When I was growing as a young man I was fascinated by the hair style of Albert Einstein the great German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity, but he also made important contributions to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics. My fascination was not about his contribution to science but the bushy hair style he kept.
Back home Professor Soyinka hairstyle also gives some discomfort not because I dislike him as a person but for the same hair style he keeps. These are great men, naturally gifted, and have contributed immensely to science and literature. They are role models of our generation.
I hold both of them in high esteem, I expected them to show class, finesse and decency relative to the way society looks up to them.
My concern with their hairstyle arose from my up bringing, my dad always ensured I keep a clean and decent hairstyle. Each time I come across someone with weird hairstyle I tend to think something must be wrong but these are men of great minds. Why would they have this public outlook. Is it a way of telling the public the thoughts going on in their heads or is it hallmark sign of geniuses?
I know the head is the center of every human activity so I presume they are thinking too much as a result the hair sprouts in all directions.
I lived with this conflict for a while until recently when I started thinking about Nigeria. I became so engrossed and worried. For every problem that came to mind the solution itself becomes a problem. In my consternation about this nation endowed by God to be great but squandered by it’s leaders. I noticed my hair is becoming in un kept.
Think of any field of human endeavor there is a Nigerian. They are not just their by accident they earned it and excel in whatever endeavor they put their minds.
Continuing with my deep self reflection and thinking to find answer (s) to the woes we found ourselves as a people and nation.
The nation of the Balewas, Azikwes, Awolowos Sardauna great men who started to put nation on the path of honour and greatness but their aspirations were truncated by a rude coup.
A nation endowed with abundant wealth and great people yet limping and crying for help. Nigeria has everything but leadership.
In literature we have the likes of the Sonyinka and Achibes who have won laurels in literature. Nigerians are parts of technicians in NASA, We had world greatest mathematicians.
The highest number of decorated military generals, We use to have the finest, honest and greatest politicians the Balewa, Azkiwe, Akintola, Awolowo Waziri Ibrahims Aminu Kano but they killed them before we learn the art of politics Some were not killed but they died with their dreams for a better Nigeria unfulfilled.
In business we have the Dangotes, Adenugas, who are walking shoulder to shoulder with the western capitalist industrialist.
In bureaucracy we had people like Alison Ayida, Liman Ciroma so many to mention. We have the best national policies crafted by men in all most every fields even though they remain on the shelves or in government safes across the country.
We use to have the best Universities, the great ABU, Uni-Ibadan Unilag with bourgeoning awesome research centers who’s works remain un recognized and un- patented.
Great clergy men like the Dan-fodios, kukah, Jafar fantastic men of God.
The great Empires of the Kanem Bornu, the Oduduas yet we are at the bottom of ladder in spite of our resourcefulness.
These are the weird thoughts going in my brain hoping I do not develop sprouting hairs even though I am not a genius in any way.
Buried in this reflection until when my relative comfort in the history of our past was cut short when issues such corruption, religion, tribalism, strong center, weak periphery, restructuring, geo- politics, leadership deficit and elite contraptions all designed for the single purpose to keep looting the nation dry interrupted my hallucinations.
The Honourable men never speak again, the society has been silenced and enslaved afraid of the backlash that may follow if they speak. Everything is turned upside down. A nation between devil and deep blue sea.
Only the arrogant, the fire eaters, the corrupt and the indecent amongst us have taken over the affairs of the nation. They talk to us with contempt from both sides of their mouth, calling us names taking decisions without recourse to public decency and morality. They are not civil in their manners, conduct and deeds. They behave like slaves masters. Shifting goals on almost everything they say. They are not afraid they would come back to us for another mandate because they can buy the votes, elections are mere rituals that must come every four years and they have stolen the treasures dry to buy their way.Enjoying the spoils of power, getting rich by the day while the remaining of us wallow in abject poverty, in security and trepidations not knowing what tomorrow may bring.
They wine and dine buying alternative citizenship of other countries planning to take refuge in case the bubble burst. They don’t care whether the common wealth would hold or whether the ship will berth or sink.
The Nigerian situation is now analogous to a situation where we have with open eyes agreed to be on a ship where the captains and the crew members have withdrawn from the ship in mid-Atlantic. Taken seats in their comfortable homes looking from their glass houses whether the ship will reach the coastline or sink. The occupants of the abandoned ship know what is going on but are afraid and have chosen to wait for nature to rescue them from the tides and impending Armageddon.
If other countries much smaller with little resources can get their acts right and we are envious of them, why not us with massive resources bestowed to us by nature?
Rwanda went through a bitter civil war just like Nigeria.They experienced one of the worst genocide on the continent, landlocked and poor (then) but through visionary leadership, they have come out of it a better country. No one calls himself a tutsi or whatever but Rwandans.
But here we are talking about our ancestral land, tribalism, grazing land as if these will be the panacea to our problems as a nation. With our leaders descipating a lot of energy because they want to clinging to power playing the local champions.
Annoyingly, when the accident that took the life of Chief of Army Staff and some military officers some people in the southeast and southwest jubilated their comments on social was saddening and clumsy. They were thinking only Hausa-Fulani and their northern brothers perished, when the list of those that died was released, five of the victims were officers from the Odudua decent, the jubilation stopped burrying their heads in the sand with shame and regrets.
This is how irresponsible we can get to all in the agitation for the demand of power. A position every Nigeria have the right to aspire to on merit not through tribal, regional or religious persuations. Abiola won the presidential election though truncated by the military but it wasnt the first government in the country that was dismissed and taken over by the military?
I was encouraged by the statement former President Jonathan by the speech he gave in the US. His statements were bold and courageous. One of the high point was he said; “The current structure of the proposed nation, as shown in the map earlier embedded, favour Igbos with more states. Urhobo has one, Efik-Ibibio has two, Itsekiri has none, etc. How will this be addressed? Certainly, every ethnic nationality will want adequate representation and so the structure on that map will never work”
As a nation we have gone through several experimental methods of governance and types of leadership but they failed us. Do we now need to bring the geniuses to lead us might be they can make the difference?
When the British came they met some of the communities with established system of administration which was thriving but they tinkered with it introduced indirect rule which served their purposes.
On the attainment of Independence the Nigeria government adopted the parliamentary system which could have worked for us. It would have gotten rid of the parasitic politicians who cannot win elections in wards now eating fat on us parading as Ministers and the likes talking down on us likes slaves, thieving without remorse.
The military suddenly intervened and continued with their unitary type of dictatorship model. When they decided to handover power they planted the Yankee costly American bi -cameral system which has become an albatross to our growth and development as a nation.
For the better part of our independent political live as a nation we have experimented Feudalism to some extent, Colonialism, parliamentary, Military Dictatorship, American bicameral style governance all have failed us even though each have succeeded in one society or the other. “What is wrong with us”?
I started this discourse with the achievements of the geniuses of our times. Nigeria have plenty of them thinking might be they could be the panacea to our leadership deficit and woes.
But as I progressed with this article, I realised the experiences we had with the egg- head Professors have their fair of the blame. They have turned the institution that organize elections which produces our political heads as their fiefdom. Their performances to say the least was dismal and disappointing. Our University have degenerated to their current positions because of their mal- administration and crass pilferage of resources. They collaborated with political class to bring us to where we today. They cannot provide the leadership the country is yearning for.
The present crop of political class have shown they have run out of ideas and have nothing left to offer the country but their in satiable greed to cling to power so that they can continues with the primitive accumulation of massive wealth they no longer need and cannot use but stuff them unthinkable places to rot.
They have messed us as a people and country, once in power they become masters in their rights. They detach themselves from reality and the society they govern, acting as demi-gods, arrogant, selfish and kleptomaniacs. They behave worst then dictators. There is nothing civil about them. They don’t listen to anyone, in fact they have abrogated to themselves absolute rights and the power how society must function. They have become masters instead of servants to the people, thieving all over the place, using all draconian laws to keep the society in check and whittling the power of the people to organise themselves. How long can this continue?
We need to rethink the world is not waiting for us. We are being laughed at all over the place. We must not continue to dare nature. He is always on the side of the oppressed.
Finally, in the absence of a home grown system, vissionary leaders that can pull us out of the woods, I suggest we must go back to drawing board or re-adopt the parliamentary system, the American model has failed us. It is over-bloated and too expensive, our economy can not support it any longer. We must not allow God to be angry with us the consequences can be catastrophic.