Keen watchers and commentators on Nigerian political spheres are anxiously awaiting the end of the longest 2 weeks in the life of Patricia Olubunmi Etteh. To those of us who have never fancied the present governing administration (some say caretaker govt.) and the never-ceasing corrupt public office holders in Nigeria, the events surrounding the dilemma of the Speaker of the Lower House is one more reason to seek the long overdue positive changes that continue to elude us as a nation. Indeed, the travails of Patricia cannot be overflogged just as Nigerians will not be justified if they ever stop highlighting the problems in our peculiar political landscape.
There is a school of thought that does not encourage highlighting our problems. They believed that all have been said already when it comes to that aspect. Instead, they want us to come up with solutions or suggestions that will help us solve these problems. As a matter of fact, I once wrote an article titled: Nigeria, what more to write? That article featured here on the village square. Since that article, I have had more reasons to continue to write more about our problems and sometimes suggesting the way forward in some of my essays. For example, How to count Nigerians was an article that also featured here.
Many of the problems in Nigeria are traceable to failure of the political class or governance in general. Some of the problems are due to our actions or inactions as fellow citizens of Nigeria. In far away Burma, we have just seen monks who are not only praying for their fellow citizens but also leading the way to show how not to tolerate bad governance or wrong policies. The uprisings in Burma have since been crushed (as usual in their history) by the repressive military regime but the message that came with the protests stands. No amount of oppression can crush the message and the reminder that the leader of the political party that won an election in that country in 1990 was denied her mandate and she is still under house arrest. Here, we have a case that is very similar to our situation in 1993. Perhaps IBB learnt from the Burmese junta.
Our own Gambari, in a twist of fate, was sent to appeal to the military government in Burma. That was not his first time going to Burma anyway. Can anyone guess the conversations that would have taken place? Gambari, an outstanding UN special envoy notwithstanding, would have been reminded (supposing he has short memories) of the history of real and fathom coups and military rule in Nigeria. He would have been reminded of various treasonable felony trials, the corruption in our system, the failure of governance, the unnecessary killings of thousands of people over the years and the spread of poverty in Nigeria. To avoid any unnecessary argument and to cut his stay short, the military government in Burma will ask Gambari if there were real elections in Nigerian in 2007 or a wuruwuru abracadabra.
The last card I would imagine must have been the ongoing travails of our speaker. The Burmese government could have asked Gambari to tell Yar Adua that they need 6 million dollars in Burma to build more estates for the protesting monks. They would not care that Gambari is representing the United Nations. The recent demonstration in Burma was vehemently crushed even at the time that Gambari was visiting; a hallmark for absolute disdain for either the presumed character of his person or the constituency he represents.
Back to Nigeria! There is no way we can start finding solutions to our problems since we have not started doing things the right way. Solutions will come with the right people in governance emerging from the right processes. What is the difference between Yar Adua, David Mark and Patricia Etteh? Yar Adua accepted a mandate that he knew was faulty. On that basis, he sold his conscience on the platter of power. David Mark has refused to declare his assets or his source of wealth but we know he is ashame because almost everyone in Nigeria now has a mobile phone. Patricia misappropriated 628 million naira and she is clinging on to the seat of the speaker. Has anyone stopped to ask why or how she has the gut to say that she has not been indicted? Does this hairdresser own a dictionary?
The truth is, there is a pattern in our political system such that shame is a virtue. It is highly recommended to be corrupt as that seem to be the only way to carry on politically in Nigeria. I have written before that corruption is the only thing that is organized in Nigeria. This is the reason David Mark supported Patricia and this is the reason the 14 days recess for the lawmakers will be a landmark attempt to scuffle the verdict flying around in the court of public opinion. Here is an example of where our inactions as a people continue to contribute to our woes. We are too timid as a people and we have no leader in the sense of it. We permitted the worst election in human history to stand. Are we going to allow the trend to continue? For how long? Will Patricia succeed in her quest to promote shame? The monks not only prayed in Burma, they put their prayers into actions. Imagine what will happen if 140 million people speak with one intellectual voice and follow that with actions!
May the glory of Nigeria come, soon!