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[OPINION]: A repeat of the Abacha era? - Michael Asuzu

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During the Abacha era in Nigeria, things went so bad that it made so much sense for many people to just leave the country by any means possible whatsoever! While he was busy stealing the country to a death, there were many apparently well-funded movements from the source, for him to remain in power as the greatest thing that ever happened to Nigeria as a head of state. With his dark spectacled eyes and face, he just went on with the artificially orchestrated supporters and doing all the things that he was doing without any qualms whatsoever! A whole twenty years since his exactly God-executed ouster by a “mysterious death”, while the deafening devilish praise singing of him was going on, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the heinous loot that he made from our national resources. Even then, those erstwhile devilish praise singers of Abacha have not diminished, including many of them at the Aso Rock villa and related places! The university (and other higher education places) and other physical structures constructed from the proceeds of that loot, both in the Fulani and Shuwa Arab-dominated countries around us as well as in Nigeria itself, are all still thriving there; and are neither being processed for recovery nor are they ever likely to be so done!

Before God almighty mysteriously removed the man, Abacha was coasting to be the sole candidate, by a “universal acclamation”, for his self-planned and up-coming national election in Nigeria by our then almost uncountable number of political parties! Wonders will never end! No Nigerian had the moral courage to challenge the terrorist! However, at that time, it was a terrorist military dictatorship in power; and so, to some extent, it appeared reasonable to avoid the terrorist’s anger focused on you alone by speaking the truth to his power; to talk less of openly organizing a civil opposition to this imperial power monster. So, Nigerians resorted to prayer alone; as has become their stock in trade! Of, course, many across the country simply murmured about these things and did nothing else; until God Himself acted on the matter! Those who only pray and wait for God to resolve matters that he has given them the ample intelligence, knowledge as well as both moral and spiritual knowledge to know the practical human things that they can do to stop monstrosities around them but refuse to do those, what shall we call them? That is the recurrent dilemma of the country called Nigeria, surely!

On the 2nd day of July 2018, I met a young man who greeted me so excitedly that I asked him how he came to know me as he seemed to be. He informed me that he was one of my students in the past. When I asked what he was doing now and what his future plans were, he confessed that he was trying to make money to enable him to leave the country, “Because it is the most patriotic thing that anybody like him in this country must do now”! On further discussion,he challenged me if I do not know that the situation in the country now is worse than in the Abacha time as well as in the Babangida SAP time when it all began and “Andrew checking out” and all such names and slogans became the daily expression in the country. He pointed out to me the number of the “uncountable look-alikes” of the Abacha era and now: a paramount ruler who ignores all the rules of accountability and social justice, the rule of law, the constitution (especially in regard of the national character in appointments), the harvest of cronies and evil praise-singers in the face of tyranny and cluelessness, a fast running uselessness of our currency, the hounding of political opponents in the face of all sorts of high-handedness, the utmost state of terrorism and insecurity in the country whose perpetrators seem to have the “go ahead” command of the national leadership and no meaningful counter response from the government in power, intransigent refusal to do the most essential national restructuring without which this country can never expect to move any inch further in nationhood and human progress, etc.

The greatest point of this young man’s frustration was, of course, that in the light of all these now countless calamities to the nation, these same bandits in power are still the only ones happily coasting to present themselves for any governments in Nigeria in any up-coming elections! According to him, any young person in Nigeria, that leaves himself to be trapped in the country when these coming evils happen, will have only himself to blame! So, one will ask again, why do Nigerians – in the South-West, North-Central, and South-South especially – seem to lack the moral courage to confront these types of moral evils for good? Why do we have to be having countless conferences, resolutions and small individual bombastic video statements about the present evils in the country, threaten us with restructuring, with pulling out as independent republics, and so on and so forth; but without any concrete well organized and across-board movement in actualizing any of those? The socio-ethnic organisations, the legislatures and the judiciaries all seem unable to know what to do under such tyranny as we now have?

So, our final word to all these our self-proclaimed political progressives, conservatives, patriotic advocates, wisdom banks, sociocultural progress gurus, etc, will be no other than “shame on all of you that you just talk and thereafter do nothing concrete else really useful”! As for the rest of those politically oppressing the nation, we have this to say: “please remember that though God would seem to be angry with those of you/us making money with his name, just praying but doing nothing humanly concrete and effective on behalf of the people, he is still able to visit all of them/us, as He did of Abacha; both of the politicians themselves or of these evil religious leaders with their praise singers, and indeed, us all who fail to do what we can all individually do in these regards”! The politicians on all the sides should also know well that to wield all these power but not use it for the true welfare and universal happiness of all the polity equally is a most foolish thing. Its apparent silly advantages have consequences, both here and in the hereafter! If they had done these, or start now in earnest to do so, our young people will not stop feeling that it is their “patriotic” duty to themselves and the nation to leave the silly place, at least, for now! God bless Nigeria!

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