Those that parade themselves as true nationalist and patriot understand that there is no price too high ( and I add: nor low) to pay for the survival of the peace, stability and progress of their country.” — The words of a great patriot and concerned Nigerian citizen.
WHAT IS CHANGE? Attention, innovation, transformation, modification, mutation, metamorphosis, TRANSFORMATION, difference, revolution, transition, variety, departure, novelty, adapt, adjust, alter, be converted, be inconstant, be irresolute, convert, deviate, displace, diverge, evolve, exchange, give in, make over, remark, re— organise, subrogate, transubstaintiate, turn from, turn into, vary, recondition. All these words and phrases mentioned above are synonyms of the word, 'change'.
The word, 'change', on its own is meaningless, void, vague, incomplete and has no effect nor meaning whatsoever unless it is well 'defined' and 'applied' within a context. Failure to give direction to the term, 'change', will metamorphose into a devastating and near-irredeemable state of affairs.
For the purpose of this piece and within the context of same, I will like to give the definition of the word, 'change', as provided by the Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary, at page 232 as: (1) the state of becoming different; (2) the movement from one state to another; (3) to tow another direction; (4) to replace one thing with another; (4) to exchange position; (5) to put on a different ot clean clothe; (6) the exchange of goods/item for another…
SENTIENT PROVENANCE FACE AND PHASE OF CHANGE
The first sentient of the 'change' yodel by the 'Amok People's Coven' (APC), used in bewitching, if not deceiving gullible and unsuspecting Nigerians, precedes 1983 — sequel to Shagari's Government. And its second phase and face of it(sic) came as an aping of the President Goodluck's enabling trademark for performance— transformation[al] agenda. In order words, this deceitful jinx called 'change' did not start today— it was what compelled, informed and saw the overthrowing of the Shehu Shagari democratic Government.
The self styled regime of General Buhari that found its ugly way to power (December 31st, 1983), was full of repugnant hubris that desecrated the rule of law and sanctity of humanity. He came to power because he believed that Shagari's Government was 'corrupt', and that he had the 'magic wand' to kill and bury 'corruption. For all intent and purposes, if one needs to be fair without any attempt to distort history, Shagari inherited from the military a Government and its institutions infested with cancerous corruption.
It is on record that the military ruled Nigeria for an uninterrupted period of thirteen years before returning power to civilians— January 1966 – October 1979.
It safe to state that based on Nigeria's political history, that Shagari was handed a sick Government and corruption ridden institutions on a democratic platform that was going to take years to fix. I say so because amongst the demerits of democracy, to put laymanly, are the issues of (1) inability to meet emergencies — unlike the military junta where people are ordered around, rights abused and orders given against the backdrop of due process; (2) it is a system of Government that is punctuated by [legal] processes that makes the institutions difficult to operate, even though it appears simple to ride on; (3) as time evolves, the troubles, challenges, corrupt infested industries and institutions evolve too, making it very difficult to operate.
THE BASTARDISATION OF NIGERIA, ITS ECONOMY AND NIGERIANS
What can be said to be the decline of Nigeria's once prosperous nation began under the military rule. Nigeria fell into economic adversity first, in 1978. That was under the military regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (as of that time, he was a Lt-General). It was the self acclaimed 'political hero', Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), that pragmatically brought 'austerity' to Nigeria. No one can dispute the fact that that is one of the achievements of Obasanjo (sic).
Again, the gross and brash 'neglect' of the non-oil sector took place under the military regime. This is contrary to the lies the Amok People's Coven (APC), has been selling to, and feeding gullible, unsuspecting and passively undecided Nigerians with— that the Goodluck is focusing on the oil sector alone— that is not correct— the reverse has been the case as it is on record that the Jonathan led administration has worked assiduously to ensure the diversification of Nigeria's economy is guaranteed.
By the time Yakubu Gowon left office, Nigeria which used to be a country that produced cocoa, groundnut, rubber, palm oil et al, started 'importing' same product it produced. It was in the light of the aforesaid that the Olusegun Obasanjo's 'Operation Feed the Nation' programme was sarcastically dubbed, OPERATION FINISH THE NAIRA. Even before 1979, Nigeria had already had institutions that were not institutions in the actual sense, but systems that empowered corruption.
YOU ARE KNOWN BEYOND THYSELF
Every past and present warlike spartan (military personnel) alive, understands the average Nigerian better — how s/he thinks and appreciates issues. Sad to aver that Nigerians are yet to embrace the fact that, the knowledge they possess about "those they call their leaders, messiah, saint and hero", is most times fictitious, unfounded and misleading. The average Nigerian places emphasis on sentiments as against logic. Interestingly and comically, the bog-standard Nigerian suffers from an acute partial dementia. If we truly appreciate who and what our leaders are, then, we would not be rooting for the same infernal Buhari whose exit out of power was celebrated, because the people believed it was an end to their misery, suffering, agony, oppression and suppression. Alas! We have forgotten. Today, the Buhari charted before Nigerians is a man adjudged to be a saint. The simple minded Nigerians are buying into it this sham. Strange!
BUHARI AND THE FALLACY OF CHANGE
Buhari truncated and lopped the very democratic institution he is fraudulently trying to benefit from today. I will not mention the fact that he is doing so on the footing of impunity. More disturbing is that his followers see nothing with it. Anyway, back to the matter — all of a sudden we are now acting like a people whose memory have been obliterated— that this same 'change' blindly clamoured for today, precedes, precisely on the 31st of December, 1983. It was a disaster! To put the record straight, the documentary run on Buhari, as aired by the African Independent Television (AIT) is a child's play compared to what really transpired then.
Buhari, being a man from the past with a compromised mindset, with half or zero education, ran a Government where the presentation of manifesto for endorsement was absent, the permission for a fiat was void, and the consent of the people on policies that concerned them was not put into due consideration. Whereas in a full fleshed democratic setting, as we have today, non of the aforementioned processes can be avoided nor down played. Even the executivitorial powers of the President is with limitation (see sections 1(1)(2)(3); 4, 6, 81(1) 80(3) Constitution Of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999).
We are yet to come in terms with the fact that, this is a democratic dispensation. The military days are gone and gone for good. Unsurprisingly and more interesting, we are agreed that, the Buhari that is projected today is still the same Buhari of 1983 — just that he is completely intellectually incapacitated owing to zero education— same face, same ideology, same ungodly values, warped frame of mind, and the same person in all inglorious ramifications.
For all intent and purposes, it is on record that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, inherited a corrupt infested Government and system that will take years to repair. Again, when Shagari assumed office, the Nigeria he met was wired to survive on corruption. In order words, Shagari inherited a Government that was already shattered by corrupt individuals and institutions, of which fixing, will take years to repair. It was something that was to take at least 10 years or more. Change in Government means change in ideology.
This is to probe the, 'I will fight corruption mantra', as it holds no water; similarly, the institutions Mr President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan met , was so technically corrupt that one will say 'corruption was the bread winner of the Nigerian system. It took the wisdom of Mr President to have unravelled the fertiliser and pension scam. That is unprecedented!
WHAT CHANGE WHEN BUHARI WAS IN POWER
It is safe to state that when Buhari truncated the Shagari led democratic Government, he became the very evil he removed. General Buhari came to power through the back door, and these were the programmes he outlined to embark on, to summarily put:
1. To give the economy a new impetus and better sense of direction;
2. Prosecution of 'perceived' corrupt officials and their agents;
3. Importation of foodstuffs;
4. Africa as the centre piece of Nigeria's foreign policy;
5. The military will be given high priority; and
6. Persons of upright standing should not be perturbed.
Sad to say that none of programmes highlighted above was achieved. None! Nigerians became more miserable than how Buhari met them. Ditto Nigeria.QUESTIONS TO END THE READ:
1. What were those things that propelled Buhari to overthrow Shagari's democratic Government?
2. Whether or not the reasons in (1) were squarely and fairly addressed?
3. Whether or not Nigeria and Nigerians fared well under Buhari's regime?
4. Whether or not Buhari achieved anything in the following sectors to wit: education, economy, infrastructure, inland water ways, ports, agriculture, railway, aviation, armed forces, monetary policies, industries, oil and gas et al?
5. What was the reaction of Nigerians when Buhari's Government was overthrown?
6. Was there in existence, a clear cut difference between Shagari's Government and Buhari's in terms of the economy, state of the nation and corruption?
These questions and many more shall be asked in part 2 of this series.