Continuing, a degenerate and retrograde civilian rule that fuels internal conflict, engenders the factionalization of public and national institutions, where sitting Governors are abducted; where illegal impeachments are contrived and prosecuted by less than ten percent strength of the Legislature; and one which provokes anarchy, and drifts towards social conflagration with the attendant loss of lives, is the very prototype of a Jungle State.
A predator civilian regime that seeks to perpetrate itself in power through massive electoral fraud, that manufactures millions of votes where there are none, and records such as the Election results, thereby rendering election campaigning irrelevant, is already a military Regime by implication.
This scenario was to a large extent the condition of Nigeria by late 1983. Therefore, evidently, unmistakably, uncontrovertibly, the action of December 31, 1983 represented, NOT the truncation of a Democracy, but in reality, a pro-democracy move that retrenched a Contra-Democracy, a veritable displacement of a predatory, praetorian, anti-democracy, libertine class. Hence, the phenomenal events that followed were spirited, patriotic, nationalistic, future-conscious attempts at extinguishing a counter-culture of criminality and brigandage.
The handing down of jail terms of “100 to 600 years” represented a national affirmative rejection for eternity of historical apostasy, which was even a far superior remedial that Rawlings-type summary executions. The “mass clamping in detention” of that era represented an emasculation of criminality and kleptomania. Who would dispute a common observation that “a Police officer who guns down a rampaging armed robber is a Life-Saver, and NOT a Murderer”. Hence, the Buhari regime in effect, sought to safeguard and promote Democracy, worked to advance Human Rights, and Social, and National Rights.
Correspondingly, the Nigerian masses truly connected, copulated and bonded with this Revolution. In one swoop, a counter-culture was being wiped out and a new nationalism was coming to birth. Hence, ingrained endemically in the consciousness of the people, that era was a golden one, and the Regime’s leaders, Buhari and Idiagbon, with Sampson Omeruah as spokesperson, and Chike Ofodile as National Law administrator, upheld as paragons of Hope. How else can you account for the eternally lasting goodwill and acknowledgement of the Buhari- Idiagbon phenomenon, despite all the tell-tales of noxious documentaries.
Had the Regime lasted a little longer, with the sidelining and extinguishment of the degenerative Contra political class, the revolutionary impetus powering a New Nationalism would have evolved a clear programmatic expression, a concretization into a Charter of Change and Reformation. By now, Nigeria, with a reconnection and realignment with the pre-war Development paradigm, would have had an uninterrupted development for 30 years, something that would have enabled a rapid transition from Third World to First. But tragically, a counter-revolution by the conservative, retrograde and renegade class in the Military truncated the Revolution, rehabilitated, and reinstalled the predatory ruling class.
In this day and age, that counter-culture of governance in Nigeria has multiplied a hundredfold. Unlike Ghana, and also the French and Americans in their own time, we as a people are now paying the price of an aborted revolution. Its deleterious effects are legion, and continues to multiply by the day and even by the hours.
Today’s Nigeria is the only crude oil producing country in the world that imports petroleum products; the country with the lowest per capita in the world in power production, yet flares natural gas; with one of the largest cotton belts, but imports textiles; with extensive fertile farmland, yet imports rice and agric products; a country whose tertiary institutions churn out over 400,000 youths every year, but cannot engage up to 10,000; whose entire National Budget goes into Recurrent and Overhead expenses, and zero on Investment; who’s leadership in total surrender preaches the apostate gospel that it is not the business of Government to invest in production as was profitably done in the pre-war Regions; the only country in the globe where a high percentage of its productive generation (25 – 55 year age group) are in the Diaspora; a country with megabanks, yet multiplies external debts; with a high number of security agencies, yet outlaws beat them daily even with advance notices; a country where in the face of these, a man parading as the “Investment” Minister pronounces that the Nigerian economy is the fastest growing in the world! etc. This list is more than a 100-point mark.
It is certain that under the present socio-political order, Nigeria’s descent into Hell is unabating, and its Dark Ages bound to last for another 1,000 years. Buhari’s second coming represents one last chance for Nigeria to make hay and break a vicious cycle. How far can a Buhari Presidency go in plotting critical interventions in the face the nation’s gargantuan challenges, and in a milieu of a multifaceted modern world order? I shall return.