“I want a change, and a radical change. I want a change from an acquisitive society to a functional society, from a society of go-getters to a society of go-givers.” Peter Maurine Indeed, these are turbulent times for Nigerians. Inflation has skyrocketed beyond the reach of the poor. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening and escalating on a large scale. And of course, the defenceless are at the wanton brutality of the brutish men, men of the underworld, the state enemies, enemies of the masses. Concerned by the rapid rate at which innocent human lives are lost almost daily, the government is fighting a big war, which started like an easy affair but is now wallowing enormous resources.
It is a battle that we still remember how it started but we cannot tell when it will end .Patriotic and agonised writers have narrated untold woes about our lingering and escalating insecurity. Certainly, they will continue sending us bad news of man’s inhumanity to man. They are continuously conditioned to pass through sleepless nights to see Nigeria becoming a country of mass refugees and a theater of bloodbath. They will continue to be attacked and devastated by the rising despair, sorrow and pains that are now the common foes of the masses.
As a last option,the poor have since resorted to taking their sympathetic case to the Almighty Allah for prompt Divine intervention because their hope is gradually dying and their dead living has no meaning and value to the merchants of death. On the other hand, traditional, religious and political leaders have been rendered pessimistic by the persistent strikes of these deadly ruffians. Their bashing voices are almost becoming monotonous and uninspiring to the listeners. They are now on the verge of becoming voiceless. Groups, institutions and other concerned individuals are unrelenting in the continuous search for an end to this national embarrassment. Even the International Community has expressed its deep sympathy and concern about the worrisome destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, the beacon of hope for Africa, the most populous black nation in the world. Gradually, it seems as if we are resigning to a gloomy and cruel fate.
The government is passing through the pains of not winning a war and is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The vulnerable, the oppressed, the wretched of the earth are in a state of deep pains that those who are hunting them for no justifiable reasons have gone out of control of the government. They always reflect that their living is no longer a right but a privilege at the disposal of these satanic forces. To our unending dismay, peace and tranquility have eluded us even though we are just managing to survive the toughest time in our national project. The government has no peace because the gunmen are still destroying its credibility. The poor have no tranquility because their blood is becoming the cheapest commodity in the land! This is a difficult time for our beloved nation, the giant of Africa. It is currently incapacitated by the men of horrors who dare the state, assuming a government within another government .
Could this be a repercussion of pains of our development. What are the roots of these pains? In most of our reactions to these killings, this great question of the past as it relates to the present is often underdeveloped and thrown into the dustbin of history. . Before this abrupt human catastrophe reared its ugly head, Nigeria desired and deserved a better management to avert the prevailing predicaments.
The country then was an emerging and brilliant star. Its richness in oil was good news for rapid development. Its vast natural, agricultural and mineral resources were abundantly ready for our tapping. Thank God, there were brilliant and great nationalists who persistently cautioned us that the leadership of that time was largely faulty and must be sacked for its inefficiency to secure our future. Their ambition was that Nigeria should ensure equitable distribution of its resources to produce a large army of hopeful Nigerians who would guarantee its integrity. Those enthusiastic Nigerians saw the post independence Nigeria as a decisive period of the evolution of nationhood to dismantle statehood.
I still recall late Shehu Shagari’s soft voice of One Nation, One Destiny. But sadly, we are now producing mad shooters who are gradually disbanding the nation. They determine when we must be killed and rendered homeless! In other words our destiny is now in their brutal court! The radicals of those days were true friends of the nation. They did not pretend to love Nigeria. They came with clear vision and mission for our long term prosperity and security.
Their deeds and actions were in favour of a bright future and the future is here, very terrible, the spoiled future against which they raised alarm. When they warned us of this serious and prevailing dangers, they were called derogatory names such as extremists, uncompromising and difficult characters. Those good Samaritans comprehended that some political vultures both in Khaki and Agbada regalia were on massive rape mission against the nation’s treasury to spread poverty so that evils would permeate the land. They were afraid that if the conservative nature of those years should be allowed to generate pillars and adherents, today’s Nigeria would be the greatest regret of our life. As they were making that brilliant and brave sermon, most of us could not construe meaning out of their messages. Some of them were persecuted for calling a spade a spade. Some were mysteriously and brutally murdered such as the late Dr. Mahmud Tukur and the late Dr. Bala Muhammad.
To avert this bloody type Nigeria, they championed the foundation of equal, just and egalitarian society. Those easy going socioeconomic concepts were however notoriously regarded as nonsense by the conservative and right elements. Based on their foreseeable future ability, the radicals launched a cold war on behalf of the country and the future generation. Their socioeconomic fundamentalism ignited the intellect that if a just and egalitarian society would not be forthcoming as the only viable option for Nigeria, we should get prepared for insecurity; we should learn to live with poverty; we should not expect our tomorrow to be bright and so on and so forth. Just like the unbelievable Nostradamus, they saw tomorrow for us. They were interested for power, fame and influence not as an end in itself but for the purpose of changing the society.
According to their corroborative musings, some dangerous characteristics of underdevelopment were evolving at an alarming rate and must be assassinated before we get perished. Just like the above Peter’s quote, our emerging radicals drew up a functional template for our survival while the conservative wing was developing a future that would create chaos. While the left insisted that Nigeria must undergo the construction of being a functional society so that in the future we would not parade gunmen, the conservative elements of the larger society wanted to have an acquisitive society so that the go- getters syndrome would carry the day eventually. And this day is the unfortunate day, the day go- givers who have been known to be adding values to the lives of others are very minimal and gradually phased out of the scheme of our national project. For long, we have been subjected to the excessive interest of acquiring money and concentrating it in the hands of the few who have been exploiting, marginalising and oppressing the downtrodden.
Nigeria has been gradually transformed into a money- oriented society and the gunmen, even though sometimes they don’t kill for money yet, they feel that the society has deliberately abandoned them when they need love and compassion. They are thus the products of abject poverty which generated the attraction of the radicals long time ago. Money and people are the two main sources of power.
Lack of these sources heavily incapacitated the growth of the radicals in those days to carry their ideological battle to its logical conclusion. Currently, the only radical voice that is renting the air is that of Dr. Edwin Madunagu. He speaks occasionally, demonstrating that his spirit is still firm and tall, though the radicals’ phenomenon in Nigeria is nearest in meaning to rest in peace.
Going by the prevailing predicament and reflections on the radicals’ vision for a just, equal and egalitarian society, our crisis of insecurity teaches great lessons from the point of view of their struggle. Will the radicals ever rise again in Nigeria’s politics considering its ideological viability vis-a-vis the challenges of Nigeria as a nation?
Galadanci Quarters Ringim,