By CHIEF MIKE OZEKHOME, SAN, OFR, Ph.D.
President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be the Roman Emperor Nero of Nigeria. They are two of a kind. The same six and half a dozen. He fiddles while Nigeria burns. It is quite clear now that Nigeria is not working. The faultlines are widening and deepening on a daily basis.
Our federalism has been unitarised. Can someone (Yinka Odumlakin and Innocent Chukwuma who just transited) help us here by waking up Lord Lugard from his grave, shake him up vigorously, and ask him the all important question of why he forcefully rail-roaded and welded unwilling, disparate, and virtually mutually exclusive peoples and ethnic Nationalities who were already used to their sovereignty and independence in their various geographical and ethnic domains, into one unworking and unworkable contraption called Nigeria, on January 1, 1914? Yinka and Innocent (now in the spirit world), help us torment Lugard till he provides reasonable and cogent answer.
There is today anger, anguish, blood, sorrow, pains, pangs everywhere. Even those who had initially ethnicised, parochialised, nopotised, linguisticalized, religionised and tribalised Nigerians’ cry for redemption have now backslided and retraced their ignoble steps.
The ruling party hawks, the Buhari supremacists, the pretenders,fawnwers, bootleggers, bootlickers, money bags, sycophants, government contractors, power and influence purveyors and historical revisionists are now suddenly silent, gaping, and wallowing in misery.
They are undecided about how and where to hide their primitive acquisitions, loots and our stolen common patrimony. Because the chicken has finally come home to roost. The rich also now cries. Even long time pioneer ardent critics (like me) of this clueless, rudderless,compassless and anti-people government of nepotism, favouritism, prebendalism, cronyism, religiosity, corruption and tribalism, are now being vindicated on a daily basis. Nigeria has become a huge joke, a country of one scandal per day.
There is supposed to be a President, an Executive President for that matter. But, he is glaringly missing in action, cocooned away in Aso Villa from his electors and Nigerian citizens. He is like pupa and larva, refusing to transit to caterpillar and then to adulthood. Buhari’s capacity for governance has been tested.
But, Buhari has woefully and roundly failed Nigeria and Nigerians. Boko haram insurgents have since taken over large swaths of lands in Niger, Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, Yobe, Bauchi, Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Taraba, Adamawa, and other northern states, comfortably planting their blood-stained flags of sovereignty and sozereignty on the very soil of states and local government areas of a supposedly independent nation.
Having overrun the entire Northern hemisphere, the Boko haram, have since turned the South East and South West zones into their new theatres and odeons of deadly operations, spreading and spilling blood, carnage, rape, death, melancholy, poverty and conquest. Nigeria is today a sprawling field of fresh and caked blood.
They even now collect taxes, rates, and give identity cards and passes to enable indigenes enter and exit from their own homes and farms which they control. Governors who desire to reach Mr President to complain and ask for succour and respite are stone-walled, totally ignored and ignominiouslyleft to lick their oozing wounds.
They are forced to preside over solemn dirges and burial ceremonies of their hopeless and hapless citizens. Chaos and anarchy reign supreme. Nigeria is fast disintegrating. She now possesses all the ingredients and signs of a FAILED STATE. There is absolutely no leadership, no governance; no one is in charge at all.
We are fast drifting to the precipice. Inexorably. Asphixiatingly. Bleedingly. There may be no country called Nigeria in the foreseeable future if someone does not wake up President Buhari from his deep slumber and self-denial. The man is recluse, taciturn and cocooned in his world of illusion and delusion. He is impervious to Nigerians’ cries and gnashing of teeth. Buhari relishes it.
But, hiding behind a finger as he is currently doing in the wishful thinking that he will one day wake up and suddenly discover that the insecurity challenges have vanished into thin air, is no option at all. He needs to urgently wake up to his call of duty, walk the talk of his ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGN PROMISES and think outside the box. AN IMMEDIATE DECLARATION OF A NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY ON INSECURITY MUST BE ACTIVATED NOW. Otherwise, Nigeria may be consigned to the vehicle of historical oblivion or dustbin of history. The clock is ticking very fast. There was a country!!! (Thank you sir, Chinua Achebe).
Does President Buhari want to be remembered as the Nero of Nigeria? PMB, Let me refresh your memory sir, because I know none of your handlers or Advisers will dare tell you the truth. They only genuflect, kneel, bow, prostrate and roll before you on their obsequious tommies. They fondly call you “Baba”. Let me tell you about Nero sir. Nero was the 5th Emperor of Rome. He was proclaimed Emperor Nero (AD 54) at the age of a mere 17.
Nero, sir, is a metaphor employed to deprecate the unconscionable acts of a person who engages in trivial or irresponsible past times in an otherwise state of emergency. The story has it that Nero was infamous for his impulsiveness, tyranny and persecution of Christians.
He even murdered his own mother. There was a great raging fire which started in the merchant shops around Rome’s chariot’s stadium (“Cirus Maximus”), on July 9. The fire burned for 9 days, destroying two-thirds of Rome. Emperor Nero, who was said to be idling away in his villa in Antium (35 miles away), was said to have blamed the fire devastation on the Christian community.
He therefore initiated the Roman Empire’s first persecution of Christians. Some pundits even suggested that Nero had deliberately ordered the fire so as to clear space for a new sprawling palace. Sir, do not let yourself be remembered like Nero. Please sir, avoid it.
Whatever be the case, I cannot differentiate between Nero and Buhari; or between Nigeria and the Rome of AD 54. Or, can you?