f this were the colonial age, it could be an excellent time to conquer – or recolonize — Nigeria. As bleak as that may sound, that is exactly what would happen if another adventurous blend of Goldie Taubman and Frederick Luggard were to emerge.
Consider Nigeria as a coffee shop with a good chance of being the only one of its kind, serving the best cappuccino or mocha any coffee lover could desire, run by one major boss and countless ‘minor’ bosses, and suffering from mismanagement. The ‘minor’ bosses are concerned with dethroning the major boss, while the major boss is motivated by his desire to maintain power, even if it means gross mismanagement.
In this scenario, the major boss would either succeed in repressing or compromising with the tiny bosses and having control for a long time; or the minor bosses, if united, would succeed in dethroning the major boss and likely worsen the issue at hand; or the coffee shop would collapse and exist no more. Now, whether this is a good or terrible thing depends on one’s perspective and the level of devastation that such a disaster would leave in its aftermath.
That is the tale of our country today: a place brimming with limitless possibilities but beset by unholy alliances and political compromises, all in an effort to keep the political class’s well from drying up and avoiding implosion. However, if the coffee shop were Nigeria under her current “major boss,” the coffee shop would be no more likely to develop its potentials than Nigeria would be to collapse.
Politics, in an ideal setting, should be a means to an end – a vehicle for achieving the collective’s socio-economic ambitions – rather than an end in itself, with the political elite preoccupied with power and unconcerned with the devastation it leaves in its wake, as is the situation in Nigeria. But I believe that all of that is about to change, with the one caveat that the repercussions may be too bitter to bear.
Nigeria is still on the verge of collapsing, barring imperial interventions, and the relative calm that has characterized the long-running cries for a people-oriented representative and revolutionary democracy might be shattered at any moment.
The ethnic parochialism, unbridled recklessness, and ineptitude that currently afflict Nigerian government institutions lend credence to the state of a country that has struggled to understand independence and democracy, failing to learn from history, and putting itself up for hire by the highest, or as it may turn out, strongest bidder.
The long-wielded console of state capture is gradually being pulled away from the deep state as we know it – and upturned by a less organized yet violent clutch of opportunists – with each region obliged to take its part of them.
This near-total chaos in Nigeria would be the nemesis of the strange bedfellows who have treacherously held sway over political power for self-serving reasons, including the mishmash of misfits in the incumbent government, as well as the nemesis of the gatekeepers of our democracy who have been slumbering for far too long.
The combination of these three factors – banditry, secessionist demagogues, and a growing cassowary misinterpreted for a phoenix in the South – is a building avalanche that no government worthy of the title would disregard for cheap propaganda, lies, and misguided harassment campaigns.
Sunday Igboho’s newfound hobby of ‘defending’ the Yoruba people from ravaging herders could very well be the response of a political class trying to overturn their disadvantaged lot, as it could be one of the biggest disasters waiting to unfold in contemporary Nigerian history.
Many see it as a necessary evil now, but if history teaches us anything, it is that a necessary evil today could turn out to be an unwanted evil later, especially when that necessary evil means Igboho are disproportionately spread around our country.
I tremble at the possibility of a regional administration run by these people, who have done very little to articulate their visions for the people they profess to work for, if they really have any.
If I were Prometheus, I would weep for Nigeria – not only because the age of negative peace is about to be displaced by the age of chaos, and hell is more likely to freeze over than those in power will be able to rescue the country from its doldrums, but also because the saviours that many see today are merely a looming avalanche of disaster that many will not survive.