Independence Anniversary:Then and Now,By Mallam Moyo Jaji



map of NigeriaToday, Nigeria as a Nation celebrates the 53rd year of her flag Independence from Her Majesty’s Government of Great Britain in 1960.
On that day, foreign Colonialists were replaced by our own “home grown” variant who promised us “Paradise On Earth”. We had every cause to believe them because the country is blessed with abundant Natural & Human Resources. Whether the proverbial paradise on earth has been achieved or not depends on which side of the divide one belongs. Some of us have cause to celebrate the annual event; some of us had no cause to celebrate in the past & do not have cause to do so now. In fact, nothing has changed.
Those who have held Nigeria hostage for the past 53yrs & have plundered her God-given resources can afford to celebrate their conquest, like an Army of Occupation that had just shared the loot of a conquered territory. It is pertinent to state, however that, the looters of our national resources are blind to religious and tribal affiliation.
Not until recently when PDP imploded, they do not quarrel among themselves whenever they are sharing their loot. One notes with palpable and wry amusement that most of those who were calling the shots over 25yrs ago are still around the corridors of Power that, it is now regarded as a heist lingo to be referred to as the Leaders of tomorrow. The Leaders of yesterday are still the Leaders of today. Our Youths have now been likened to Prince Charles of England who graduated from being the Heir Apparent to the English Throne but whose Sons have technically dethrone on account of his mother’s longevity &/or refusal to abdicate the Throne for him.
Adding Salt to a festering Injury, one of the proverbial recurring constants in Nigeria’s power equation, General Olusegun Obasanjo derisively & magisterially declared that Nigerian youth are not properly equipped to pilot the affairs of the nation. I however recall that he became the Head of State in his mid-30s & Retired from the Nigerian Army at the age of 42yrs. Nigerians have been made wiser by the chicanery of our rulers to have realised that anything, no matter how painful to the citizenry, can be done by our Rulers to increase their individual power & competitive advantage. They are so proud of what they are accomplishing & are not at all bashful about telling brazen lies to claim accomplishments that only reside in their imaginations.
Having been deprived of a necessary pastime & predilection of buying as many Newspapers as I was used to, and having been denied the joy of watching Television by the combined conspiracy of the supposed moribund PHCN (the unbundling was to have taken place yesterday) and the Economic misery facing an average Nigerian ( I can not afford a generator) a pact was arrived at between Necessity & Objective Reality.
This resulted in making recourse to reading back-issues of Newspapers because events, like History, keep on repeating themselves. What with our overly recycled rulers ! An illuminating experience has been garnered in the process. I’m glad of keeping the old newspapers so that my young children, at a latter date, will see Nigerian Rulers for who they are & whom they were respectively.
It is trite to state that it is only the Victor that writes History to suit himself & his World view. My children at least will be able to know from these newspapers , the different roles played by some of these characters since the turbulent days of the June 12 annulment of 1993. No wonder, Nigerians are yet to feel the impact of the promised “Democratic Dividends” since May 29, 1999. We are now being accused of being impatient with our rulers. We are now being told to reschedule our Political expectations like a train being diverted from one track to another at the whims & caprices of our Rulers. Nigeria has now been gradually turned into a land where the people & the Rulers are implacable enemies.
Nigerians now live each day with the eager trust of a Believer in good fortune that tomorrow may bring. A visit to Baba-Ijebu Kiosks that litter most of our Urban Centres validates this assertion !
Nigerians are now being exhorted to labour merely to exist, to spin away our lives in order to stay alive.
Those Righteous ones in our midst, who had laboured in the Civil Service for a greater part of their lives are being denied their dues by not paying their Pensions & gratuities because some” fat cat” had converted the Funds to their private pockets and the Laws are being interpreted to favour the Thieves. Ironically, this is happening under a bunch of “Political Jobbers” who have Power thrust on their laps but do not know what to do with it. How do you discourage a Civil Servant presently in Service from cutting Corners because he’s convinced that his own Pensions and Gratuities might also not be paid, as at when due !
If experience teaches anything at all, it is the ability to hold & harbour disparate views in a Polity. The problems confronting Nigeria, at present can not and should not be understood in Black & White but in subtle shading of Grey. Nigeria is inexorably sliding & gravitating towards a Civilian Dictatorship. Ten years ago, a Civilian Governor of a State was abducted for several hours by the men of the Nigerian Police Force led by the late AIG Ige with no dire consequences to the perpetrators of the treasonable Action because it was sanctioned from the above. At present, a State Governor is being hounded in a State he was ELECTED to Govern by his people by a. State Police Commissioner appointed by the Police Service Commission but being superintended by an Inspector General of Police. Some years ago, a body of Eminent Nigerians known as COMMITTEE of CONCERNED CITIZENS was stopped from holding a Seminar on the then vexed issue of Sharia by the Nigerian Police Force just as about 14000 citizens who had gathered in a Stadium in Port Harcourt by the same Police Force because the State Commissioner of Police felt it was to be a gathering put together by the State Governor to spite the President. That was a forth night ago ! Coincidentally too, the Governors, that is the then Governor Ngige served during the Imperial reign of General Obasanjo & Governor Chibuike Amaechi is also serving at the same time with President Jonathan and the two Regimes are of the same Party -PDP, that has been in control at the Centre in Nigeria since 1999.
It is now very obvious and apparent that Nigeria is now being ruled by irreconcilable elements and strange bed-fellows & the serious Act of governance is mow jettisoned like a bad Cargo on the high seas for mundane and trivialities of contest for Power and relevance between PDP & the nPDP – same of the same !
People are tired of lies & double standard as they are tired of Poverty.
Most of our so-called leaders are filled with Self-righteousness & fake virtues but like misers that they are, they would not spend out of it for the benefit of the people.
“They have no more shame like a French CanCan dancer who let’s the unwary & gullible audience get a brief look at the capital, here & there, & at the last moment, the light fades off & the dancer runs off the stage with all the money in his hand & the capital intact, but elsewhere”. (Bertrand Russel in his Unpopular Essays)
N.B. This Essay was. Written & Published by THISDAY Newspaper of Saturday September 30, 2000 but slightly modified for the present times. It was then titled “Nothing to Celebrate”. What has changed since then, other than the Dramatis Personae ?
Mallam Moyo Jaji
Executive Secretary
Never Again Group (NAG)
Lagos, Nigeria.
30/9/13.

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