the followers. One of them is the “Hate Speech” law needed to completely silence and intimidate everybody. Other reactionary bills are in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, millions of polytechnic and university graduates are unemployed. Again, there is no investment-friendly environment. Painfully, many of these youths have become cyber criminals. Federal varsity students are being frustratingly kept at home due to the on-going ASUU strike as government continues to flex its muscles. Corruption and impunity have become a way of life in Nigeria. The academia is not an exception. Billions of naira was said to have been spent on school children feeding during the Covid-19 lockdown. Those in charge, must have been feeding school children from another planet. How can the youth trust such a government?
Budgets for education and health care are usually criminally low. This year, approximately N48 and N46 billion went into education and health respectively. On the other hand, N125 billion was budgeted for our “wonderful” lawmakers numbering 465. The humongous monthly state security votes, are also an absurdity.
Indeed, those who made such unholy legal provisions including retirement pension for state governors did not mean well for Nigeria. There is no state government that does not get over N420 million monthly as a security vote. Borno and Lagos states get N1.5 and N1.2 billion respectively. Meanwhile, the governors are busy securing their stomach. This is sheer insanity, given the serious hardships ordinary Nigerians are contending with. The time for sweeping reforms in our constitution has come. Government particularly the parliament can only delay this exercise at its own peril.
It is against this exploitative leadership system, that the Nigerian youth are asking for their rights within the sphere of the rule of law. They are now taking the bull by the horns. They could have done this much earlier, if not for some socio-cultural inhibitions. According to Kwakye (2011), a development studies expert, African societies regard their elders as “all knowledgeable.” The youth cannot correct them when they make mistakes. While it is the norm globally to treat elders including leaders with respect, everything is wrong with the youth being prevented from advancing their own views about how a country or system is managed. This African scenario promotes a culture of silence which makes followers to refrain from protesting against bad governance. Indeed, one terrible outgrowth of this cultural trait, is economic backwardness. President Buhari should be told, that without articulate, active followers, progressive leadership remains a mirage. This is a universal law. Former Nigerian political leaders and other eminent citizens, should put aside their ideological differences and halt the drift towards another civil war. For their information, Nigerians in the diaspora, would not allow them to go and hide in Europe and/or America in case of a conflict at home.
The youth are the greatest victims of accumulated leadership failure in Nigeria. Enough is enough! The maligned youths are only trying to change the conservative narrative in the interest of the common good. But despite this, sponsored thugs were later used to discredit the struggle in order to pave the way for harassing and temporarily silencing the young radicals, who were hitherto referred to as a lazy lot. Sending some brainless, spiritless soldiers to kill peaceful protesters was/is self-defeating especially in a democracy. Power belongs to the people, especially the youth with their digitally engineered minds.
These soldiers should go to the Sambisa Forest to confront the Boko Haram members who have been maiming and killing innocent Nigerians for years. The Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State was until about three weeks ago or thereabouts, under a virtual state of siege. Raping of women, kidnapping, and killings were going on there. Nigerian soldiers could not go there to assist the police. Thumbs up for the local security operatives (under the direction of Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo popularly called Sunday Ighoho) who later dealt a fatal blow to the criminals, said to be from Mali. The activities of these foreign criminals were a humiliating first step towards cultural colonization of south western Nigeria. The country has become a completely rudderless society. Where are the elders as things fall apart so rapidly? Salute to the Nigerian youth! They have been fighting blood, sweat, and tears in order to save the soul of mother Nigeria. A new Nigeria enshrined in spiritual and material abundance is in the offing. The youth will certainly earn their enviable space in the African history books. On the contrary, our oppressors, exploiters, damn nuisance, and enemies of humanity masquerading as leaders will soon meet their Waterloo, even as they fade into political oblivion and perdition.