A visit to the Tomb of late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, would definitely enlighten one about the struggles of our forefathers, in the quest for the independence of our beloved country Nigeria. The monument was designed to reflect on his simplistic lifestyle, and his struggle for the independence of his motherland. The first light at the entrance signifies his childhood and educational background. The first darkness signifies the hardship encountered to free Nigeria from colonial administration. The second light as you inch closer to the tomb signifies the ray of hope that Nigeria would be free from colonial rule. A second darkness shows that the struggle continued. The third light before the tomb entrance, close to two stairways, signifies the attainment of independence. One of the two staircases is rough and narrow, signifying the hardships of all Nigerians during colonial rule; while the other stairway which is smooth and wide, signifies the joy of freedom and independence. The different colors on the wall of the tomb encompasses the different ethnic groups and the efforts of the likes of the Prime Minister, to unite them. The slabs and the gaps between them captures the crises that engulfed Nigeria after his death. That is the life and struggle of our founding fathers that gave rise to Nigeria as it is today.
Michael Parenti said, “the third world is not poor. You don’t go to poor countries to make money. Most of these countries are rich, only the people are poor. Ordinary people pay the costs of empire. These countries are not underdeveloped, they are only over exploited.” Nigeria has suffered its fair share of exploitation and still does. The world order of causing instability in most developing countries through religious extremism is fast diminishing. The use of ISIS, Boko haram and the likes are no longer popular. There seems to be the invention of a new trend, in the form of secessionist movements, and other violent movements such as banditry. Boko haram claims over 100,000 muslim lives, which is defeatist to any thing Islamic. It is not spreading Islam but eroding it and that can no longer be concealed. This has led to the creation of the world of banditry. Killing people like they were birds, all in the name of making money is another world order of destabilising developing countries. Enter IPOB/ ESN, a secessionist agenda for the Igbos. Alas, today it has morphed Into an Igbo killing machinery. It is destroying the lives and properties of Igbos, just the way Boko haram did to North-easterners. It is stagnating the Igbo economy and taking them back in time. And yet it is supposed to be in the interest of the Igbos? Let’s wake up please to this anomaly. How would one have ever thought that an Igbo man would behave like a fundamentalist, burning his life and property to some end? Hell no!
There is so much to be grateful for as a nation. We are blessed with so much human and natural resources to be harnessed and harvested, to make for a better living for all as a nation. One can only pray that we are not tone deaf to the realities of countries that have been engulfed in one kind of war or the other. Have we not seen how Gaddafi was taken out of Libya, which lead to its ruination? What about Syria of today? A war of over 11 years that has led to what positives? Is it still a shi’a vs Salafist war? Or just an economic war sponsored by world super powers from the comfort of their boardrooms? What of Afghanistan? Has the 20 year old war cured it of anything? Did the US leave a better Afghanistan? In the hands of whom? Is it not still Taliban controlled? Borrowing from big brother, when are we going to ‘shine our eye’?
PMB says no President has done for Nigeria, what he has done in six years. I say no president has faced so much heat and wildfires from enemies within, like PMB. Aside the everyday corruption and infrastructural deficiencies — government is battling for its life and that of the country like no other time. The wave upon wave of insecurity sickening the nation is beyond belief. From Boko haram to ISIS in the North East, to banditry in the North West. The South East brings in another force in the shape of IPOB secessionist. We are in the midst of another silent civil war. A war for power and control of our resources. Violence and mayhem reigns supreme. The military is making its highest hardware acquisitions in decades, just to tackle Internal warfare. Our own Nigerians are our biggest enemies and have made it a business to bring the country down. Patriotism has become an extreme sport and a bitterly rare commodity, which should otherwise be the commonest commodity.
The world over, life is not rosy and by no means an eldorado. Inflation is everywhere. The US is heading for an economic shutdown unless its debt ceiling is raised. The UK is suffering from fuel scarcity and the Nigerians that have been fleeing abroad have been caught and arrested in the web of black marketeers! The cost of transporting a container from China to the US has tripled in the last one year. So let us all calm down and set our senses to synchronise with the realities all over the world. We are not doing as badly as we are made to believe. The UN just commended Nigeria for our role in the stabilisation of West Africa as a whole, in relation to the proliferation of arms in Sub-saharan Africa. We were also ranked 4th best in the world in the handling of Covid, even with less than 5% of our population vaccinated. A GDP of 514 billion dollars makes Nigeria the highest in Africa. A word they say is enough for the wise. A million words to us and I shall not tire from telling my countrymen the truth about appreciating what we have and labouring to keep it alive and well.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.