February 14: Between Destiny And Desire


Humanity’s behaviour suggests intelligence is an evolutionary dead end. Most people do not know that in every actions that are taken differently, we remain responsible individually, but in actions that are taken together, we remain brothers for the sake of responsibilities. As I grow older as a Nigerian, I pay less attention to the bad things most Nigerians say. I just watch what they do either to destroy or make the country great and want to know why they do them. There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same. Nigeria has grown to the extent that both leaders and followers climb the ladder of success wrong by wrong. Nigeria, the heart of Africa and the world’s most ethnically numerous state has been described as an “unfinished state and as “a truculent African tragedy” in the midst of abundant human and natural resources, which are propelled in the vicious cycle of poverty and autocracy.

It is of significant importance to note that Nigeria is among the countries of the world endowed with natural and valuable resources that are capable of improving socio-economic status and living standards of the citizenry. But the reverse has always been the case. In view of this ugly trend one begins to wonder the kind of “giant” Nigeria personifies in Africa. The creation of Nigeria by God is so perfect that I know it is the most blessed nation on earth, but yet she still grapples with the problem of development. When Nigeria sneezes, not only Africa catches cold, even the rest of the world would know the feeling. It is so obvious that on several activities affecting this country, most countries are always concerned and would want to offer help. The help they offer is because they know what they would tap from the country’s wealth. God has destined greatness for this country whether anyone likes it or not. Nigeria will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who make no move to stop evil choices made on her behalf.

Nigeria, through our bad choices has now become one of a handful emerging democracies around the world that manufacture unending crisis. It’s still shocking that as at now the petroleum subsidy questions are not yet answered and fuel is sold at irregular prices above the hard-earned N87 per litre while energy only got worse after the privatization. Insecurity is magnifying daily, deaths on our roads increasing, unemployment and attendant disasters increases, high powered financial scandals, misappropriations, legislative indolence and frivolous executive benefits are on high, perhaps our reasoning based on our ‘mis’-decision is what 160million people are paying for. The youths are not exempted from this, as we are going to be handed over a failed leadership system if we are not careful with our choices. When our brothers and sisters in the BRICS (Britain, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries are handed over good and sustainable leadership pattern, most of us are busy fighting over peanuts that we get from politicians for election purposes. Go to online forums and see how semi-nude pictures of celebrities, the outcome of a football match and tips to hold the other sex down interest youths more than their nation. The anomaly has altered our ability to have sound priorities and goals. The Nigerian youths, when handed leadership, will have to expend valuable time and resources in the most tedious task of de-educating the citizens of the wrong values given by these leaders. Though progress is not without challenges. Taking Nigeria back is an option for some people because of personal gains. So disheartening that our choices towards governance has made us to be overtaken in development by some other developing countries notably Indonesia, Malaysia and Venezuela. When we are to be handed over democracy-ripe, we will inherit a failing disoriented state where amidst unprecedented challenges and then no mean mind enslaved in political feebleness can be appointed to manage entire national challenges apparatus.

The bad choice we made for our dear country do not start from today. It has been a thing that has been happening from time past. After over three decades of military rule, from 1966-1999[ with the exception of 1979-1983 and eighty-two [82] days in 1993 when the Interim National Government held sway], Nigeria transited to democratic civil regime on May, 29, 1999. Since restoration of democratic rule, Nigerian is nowhere near the realization of the ideals of ‘real’ good governance. It is a product of our choice. We choose our leaders, our leaders do not choose us. Charles Soludo puts it right when he said, ‘what Nigeria is going through now is a consequence of our deliberate wrong choices’. Political power and elections in Nigeria are not about love for country or service to the motherland because that motherland is an illusion. The rulers in this country pursue nepotism. They give privileges and undue advantage to their family members, friends and associates, kiths and kins in the distribution of public resources. Ethnic tension is also another choice that results to effect of improper distribution of functions and resources. This is because the people who now feel left out in the scheme of things see it as a necessity to rely with their ethnic groups which will provide them a good ground for competing with others for resources and against domination by the dominant ethnic groups. Our National Assembly is full of indolence. We elect members that see legislative business as a part-time business. The National Assembly has failed to utilize its enormous power to ease the economic and social hardship confronting the people of this country. It is impossible to pin-point any concrete achievement of this body. When its members have not fought themselves over leadership positions, they have been busy devising ways for their pecuniary benefits. At a time, when most Nigerians could not afford three square meals, the legislators were growing fat allocating to themselves juicy salary and retirement benefits. Are these acts for our benefits?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. It is time for us to rewrite our wrong choices by making the through will of the ‘destined’ greatness of God to show on our country come February fourteen. The ultimate agenda right now is how to reclaim Nigeria, if it is still reclaimable, to negotiate its terms of existence. It is a task genuine democrats and patriots, partisan affiliation notwithstanding, must pursue with all seriousness considering the clear and present danger. It should be a choice that is clear that Nigerians are determined to jettison their religious, tribal, partisan and other mundane interests to rally around good candidates either ‘incumbent’ or ‘stranger’. It is time for our common sense revolution to play a cause in claiming our destiny of good governance. We need brilliant mind with the spirit of a preacher and the humble heart of a kindly family doctor to lead us in all political ramification.

We must make our destiny of greatness come to reality by chosing the best people for the job regardless of all other less edifying considerations. People that represents the face of the required battle against the myriads of inadequacies facing us. People that represents openness and commitment to good governance. As Chido Onumah put it, for those who are able to vote on February 14, my advice is let’s sheath our swords knowing that the sad reality and tragedy is that the outcome of our efforts would either be the continuation or beginning of a long and arduous task of reclaiming this country; that is, if we still believe in it!

(WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a Lawyer, United Nations Award winner, Africa International Arbitration Award winner and Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner.

He is a columnist at The Theater of Perspectives


Email: whyte287@gmail.com


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