by Abba Mahmood
The most populous Muslim country in Africa, Nigeria, is gripped by endless crises. The incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan appears disinterested in addressing these pressing problems. His only concern seems to be to reward his co-religionists in the south ignoring the rest of the country and its traumatized people.
Thursday December 04, 2014, 08:53 EST
That Nigeria is going through one of its most trying times is well known. That Nigerians are losing confidence and patience is also clear; that the government is seen as incapable of doing anything about the social decay, political morass and economic malaise is also obvious.
At a time when people are looking for leaders, there are only officials. At a time when people are yearning for action, they have been asked to pray.
At a time when Nigerian territories are being taken over by terrorists and Nigerians are being killed daily, others are dancing and shouting “Power!” because they want to remain in power when there is no power.
But as Baba Garba would say, “it is just a matter of time.”
The Sunday Trust newspaper of November 30, 2014, carried a frightening story on page 10 about the Federal government awarding contracts worth N538 billion (niara, the Nigerian currency) in three months.
It gave a breakdown by geopolitical zones to bring out the glaring injustice. The south-south where the president comes from got a whopping N324.4 billion worth of contracts in those three months.
It was followed by the southwest, N74.6 billion; then north central, N19.9 billion; even the southeast that has been shouting PDP Power loudest got only N1.321 billion worth of contracts only in the same period.
The northeast got, wait for it, N367m contracts while the northwest, where the vice president and those he listed in Kano recently come from got nothing!
It is a matter of time.
Before assuming office, the president and all government officials swore to “do good to all manner of people, without fear or favour, affection or ill will”.
But, it is very obvious that the impression has been created in the minds of discerning public that there is fear of certain people, and that is why they are not even visited when calamity befalls them.
There is favour for certain people; that is why they got 80 percent of contracts awarded in three months without any shame.
It goes without saying that there is affection for some and ill will for others!
It is just a matter of time.
The current violent conflicts across the country are the cumulative effects of all the injustices and neglect various sections of the country have suffered over the years.
The great philosopher and social reformer who founded the Sokoto Caliphate, Shehu Usman Danfodio once wrote: “A kingdom can endure with justice even if there is disbelief (in God); but a kingdom cannot endure with injustice even if there is belief.”
Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin; where there is justice, peace will prevail and where there is peace definitely there is justice.
For, it is just a matter of time.
The situation is so pathetic now that Nigeria recently sponsored a resolution at the United Nations seeking to authorise Chad to send troops to help overcome the security challenges facing the country.
Nigeria is so diminished that its leadership is on the move, wait a minute, to Ndjamena, Chad, searching for peace there.
How are we sure that Chad has no hand in the Nigerian turmoil, a country whose president is a friend of the world acclaimed godfather of the Boko Haram insurgents as revealed by Dr. Steven Davis, the Australian, in public.
Can anyone imagine Presidents Obasanjo, Babangida or even late Yar’Adua going to Chad to seek help? Truth will eventually come out.
It is a just a matter of time.
Part of the unimaginative propaganda of the President’s information managers of recent days is to read out a list – Defence Minister, Chief of Defence Staff, NSA and Inspector General of Police, and say that they are all from the northern states and that they were not able to contain the insecurity.
Yes, all these people come from the northern states, but they are all appointees of the president. No one elected them to represent any constituency; the president appointed them and if they are found to be incompetent or incapable of effectively discharging their duties, why are they kept in office?
This thing is beyond propaganda. It is just a matter of time.
If all the appointees of President Jonathan in the security, defence, economic and other sectors of government have turned out to be failures, it only goes to show that President is a bad judge of character who is incapable of getting the right calibre of people to come and help him in the discharge of his executive functions.
No one cares to know where any Nigerian comes from as long as he/she can deliver on his or her mandate efficiently. Talents abound in every local government area across the country and the president ought to have chosen the best.
It is just a matter of time.
President Jonathan must remember that he is not the first southerner to be elected President of Nigeria. President Obasanjo was there before him but he was fair and just to all components of Nigeria in all his actions.
President Jonathan must also know that he is not the first Christian or “minority” to occupy the seat of Head of State of Nigeria. General Yakubo Gowon was there for nine years, during which even his deputy was Christian but no one complained or even remembered such things because he was fair and just to all and did not elevate religion in public affairs.
These great leaders were after issues of development and not ‘my brothers’.
It is just a matter of time.
Even during the civil war Nigeria was not as divided as it is now. Even during the worst military dictatorship Nigeria did not experience such wanton destruction of lives and property as now.
Even under the worst kleptomaniac regime Nigeria has never experienced such magnitude and scale of stealing and corruption as now. Throughout its history, Nigeria has never been as insecure and unsafe as it is now.
But, it is just a matter of time.
Logically we should be an agriculturally strong country. The reality is otherwise.
Logically we should be industrialised by now, given our natural resources, our human resources and our immense capacity for work; the reality is otherwise. Logically we should be enjoying a good standard of living in the sense of adequately feeding ourselves, clothing, housing, educating our children and living decently; the reality is otherwise.
The reality of our lives defies logic and explanation. It is a tragic paradox created by situations we could have avoided but, for some unexplained reason, we refused to.
It is just a matter of time and history is always on the side of the oppressed.