In this post, my friend Gabriel Eka gives 3 likely outcomes for every Nigerian as we move forward. He’s not far off the mark.
It will not matter whether you are poor, getting by or doing well. If you are not in the “cabal” and haven’t prepared fully for the fall of the empire, you will have to pick one of these 3 options for yourself: Exile, Refuge or Martyrdom.
Let me start by erasing the difference between rich, poor, Northern, Southern, Christian, Muslim, Local & Diaspora Nigerians…None of those things exist. We are all just Nigerians. Working for brighter tomorrows and a little more material comfort, loving our families and wanting what’s best for them , We take pride in our culture, our collective intelligence, flag and country. The one thing we all have in common and perhaps the most universal bond we share is our zest for life. Not happiness as some Indexes will try to show you…but a zest, an unquenchable desire to love and live life more abundantly. That is a Nigerian. That is how to identify us all no matter our perceived differences wherever we are found.
We are truly one great people under God, but alas we have lost our way.
I give a whole line to his majesty corruption, because he really deserves it. The monumental level of corruption we continue to uncover is truly mind blowing. You cannot begin to explain to non-Nigerians. They cannot fathom it.
The President has come out and openly said things along the lines of ‘there is a powerful cabal that has infiltrated all levels of my government…” and “ that bomb blasts are something we have to get used to in the country”. From about September, 2011 (roughly 100 days into the presidents new term) to January, 2012 nothing significant has happened to make Nigerians feel safer in their own country. In fact it is the opposite; there is a growing sense of apprehension as to what happens next.
Let me refer to this cabal and the organisation they run as “The Establishment”
We have been truly terrible to ourselves; we didn’t fix our own roads, provide electricity for ourselves, educate our own children right, make our airports presentable or even refine our own crude oil. When we have been given the chance, we didn’t vote for the best candidate, we are petty, tribal, arrogant, rash, impatient and then we hide it all behind the face of religion. Oh yes we’re all that and more.
The 7 deadly sins we had have been progressing-The envy we had has made us greedy, our greed has made us lust after even more, our lust has turned us gluttonous , in our gluttony we have become lazy, in our sloth we have become proud and now we will feel each other’s destructive wrath.
It will happen. There will be wrath.
There will be a clash between the corrupt and the just, the deceivers and the deceived, the misgoverned and the vagabonds in power. It will not be pleasant.
Yes the revolution will happen. In fact it is already on. From millions gathering @ Gani Fawehimi park in Lagos to say NO, to Nigerians refusing to be insulted by a minister’s late arrival in New York, to pockets of protest by Nigerians across the globe…something has snapped in the hearts of many Nigerians. We simply will not roll over and take it anymore.
But neither will the Establishment let us just take Nigeria from them.
In the words of Nuhu Ribadu, ‘if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back’. Without calling any specific names and tagging any one person corrupt or innocent-our political, economic, religious and social systems are broken and will only continue to imprison us in this vicious cycle of mediocrity and suffering.
There is a civil war/break up scenario that Nigerians don’t even want to mention or consider. But it’s there anyway. And we don’t seem to be doing anything to avert it; rather we’re rushing to it. The CIA report from a while ago fixed 2015 as the breakup date for this country. Considering the current president’s popularity, tensions in the North, Economic hardships, collective discontent and the upcoming general elections in the same year, it’s hard to objectively dismiss the argument or date.
Perhaps religion has insulated us from the harsh realities of just how bad things are for us in Nigeria. (I can’t speak for mosques as I haven’t attended service or prayers personally.) But perhaps churches have not disclosed the full bleak scenario to their members, but instead focused on the potential and amazing blessings of God. Yes Christians should “walk by faith and not by sight” but “faith without works is dead”.
But you also have to admit; using the same objective analysis this country could never have stayed together this long without divine intervention. But alas we find ourselves at the edge. Good luck cannot save us now.
The murderers called Boko Haram operating in the North clearly have a very sinister agenda to divide the country. I’m no terror expert, but whatever their evil plans are, they seem to be coming along nicely. Muslims and Northerners feel oppressed and misunderstood by Southerners and Christians who are beginning to believe all Muslims are terrorists. Christians and southerners fail to understand why the voices condemning terror are not louder in the Muslim/Northern community without also realising that their communities are under siege like the rest of the nation.
The economics of Nigeria is not any better; it’s harder to get or keep a job, open a business, get a loan or even buy petrol. I’m of the school of thought that there is no fuel subsidy and this deregulation drama has only strengthened my belief that there hasn’t been on for a lot longer than we even considered. The smoke and mirrors of NNPC and the petroleum industry are mind numbing. Revelations from customs that the nation has imported crude oil to refine into petrol in the Kaduna refinery, the minister of petroleum does not know how many litres of Petrol Nigeria actually consumes etc.
There are several National Assembly committees active at the moment to probe this and that, several ethnic and security concerns all across the nation, civil rights are being suppressed, soldiers prowl our streets, schools are seldom fully in session and life is very hard for Nigerians.
The Establishment seems to benefit from our suffering and takes no interest in our prosperity. It has its own rules, recruitment policies and alternate universe. Somehow Nigerians never seem to fit into the establishment’s world. You would assume the establishment would even consider electricity a good thing for itself and by so doing Nigerians would benefit a little. But NO-we live in different realities and we are stupid if we expect them to leave their happy bright planets and come to live in our dark sad one. Why fix electricity when they control the diesel/petrol importation into the country? Their generators can run 24hours it’s no big deal! While Nigerians struggle and scrounge for visas to visit countries (Nigerian citizens need visas to visit Kenya by the way-imagine that!) the establishment flies private jets and has houses and fat bank accounts in multiple countries.
These are the logical progression of facts:
The Establishment has NEVER and will NEVER have your best interests at heart. NOTHING will change. The culture of impunity and largesse will NOT stop. You will NEVER have steady electricity. Murtala Muhammed Intl. airport will ALWAYS fill you with sadness when you return to the country and Joy when you are leaving it, you will NEVER have equal opportunities to the next man who has a contact in the establishment. You and your children will NEVER get a top quality, seamless education outside of the Nigerian private sector. You will NEVER be safe from terror or crime in this country, Inflation will NEVER steady, Your prosperity will NEVER be a factor of your hardwork and effort, but luck and connections (if you’re lucky enough).
This article is just to clear your mind and set the record straight as to which options Nigerians have to break this inevitable cycle that will lead to our destruction as a nation.
For anyone who cares to listen, these are the 3 options facing every Nigerian in the near future.
OPTION 1. Run. Seek exile.
The ship is sinking, get out before the life boats finish. Get as far away from Nigeria as fast as possible. Not that we don’t already have a shady reputation internationally, but get out before the flood gates eventually burst. Find your way to a new country however you can, education, visa lottery, health, work permit. etc Just Run. I assure you, you won’t be the 1st Nigerian to be in Vladivostok, Russia or any other remote parts of the world you can think of.
It is not cheap but trust me, when things get ugly, to take a boat out of Nigeria will cost as much as a 1st class air ticket. It’s a worthy investment-just ask Rwandans, Somalis and Liberians about what it was like a few years back.
Get there legally, work hard, make a very good impression and be an ambassador for all the positive (and none of the negative) things Nigeria stands for. If you have to do odd jobs, degrading jobs, or even find a foreign husband or wife to fit into your new community-Do it. Whatever it takes!
You will miss home, very much so. But you will have a new home with a new set of challenges to face and be too busy to feel sorry for yourself. The same way stepping down honourably or accepting blame is not in our Nigerian nature, depression is not really Nigerian. The only caveat I will give here is “immigrate legally and don’t be a nuisance abroad” if you are deported this period, it will be truly miserable for you.
Remember to pray for your loved ones back home. You give them hope and are a source of light and Joy especially if you excel in your field.
Not living in Nigeria doesn’t make u any less Nigerian. And don’t let anyone make u feel or think otherwise. We share a common ancestry, well wishes for the country and zest for life that is unquenchable. Be the best you can be and make use of every opportunity denied you in your fatherland. Keep Nigeria in your heart.
OPTION 2. REFUGEE/ASYLUM
Again the ship is sinking, the Empire is burning down. I remember during the US Invasion of Iraq in 2002, the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammed Said al-Sahaf, the National spin-doctor was giving a speech on Iraqi TV (our NTA equivalent) about how Iraqi forces had fought and subdued American forces and they were not within 100 miles bla bla … Only 40 minutes later CNN greeted us with images of US tanks rolling in and setting up a command centre right in Baghdad Intl airport. The Bush administration aptly labelled him “comical Ali” and it would have been extremely funny if there wasn’t a war going on.
The Establishment is full of misinformation and half truths, they never say things as they are, and will NEVER accept responsibility when things go wrong on their watch. Expecting them to step aside or do things that will benefit Nigerians is futile. Remember they live in a different reality from the rest of us. We’ve seen the misinformation in Libya, Zimbabwe & Egypt. The establishment is highly skilled at the propaganda war. Little victories will be magnified and great defeats will be shrugged off. Every bank is perfect until the afternoon they suddenly change name or close shop.
We can seek refuge in the words of our pastors and govt officials that things will improve. There is the mathematical possibility that things do dramatically turn around and Nigeria takes her rightful place in the League of Nations and black race. Many people like me I’m sure, would be happy to be ridiculed and shamed for even considering otherwise. But please stick to the math, not the evidence for this outcome.
But then you can always give them the benefit of doubt if you choose. If for instance you support the deregulation of the oil industry at this time and are confident the Minister of Petroleum will know how much petrol Nigerians use/need to import daily and adjust figures accordingly perhaps there is hope.
Maybe they will fix electricity. Maybe 1,100 buses will significantly improve public transport across the country and make the increase in petrol price bearable. Maybe visibly corrupt Nigerians will be brought to justice and punished appropriately this year, maybe captured & escaped terrorists will go back to their cells without a fight, Maybe Jesus will come and fix Ore-Benin road for us.
If you have not heard about the Biafran war, I recommend you read Chimamanda Adichie’s- ‘Half of a yellow sun’ to get an idea what is really at stake here and what it’s like to be a refugee in your own country.
My warning here is that while you are giving the country Establishment/cabal the benefit of doubt, please look at your calendar; the year is 2012 and the country will be 52 years old in October. That is all.
OPTION 3. FIGHT. PREPARE FOR MARTYRDOM
In a chat with a group of friends once, someone asked “who’s face is printed on a N10 note?” after a few wrong attempts someone eventually answered “Alvan Ikoku!” this friend asked again “what did he do for Nigeria to get his face printed on our money?” mmm. Silence. We got around to ask a few older people but the best we got was “he was a teacher!”
In the struggle to come you may often feel you are fighting a losing battle; you will not be commended, congratulated, thanked, remembered or appreciated. You will make a fool of yourself, say and do indecent things, work yourself up, spend time, energy and resources proving points and standing for your rights even when it is easier to just walk away.
Nigeria is the Titanic right before it hits the iceberg, this is our last chance to steer us off our path of destruction and death.
The stakes are high. Too high to not fight with everything you’ve got. The enemy is in sight. Battle lines have been drawn, you either have our best interests at heart or you mean us harm. The time for being polite and respectful to our enemies is over. We must take a stand or become refugees in our own country subject to their whims and delights.
They will fight back; the establishment, they will cover up, hide and change form but we must expose them.
They will have laws passed that do not favour us, we will change them to laws that will work for us.
They will try to censor us, we will find new ways to speak and express ourselves.
They will give themselves an unfair advantage over us, but we must level the playing ground.
When they act with arrogance and impunity, we will check them and remind them that they are not bigger or more than us.
They will use fancy economics and political science-we will fight them with simple arithmetic and logic.
They will try to divide us by creating ethnic, religious and class sentiments. It is a LIE!, we all want to live life and live it more abundantly. We will fight them with our unity.
You must oppose them wherever you find them. If you are religious now is the time to cast and bind.
While we research what Alvan Ikoku stood for, one thing is clear-whatever his mission was it wasn’t to have his face printed on a N10 note. But somehow posterity and our nation chose to honour him.
No boxer goes into a fight knowing whether he will win or not, he goes in and lands as many punches on his opponent as possible. If he does enough damage, He will win.
Our opponent is the cabal. Start hitting. The stakes are our country. Posterity will decide who wins, your job is to hit hard.
Exile, refugee or Martyr
These are our options Nigeria. You can only pick one. Choose wisely and choose fast.
REDIRECTING OUR EFFORT TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
I look forward to any group or individual publishing a contact list of all our Senators and house of Representative members. The list should contain the NASS members state, 2 phone numbers, email addresses we can reach them on and get timely responses amongst other things . This comprehensive list should be made available in the dailies, online or at easily accessible locations like tax offices and local governments.
Kindly point us in the right direction if such a list already exists.
We voted them in and they answer to us. We must start to make demands on them directly and learn how to use our elected representatives work for our collective benefit not their own.
God bless Nigeria.
Gabriel Eka is an Entrepreneur and Business Consultant.