Mene Mene Tekel Upharson: A Handwriting on the Nigerian Wall.

The year was 539 BC. Of all the years that came and went in Babylon, this very year would go down in history as sadly memorable. It was the year that the historically acclaimed mysterious handwriting appeared on the wall in Babylon. King Belshazzar held a feast. Present were the nation’s greatest nobles, the king’s wives and concubines and so many other highly placed dignitaries.

Before this time, the fearsome Nebuchadnezzar, who is both Belshazzar’s ancestor and predecessor had conquered the nation of the Jewish People, slaughtered those he wished to be slaughtered, taken into exile those he wanted to and vandalized anything he deemed of interest. Among the things he, Nebuchadnezzar, pilfered were the sacred golden and silver goblets which Jewish people used only in the temple for divine worship.

As king Belshazzar sat, together with his honored guests in feast, euphoria of the extravagant merriments rose from the pleasures of sweet scented wines and choicest aromatic dishes. Thus, to further showcase , before his invited guests, of his absolute superior power over the Jews, their culture and religion, he ordered the gold and silver vessel taken from the Jewish people during Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest to be brought to him. And he drank wine with them, an act tantamount, not just to the desacredization of the Jewish religion, but also of their culture, essence, existence and nationality. While this very act of national and religious humiliation went on, a mysterious finger of a man suddenly appeared and wrote the following words on the wall of the palace: ’mene mene tekel upharson’. This word had been interpreted to mean ’numbered numbered, weighted, divided’. It was a bad sign of doom and national collapse. Unknown to King Belshazzar, while this feast went on, the almighty Persian army had already surrounded his kingdom to bring it down for the final time in history. Thus, the pride of Babylon and its glories would never at all time to come be the same again. Babylon fell!

Babylon fell because of her leaders. They were arrogant, insensitive and highly oppressive. Instead of devising sound strategy for advancing their nation. Leaders became irrationally hedonistic and blinded by a false sense of power and invincibility. Acting as men of sensual pleasure and not of seasoned ideological foresight. Government becomes a matter of amassing concubines and wealth and indulging in unprecedented promiscuity. But by the time the handwriting appeared on the wall, it was too late to make amends.

To bring this point home, one might ask the following questions: has Nigeria ever seen any warning signs, any handwriting pointing to a fatal fact in her existence? Yes, very obviously! Not one, not two. There has been so many mene, mene tekel upharsons clearly displaying on the wall of our national palace–the place where our often conceited leaders and insensitive oppressors invite there cohorts for exploitative feasts out of our common national reserve. Few years after independence, the first writing on the wall appeared. Nigeria was a historic mistake. The mistake of the British imperialists. The unity of country seemed irreconcilable. So many independent ethnic nations, completely different in origin, worldview and culture were forced into a single entity-an entity Chief Obafemi Awolowo would later remark, in his usual shrews but ridiculous factual undertone, as a “mere geographical space” As soon as the flag of independence was hoist in October 1, 1960, it became apparent that the vision of one indivisible nation under one stable government, following the nationalists struggles, was a sheer mirage of a fevered mind. Ethnic agitations and affiliations would soon override any reasonable national interest. A fierce civil war erupted. The Igbos and their allies fought for a separated nation of their own. But the Nigeria nation took arms against them and defeated them woefully in the battle of Nigeria-Biafra.

The war ended and Gowon initiated triple R program. But Nigeria would never remain the same any more. The deep troubling voice had been heard, ‘sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep’. the innocent sleep’. Trust no more! Nigeria does murder trust’, the innocent trust. Despite Gowon’s initiation of the infamous three Rs, national trust among the various regions of the country had disappeared.

The era of military invasion of politic was catastrophic. The army as we know is trained to kill and so the Nigerian army killed Nigeria. Nigeria was not a nation to develop, it was a nation to exploit and underdeveloped. Corruption, injustice and oppression became a national epidemic of no diagnostic remedy. People are shot extra judicially on the streets, market places and their homes by a scion of uncivilized barbarians called the military and the police. Kangaroo courts of military juntas were set and Nigerians languished therein. For any one who dared spoke out risks the horrific gulags known as the Nigerian prisons and its consequential end, death. And so does the abuses continue for several years, subjecting Nigerians, a nation of 140 Million to cowardice. Today, we have become a people who look but pretend not to see, the eat-shit-and -pretend-it-is-delicious nation. We accept unjust inhuman punishment as a divine will. This traits became so obvious in the Nigerian psyche that the famous legend, Fela Kuti described Nigerians in his legendary music as “suffering and smiling” people.

Was it really by the collective struggle that Nigeria was ones again set on the path of democracy. Not really, so many Nigerians were such drowsed with intimidation to engage in a sober arms or moral struggle against their last military monster, General Sani Abacha. As fortuity would dictate, Abacha died and Nigerian was restored to a somewhat infantile path to democracy. Still, the 1999 re-inception of democratic rule in Nigeria was more sick than meets the expectations of the Nigerians. Corruption was re-established in a very ‘democratic way’. Bribery was re-invented as a replacement over military victimization and assassination. And it came to pass that Obasanjo’s civilian regime experienced lots of ‘Ghana-must-go-sharing’ in their avowed process of ‘building the nation’.

Nigeria was most unstable in the eight years of OBJ’s civilian regime. The horrific tribal pogrom of the Tivs and the Jukuns, the northern epidemic of Islamic outrages reinforced by extreme oratories of fanatic Muslim clergies. The jihadist enthronement of Sharia Law above the National constitution, the Niger Delta guerrilla warlords and their threat that could fracture the fragile golden urn of the nations security. Then came the OPC with a phenomenon of absolute threats of violence and death. There was the Massob pendulum and the re-emergence of Biafran consciousness. All these were signs. But like King Belshazzar, who was highly puffed-off in arrogant, the kings of Nigeria dine on fine wines and dishes, with their honored cliques, wives and concubines, and has refused to notice the inscription, mene mene tekel upharson from the so many fingers pointing to an impending national doom.

Umaru Musa Yar’adua was imposed on Nigerians by the statues quo. As usual, the Nigerian people have swallowed the mess with a gulp of cowardice. The same president ever since assuming his unpopular reign, had been sickly and incompetent. Now he had vanished from his role without telling the Nigerian people, nor empowering the VP to function temporarily until he returns. And so Nigeria, a nation of 140 million people is suspended indeterminately without a presidential administration. In the absence of Mr. Umaru Yar’adua, a Nigerian Muslim fanatically groomed in acts of terrorism attempted to carry out an attack on the US soil. A strong speech from Umaru Yar’adua, denouncing Abdulmutalab, would have made a different in the world. But how can this be when Nigeria currently has no leader. Now the wind is blowing and the feathers of a hen can no longer conceal her anus. Nigeria is once more exposed to the world. Not just as one of the most corrupt nations on earth, but one of the nations that serves as a brooding ground for international terrorists. Mene mene tekel oio9! The signs are once more here for those who can interpret it.

What handwriting are on the wall of Nigeria? I would say, apparent collapse of the most populous black nation on earth. Sometime ago, the United States Intelligence Agency read a very controversial handwriting on the wall of the Nigeria nation. They predicted, after factoring in so many logistics, that Nigerian would disintegrate, or rather become a failed state in few years time. These outraged Nigerians. It was considered insult to our national pride. Our leaders, dinning and winning with our resources in the company of their wives and concubines, failed to take this warning seriously. They maintain, Nigeria is too big to fail. We are the super-power of Africa and the black race. We are the most populous black nation on earth. We are the giant of Africa. We can never disintegrate. And so on and so forth.

Looking at Nigeria today, one would ask: was Ojukwu right and Gowon wrong? Or was Gowon right and Ojukwu wrong? This question had often triggered a situation of tribal hankering and bantering. And thus, generates a failure to a proper intellectual discuss on the very problem living on the center of our national essence. To answer the above question, objectivity based on realistic situation on the ground provides a more suitable prospect. Nigeria fought for unity, yet after she worn the war, she still remains ethnically and regionally divided in a very existential way. I do not agitate for the break-up of country alongside ethic camps. Rather, I would like anyone who has a strong ideological and moral point of view on how to affect a stern detribalization of the lingering Nigerian pathological tribal schism via socio-political, economic and educational structures in a way that could facilitate a more just and equitable distribution of common resources to explain to us. But in the effect that such solution points to an honest examination of the very foundation of independence, a second Ojukwu is sure to emerge. And thus another war is bound to explode.

As I watch events unfold in Nigeria, I have become aware of a new trend in the current Nigeria media. Writers and commentators are becoming more and more reluctant to state with inextinguishable boldness that Nigeria is the giant of Africa. We have always argued, did we not help fight and defeat apartheid? We also sent out troops to Darfur, Sierra Loene and the Liberia and so on and so forth. Those pride of being a Nigeria, the stabilizer of some African regions and the unmatched giant of Africa is gradually giving way to a new skepticism and re-examination. We are waking up to the awareness that Nigerian might be a failed state unless something is done here and now to rescue her. If Barack Obama, the president of the United State of America could abandon Nigeria in his first African visit, what diplomatic and economic signal does that sent to the rest of the world about Nigeria.

There is something more fearsome than the split of Nigeria alongside tribal nations to form independent government. And that is, the idea of a ‘failed state’. To capture this, we would need to borrow a vivid description from an English thinker, Thomas Hobbes. His theory of a lawless society expressed in Leviathan states thus, in a state of nature (which Nigeria might fall into if care is not taken) ‘life is nasty, brutish and short’. This captures what Nigeria as a failed state might look like. An Igbo proverb states that a house does not fall and leaves the pillars.

Currently, in Nigeria, the police force is too weak to stem the tide of kidnapping, armed rubbery and the brutal killing of innocent people. Corruption seems untamable. Politics is merely an arena for uncivilized thugs and brigands. Government cannot provide social amenities and services. Nigerian educational system seems to tailspin to a tragic crash. Cities are congested with jobless, desperate and hopeless citizens. Infrastructural development give strong credence to our rapid social retrogression and backwardness. The law court is lacks the trustworthy and the reliability as the last resort of a common man and woman. There is rapid population explosion, poverty and disease without any reasonable government bureaucratic program to contain such. Lack of stable power supply. Foreign companies are reluctant to make Nigeria an investment ground. This is because Nigeria breads corruption and criminality.

These are all signs on the wall. The sign; mene mene tekel is clearly on the wall of Nigeria in the full view of not only the Nigerian people but the entire world. If Nigeria do not rise up with a sense of urgent reformative revolution now, her days are numbers as shown in the book of Daniel Chapter 5. A failure of Nigeria is endemic to the neighboring African regions.


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