The article below is quite a chilling forecast from a great literary poet, which has received all kinds of responses so far - from "what has Chinua Achebe ever done for Nigeria, other than talk/write" to "why his support for Ngige".
Rather than exhausting his energies on forcing his favourite candidates on the citizens of this country (as 'do or die' affairs), the President should have been ensuring that all necessary preparations for these elections were made, through the relevant agencies of course. Now we find ourselves 2 days to the gubernatorial elections and having public holidays forced on us so that people can travel home to vote!! We only wonder how sustainable this system is. How long before something in this delicate imbalance snaps?
As always, thoughts welcome.
The Clouds Are Gathering - by Chinua Achebe
President Olusegun Obasanjo has taken Nigeria as low as she has ever gone. This will surprise foreign "friends" of Nigeria who may believe the myth that Obasanjo has been fighting to end corruption in the country and to bring democracy to its citizens. Nigerians know better. I am one of those too young/too ignorant to google or ask my elders what OBJ did during his first regime other than hand over power to a civilian government, but I can't feign the same ignorance for what he's done (and events that have occured) over the past 8 years. The run-up to the elections has been such a mess that I have to ask how a president who has been able to achieve oh-so-much under his regime could have failed to ensure that the past 18 months were spent on preparing for the most important elections the country has seen
President Obasanjo has had the opportunity to rule Nigeria for three years (1976-79) as an unelected military dictator and later for two terms of eight years as a retired general/civilian (1999-2007). People don't exactly remember what Obasanjo did in his first civilian incarnation. His second coming, however, was a different matter. He unfolded a gigantic scheme for staying in power beyond his tenure. He set up agencies with long titles like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission. It soon became clear, however, that these devices were not intended to curb the crimes they enumerated but to go after people who disagree with the President, especially on his desire to extend his tenure.
Perhaps the strangest of these events took place in my own state, Anambra, where a governor was kidnapped by a criminal gang who claimed that they had "fixed" the election and earned the right to receive the state budgetary allocation. Whatever the merit of this bizarre story the governor refused to turn over the allocation to these thieves and began to spend it on building roads and bridges which nobody had done in decades. He began to pay pension to retired civil servants who had not been paid in years. Anambra state was transformed overnight. No where else in Nigeria had such a change happened. Governor Ngige became the people's governor.
One would have thought that our anti-corruption president, Chief Obasanjo, would have embraced Governor Ngige as a fellow fighter against corruption. But no. The fellows demanding the state revenue were Obasanjo's friends who in anger set about burning down and destroying state property while the Police stood at a distance, watching.
I have told this story again although we all know it. I am retelling it because as it goes with Anambra, so will it go with Nigeria....
I must congratulate the Judiciary on the tough battle many of its members are waging for the soul of Nigeria. The Senate came ever so close to snatching Nigeria out of the fire, and then… That was a historic moment lost. What a pity!