By Abuchi Obiora
This work is written with the caveat and belief that there will be a Nigeria to rebuild by a new civilian President when Nigerians must have gotten it right in the 2023 general elections because there are ominous and palpable signs of danger in the socio-political horizon. I shall explain why I have said this in the course of this discourse.
The challenge of rebuilding Nigeria from the ruins of the past caused by the hopefully retiring and worn-out politicians will be a daunting but achievable task. This great task can only be accomplished when Nigerians have hit the bull’s eye in the choice of their President and his turn-around teams both in the national, state and local government levels.
The new set of people to fix the social, political and economic deficits of the country as a result of successive failures of governments in Nigeria, with the failure reaching its peak during the tenor of the incumbent government, must address the issues of Nigeria in the manner a Receiver/Manager of a failed business enterprise addresses the affairs of a failed company entrusted in his care to turn-around. Nigeria as a corporate entity should be seen as having slipped into Receivership as a result of bankruptcy and near-insolvency, enough to warrant the attention of a Receiver/Manager.
Secondly in this discourse, we will be examining the possible challenges of a Nigerian President equipped well enough to turn-around the country taking cognizance of the realities of international diplomacy and politics of the north and south bloc, considering also possible obstacles that may emerge in that silent battle for global economic supremacy, as Nigeria walks along the path of her greatness under the watch of a competent President and his turn-around team.
I had earlier written in the Kaleidoscope Opinion Column that the amount of money used to service Nigeria’s debt obligations exceeded the accruable revenue of the country during the first four months of the year (January, February, March and April) 2022 by
N310bn. This report was released to Nigerians through the DMO (Debt Management Office) of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in a fiscal performance appraisal of the country’s economy for the period under consideration.
In a follow-up report, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning acknowledged the unimpressive performance of the economy as a result of the unwholesome condition of the country’s high debt-service to revenue ration. The report reasoned that the low revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country which is 9 percent, compared to, for example, those of Ghana (12.5 percent), Kenya (16.6 percent), and Angola (20.9 percent), is the major reason for this bad performance.
After releasing the abysmal fiscal performance of the country during the period, the DMO made suggestions on how to jumpstart the comatose Nigerian economy. It suggested that the country can lower its debt-service to revenue ratio if it generates higher revenue like the three countries mentioned in the previous paragraph.
But the question is: how can the government generate more revenue in a country where public officers and politicians from top to bottom have converted government business to their private and family business holdings? The problem with Nigeria is corruption.
In his book, “There Was A Country” (The Penguin Group, 2012: a book which chronicles his personal historical account of the Nigerian civil war), Professor Chinua Achebe, the iconic writer and novelist, poet and literary critic opined that about 75% of the Nigerian national wealth was being eaten up by corruption, leaving little or nothing for the development of the country. That was then when Nigerian politicians and civil servants were stealing millions of naira. Now that Nigerian politicians and public servants are stealing billions of naira apiece with corruption spreading its tentacles in all federal and state government establishments, I guess that 90% of the national wealth will be going down the drain through the conduit pipe of corruption.
There lie the most daring challenge that will be posed to the new government that will be sworn in after the 2023 Presidential election. Apart from putting good economic policies together, the in-coming government in 2023 must be ready to apply all the laws in our statute to decisively eliminate corruption. The new government must have both the courage and political will be tackle corruption, irrespective of whose ox will be gored. Without solving the problem of corruption in Nigeria, it will be difficult to tackle all the other problems bedeviling the country, including the problem of insecurity.
For the reason of the wide and varied tentacles of corruption in Nigeria, the road to salvaging the country by the present silent youth revolution is not going to be easy. My prediction is that the efforts of Nigerian youths to salvage the country from the ruins of the past will either make Nigeria great or plunge her into anarchy.
A proverb in Igbo language translated in English language says that “The problem is not in giving the monkey water with a cup, but in retrieving the cup from the monkey when the monkey is done with drinking the water.” Nigerian youths will wrongly believe that the aged politicians whose wealth are dependent on the huge corruption edifice presently called Nigeria, will easily concede power to the youths on a platter of gold. Beyond voting-in their preferred candidate in 2023, Nigerian youths must go the extra mile to make sure that their preferred candidate is sworn-in as the President in 2023 after he has won in the election. As a matter of fact, after voting and making sure that the votes are counted and electronically transmitted, greater emphasis must be laid on making sure that the preferred candidate of the youths must be crowned the President in 2023, safe from agents of election result annulment. Nigerian youths and all progressive Nigerians must resist, with whatever it takes, a last-minute attempt to derail the opportunity presented in the 2023 general elections, to rebuild Nigeria from the ruins of the past.
At this point, it is important to discuss a remote, though potent factor that may encumber the process of transformation of Nigeria through the vehicle of a credible government supported by true progressives and the vast majority of Nigerian youths. In the same past discourse in the Kaleidoscope Opinion Column (“Nigerians and the Challenge of Choice in 2023 Presidential Election: Part 1”), I had briefly touched on the human resources, material and vast mineral deposits of Nigeria especially in the light of the surging population of the country as compared to the population of the capitalist Western European countries.
I had, in that discourse compared the future population of Nigeria with that of America, sequentially recording the exponential growth of the population of Nigeria and the fact that the high population of a country like Nigeria with commensurate productivity in future as a result of an effective and incorrigible government is sure to challenge capitalist imperialism in Africa and eventually transform the trend of the socio-political and economic woes of African countries to good fortune.
Before I analyze this possible future condition, let me briefly quote the relevant portions of that discourse, viz: “The report (Worldometer Elaboration of the latest United Nations data) further says that if the current indices continue to remain constant, the population of Nigeria will clock 728m by the year 2100.
“This means that taking cognizance of the general pattern of growth in all the countries of the world, and in reference to the figures provided by the Census Bureau of the United States of America, the population of Nigeria will surpass that of the United States of America in 2047, when the Nigerian population will reach 379.25m.
“In this same year, 2047, Nigeria will become the third most populous country in the world.”
I guess the above information will unsettle the aspirations of the capitalist world especially where Nigeria and other African countries are moving to China (a country that will continue to maintain the lead as the most populous country on earth for a very long time) for their external loan needs. For the reason of this possible ascendancy of Nigeria as a future world power by the time her population surpasses those of the countries of western capitalism put together, I must observe, for the records, a fearsome possibility of an international conspiracy by the capitalist world to either stop or retard the progress of Nigeria in order to check the chances of the country emerging as a world power.
The picture of Nigeria appearing as a future threat to the overall interest of Western capitalism especially in the light of the country moving towards Indo-China for external loans and recording favourable balance of trade with Indo-Chinese countries is real. The antecedents of the Western capitalist machinery to nib future economic competition in the bud, is also both true and real.
It may not be a coincidence, after all, that all the terrorist groups that ever operated in the Arab countries are congregating in Nigeria with different names, all claiming they work for the propagation of Islam in Nigeria. Though Nigerian Christians and Muslims may not have prepared for it, the reality on ground now is that Nigeria runs the risk of witnessing a gruesome religious war where Muslim fanatics and other soldiers of fortune around the world faking the propagation of Islam but with terrorists as their foot soldiers, will ignite a religious war in Nigeria as they did in Lebanon when Beirut, the capital of that Middle Eastern country, was taking the shine away from France, the traditional home of Paris Club, one of the hawkish Western capitalist and imperialist lending groups.
This does not necessarily mean that the Nigerian Muslim community would be privy to the plan, yet, it is not unlikely that some of the leaders of Islam have been bought over with money, unknown to them, to betray the country and their religion, in the guise of hosting a Jihad in Nigeria.
As a matter of fact, I will believe that many Nigerian Muslims will be totally against this agenda if they understand that it is one with the hand of Esau but the body of Jacob, but the unfortunate thing is that the opinion of this Muslim majority has been drowned by the opinion of the feudalist masters who call the shots in the religion of Islam in Nigeria.
Like the revelations of John Perkins in his book “Confessions of An Economic Hit man”, the Jackals of Western European capitalism may be at work in the present insecurity in Nigeria through greedy politicians, Islamic religious leaders and “businessmen” whose only source of huge wealth is to act as agents in the negotiation of foreign loans for the country. It is unlikely that these people, swimming in greed, understand the underlining purpose for which they are enriched.
As for religious leaders who are used to work out this sinister long-range plan, Karl Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) has long theorized that religion is the opium of the masses. Patriotism and reason always take the second stage in the consideration of issues by religious fanatics who have been brainwashed to believe that Heaven or Jannah with streets paved in gold, and in some religions, mansions tended by uncountable number of virgins, will be their reward when they forsake patriotism and reason for religious blind obedience.
In the same manner, Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Young (4B.C – 65 A.D) – popularly called Seneca, a Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist and Satirist from the post Augustan age of Latin literature, said that “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”. I used to think otherwise but now I understand that just like a bull will not stop charging at you because you do not eat it’s meat, the Western European imperialists and capitalists and their agents around the world who remain predominantly Christians will not spare Christians and Christianity in Nigeria and other African countries because Christianity originated from their shores. When the chips are down, national interest and patriotism for people who reason properly take precedence over religious considerations. It is not in doubt, therefore, that Western European imperialist countries understand, as Seneca observed, that religion is both false and useful.
For the above reason, it is important to understand that the morally purblind imperialist, capitalist world, would not discourage a depopulation of African countries, including Nigeria through the “natural” process of ethnic or religious, wars, even if the lives of Nigerian Christians are wasted. These processes they would think, will serve the dual purposes of:
- Curbing the perceived nuisance value of a continent that survives on grants and subventions from governments of Western Europe and America.
- The imperialist capitalist world would not take kindly a condition that will rob it, through productive huge African population, of the future of capitalism which, to them, must continuously be maintained by cheap African labour and industrial fiber.
Head or tail, the depopulation of Africa by any means possible, starting with Nigeria, the most endowed and most populous black African country who will most probably become a world power by 2047 challenging the dominance of America around the world (America is the current Headquarters of the capitalist world) will be of utmost consideration for the promotion and sustenance of capitalism around the world.
By my analysis, the process of igniting a religious war in Nigeria is 75% completed. The 25% before completion is as a result of the simple issues of logistics and timing. For example, all the precipitating factors that plunged Lebanon into civil war and destroyed that country have been completed in Nigeria. The last and most immediate of such factors was when four armed Islamic terrorists entered a Church and began to shoot the congregation as the Christian worship was going on, exactly as it happened in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria. As a matter of fact, more congregants were killed in the Owoh massacre by the terrorists who also employed the use of bombs than the number of Christians murdered in the massacre that plunged Lebanon into civil war, yet Nigerian Christians, by divine purpose, have held their peace, not responding to provocations by the Islamic terrorists.
I doubt if the plan for the destruction of Nigeria has not been perfected by people who will benefit when the country goes down. The only reason Nigeria is still standing as a country is because Nigerian Christians have refused to respond to the killings and yield to the sinister ploy. They prefer to pray and achieve a stable country the peaceful way.
No doubt, the gain of Nigeria will be the loss of Western imperialism, vice versa. Nigerians therefore must learn from the histories of fallen countries around the world. The deliberate destruction of Ukraine as a Guinea pig to test the grip of Western Capitalism over the countries of Europe (which has been ‘permitted’ by the so called ‘allies’) is strategic to the interest of Western Europe and America, forget the rhetoric’s and semantics which have not benefitted Ukraine or saved the lives of Ukrainians.
It is based on the above line of thought and logic that I think that the President who emerges after the 2023 election to address the arduous task of rebuilding Nigeria from the ruins of the past has also to fully articulate the external challenges that will confront him in that office. Apart from the fact that Nigerians will demand so much from him, he may still have to skip the hurdle of international conspiracy by the capitalist world, who may desire to sit on the progress of Nigeria.
Certainly, quiet diplomacy instructs that national interest and protective instinct in all human beings will naturally prevent America and the Western European countries from promoting a good government and a productive population in a country like Nigeria that is walking up to China (the silent enemy of America and Western European countries) for loans because the association of Nigeria and other African countries with Indo-Chinese countries may pose a threat to America and Western European imperialist capitalism as the years roll by. The imperialist capitalist world will most likely work in line with the aphorism that “A stich in time saves nine”. But I must observe that in spite of what the self-protective instinct in human beings may dictate, Western Europe and America and in fact all the countries in the West African sub region will suffer unimaginable imbalance as Nigeria will spew tens of millions of refugees around the world if the country goes to war. This means that between two odds, the Western European countries and America have to choose the safer option of encouraging Nigeria to be stable and make the best out of her emerging strength.
For the reason of putting Nigeria on track to meet the necessities of international diplomacy, the Nigerian President to emerge from the 2023 election must, apart from being competent, having a good character, being credible and capable, must also have charisma and courage to beat the Western European capitalist countries in their game.
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