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State Of The Nation: Is Nigeria A Failed State Or A Case Of Failure Of Leadership?


State Of The Nation: Is Nigeria A Failed State Or A Case Of Failure Of Leadership?

By Richard Odusanya

“Under a major political union of Africa there could emerge a United Africa, great and powerful, in which territorial boundaries which are relics of colonialism will become obsolete and superfluous….”-Kwame Nkrumah.

As a teenager in the seventies, I grew up to admire and respect the personality of Dr Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe, “Zik of Africa” Nigerian’s first indigenous peoples president of the blessed memory. A highly respected and admired pan-Africanist, journalist, writer and statesman.

Zik, who later became the Owelle of Onistha, was not only a pan-Africanist, in the mould of: Kwame Nkumah, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and others. He was a nationalist par Excellence, who won a landmark election in the western region of Nigeria. Apart from his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and excellence, he was never a tribal leader ‘lord’ to the extent that his offsprings bears Yoruba names from birth.

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Apart from Zik of the blessed memory, the only other personality who is also a product of pan-Africanism, is the president that was not sworn in: Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola GCFR, a man who touched so many lives irrespective of tribe or religion and Nationalist par excellence. He won a pan Nigerian mandate, a free and fair election conducted by the military juntas, that criminally annulled the most freest election. This criminal act brought to the fore that we were not ready for democratic rule and consequently, truncated the popular wish of the masses.

I have been trying to do a honest soul searching and an appraisal of how a nation with huge potential and capacity to produce leaders of note that we are proud of and happy to mention their names, even after they have long gone.

It is on this note that we need to begin, to dissect the current leadership and their predecessors. It has become imperative that we, as a nation, the sleeping giant, begins to take stock of events. So that history and posterity will not be totally unkind with us. We sure need to stay awake for the Nation.

“This administration, unfortunately, has mastered the art of blaming others for its own crimes. It is Buhari and his aides, with their incessant rationalization of herders’ atrocities as detailed at the beginning of this column, that have ignited the fire of ethnic suspicions. It is the administration’s failure to nip religious extremism in the bud that is stoking the embers of religious unrest. It is the president, General Muhammad Buhari, that distorts reality with his head almost permanently buried in the past– blaming past administrations for the present challenges; and seeking ancestral solutions to today’s problems. It is Buhari and his aides that Nigerians should be wary of as they neither see nor listen to the people’s cries for Justice; they mock their critics, are bereft of empathy and warmth, and talk down on the people. They are concerned with only one reality-power without responsibility.”-Eniola Bello.

I completely agree with Eni-B, this submission was a clear validation of my recent article… However, it is not only the present gladiators that are guilty of the situation we find ourselves as a nation. We need to dig into the foundation. Election rigging, political instability/intolerance, corruption, and many other issues of maladmistrations.

The recent warning of the Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka added to the voices of Nigerians home and abroad are not issues to be taken lightly. War is not a champagne toast and those who dare to talk about it, may not be prepared for the aftermath of war. Regardless, this is the time for sober reflection, call for reasoning and call for men of good conscience to intervene before it’s too late. The time is also ripe for all and sundry to speak out and sensitize the people on the way forward as this clarion call has no religious or tribal coloration.

Conclusively, permit me to share part of the landmark decision on issues bordering on grazing: “I do not accept the contention of Defendants that a custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of farm to fence his farm whilst the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage. Such a custom if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and therefore unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to fence his cattle.” Sequence to that I BANNED open grazing for it is inimical to PEACE and TRANQUILLITY and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.”

Hon. Justice Adewale Thompson: 17th April 1969.
Suit no AB/26/66 at Abeokuta Division of the High Court.

Pursuant to the judgement delivered by Justice Adewale Thompson, there lies the solution to the seemingly endless unprecedented crisis where non state actors have clearly hijacked the functions of the state. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is a call to duty and a clarion call for men of good conscience to intervene. Intervention in this context is not to carry arms but voice their concerns, trepidation and fears for all to hear.




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