The Oasis Reporters
October 2, 2020
By John D. Danfulani, PhD
Whenever a Nigerian ‘bigman’ says “be patriotic” to you, quietly check his or her social and political status out. You will discover that he or she was and still is, a beneficiary of the corrupt, skewed political structures under a corrosive socio-cultural order.
But then, how can one be patriotic when the social contract between mandate givers and holders continues to be violated with impunity ? And redress cannot be sought through constitutionally bestowed channels ?
How can one be patriotic when he or she lacks the power to terminate or renew social contracts unmolested and without hypnosis from vicious political actors and their minions?
How can one be patriotic when he or she sees children of political office holders flying presidential jets–just to go for photo ops at social events like weddings, burials and naming ceremonies ?
How can one be patriotic when leaders are struggling to outdo the kleptocratic and totalitarian records of Gen. Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire (now DR Congo) ?
How can one be patriotic when police and the military spray bullets and crack skulls of citizens protesting policies they do not like?
How can one be patriotic when the judiciary is under the captivity of the executive branch of government ? And temples of justice are contaminated to the height that the poor cannot afford the cost of justice?
How can one be patriotic when lawmakers that are direct representatives of the people turn their body to a rubber stamp branch of the executive ?
How can one be patriotic when leaders appear in open markets and share money to people because elections are lurking at the corner ?
How can one be patriotic when emergency(ies) intervention bodies bandy claims that they sank billions feeding kids at home during Covid-19 lockdown ?
How can one be patriotic when the farmer can’t go to the field due to insecurity at a time that the government is placing an emphasis on a ‘back to the farm’ policy?
How can one be patriotic when kidnappers are no longer picking people on the highways, but have graduated to pulling down doors in cities and picking people unchallenged?
How can one be patriotic when the government has made spewing raw lies and misleading claims an official state policy ?
How can one be patriotic when freedom of association as guaranteed by the constitution has been trampled upon by aspiring dictators masquerading as democratically elected leaders?
How can one be patriotic when his region is being punished politically, economically and socially because of a civil war that was fought over five decades ago?
How can one be patriotic when leaders make reference to serious countries while justifying harsh policies like hike in power and petrol tariffs?
How can one be patriotic when he is being treated like a second class citizen in a country he calls his own?
Consider these additional factors why patriotism becomes a rather tall order in these climes:
When structures and constituencies are delineated to perpetually keep one down, politically;
When name, region, ethnicity and religion automatically places a bar on what one will be and aspire to be in life;
When leaders refuse to upgrade hospitals but always rush abroad on medical tourism—and taxpayers pick the bills;
When lecturers in public universities remain on strike for seven solid months;
When a global, regional and sub-regional right to self determination is considered an act of felony;
When an indexed global terror group (herdsmen militia) are tagged “mere criminals” while peaceful bodies like IPOB and Islamic Movement of Nigeria(Shias) are ruled as terrorists and then get outlawed.
How can one be patriotic when children of public office holders mount the social media and abuse the-hell-out-of citizens for expressing reservations on policies and actions of their parents?
The ‘Be patriotic’ cliché is nothing but a system and class preservation antic by a “lootocratic”, self serving, and opportunistic political class to entrenched themselves in power. No sane person will keep faith with the 1914 colonial political contraption that refuses to live up to the expectations of the citizenry.
There is an urgent need to restructure this country before it is too late. A stitch in time, saves nine.
Written by John Danfulani, PhD.
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria