The Oasis Reporters
March 30, 2020
By TONY ABOLO
If “Covikk one nine (1.9)” as pronounced by President Buhari in his (COVID-19) broadcast does not rouse us all to the ever present danger we are in as a nation, I wonder what else could?
And if it turns out that the ‘positive’ “negative” status declaration of Buhari, plus the not yet determined “negative” ‘positive’ status of Abba Kyari – the “de facto” President, does not alarm us to the bind the ‘cabal’ has brought us to and to our knees, I wonder what further alarm bells we need to raise those of us who need to think of how a society is built and more so, the task of Nation building.
By acquiescing to the Nigerian breed of politicians to drive the Nigerian question conversations and to accept the depth we have sunk into by allowing or tolerating a Presidency that is clearly uncoordinated, run by a ‘cabal’ for its own ends, we have been made to forget that there is an urgent task ahead of all of us that such mishaps and slips could cause the Nigerian boat to sink.
Fancy a ‘cabal’ that cornered power for its own ends and in the course of their ‘escapades’, they all, one after another are reported to have contracted the Coronavirus and meanwhile, have sidelined a de jure, de facto Vice President, from acting his role and his parts. Should anything untoward happens, we would all in the Nigerian fashion be scampering for another ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ which was never necessary in the first place, had we all been alert and screamed out when it mattered that the Nigerian boat was rudderless and seemingly without a “captain”.
Worse perhaps would be the sentimental reaction of “this is not our portion” by religionists who would resort to be praying for reliefs and miracles.
A nation is built by the collective intellect of discourse – such that in the dialectics of open ‘salon’ verbalisations, would emerge, alternative anti-thesis to drive the converse thesis into a synthesis. Key groups today that could make a difference, have in shock either gone silent or could have compromised; Opinion Leaders, Academia, Religious leaders, the ENLIGHTENED AND UNCOMPROMISING NATIONALLY MINDED POLITICIANS, Traditional Rulers and former Heads of State have all receded. Who then would stand in the gap to save whatever is left of Nigeria?
The hope is that, with the lessons learnt in the current global pandemic, we will go from platitudes, nice words and wishes to real constructive discourses and opinions, to reset Nigeria’s button by rejecting our narcissistic elitist politics which is vain and is not at all salvific, a society without a consensus of superior values and avidly seek for a home made Cuban or Chinese style of health care, a productive education system, a more nationalistic politics, a final determination of Restructuring and the final dethronement of feudalism in the North which does not brook democratic ethos and a vile idea of ethnic superiority by some ethnic irredentists.
Should we miss the boat after this Coronavirus pandemic, we will merely totter for some while and be ready to stop. In any case, Nigeria, as an idea, stopped a long time ago. The Hour glass has bottomed out. And there seems to be no one to cry for Nigeria. Only very recently, erudite Bishop Hassan Kukah had in a valedictory lecture at Odimegwu Ojukwu University asked – Nigeria, do we know what time it is?
In my musings to writing this piece, I cannot agree more. For no group is yet thinking aloud and articulately on either how we may rethink popular participation in governance, questions of ethnic integration or harmony or how we can re-invent leadership in Nigeria. The alarm bells for those who bother to care, are ringing out.
Written by Tony Abolo.
Retired University lecturer, Mass Communications. One time BBC London correspondent based in Brussels. Public Affairs commentator and broadcast media consultant.