A little over two years ago, Nigerians went to the polls…it was a tension filled and anxiety soaked moment for the nation. A year in which the “seers” had even seen the foreclosure of the state.
It was against that backdrop that events conspired despite the best efforts of the Orubebes and co; Jega midwifed the process, former President Goodluck Jonathan concurred effortlessly. The rest they say is history, but in the next few paragraphs let me X-ray the last two years like a simpleton.
Shortly after the momentous victory former President, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo had asked the then President-Elect, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari to pay more attention to institutional reforms and be magnanimous in victory.
He also urged him to start healing the wounds and bitterness across the land occasioned by the campaigns and those he called evil disciples.
In a letter of congratulation dated March 31, 2015 addressed to the Gen. Buhari, Obasanjo reminded the President Elect that a lot of damage has been done to various institutions in the country which need urgent attention, pointing out that he must immediately assemble a crack team of Nigerians who will assist him in putting the country on the right part again.
The letter reads: “I hasten to congratulate you on your success and victory in the Presidential election of March 28, 2015. Your success and victory after three previous unsuccessful attempts must be great object lessons for you and for all politicians particularly in Nigeria.
“For me, the totality of the 2015 election holds many lessons for our democracy and democratization process which are both maturing. On this occasion, the system has been unnecessarily overheated before and particularly during the campaign when emphasis was more in trivialities and hate, divisive, in dignifying and disrespectful statements and comments rather than on pressing issues requiring attention.
“I know that in victory, you will be magnanimous to start binding the wounds and bitterness occasioned by the campaign and the evil disciples.
“With so much harm already done to many national institutions, in lauding the military which proudly nurtured you and me, you will have a lot to do on institution reform, education, healthcare, economy, infrastructure, power, youth employment, agribusiness, oil and gas, external affairs, cohesiveness of our nation and ridding our land of corruption. Your varied and wide experience will undoubtedly stand you in good stead.
“I am also sure that there are men and women of goodwill, character and virtue across the board that you can mobilise to join hands with you in the reform, repairs and redirection that will be imperative to put Nigeria back on the fast lane of good governance, unity, cohesiveness, development and progress. Once again, I felicitate with you and wish you well,” Obasanjo stated.
So let me ask, has Mr. Buhari delivered on this admonition, beyond the pedestrian fights and squabbles between the wailers and hailers, the distinctive lines amongst the Buharites, the Buharideens, and the Jonathanians? Can he deliver, is it a process, two years counting my thoughts are that Nigeria reminds me of the Elephant and its story which I will share:
Zookeepers typically strap a thin metal chain to a grown elephant’s leg, and then attach the other end to a small wooden peg that’s hammered into the ground. The 10-foot tall, 10,000-pound elephant could easily snap the chain and uproot the wooden peg, and escape to freedom with minimal effort. But it doesn’t. In fact the elephant never even tries. The world’s most powerful land animal, which can uproot a tree as easily as you could break a toothpick, remains defeated by a small wooden peg and a flimsy chain.
Because when the elephant was a baby, its trainers used the exact same methods to domesticate it. A thin chain was strapped around its leg and the other end of the chain was tied to a wooden peg in the ground. At the time, the chain and peg were strong enough to restrain the baby elephant. When it tried to break away, the metal chain would pull it back. Sometimes, tempted by the world it could see in the distance, the elephant would pull harder. But the chain would not budge, and soon the baby elephant realized trying to escape was not possible. So it stopped trying.
And now that the elephant is all grown up, it sees the chain and the peg and it remembers what it learned as a baby – the chain and peg are impossible to escape. Of course, this is no longer true, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the 200-pound baby is now a 10,000-pound powerhouse. The elephant’s self-limiting beliefs prevail.
If you think about it, we are all like elephants. We all have incredible power inside us as a nation and a people. And of course, we have our own chains and pegs – the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back. Sometimes it’s a childhood experience or an early failure. Sometimes it’s something we were told when we were younger. We need to learn from the past, but be ready to update what we learned based on how our circumstances have changed (as they constantly do).
In the last two years we have not learned anything…We may debate all of the two years remaining whether Mr. Buhari has been magnanimous in victory. However very little has occurred in terms of institutional reforms.
Wounds are not necessarily healing, and bitterness across the land occasioned by the campaigns’ evil disciples continues to ravage the land.
Has the current administration gathered a crack team of Nigerians who will assist him in putting the country on the right part again? No! On the contrary, plenty of clowns abound around.
Our democratization process may be maturing in a crude manner but it sure is…But public discourse has continued to bother on unnecessarily overheated trivialities and hate, divisive, undignifying and disrespectful statements and comments rather than on pressing issues requiring attention.
Institutional reforms in areas of education, healthcare, economy, infrastructure, power, youth employment, agribusiness, oil and gas, external affairs, cohesiveness of our nation and ridding our land of corruption does not seem to have taken off. Significantly the fight against corruption is fighting back or front; dividing Nigeria across faith and creed.
Are we on the fast lane of good governance, unity, cohesiveness, development and progress? Like the Elephant we are still tied by the usual suspects, the teething problems remain at the milk stage. As a people we suffer expectations fatigue, while we debate whether much has changed, the politicians are shadow boxing towards 2019, is there hope? – Only time will tell.