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Crisis in Nigeria Leaders: continuation

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  • Crisis in Nigeria Leaders: continuation

    General Gowon’s rhetoric about keeping Nigeria one and united, and creating a post civil war just and egalitarian society through the lackeyed principles of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction, sounded more like a frivolous song of general amnesia, especially when listened to against the background stench of crimes committed during the civil war. As the then Head of State, General Gowon was apparently the only Head of Government anywhere in the world who had so much money that he did not know what to do with it. The transient national affluence occasioned by the innocent but unsolicited upsurge of mineral resources cast a spell of short-sightedness over Gowon and his reactionary advisers. They mistook the transient flow of petroleum for a permanent future of the Nigerian economy and without conducting a critical analysis of the international market forces which determine the cost of petroleum and its relevance place to national development. It is difficult to imagine how history can ever absolve the Gowon regime for its poor foresight; he was responsible for not seizing the greatest opportunity to stand the nation on a sound footing of development. It was during his era that super-powerful secretaries supervised the native elites predation of the economy through contract awards and the institution of kickbacks. While foreign private investors besiege the nation in an organized loot and plunder, with the collaboration of the native elites. The oil boom of his era was aptly described as oil doom for the nation (Nwankwo).

    The coming of General Murtala Mohammed was revolutionary as well as challenging. He brought a new sense of mission and was radical in his approach to governance; the extermination of the enfooled generation became his cardinal objective. He was however cut short by the inordinate ambition of young military officers, who cannot comprehend the fire brand approach to governance (Nwankwo). The regime was however short to allow a better assessment.

    Fate rather anything else remains the greatest asset of General OlusegunObasanjo, a man who assumes leadership against his ‘will’ but by sheer providence and as such was not prepared for the challenges. He claimed to bring about prudent financial management in governance; he embarked on some developmental projects such as road construction, and infrastructural development. He charted a new course for democratic governance and constitutional development. He however has a pathological hatred for the intellectuals and did not see any intellectual dimension that is germane to national development. His policy actions were frustrating to the Ivory Tower, he starved the University of funds and began the distortion of the educational institutions through untoward policy action. Obasanjo’s regime opened the floodgate of staggering external debt whose adverse effects, persist till date. He is presently canvassing for debt forgiveness which he stupidly began during his military regime era.

    AlhajiShehuShagari in Nwankwo’s view represents what professor Hussein Alatas (cited in Nwankwo) defined as “the revolution of the fool”. A man whose towering ambition was to be a lawmaker (Senator) but who was drafted to the Presidency by the people who find him amenable to their selfish interest.AlhajiShehuShagari’s government did not strive to dismantle the existing power structure and a social relation that has kept Nigerian state prostrate. His administration was characterized by a wild appetite for transient materialism. It was the vicious circulation of reactionary of enfoolment that put an abrupt end to the democratic project and a new phase of military regime. He was eventually disposed by the ever restless military elite led by Gen. Buhari.

    Signposts of the Buhari regime cut across several policy intentions which included the desire to maintain strict financial discipline and accountability. Thus corrupt politicians were imprisoned while draconian decrees were promulgated to check excessiveness of circulation of enfooled leaders. For example, Decree 4 was specifically draconic because of its power to detain without respect to the rights of citizens. The Buhari regime believed that he can internalize Nigerians with the spirit of patriotism and nationalism with the policy perspectives of the so-called War Against Indiscipline (WAI). But the regime folly rested on the conceptualization of the primary purpose of government as the imprisonments of activists and other critiques impaired the mundane value of a neo-colonial order. Having perceived indiscipline as the country’s major impediment to development, he thus began with architecting fear as an instrument of governance.

    It was not long again before the fearful regime of Gen. Buhari collapsed under the weight of repression and tyranny. That his Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ibrahim Babangida appeared on the firmament of the Nigerian political scene was an indictment of the perceived loyalty that tends to define the military institution. Babangida’s generosity was a welcome relief from the regressive and tyrannical regime of Buhari. In fact, his assumed democratic and diplomatic character may have concealed his innermost disposition to governmental irresponsibility. He turned the nation to a political laboratory and came up with a grandiose political transition that was described as the most expensive transition in Africa and at the end produced no democracy. Babangida with his intelligence and personal charm, his visionary and innovative program could have been placed in a historical vantage position of a leader; however he was unable to meet it with sincerity and discipline. He thus squandered such a glorious opportunity to register himself in the heart of Nigerians. His evil ingenuity was his unmaking, he institutionalized prebendal politics and made little effort in infrastructure development. The elaborate democratization project culminated in the annulment of June 12 elections, which was purported to be the freest, fairest and detribalized election in the annals of Nigerian politics.

    The Babangida regime created the dullardity of Ernest Shonekan, a captain of industry whose business experience holds no water in political terrain. True to type, he was unable to diffuse the tension generated from the annulment, the judiciary finally declared the government as unconstitutional.

    Rather than blaming the interim regime of Shonekan for the emergence of General Abacha government, such blame should be on the annulment of the June 12 election. Abacha is today notoriously remembered for ruling with an iron-fist similar to Idi-Amin Dada of Uganda. While the entire country became an extension of his personal estate within the space of five years, he amassed so much wealth than most countries in Black Africa. His transmutation agenda was however cut short by divine intervention.