For about a week now, I have been reflecting on my theme post to mark Nigeria’s 49th Independence Anniversary celebration. I was caught between painting a gloomy picture of the present circumstances in Nigeria (which would be a true picture anyway) and sharing hope. Hope of a better Nigeria. It turns out I can do both but I won’t do it in my own words. I would share the content of others, with you. As you read the blog post below, remember to read a report of the positive changes going on in Lagos State, Nigeria.
The current edition of TELL magazine caught my eye at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on Tuesday. The cover story was apt: NIGERIA, THE MAKING OF A FAILED STATE. Don’t get it wrong. I do not know of any more credible news magazine in Nigeria. TELL magazine is simply the best. They reported accurately, courageously and persistently even during the dark days of General Sani Abacha. The arbitrary arrest and detention of their leading editors by General Abacha’s evil regime did not scare them into oblivion. They are still around and stronger than before, sharing the candid analysis of Nigerians in relation to the news of the day. In summary, the words of TELL should be taken seriously because they are on the side of the truth.
Against this background, I share with you the editorial of the current edition of TELL news magazine:
To Nigeria’s band of lotus eaters, Adebayo Williams, a former university don, writer and columnist, must have put the nation’s state of affairs rather apocalyptically when he wrote his The Road to Kigali some years back. In the seminal piece, Williams had talked about the possibility of Nigeria going the way of Rwanda, the East African nation, with Kigali as capital, that descended into a huge chaos leading to ethnic killings and the near total destruction of the country. That was at a time that Nigeria was under the vice grip of military dictatorship led by officers from only one section of the country, among the many other ills that plagued the country. With the coming of civil rule under former president Olusegun Obasanjo and to the extent that the elections of 1999 were largely inclusive and participatory, the nation moved away, at least somewhat, from the prospect of that Armageddon.
However, 10 years into the democratic journey, we seem to have returned to the tortorous road to Kigali, with the possiblitiy of becoming a failed state. Today, the votes of the good people of Nigeria no longer count, as there is massive rigging of elections accompanied by violence. Corruption is a worsening nightmare. Many plagues, ranging from infrastructural decay to poor internal security occasioned by militancy in the Niger Delta and kidnapping of people for ranson stare the nation in the face. And across the land, the rising tide of armed roberry and of ungovernamble asssasinations accentuates the grim realisation that House Nigeria is in trouble.
The leadership of the country is not just intept, it appears clueless as to how to lift this highly endowed nation from the morass of corruptionm want, poverty and visionlessness. And much of it has to do, perhaps, with the limited world view, lack of experience as well as the absense of sheer grit and determination on the part of the occupant of the driver’s seat, President Umaru Yar’Adua. Now, Nigerians are waking up to the realisation that he may have been ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the job besides, unfortunately, his ill-health being a major cog in the drive for urgent national development.
The Editorial Board, for some time now, has been on the watch, paging the shrinking fortunes of the nation, especially in the last 30 months or so. As the 49th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence comes up, the unanimous decision of the board is that this week’s cover story should capture how our ship of state seems ever so drawn to the loadstone rock of self-implosion. The cover story which we call Nigeria: The Making of a Failed State is presented with the hope and prayer that the authorities of our time will rise up to reverse the perilous trend for good.
You should get your own copy of the current edition of TELL, for full analysis on the current state of affairs in Nigeria, as well as a close look at the personal style of leadership of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.