When I was still under 15 years of age, my father bought me a book written by Naiwu Osahon. The title of the book was: A nation in custody. Recently, I have been thinking about that book and I have also ransacked my memory in an attempt to remember what Osahon wrote about in it. I would like to lay my hands on that book again because there are many things from our past that are even more relevant today. Fela’s music, books written by Soyinka and Achebe and other relevant references from the past have more meanings today than they did yesterday.
On Black is beautiful a blog meticulously put together by Yeye Olade, I found a recent news linked to Naiwu Osahon . I was elated to know that Osahon continues to write about Nigeria and Africa in a very passionate way. I am going to do all I can to get more information about Naiwu Osahon and his writings. There must be a reason why my father gave me that book just about the time that it was published in the early 80s and I was just that little skinny boy. I will make it a task to find out more about Osahon.
Even if one doesn’t remember the content of Naiwu’s book, the cycle of idiocy that refuses to unwind in Nigeria in the last 50 years indicate that our country Nigeria is still a nation in custody. With the title of that book, Naiwu was right in 1982 and he is probably more right in 2008.
In Nigeria, the common people have been held in custody for as long as possible. I can remember some key figures and politicians in the days of Shagari and their names are stuck to my cerebral hemispheres. Way back in 1979/80, I remember that in our family, we associated some names with very bad things and others with very good intentions. I guess other people can populate the list and elaborate on what these names reverberate: Shitta-Bey, Ovie-Whiskey, Wayas, Akinloye, Uba Ahmed, Umaru Dikko, Awolowo, Jakande, Olunloyo, Ajasin and Akinjide. This must be an uneven lump, perhaps unfair too.
There were other names that became part of my cerebral collections after I entered secondary school in 1984. Buhari, Babangida, Abacha, Aikhomu, Mudashiru, Bali, Ukiwe and the rest of the tropical gangs who served as military governors and Ministers were added to my danger list. Before then, I have been traumatized with names like Obasanjo, Muritala and Dimka. I have memories of some extremely worrying situations as a 4 year old. I imagine that my mother rescued me, held me by my wrist and virtually dragged me home from kindergarten lesson on a day that I now visualize as a bloody day in a February month. Thirty-two years later, our nation is still in custody.
Nigeria is still in the hands of an illegal administration enjoying the cuddle of a judiciary that I consider to be seriously compromised. In my view, the Nigerian judiciary is lukewarm and lacking in consistency. What kind of judicial system gives approval to one illegal administration and disapproval to another illegal administration under the same constitution?
It has become more obvious that in Nigeria, all humans are not equal. If all humans are equal then what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. The Nigerian judiciary represented by the Supreme Court ought to rise up in the days ahead to declare that the Electoral Commission should conduct fresh and credible presidential elections. Time and space do not take away illegality.
We have identified other areas of our lives where we remained entrapped, in perpetual custody. How long shall we recount them? However, the biggest challenge probably lies in the emergence of credible leadership that would remove us from custody and start our sojourn back into our original promise land. This is why a credible presidential election with a leader emanating from the votes of the populace remains imperative.
In the three musketeers I have pointed out that the key candidates dragging for the position of the president in Nigeria are evil and corrupt. It is a dilemma on its own that the people have to choose among the evil people who have placed everyone in custody in the first place.
The Nigerian political sphere is in dire need of new names, fresh ideas and progressive concepts. We have hoped for too long that the politicians and military gangsters who ruined our lives would go away but unfortunately many of them persist in their old age or they are now represented by their children, family members and godchildren. We need drastic measures that will shift this power play or arrangement to a neutral zone. The recent PDP convention presented a micro-representation of our democraZy status but it was traditionally reduced to a mere carnival and selection games. Election was summarily erased from the convention. This forcefully ruling monstrous party symbolizes a great pain in our hearts. What a shame!
It is about time we got out of this custody. We have stayed in it for too long, suffering and smiling. Our expressions of optimism are not enough. We must act as well. As a matter of urgency, Nigerians should bring forth men and women of honour and integrity who can save us from those who stole our future. Many of us are living the lives we didn’t choose. We have staked our hopes on the same set of people for over half of a century. We must stop this in the most radical way we can.
It is so sad though that the true colour of a Nigerian Politician appears when he/she gets into a position of authority. Those who are rejoicing with Edo state today may be disappointed in a few months from now. Nevertheless, we should present new, credible faces and fresh hands if we have to conduct new presidential elections in the nearest future. All these Obasanjos, Yar‘ Aduas, Babangidas, Buharis and the Atikus are the creators of our problems, let us do away with them. They belong to the trash bins! We need help and we must help ourselves. Where do we start from? Who will save Nigeria?