He was king over the land of Israel. Adored by men and beloved by God. One day in the routine of his kingly duties, he erred. The king tore down the wall of trust in God and erected a pillar of arrogant dependence in human strategy. He put statistics ahead of sanctity. He numbered the people in his kingdom. God was not happy. Every human error is subject to a comeuppance. He was given three punishments to choose from: Three years of famine in his kingdom; three months of running from relentlessly pursuing enemies; or three days of an epidemic all over the nation. “These are all terrible choices! But I’d rather be punished by GOD, whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands,” he told the prophet who brought the bad news. The king was David, son of Jesse.
Human beings do fall on hard times. We are frequently rattled by life’s unexpected curves and bends. When times are difficult, we look to people around us for succor. In countries with welfare programmes that fare well, citizens look up to the government for a bridge relief. David, in the story above, chose to fall in the hands of his God. The hands of man bring death and destruction.
Lord Lugard’s Nigeria has always been a convolution. It is a complicated, intricate, and flummoxing organism. It is a baroque geographical expression where wrong rules the land and right is rarely sighted in government. Injustice, equity, and good conscience aren’t in the lexicon. The Nigeria idea as fashioned by the British overlords was predicated on profiteering. The white man sought a profitable business venture; he found it in the forced amalgamation of a people incompatible. One hundred and four years after, we have not even begun to unravel. Nigerians are still believing their Creator for good hands to fall into.
The country befriended democracy. If run right, there is nothing like the system. But practitioners in our clime made it a charade and a joke. Our leaders across all political parties and in all arms of government are dealers. A few Cruella-De-vil we know have been in charge throughout history. Insanely duplicitous characters swathed up in ignominious perfidy have controlled the levers of power. They sneaked in through the cracks and crevices of government after government; they wheel, deal, and destroy what’s left for the people to live on. Their antics are minatory and subversive as they bring down the wheels of governance. It’s always one scandal of missing money after another. One gory story of government misbehaviour follows after another. One story of wanton profligacy consistently at the heels of another horror tale of executive and legislative train of financial recklessness. If it’s not a goat stealing from our commonwealth, it is a sneaky snake swallowing our money. Government is in hibernation, the people are in consternation, and Nigeria remains in stagnation.
Nigerians have always desired to fall into good hands that will bring development. We are about 40 million more in population than France, Italy, Belgium, and Holland put together at 155 million. Three times the population of the United Kingdom at 65 million; about 20 times the size of the United Arab Emirates at 9.1 million; 25 per cent the total population of the whole of Africa; twice the population of Egypt at 91 million; three times the size of South Africa at 55 million; and 12 times that of Zambia at 16.2 million. Lagos alone is about the same size with the nation of Ghana at 26 million. What we have in human and natural resources are incomparable with all of these nations. A land of many opportunities trapped within the walls of Jericho of mammoth misfortunes. Divinity’s abundant Grace abounds; but on the altar of puerile ignorance we fritter the same away bunch-by-bunch and granule- by-granule. Why have we always fallen into harrowing hands in a country we all love?
Nigeria once fell into the hands of a party called the PDP. It launched out into a free-for-all fiesta of corruption. Its head-honchos became blisteringly unapologetic coddlers of blizzards of corruption. Inject a small virus of the PDP purloining disease in an oil refinery, the black gold will dry up on contact. Position the party near the Central Bank, goats will eat the freebie yams in a frenzy. The party reigned for 16 gruesome years; and still hankering for a come-back. Then, some men hurriedly met and became the APC. Its members presented themselves as the saving grace Nigerians had been awaiting. The party has done well in some states; but, like the PDP, the APC is strained with holier-than-thou messengers of mess, master pretender cover-uppers; and headmasters of gerrymandering. The two parties are Siamese twins twined together in a love fest of mockery to democracy; and enmeshed in a symbiotic samba dance of cluelessness.
2015 was Annus mirabilis for President Muhammadu Buhari. Men and women danced and hailed when he won. Whoever argued with me back then that Buhari was not the deliverer would get in instant trouble. Buhari may have his heart in the right place, but his head seems swayed away deep into the agenda of a few people around him he trusts to a fault. They all cozy up to peripatetic killer-entrepreneurs called Fulani herdsmen who make sane people sick. When I see pictures of their havocs, chills run up my spine. The party’s reconciler-In-Chief, Bola Tinubu, recently said the party lost its goodwill in 2015. It’s why Buhari lost momentum. He applies analogue remedies to a nation’s digital life-and-death afflictions.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Third Force is called the Coalition for Nigeria Movement. The first day it launched in Abuja, it quickly became a mere thud and a farce. Today, the movement is moving only a few. There is no throwing of petals of roses welcoming the CNM. The likes of Ahmadu Ali and Olagunsoye Oyinlola are the movement’s saddening faces we see daily. These recycled boring beings who have no tangible achievements scribbled in their names have had their times in history. What is Donald Duke doing hanging out with spent forces who can’t duke it out for the people? Where are young fellas and fresh voices? We heard that the CNM is recruiting from governors and especially members of the National Assembly. Didn’t Baba Obasanjo many times call them “seriously corrupt”? Have they become saints suddenly? The same people; same crapola. In whose hands do Nigerians then fall into?
In whose hands do Nigerian youths fall? About 90 million they number. They are our crème de la crème, the future, and the NOW. They are the engine that drives a nation, and propellers of the economy. They build our roads and labour in our businesses. They protect our streets and fight our wars. Without them, there is no military or paramilitary. How do we win wars at home and abroad without our youth? When we win laurels in sports, it’s because of them. Alas, we have no help for these kids. Grating economic conditions have forced them to become prostitutes and a menace to the society. They should be assets to our nation, but are now asses over which the old and the powerful ride roughshod. In whose hands do the destinies of these young men and women fall?
Like a seriously-ill patient heading into the emergency room, Nigeria is on a stretcher. The grave for her interment has been dug; but she is still breathing with all of her vital signs in place. It means she can spring back up to life. But, only if she is in good hands. Where are the mighty men of vision? Where are the sages and the technocrats? Where are the men and women with unwavering will to win for this orphan? God, where are your hands? Where is Nigeria in your agenda?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Whistler NG