“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Who is the Nigerian that is not frustrated that “Nigeria should be producing upwards of 3m barrels a day, contributing to global energy security and using its gas reserves to power an industrial revolution at home, instead, it is Angola, with a third of the reserves that has taken over as Africa’s leading oil producer”.
Yes, who does not smell murder that “A few, powerful Nigerians profit from the status quo. Even as it becomes less and less viable, they are clinging on whiles the long-suffering Nigerian wallows in poverty?
Nigerians are as fed up and frustrated as they have ever been with any government: Mallam Umaru Yar’Adua’s inability as President to take quick decisions, on even minor matters, caused the entire machinery of government to grind almost to halt from the day he moved into Aso Rock.
But make no mistake, it is not just Yar’Adua; the problem is not Yar’adua per se. We thought no one will be worse than Babangida, until we got Abacha; After Abacha, we heaved a sigh of relief and said: Never Again! But lo and behold, Obasanjo seemed worse. And now, many believe even Obasanjo is better that Yar’Adua.
Despite the corruption and abuse of power that characterised his government, some Nigerians have started to long for former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s decisive, albeit strong-arm tactics. After Yar’Adua, who knows which plunderer will be next?
The entire Nigerian structure is rubbish; the system is killing us, Nigerians are dying.
Nigerians are tired of reading everyday about how billions are stolen everyday. All the leaders we had are crooks and thieves.
Just Yesterday, the National Economic Council (NEC) approved that $2 billion be shared among the three tiers of government from the Excess Crude Account (ECA); Of the $4.5 billion that had accrued to the account, a decision was taken to share $2 billion out of it, while the balance of $2.5 billion would be returned to the reserves.
The Nigeria Govt Earned N2.475 Trillion From Excess Crude in 2008. The entire amount has since been shared by the three tiers of government. Of the amount, N1.475 trillion was shared among the three tiers of government following earlier agreement between them that any amount above N1trillion or 80 per cent should be shared while only 20 per cent is saved.
These largesse are apart and different from the regular accrual to the Federation Account!
We ask: WHERE HAVE ALL THIS MONEY GONE?
Click here to read for yourself the faces of our corrupt leaders. Scroll down and see them one by one. Read carefully and see the amount of money they have amassed for themselves.
Must we keep silent until they turn the entire country into their private estate? Must we allow them to Nigeria to turn Nigeria into Mexico, where the wide disparity in the distribution of wealth have spawned unending violence, drug violence and murder.
This is what they are turning Nigeria into, parcelling out the country among themselves. Don’t listen when they pretend they are fighting one another, it’s a game, playing with our nation, playing with our future.
Take the Niger Delta for example; do you imagine they are really serious about finding a solution? NO. One politician told me: “My brother, don’t bother yourself, it is a game they are playing. They all know the solution, but they are not interested in a solution, it is all a game”.
A revolution is needed in Nigeria, but not a bloody revolution. One of the most ridiculous comments I get on my website and on my Facebook regularly is: God will punish them one day!
My friends, God will NOT punish them. Your country, your future is in your hands, stop waiting for God.
Another ridiculous comment is waiting for “our own JJ Rawlings”; NO! That is indirectly inviting another military coup- yes that is what it is, all those advocating a bloody revolution are just cowards that refuse to acknowledge that they are indeed wishing for a military coup. We must be very careful of what we wish for, lest it come back to haunt us! The events of 1993 is enough warning!
Obama also said: “Make no mistake: history is on the side of these brave Africans and not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power”. He then added: “Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions.”
Yes, we don’t need a JJ Rawlins to save Nigeria – we don’t need another military leader, another General Ibrahim Babangida, General Sani Abacha, and Ft. Lt. Rawlings of Ghana, Colonel Muammar Ghadaffi of Libya or General Olusegun Obasanjo.
What were these men’s records? These brutally suppressed their people; looted the economy; entrenched dictatorship; destroyed the moral fabrics of the nation, militarized the populace and sought to perpetuate themselves in power even as their praise singers hailed them as wise and visionary leaders.
We don’t even need a bloody revolution!
Lesson from Philipines
In the mid-1980’s a popular movement sprang up to oust the corrupt Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. What followed was an amazing example of non-violent struggle as hundreds of thousands of ordinary Filipinos took to the streets to protect the rebel officers from troops still loyal to Marcos. Marcos and his family eventually sneaked out the back door of Malacañang Palace and were forced on exile aboard a U.S. Air Force plane headed for Guam. Marcos, who ruled for twenty years as one of the world’s most powerful dictators, was then just a sick old man fleeing his country like a frightened dog.
“What the story of the Philippine revolution demonstrates is the power people can have when they withdraw consent.”
But, while the Philippine revolution deposed a powerful dictator, it left much of the old centralized power structure unchanged. The U.S. still retained major influence through military aid and bases. The Philippine military remained intact under Defense Minister Enrile, the same man who had gotten rich from political connections while serving as Defense Minister under Marcos. The new President, Cory Aquino, was from a wealthy family. The poor were still poor, and the rich were still in charge. Capitalism emerged stronger than ever.
Today, the Philippine President is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Mrs. Arroyo’s domestic political position is precarious. A poll released June 8 by the Pulse Asia polling firm pegged Mrs. Arroyo’s public approval at only 26 percent.
Street demonstrations against her are routine and growing in size. These protests are in response to a dubious mandate following a dirty 2004 election and numerous allegations of corruption against her family and administration. Her husband, Mike Arroyo, has left the country and used doctors’ notes to say he is too ill to obey court summons related to corruption charges.
The Washington Times wrote: “The Philippines has become less free during Mrs. Arroyo’s 10-year presidency. According to Freedom House, “Corruption is extensive throughout the Philippine state apparatus, from the lowest to the highest levels. Bribes and extortion seem to be a regular element of the complex connections among bureaucrats, politicians, businessmen, the press and the public.”
In Transparency International’s 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, thePhilippines ranked 141st out of 180 nations on a list in which No. 1 is the least corrupt. The level of Philippine corruption is tied with Iran and Yemen and worse than in dodgy places such as Libya and Nigeria.
There are also serious human-rights abuses in the Philipines. According to theNew York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, “The Philippines ranks sixth worldwide among countries that fail to prosecute cases of journalists killed for their work.” Between 1992 and 2008, at least 34 journalists were murdered in thePhilippines; there were convictions in only three of these cases. Four more members of the press were killed this June alone. Opposition voices regularly disappear as well.
On top of all this are machinations by Mrs. Arroyo to cling to power by setting aside next May’s presidential election. The president and her allies are pushing to amend the Philippine constitution to change the current U.S.-style presidential system into a parliamentary system whereby Mrs. Arroyo could serve as prime minister. This would allow her to circumvent the presidential term limit which prevents her from staying in office. This move, incidentally, is similar to the strategy strongman Ferdinand Marcos used to stay in power after declaring martial law in 1972.
You can therefore see that carrying out a revolution, even a safer, non-violent one without carrying out “a more equitable distribution of wealth, the abolition of the military, or a decentralized government that was more responsive to their needs” did not rescue the Filipino from the clutches of corrupt dictators.
Revolutions in a majority of cases does not lead to the betterment of the country, in fact, in the aftermath of most revolutions, strong ruthless men emerge to assume even more fearsome powers that the people often wish for the overthrown power to come back. The example of King Charles 1 and the English Parliamentary wars is a case in point; for a modern day example, Look at Iran.
Or even, look back home at Nigeria; at the death of Sani Abacha, his successors were the same people that collaborated in his evil regime – the James Iboris’ Ojo Maduekwe’s, Baba Gana kingibe’s etc. whereas all the democracy activists lost out!
What do we need? (Read our Goals and JOIN)
we need strong Institutions. The question is: How does one build strong institutions?
All over the world, America is hailed for the strength of its institutions and its democracy but little attention is paid to the men who built those institutions.
It took some brave men who risked their lives and fortunes to found America. Men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
As French philosopher Monet put it succinctly “Nothing is possible without men but nothing can be lasting without institutions”.
We also need Good Institutions for while there have been good strong men. We may need strong men, but the issue is whether “strong men” operate within deeply embedded democratic, transparent and accountable structures which in broad turns the electorate perceives as acceptable.
For instance, the political structures in which Abraham Lincoln operated were based entirely on the constitutional “device” of the democratically elected American Congress, with all its murkiness, its lobbies, its cabals and its shifting party allegiances.
It was his ability to work with and within, and to finally dominate that “device” that gave strength and success to what in fact were his profoundly divisive anti slavery policies (divisive to the extent that the policy gave rise to Civil War).
In other words, having lost the civil war the defeated South were able to use the democratic “devices” embodied in the Constitution as expressed in the democratically elected Congress to achieve a voice that was to all intents and purposes integrated within the constitutional structures the United States and it’s representative bodies – including one might add, the Presidency itself.
What is the lesson here?
The way forward for Nigeria are either:
(1) The Rawlings Solution, aka military coup or a revolution that will wipe out the entire corrupt politicians (the looters) one after the other starting from all the past heads of state. By the time he gets to the hundredth victim, the rest will run or sit up!
But as I have shown above, that is not an effective solution, neither is it possible in our present circumstances.
2. Long term: A True Federation
Similar to what obtained when the regions were autonomous and independent of each other, managing their own internal affairs. We may be able to live together in peace in a true federation like the Swiss, the Germans, and the United States and Canada.
However, Nigerian activists and politicians have shouted themselves hoarse for a sovereign National Conference without success. Because of our history and who we are as a people, the above solutions are today a dead end. Currently Constitution review is stuck! Therefore we should start from somewhere.
That is the lesson from Abraham Lincoln. He worked within the existing Constitutional order to achieve his aim. So we should also work within the Nigerian present constitutional provisions to build strong Institutions.
Much the same mechanisms were to be used in the United States of America in the 60’s as the Civil Rights movement began to push for a more inclusive understanding of what was meant by “the electorate” to achieve a voice for the black constituency, using the constitutional “devices” of the Constitution, the Supreme Court and the elected Congress. The outcome to put it simply some 40 years later was the election of Barack Obama.
What shall we do?
“The police, the military, the civil service, the judiciary, have all been compromised. This is the billion-dollar question: how do you resuscitate the institutions that run the country?” – Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who competed in the presidential elections in 2007.
What we need is a strong and organized civil populace; we need a transparent and independent judiciary that can stand up to our governments and bring justice to our people. We need strong Institutions. Obama was right: ‘Africa does not need strong men, they need strong Institutions’.
We don’t need demonstrations, we need not carry placards. The Nigeria Police have mastered the use of tear gas and live bullets to kill demonstrators; that was how they killed Chuba Okadigbo, the former Senate President. If the senate president and a vice-presidential candidate was not safe, where is the common man
Thank God for the internet.
The era of the type of protests championed by Wole Soyinka and Tai Solarin is gone. The mood of the Nigerian nation today will be the waterloo of our ruling elites. Our revolution has already started in the internet as a battle on cyberspace. It is amazing how Nigerians worldwide are warming up for the battle ahead. They are determined to cause a bloodless revolution in their own country, and demonstrate that we are no donkeys. They are networking like never before, and discussing issues that can move us forward on Facebook, Yahoogroups and various websites.
Yes a battle of the cyber space is on!
Obama have set an example for us. Barack Obama’s success should teach us that those that want change can bring change only if they plan well for it. The energy of our internet warriors are waiting to be harnessed.
Obama use of web communications is First Class; he has a knack for linking the medium to the message. For his huge-spending presidential campaign, he harnessed social networks to make the army of Democrat volunteers across the US feel like a tiny band of carol singers.
And his speech to the Muslim world wasn’t merely for his immediate audience at Cairo University, or any English-speaking news junkies who happened to be watching CNN or Al-Jazeera at the time. It was, in fact, texted to mobile phones in four languages, translated into 13, and broadcast online via social networks like Facebook (which has 20 million users in Muslim countries), Twitter and Google’s Orkut service.
We will start by recruiting every Nigerian that has a yahoo address, every Nigerian on Facebook. This is grassroots mobilisation. Rome was not built in a day, the effort might even take decades, but patience and hard work never disappoints.
In Iran already, Blogs and Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter emerged as vital conduits for Iranians to inform the world about protests and violence that trailed the flawed election in their country. The Web became more essential after the government barred foreign media Tuesday from leaving their offices to report on demonstrations on the streets of Tehran. It is not for nothing that Iran is famed with as a nation with the highest blogger per head in the world.
The Internet has the potential of doing for Nigerians what the liberalisation of electronic media by the Babangida administration did for Nigeria – a flowering of ideas and the ingenuity of Nigerian news media; it became difficult for government to set news agenda.
The escalation of the battle between the activists and politicians to the cyber space and the looming cyber battles between the government and the ‘internet warriors’ should therefore alert Nigerians abroad of the need to sensitive Nigerians at home as to the potentials of the internet.
Nigerians worldwide should be ready to use 21st century tools – the sudden explosion of a new breed of phones – Blackberry, iPhone, Google’s G1 – with increasingly sophisticated software and internet capability means that those who do have mobile phones are relying on them for an ever-broadening array of functions.
Our leaders need to be held accountable for the way they use our resources and not to steal state monies, or fail to do the fundamental things to ensure development, education.
No amount of bloody revolutions would do that for us. No amount of internet wrangling would do that for us. No amount of dreaming and wishing for the army to comeback would do that for us.
That is why we are forming a movement for positive action. What we are planning to do is simple and doesn’t cost money but very effective.
JOIN NOW! Register at:
- Register here at Elombah.com
- If you are on Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/298145?m=c23b5141
- If you have a yahoo email here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Naija-expose/