Thursday, October 4, 2012
THANKS-GIVING AT INDEPENDENCE
Nigeria’s fifty-second independence anniversary should be an opportunity to thank God, ordinarily. Our traditional agenda for this programme usually includes prayer sessions at mosques all over the country, attended by muslim faithful and leaders whose propensity for looting bears a stark dissemblance to the ideals of Islam. The Christian churches also witness joyful services, hosted in big churches where overfed priests thank the Lord for giving us good Christian leaders who have nothing in common with Christ.
This year has been different however, mosques are no longer safe nor churches the peaceful sanctuaries that they used to be. Churches especially, have been hardly hit. Houses of God have been transformed into military zones where people have to be screened thoroughly before they come into his presence. I cannot dwell on how this has affected tithe, offerings and the ministry in particular. The most visible of this change has happened inside clergymen, they have started criticising the president. One of them even went as far as to construct and vocalise a prayer on corruption which embarrassed the president. One of them even dared to contest an election and continues to make “inciting” statements about the leadership of our great country. Obviously, men of God are no longer cosy with the establishment.
The focal point of my piece is not to dwell on the fluidity of Nigeria’s theology and religion in these times. My goal is to offer thanks on behalf of Nigeria to everyone whose action and inaction has brought us thus far in our national sojourn. I am mindful of the fact that some of you might wonder why this piece was not published on the first of October, let me quickly explain the delay in simple terms. I did not have electric power and there was fuel scarcity on Independence Day. My generator was bad too. The generator repair man could not get fuel to power his motorcycle so I spent the day in darkness except for the intrusion of my Blackberry phone which kept broadcasting the rantings of some endangered species of bloggers, activists and concerned Noisegerians. For this lack of electric power, I would like to thank Professor Nnaji for telling us there would be more megawatts of power while arranging his cronies and companies to buy up all our power plants. We owe him and his predecessors eternal gratitude for enabling generations of Nigerian children shout “Up NEPA” anytime the light flickers, even when they are outside the shores of Nigeria.
Let me quickly apologise for breaking protocol by not addressing myself to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. I must thank His Excellency, first for his decision to hold the Independence Day celebrations in Aso Rock Villa rather than the stately and regal Eagle Square where the convention that eventually produced his ticket to the presidency was held. Your prudent (some say cowardly) capitulation has sent victory signals to every member of Boko Haram group that our leadership is afraid and cannot make adequate security preparations to host a military parade. I am sure all your service chiefs and military high brass all supported this directive, afterall, who would not recollect how our police headquarters was bombed. I am sure that you have set the right tone for negotiations with the dreaded group.
I would also like to like to thank you Mr. President for the inspiring, visionary and prayerful Independence Day speech. Let me note that unlike 2010, it did not embarrass us with your inept use of teleprompters when neither you nor your aides had tried it out to test its adaptability to our dynamic environment. This year, your speech called for prayers and provided budgetary allocation for calling the almighty to come and solve our problems. Let me quickly remind you that Saudi Arabia, Isreal and Italy all lay more direct claims to our God yet they invest in people and put institutions in place to achieve societal change. They hardly budget for prayers. Your speech created a buzz for the “armchair critics and activists“in blogosphere for whom Dr. Reuben Abati has so much angst. You quoted a phantom report from an organisation that announces it reports globally. The authentic report was just a few clicks on any decent browser. I want to thank you for confirming the veracity of some claims (in blogosphere) that your Doctorate Degree in Zoology must have been a gift from the University of Port Harcourt. If I were the Vice Chancellor of that institution, I would refund your tuition and withdraw your doctorate degree in order to protect the brand of that institution. I am sure the Vice Chancellor will dare not! That is why I can never be a Vice Chancellor.
Your speech also confirmed that you are not given to intellectual rigour or cerebral exertion. I am thankful to you for encouraging the youth in Nigeria who would rather skip school to become musicians. They have a reason to believe that holding a doctorate degree makes no difference to personal intelligence. My eternal thanks also go everyone who had a hand in the speech. They confirmed our submission that you do not read whatever is given to you. You just go ahead and blurt it out!
I want to thank the Vice President for being a passenger in this democratic dispensation. I guess he realised that adding his voice to this cacophony of ineptitude would overwhelm the average Nigerian’s threshold for rubbish. Without any clear constitutional schedule of duties, I appreciate his ability to do nothing, say nothing and stand for nothing. He could have towed the line of a certain Abubakar Atiku who attempted to invent a job description for the position. We all know how that went down.
I would like to thank the Senate and House of Representatives for deliberations that have led to no improvement in the lives of Nigeria. Aside tossing out Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s five thousand naira note, the legislature has been more concerned with increasing an already anomalous remuneration. They have proven that human greed overpowers reason. They have also proven that amongst thieves, compassion is not a virtue. Unless he wins his re-election bid, Barack Obama would gladly consider their salaries if he could apply!
I must thank all the ministers in Nigeria especially the Coordinating Minister of the economy. A brilliant woman, her inability to explain anything in clear terms has helped me to understand how smart people behave when they have incompetent bosses. Her inability to explain the performance of the 2012 budget clearly indicates she is a good manager of information. I also salute her courage in sitting with chronic debtors as members of her national economic committee while she expects AMCON to take objective decisions on their indebtedness. Special thanks must be giving to the Minister of Labour for continually embarrassing this administration in the media. His lack of processing abilities makes the Minister for Water resources look extra-terrestial. Labaran Maku deserves our thanks and pity for assailing our ears frequently with not-well-thought-out representations of the government. I am sure David Mark conveyed our gratitude more poignantly!
I would like to thank all governors for the increase in the number of cars in their details while hunger pervades the land. I will like to thank the southern governors for asking for more money from the federation account even when most states have not utilised their allocations for anything productive. I must single out Uduaghan for attempting to retrieve his cousin’s fifteen million dollars from the EFCC. Blood is indeed thicker than governance. I must also thank Dickson for providing the first lady with a decent salary and pension via her appointment as a permanent secretary. Who knows where such gratitude could take him?
I would like to show appreciation to the northern governors for laboriously connecting Boko Haram to monthly allocations from our commonwealth. We now know we created Al Majiri to set the North back economically and politically. We are the reasons why polio still ravages the North.
The Eastern governors must be applauded for agreeing that Igbo presidency is the only panacea to the litany of problems facing Nigeria. We are yet to receive a blueprint for the eradication of commercial kidnapping and other crimes which continue to fester in their states . I must thank Orji for institutionalising non-performance. His billboards clearly advertise his personal dereliction. I will like to thank the Western governors for the gift of propaganda. They have taken the art form to a new level closer to mass hypnosis.
I must thank Nigerians for putting up with the current leadership, afterall we voted them in and collected their money to mortgage our future. I must thank all the market women who participated in all the rallies and all the people who sold their voter cards. I am grateful to all the people who continue to keep quiet and hide their heads in the daily humdrum of torture that our lives have become. They are the reason why the evil darkness grows in temerity.
We do not have to thank God for the turn of events we have brought on ourselves. He has given us the will and mental fortitude, to seek out the truth and set our minds free. We have a God-given gift to demand more and better from our leaders. I thank the few Nigerians who exercise this right.