Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The sterility of political discourse in Nigeria

Nigeria at this time desperately needs a new political language. Instead of 3rd term, South-South vs North etc, fiscal federalism, percentage deviation blah di blah, its time there was talk of transformation, nation-building, planning for the next ten or twenty years, free education and healthcare for all, job creation strategies, concern for the environment and fostering innovation. Surely the next administration should win on their vision for a united Nigeria with jobs for all, not on the basis of petty tribalism and greed.


Chxta 12:25 pm  

Sadly it will continue for a while. Such feelings run too deep, and people around these parts are mainly too ignorant.

st antagonym,  1:51 pm  

Chxta you will discover that those who you refer to as ignorant may well know more than you do. Dont forget, I dont know whether you are Nigerian or not but, if you are then, you belong to one of the most, if not the most intelligent race/people on the planet.

The issue with Nigeria is simple = oil. Imagine the endless possibilities...

Ntwiga 2:29 pm  

Want to know what the sad thing is?

You could replace "Nigeria" with "Uganda", "Zimbabwe", "Congo" or "Kenya" or almost any other African nation in your post and it would still be (mostly) true.

The attitude that leadership and access to wealth that goes with political power are an inheritance for the elite is a problem all over Africa.

It might be true that the issue in Nigeria is oil like one of your readers commented but no matter where you are, it will always be something - diamonds, gold, - it will always be something.

Styl Council 3:12 pm  

To the first 3 commentators....I beg to differ!! I think we're missing the point of Jeremy's piece. The abundance of natural mineral resources only serves to promote the need to hail Free education, heatlthcar etc...I put it to you that all it would take is a bold, innovative, forward thinking, fearless and pragmatic Individual to join the political race, and the whole rythym of the political campaign would change immediately. Nigeria (as with most African countries) is nation of blind-followeres, who have been programmed to belive the same thing for so many years that accpetance becomes a matter of course.
Lets stop blaming peoples' ignorance...Firstly who are these people we are talking about..???!!!! It is not ignorant to be scared, it is not ignorant to accept what you feel powerless to change...It is not ignorance to accept survival at any cost...Hell NO!!! The ignorance person is each and every one of us. Those of us who have been educated to know better, and those of us who have educated ourselves knowing better!!!! The continued failure of an homogenousied society like Nigeria is all our faults....Especially going by the comments taht i've read on this blog so far.
It is my strong belief that Nigrains are desprate for a change. I also know that Nigerians are very untrusting of their politicians. Hence it would require a lot of tenacity to not only implement this change but to convince the minds of the people about the change.

jeremyjnr,  4:29 pm  

I agree with you all epecially where the issue falls beyond the next election. If you are wondering about this, forget for a moment that the oil laid down by nature is finite, and almost half of it has already been extracted. Hence, until and unless we stop ignoring this issue, our economy and living standard will continue to be in serious trouble. Finally, unfortunately, our politicians and policymakers have ignored this call and have no plans to deal with it.

Anonymous,  4:52 pm  

The issue with naija can't be oil mate. There are many other African countries without oil(or any other significant natural resource) that are at least as f**cked up as we are, if not poorer.

Look elsewhere for the cause of our curse

j 5:02 pm  

It is oil my broda.

The other African countries are f***** because we are.

We are the leaders of the black world and the black race.

I am surprised you dont know this my broda. Its quite simple, if there is a problem with your head, can your body be right? You dont know what Nigeria has or who we are. Its a pity.

Nigeria (coined from the word Niger, meaning black) is the "head" of the black-race. If this head (Nigeria) can be fixed and raised, then the body-and-tail (rest of the black world i.e. other African countries etc) will light up and shine.

Nigeria can lead the world.

Anonymous,  5:53 pm  

I agree entirely with you J. Its like the English speaking world (US, UK, AUSTRALIA, NEWZE*LAND).

I have noticed these countries will stand or fall together.

St Antonym 6:04 pm  

America is also a nation of blind and sheepish followers.

That's not Nigeria's main problem.

Our thing is that we are blind, sheepish, and have a special knack for acting against our own collective self-interest. Just watch as Babangida becomes the next president. The sad thing is that, if he distributes the cash right, he won't even need to rig the election. America, at a crucial point in its history, had a critical mass of energetic individuals who were willing to work for the collective self-interest. Those individuals exist in Naija today, but not at a critical mass.

Jeremy, the sterility of political discourse in Nigeria is connected to two things. The first is that you can be hauled off to prison on charges of prison. Only Soyinka is allowed to speak his mind, and he doesn't speak for all; no one can. Everyone else gets arrested, Gani, Fasheun, whomever. And there are no mass protests demanding their freedom.

The second is that people feel threatened by change, especially those who have the most to benefit from change.

"I beg leave us jooo. We're going to church, and we expect a miracle tonight."

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

"Look all that one is grammar. The pastor says tithing is the key to blessings."

Fela saw the whole thing coming twenty five years ago.

St Antonym 6:05 pm  

correction: "on charges of treason."

grace,  6:11 pm  

Sisioge, forgive me but I have to laugh at your use of the term "Nigrains." Somehow it seems quite fitting...

st antagonym,  9:56 pm  

St antonym, ever since you came on board, I have found myself laughing and laughing. Sometimes, it may be on the train, I will just burst out laughing. Thinking about you. Just done it again. Am laughing right now. Where did you come from? You look really cute.

j 9:58 pm  

I agree entirely with St Antonym.

Kemi,  9:41 am  

Jeremy I disagree.

When I was growing up under the Babangida administration in the 80s, the papers were full of discussions like the one you're talking about.

Who here has forgotten

When Abacha came to power, the slogans did not change. Only the year which became 2010 and not 2000.

The reasons why such discourse isn't popular nowadays is two-fold
1) It is not possible to discuss policy in detail when the country is headed by incompetents and in fact an entrenched kakistocracy. People know that any such discussions will not bear fruition as those in charge are not in a position intellectually to make any decisions.
The discussion will always hover on who the leader should be not what the leader should do.

2) Nigerians by culture and nature are not socialists but capitalists. People don't give a hoot whether there is housing for all. Only that there is housing for "me, my brother and my sons".

So the ambition of the average man on the street is not to live in an equitable society, but to live in a society where he and his kith and kin call the shots.

nigeria, what's new 11:12 am  

It is up to Nigerians abroad to wake up and smell the coffee. Register your protest about why one man should not "sit tight in government"! Blog about it and email your host country's government about "why millions more of us are on the way to them". Doing nothing is costing lives! General Obasanjo must go now. A project has a start and end, his project did NOT achieve the promised benefits, NOR is focused on time and budget. 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

EU President Jóse Manuel Barroso's email address is [email protected]

Dear President Barroso,

I do not back President Obasanjo of Nigeria's third term bid.

Yours sincerely

It is up to you, the people, to wake up and smell the coffee.

st homonym,  11:34 am  

Its interesting that the EU said a while ago that it is not bothered about the 3rd term bid (it being a purely 'internal affair'). In stark contrast to the US, which is staunchly against it. A more stoopid statement from a bunch of Eurocrats I do not know.

j 12:59 pm  

Obasanjo should stay another term. There is a huge problem. Oil.

The guys running naija are not based inside. They reside outside.

Obj must stay. I am not saying he is a saint. But he is a better option, and has a lot to lose. He has a reputation. How many more years has he got left on earth anyway.

Obj must stay.

st antagonym,  1:01 pm  

Yes, he must stay. Cant think of a better option just at this mo. But with this oil sha!

st homonym,  1:26 pm  

The argument that he should stay is based on continuation of the reform process vs the great unknown which might involve the Evil Genius/Maradonna or equivalent. At which point, we have to ask, how successful has reform been? Apart from doing a weakish debt deal with the Paris club, little has changed for the better in our country. The power situation is demonstrably worse than 1999, the education sector has collapsed, hospitals are drastically underfunded. How many jobs have been created? What has NEEDS achieved? (Precious little). The only institution of note has been the EFCC (and to a lesser extent FCT), but then again, there are detractors who point to Ribadu being a political pawn..

Balance all that against changing the constitution willy nilly and the impending Mugabification of Nigeria with an old tyrant (who doesnt even know how old he is!!) sitting on the throne and I think the argument must come down heavily against. If the constitution is changed solely for the purposes of a 3rd term, Nigeria will go through significant turbulence, throwing all hopes of increased inward investment/tourism etc out of the window. The dark days will reappear, with a possible coup on the horizon..

j 2:00 pm  

coup? what coup? coup only if those controlling from the outside are not in support of the third term agenda, and if Obasanjo does not let tham suck some of our oil. Udersatnd one thing, you are pointing fingers at babangida etc or the military as the institution or evil responsible for Nigerias slow development. No! Its the people on the outside who would have had to install whatever military regime we have had.
No military regime can stand by itself without suppport of our enemies (those oil suckers), on the outside

Styl Council 2:12 pm  

Goosh..What passionate, ferveent,ardent and fiery people we are!!!!...We Nigerians are so vocal, so why aren't are cries getting being heared by the deaf and dumbers of Aso-Rock???!!!!
I vote for a revolution...Lets all charge to Abuja and behead the bastards!!...As suggested by General Idiagbon some years back!!!
Until then..we will just continue to pour out Our VERY HOT-BLOOD-PRESSURE-RAISING-PASSION-OVER FLOWING thoughts onto the wrong soil!!!
I una tink say OBJ dey blog??!

priscilla prefix,  2:13 pm  

we are in trouble, and the earlier we realise this the better. Oil suckers have been on our case since its discovery some many decades ago. We need to wage a battle against the oil suckers. For one, shell etc need to leave naija...

This is the real evil as well as obstacle before us.

j 2:17 pm  

Given the apathetic nature of society today, it's doubtful if fani kayode (obj's mouth piece) will not understand this.

Anonymous,  2:22 pm  

I read some where on nigeria whats new's blog that obj was/is a dictator. You guys need to understand something, obj is not standing alone, he is simply a pawn with a vision. So he's letting them suck, but also trying to make progress. This cant work, we need to wage a battle. Blood needs to flow

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