‘Fixing Nigeria’ is actually a book, written in an unconventional style and content. Of course the thrust is fixing Nigeria, a nation where everything seems to be going wrong despite huge government efforts and investments. Such missing links and how they could be articulated into a workable whole is what the book under review has strikingly identified.
Negative growth still pervades the polity, despite the claim of the nation recently exiting recession. What exactly is the problem besetting a country once prided as the African giant? Many say it is leadership; some say it is the structural defects – unitary structures in Nigeria’s obvious federal environment – the nation has been saddled with. Many more say it is all about the uninformed and unprepared citizens, leading to them often getting the ineffectual leaders they deserve. While even more think it’s a combination of the three factors and perhaps more.
The Abatete, Anambra State-born Chuks Inyaba-Nwajojie, in his beautiful new book – ‘Fixing Nigeria’ – proves it is all about the rapacious leadership class, which has left both the nation and her citizens behind. He says they must be exorcised from the nation’s psyche and preferably banned from holding positions of public trust both in appointive and elective capacities. This way, Inyaba-Nwajojie says the nation could make a go at development, progress and happiness.
In his triad analysis of the trouble with Nigeria, Inyaba-Nwajojie took a historical tour de force and refilled the readers who may have missed anything in the nation’s checkered past and contemporary history before arriving dynamically and deductively at the inescapable solutions. To this uncommon author of an uncommon book, apart from the underwhelming performance of the tragically greedy political class, it is also self-evident that nobody manages in Nigeria for national development. Inyaba-Nwajojie says what carries on in Nigeria with highest degree of impunity is a systemic class fraud aimed at sapping the economy and under-developing the nation.
Karl Marx once said; ‘philosophers have interpreted the world, the point however is to change it’. The same thing can be said about Nigeria: most analysts have long reached a consensus that Nigeria is fixated and underdeveloped, and living far below par compared to its potentials and contemporary nations. The challenge however remains how to fix the country.
The plundering of the nation is even official and legalized in some cases. For instance, there are over twenty senators currently receiving pensions from government as ex-governors and deputy governors. The current senators who once served as governors are Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye of Plateau Jonah Jang of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, George Akume of Benue and Isiaka Adeleke of Osun. The former deputy governors in the Senate are Ms Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe of Abia. Danladi Abubakar Sani served as the acting governor of Taraba state.
Many former governors are also in Buhari’s Cabinet as Ministers. This includes: Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Fayemi, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Raji Fashola (SAN). What is more, most of them have their two to three cars changed every 3 years after houses have been purchased for them in their state capitals and Abuja.
Nigeria is like a squeaky house, a severe and debilitating mental condition, resulting from long-term exposure to unwanted and really, really vexatious and self-destructive divisive politics. As consequence today, the fault lines are spreading all over, stretching the security architecture to the very limits. What may have been gained in the war against Boko Haram terrorism is now lost to the Fulani herdsmen menace, who have been wantonly killing and maiming farmers and Nigerians living in rural communities round the country. This goes almost unchallenged by very complacent if not complicit security agencies. This has led to many communities taking up arms in self-defense, as noticed recently in the sharp rise of militias in Benue and in many other States.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, once said that fighting corruption and fixing Nigeria required more than a God-fearing leader. He said that fighting corruption and building the nation was not just about goodwill but about getting to the root of the matter and tackling it head-on. Like Bishop Kukah, Inyaba-Nwazojie thinks Governance in Nigeria is a criminalized enterprise and a criminalized state cannot progress; so we must come to terms as to get the nation into the right gears.
To both political thinkers, fixing the country requires much more than citizens sitting in the wings and blaming leadership. Conscious efforts must be made at building national consensus and cohesion. Inyaba-Nwazojie believes that holding the country together is the most fundamental project if Nigerians are to fix the nation. He thinks fight against corruption; insurgency, terrorism and achieving national development are failing because of lack of this national consensus, as many more citizens are more after how to access the national cake than joining in baking one.
To the author therefore, we are all part of the problem rather than solutions. He therefore calls for change in attitude towards the nation. He calls for reforms in the individual Nigerians and national life…a total paradigm shift.
He ultimately calls for a revolution, no matter the type the citizens decide upon. Hear him: “Reforms must start from top to down, but in case everything failed…Then the masses reserve the right to confront the government and decide the best cause of action to be taken to save their country…they can chose the Martin-Luther King Jr type of nonviolent revolution…” Change must begin with the leaders and the political class then.
From his ‘ Fixing Nigeria’, Inyaba-Nwajojie shows that the real problem with Nigeria is not only copious corruption and decayed infrastructure. The real problem with Nigeria is that Nigerians have no sense of country, still seeing Nigeria as mere geographical expression. To him therefore, for Nigeria to be truly viable as a country, the only choice open is to redefine the nation state which all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, can defend and live for. He believes that nation-building cannot be legislated or compelled. Nigeria therefore needs to be renegotiated since it cannot be held together by mere force.
As they say, eternal vigilance is the price citizens pay for liberty and democracy.
Inyaba-Nwazojie is advocating for what he calls the Brooms Day (the Revolution Day). This is the day he says political leaders and everything bad and evil in Nigeria shall be swept away to make room for a new Nigeria. Truly, Nigeria needs fixing because it is not working for an overwhelming majority of its citizens who have been abandoned by the thieving and profligate political class that has plagued and plundered the country since its independence.
This 250-page moving book of portent and ominous political predictions will do every leader and scholar a world of good as a guide to the needful to avert a revolution, which the author has so lucidly foretold like a prophet without any doubt. It is already predictably close. Arab Spring is next door to Nigeria and Africa.
• Law Mefor is an Abuja based Forensic/Social Psychologist, Journalist and author; Tel.: +234-803-787-2893; email:email@example.com