Building a Nation Without Nationalists?

30
1981

THE HORIZON BY KAYODE KOMOLAFE    kayode.komolafe@thisdaylive.com

While Nigeria marked the 57th Anniversary of her independence on Sunday one streak of the national mood was not explicit in the messages sent on the occasion. Here is the point: it is hardly fashionable anymore to wave the flag of Nigerian nationalism or defend the unity of the country as a matter of historical responsibility. The latest fad is that of championing ethnic, regional or religious interests at the huge expense of national integration and cohesion.

The tragedy of the moment is simply that it used not be like this; a generation of Nigerian youths once made Nigerian nationalism their career. For example, the young men in the Zikist Movement proudly and selflessly fought in the spirit of Nigerian nationalism; they did not champion northern or southern interests. No, a century of British colonialism did not come an end on October 1, 1960 without a fight.

To be sure, there were no guerrilla fighters who went to the bush; but there were radical youths agitating in the cities. As the late Marxist historian, Bala Usman, used to put in his inimitable polemical fashion, the struggle for independence was for the nationhood of Nigeria and not for ethnic or regional divisions. In fact, 70 years ago, some of the young men were so immersed in the liberation of Africa such that Nigerian independence was expected to be the launching pad for the total liberation of the black people. It was not for nothing that the appellation of the chief inspirer of the young nationalists, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was not “Zik of Onitsha” or even “Zik of Nigeria.”

He was hailed as “Zik of Africa”! Azikiwe later emerged the first President of Nigeria, albeit a ceremonial one. The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, remarked in his autobiography that Azikiwe inspired him. In the early 1960s, Nkrumah himself was championing the cause of African unity including the possibility of an all –African government. The dimension of the tragedy of our time could be gauged by the reality that decades after such a momentum the passion for Nigerian unity is dwindling. If Nigerian unity is no more an imperative, how would the forces for African integration be galvanised?
To the separatists and ethnic champions, Nigerian unity has become a naïve proposition.

And that is putting the matter in the mildest form. Yet the actual naivety is not responsibly contemplating the multi-dimensional consequences of the disintegration of Nigeria due to political recklessness. To the moderate ethnic and regional champions, the unity of Nigeria is solely hinged on “restructuring.” That is why some elements in this camp view any divergence from their own concept of “true federalism” as the view of “enemies of Nigeria.” The separatists are more combative in their approach. To defend Nigerian unity and integration is to defend “injustice and inequity;” it is to stand on the way of those who are imbued with fantasies of carving out Nigeria into ethnic enclaves.

The immense deficits in the historical process of nation- building have become manifest in the tone and tenor of the restructuring debate. To start with, many of the protagonists in the largely unstructured debate do not seem to appreciate the dynamics of the Nigerian political economy. The dominant tendencies in the debate do not adopt political economy approach which is a more rigorous and radical approach to the problem at hand. After all, the category National Question has a leftist origin. The binary approach of north versus south is more convenient and, therefore, more popular. It is the absence of the poltical economy approach that makes some of the leading voices in the debate not to empahasise the fact that those who are really marginalised are the wretched of the earth found among all ethnic groups, located in all regions and zones and who are adherents of all religions. It is the lack of the political economy approach that prevents the champions of “true federalism” not to see the anti-poverty importance of Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution regardless of whatever fault they may find with that constitution.

Sometimes, the debate assumes an ahistorical dimension. Listening to the regional advocates you would think that since Lord Lugard Nigeria has achieved zero integration. Ethnic irredentists even deny the sociological forces of cultural mix taking place especially in the urban areas. In the name of restructuring public intellectuals pontificate as if the history of Nigeria was frozen in 1914.

Another unjustifiable deficit in nation-building is that the voices that should be raised in defence of Nigerian unity are now very strident in articulating ethnic and regional positions. The cause of national unity is not helped when those who have had the privilege of superintending over Nigerian affairs in various departments of national life are simply transmuted into defenders of ethnic and regional interests in their retirement. Some of those who have experienced this political transfiguration are heads of arms of government, former service chiefs, generals, ministers, heads of security agencies, senior civil servants, heads of parastatals etc. They are unmindful of the signals they send to the succeeding generation.

Contrast this situation with the British experience in the debate preceding the vote on Scottish independence recently. Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown along with other former British ministers of Scottish origin rose spiritedly in the defence of the union. They didn’t wear Scottish nationalism as a badge of honour. There is a moral in this example.

Worse still, in Nigeria the political parties have simply lost their voices in the debate.
So how can a Nigerian nation be built without nationalists? Among the determinants of nation building the most crucial is the subjective consciousness of willing to belong to a nation. That is the feeling of nationalism. It is the historical duty of nationalists to inspire the people to embrace nationalism. At this historical conjecture, President Muhammadu Buhari should assume the role of the Nationalist-in-Chief both in words and action. Even his body language should exude nationalism. His appointments should demonstrate nationalism. His speeches should be imbued with nationalism. For instance, his October 1 speech did not pass the test of the nationalism expected of him at this period of Nigerian history.. The President rightly rebuked the Igbo political elite for not calling the Biafran separatists to order early enough. However, Buhari should have demonstrated a greater outrage at the recklessness of the Arewa youths issuing quit notice to fellow citizens resident in the north. In fact, by not applying the law in dealing with the delinquent Arewa youths, the Nigerian state has done a terrible disservice to the cause of nation- building. That is not the way of nationalism.

BACK PAGE ​​​By Babafemi Ojudu

Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves

One of the things I love doing is driving through the streets and towns of Ekiti State. It was a dream when I was a boy with no hope of ever getting behind the wheels of a car. It’s a hobby now that I am an adult.
I love to drive as the soft morning breeze wafts through the air. Ekiti is a small state blessed with green vegetation. The morning air is pure and does wonders to the soul. Our elders used to say if you listen well, you could hear the voice of the angels whistling through the winds.

You can drive the length and breadth of my beloved State in an hour. If you’re an indigene of Ekiti or a resident of the state or someone who has had the good fortune of visiting with us, you will know what I mean. You think better driving the length and breath of the state as the sun rises over those glorious hills and mountains. Our towns have different names, from Omuo to Efon, from Emure to Iye but we are one.

I enjoy the easy banter with folks in the towns and villages. Our people are welcoming and prosperous. All they need is a chance, an opportunity. It takes me back to a time not too long ago, a time when boys could dream of bright futures and girls shaped their destinies.

I am a poster child for what is possible in Ekiti. I was born with little. Try hard as my parents did, we couldn’t afford much. But, we had something money couldn’t buy. We had hope. And, it wasn’t just me. It was most of the kids I know on the streets and in school. We knew if we kept good grades, we will keep moving forward.

But, those days are long gone. These days, driving through the streets is not the joy it once was. You have to cut through the cloud of gloom and doom that hangs over the state. Then you have to deal with the hopelessness etched across the faces of the children, youth and elders.

The future of any society lies in its children and youth. Sometimes I wonder what sort of future are we leaving to them. Our fathers laid a great foundation for us to build a better future. That future is today. But, has our leadership in Ekiti laid a good foundation for the children and youth of today?

​I talk to a lot of the youth. A lot of times they seek me out – all over Ekiti and outside the state. I get tons of emails from many outside the country. Sometimes I seek them out. And they all have two questions – how did we get here? How do we get away from here?

How do you sow hope in the midst of crushing bleakness? How do you tell a child to hold on a while longer and that better days are coming? How do you convince the youth that there’s something at the end of the dark tunnel and it’s not the brainless insanity of the last few years?
It’s tough to preach hope when the emperor who specializes in doom snatches opportunities provided to the youth and children and dump them in his basket of failures. Take the case of the Home Grown School Feeding Program of the federal government for example. This was a no-brainer. The federal government had designed the programme to encourage kids to go to school by providing them a free meal, nourish them and improve their performance. It was designed to increase school enrollment and encourage local farmers to go back to farm and increase food production.

Our kids in Ekiti were denied that opportunity until I started screaming for all to hear. I had to challenge the Governor in the presence of the Vice President about it for reason to sink into him. And, it’s not just our children that were losing out. The entire state was. We have lost dozens of months where our farmers could have earned income providing the food for the children, our caterer could have been employed cooking the food and the lives of the people would have been tremendously better.

I often wondered what would have happened if I was born into this age of gloom, when the only thing that seems waiting at the end of the tunnel is doom. These kids know leaders who are everything but leaders. I knew leaders who were men and women of honor. Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Pa Adekunle Ajasin. Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Professors Banji Akintoye and Sam Aluko. Ewi Aladesanmi Anirare. Lady Deborah Jibowu.

These kids these days have not been that lucky, especially in the last few years. So, when some kids came to me the other day lamenting our great State and the future, how they love the State but don’t like the way it’s been dragged through the mud, how they’re tired of being the laughing stock of the nation, my heart bled for the State. But, that wasn’t all of it. One of the kids asked me, what would I tell the children of Ekiti. How can I convince the youth that tomorrow will be better? It was a question that gnawed at my soul. These are kids who just want their state and their leadership to do right by them. They don’t want too much. They just want to be able to live in a land of opportunity because they know when there is hope, with their sweat and determination they will create plenty.

I told them what my father once told me. That when all the chips are down, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and go to work. I am rolling up my sleeves and getting ready to go to work. With our sweat and determination we will make Ekiti great again. I told them to spread the news – tell every kid in Ekiti it is time to roll up their sleeves and sing songs of freedom. Hope is coming to Ekiti.

•Senator Ojudu is a Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.

  • RumuPHC

    Kayode Komolafe please save your ink for more worthy topics. Even though it is a bit disconcerting and very much disheartening to hear certain Nigerians speak so badly of the country and wish for its destruction, you need be rest assured that Nigeria will endure more than many of us.

    It is important to note that most of the people promoting secession and regional structures do not hold a single vote in parliament and cannot win an election in their polling units. The chorus by this very few and politically irrelevant individuals is therefore simply hot air.

    Nigeria will not collapse because of any structure or lack of it. Our country will fall into ruins on account of poor leadership and failed economy. The cause of any reasonable group who feel for the survival of the people of Nigeria should therefore how best to enthrone good leadership and build a stronger economy for all.

    Each time we write or talk about secession or “restructuring ” we inadvertently help to increase the noise made by a noisy few. It is time we devout our time to more realizable objectives of search for good governance for development and prosperity of 160m Nigerians and the black race.

    Mr Komolafe, please do yourself and many of us a favour . Please do not write to convince people not to be anarchist: you will be wasting your time . There are more important things to write about.

  • Obi Ike Sorres

    National cohesion with security forces populated only by one section of the country? That one just one example. What are u saying?

  • FrNinja

    Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. So said Samuel Johnson and could have been talking of the various Nigerian scoundrels clothed in PDP and APC propaganda or camouflaged in military uniform led out by a procession of trumpeting journalists, high society magazine editors all singing the national anthem and baying “Nigerian unity is non-negotiable” while plundering the national treasury and squirreling it into hard-to-reach offshore accounts, houses abroad and foreign passports for their kith and kin.

    57 years later even a child knows that Nigeria was as Awolowo (that equal parts economic sage and heartless murderer of fellow children in Biafra) put it – “a mere geographic expression”. For they all have eyes to see that after 800 billion in oil money, the pitiful power supply, broken down roads, collapsing public schools tells of a country that was in Shakesperian lingo like a “tale told by an idiot full of sound of fury, signifying Nothing”.

    The clock ticks on Nigeria.

  • John Paul

    “Another unjustifiable deficit in nation-building is that the voices that should be raised in defence of Nigerian unity are now very strident in articulating ethnic and regional positions. The cause of national unity is not helped when those who have had the privilege of superintending over Nigerian affairs in various departments of national life are simply transmuted into defenders of ethnic and regional interests in their retirement. Some of those who have experienced this political transfiguration are heads of arms of government, former service chiefs, generals, ministers, heads of security agencies, senior civil servants, heads of parastatals etc. They are unmindful of the signals they send to the succeeding generation”
    —————————————————————-
    Gbam !

  • Mystic mallam

    To Mr Komolafe, the protagonists of restructuring are mere ”moderate ethnic and regional champions”, how unfortunate and pathetic is that view!! He extols a ”political-economy approach” that he could not define, yet he proceeds to cast aspersion on the advocates of restructuring who have gone to great lengths explaining what needs to be changed in our polity in order to preserve it from implosion. Indeed, they are the true patriots, the true nationalists who seek ways and means to save our union from those who wrongly believe they could hold it together through sheer force of arms. He falsely presumes there are no nationalists in Nigeria like Tony Blair or Gordon Brown who refused ”to wear Scottish nationalism as a badge of honour”, but he conveniently ignores the fact that Blair and Brown may be so disposed because Scotland already enjoys a very high level of regional autonomy, and the UK unlike Nigeria, is not an artificially unitarised camp where component groups gravitate periodically, empty bowls in hand, to receive their monthly rations. Komolafe pretends ignorance of the fact that in spite of Scotland’s high level of autonomy, the Uk is still prepared to negotiate and concede more powers to Edinburgh. He writes further about PMB’s ”righteousness” in ”rebuking the Igbo political elite for not calling the Igbo Biafran separatists to order early enough”. What dribble is that – when did elite intervention stop a determined people from seeking self determination especially if they have cause to believe they are victims of unjust laws and governance systems that render them marginalised, oppressed, suppressed and unable to realise their full potentials? And see the person doing the rebuking – the same one who proposed that fighting Boko haram was waging war against the North, the same one who still turns a blind eye to the atrocities of Fulani herdsmen, the same President that ignores credible threats to the Nigerian union by a quit notice to one of her major component groups. Our crisis of nationhood is not the dearth of nationalists, in fact, many exist as advocates of a reset Nigeria. The crisis is the absence of ”Citizens”, yes, enough citizens who feel persuaded that their country cherishes them – as would be evident in laws, programs and processes that seek to persuade rather than coerce, that continuously seek to build consensus and mutual accommodation rather than divisive pronouncements and discriminatory policy actions. Mr Komolafe, you can do a whole lot better by resisting the temptation to luxuriate in the ”safe” middle of political correctness.

    • Don Franco

      Dear Mystic Mallam,

      Even Kayode Komolafe doesn’t believe what he wrote in this op-ed; he’s jockeying for his place on the queue, behind Simon and Dele; to be appointed Presidential Spokesman after 2019. This is the kind of hogwash article that gets appended as annexure to a CV for the NSA’s attention to shorten background check delays and hasten announcement; and it wouldn’t have been complete if he didn’t indicate his anti-Igbo credential with the insult about Ohaneze not cautioning IPOB.
      This article is targeted at Aso Rock, and l know they’ve bought what he’s selling.

      Please don not be fooled by it.

      • Tony Ezeifedi

        Pray, when has Ohaneze become an organ of govt? Is it no longer a cultural organisation. If there is disquiet or threat to peace in any part of the federation, it is the duty of the govt in power to find a solution to the problem. The best any cultural organization can do is to play a supportive role. Rebuking Ohaneze is pure abdication of responsibility.

        • Don Franco

          Dear Tony Ezeifedi,

          I couldn’t agree with you more; but you need to understand that prior to Nnia Nwodo’s election as the Ohaneze Chairman, a kind of divide and rule game was in place where the Buharis of this world would fill the Jeep trunks of the Ohaneze leadership with dollarized Ghana-Must-Go bags; or else intimidate them into betraying the cause of Igbo youth. The cabal met their match in Ohamadike and Nnia Nwodo, ardent Biafrans who refused to be compromised or intimidated by the forces of evil. That’s why you heard the Certificateless One remonstrating during his horrible Independence Day badly-written speech.

      • Mystic mallam

        Thanks for your perspective, though I refrain from imputing motives to the choices others make. On matters of motive, I speak only for myself.

        • Don Franco

          I, too, thank you for your observation, what prompts these journalists to write the way they do, and the disingenuous frame of mind in which they write, costitute Motive and Intent to NOT tell truth power. I’m unable to refrain and restrain myself from calling the shots the way I see them.

          • Mystic mallam

            You go my man, call them out the way you see them, you’re quite within your rights.

  • KWOY

    Now, you can acknowledge Ziks role as a pan-Africanist – as a contrast to the dark-souled demon that Awolowo was, who was after Yoruba interest & was behind all the crude policies of the Gowon govt targeted at ensuring that his enemy & competitor the Igbo, is cut to size!

  • KWOY

    Face of Lucifer; a reprobate soul! You are back at it, to vomit venoms & poison – all in a bid to defend claim to oil money!

    I agree with you that the real wretcheds of the earth are the imbeciles, cowards (YORUBAS ARE A RACE OF COWARDS! even if every other group can do without nigeria they cannot!) & barabarians who despite years of oppression of others are not much better than their victims; indeed who, in spite of half a century of perpetrating marginalization have found out that their victims are ‘gods’, without who they CANNOT do, and this realization is increasing their DESPERATION for unity, as much as it is heightening their envy & persecution!

    Liar, if unity is such an IMPERATIVE, if it is such a duty, then why drive away the British, for after all it is their property? You never created it until they came so it is their estate! At least South Africa which they never gave up approximates better your diabolical idea of prosperity!

    Outside that nigeria is the neo-colonialits foothold into Africa; with nigeria the Western interests keep Africa apart, because with the competition going on, they have unchallenged access to stealing, apart from using it (nigeria) to hunt down voices of dissent like Zimbabwe or carry force out enemies like Gadaffi & Jammeh!

    NIGERIA WILL NEVER BE! THE WORST IS THAT WE WILL ALL PERISH TOGETHER! DO YOUR WORST WHILE YOU HAVE OPPORTUNITY…

    ALL HAIL BIAFRA!!!!!

  • Olufemi Bello

    I agree with your last paragraph on nationalism. However, many of us clamoring for restructuring say so from political economy point of view. For instance,those clamoring for regions are saying that the ordinary man feared better under the regions. For me, I don’t want Nigeria to break into pieces but we can create centers of excellence around the country by devolving more powers to the states. For goodness sake,what is wrong in legally allowing states like Lagos,Ogun,Kano, Kaduna,Rivers, Abia to generate their own power and use it without sending it to the national grids. We are operating a form of unproductive capitalist system. This must be changed to a productive capitalist system where healthy competition thrives. I want Nigeria to be a pride of the black race not in grammar but in how modern societies are organized for progress and development.

    • Obi Ike Sorres

      Thank you

  • American Abroad

    Nemo Patriam Quia Magna Est Amat, Sed Quia Sua
    (Nobody loves his country because it is Great, but because it is His)
    – Seneca

    There is a quaint journalistic principle known as Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, which states that any headline ending in a question mark can only be answered by the word “No”. Perhaps, I should simply stop here and call it a day.

    But that would be derelict: my country of birth is bleeding, dying in installments from a thousand deliberate cuts, mostly delivered from those who ought to know better but apparently do not. It was Voltaire, a plain-spoken sort of man, who averred that “the comfort of the Rich depends upon an abundant supply of the Poor”. Likewise, the sinews that hold Nigeria together depend only on the abundance of crude oil from the Delta. Nigeria wasn’t supposed to be like this.

    Zik of Africa, a wily, silvery-tongued pan-Africanist politician, was the Odysseus of our Independence struggle. His fondest dreams were of a United Africa, presumably with him or another of his “argonauts” such as the Osagyefo, Kwame Nkrumah, as continental leader. He was more Nigerian than he was ever Igbo. His people, the Igbo, forgave him that slight. Yakubu Gowon, who was from an ethnic minority, fully understood that any temporal power he wielded was by mere happenstance, as his political (and frankly, physical) survival depended on acquiescence by the larger ethnic majorities, particular the Hausa-Fulani. He would never deign to rock the boat by ethnic show-boating or similar foolishness. Next came Murtala Mohammed, the only Nigerian leader whose exit was truly mourned by all- North and South, Christian and Muslim, rich and poor- he rose above and beyond his less-than-auspicious beginnings as a murderous coup plotter, Araba separatist, controversial war commander, and much later, had the singular misfortune of leading several insurgent campaigns on the Western Front during the civil war, an operation marred by accusations of genocide (Asaba), bank heists (Benin) and sundry war crimes. But he was manifestly even-handed, even patriotic though ultimately disruptive, as Head of State. His early career was shameful, but the last 6 months of his life gave us a glimpse of Nigeria’s full potential, unleashed. Then came Obasanjo, who like Zik and despite his other advertised faults, was as completely detribalized as any Nigerian could ever be; indeed, he was more Nigerian than he was Yoruba, almost to a fault. Some would argue that his stint in Abacha’s gulag made him a changed- and worse man- but a better Christian. He simply, Nigerian style, exchanged morality for Christ. Shagari, was constructed in the nationalist mold of his gilded generation, and might very well have had his personal regional biases, but those were carefully shrouded under layers of patrician civility, common sense, cultured decency and impossibly-white flowing agbada robes. Just like Shettima Ali Monguno, just like Mallam Aminu Kano, just like Adeniran Ogunsanya, just like Olu Akinfosile, just like Alani Akinrinnade, just like Tafawa Balewa…. just like my own father. The quartet of Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalam, being military men, were able to take cover under the camouflage of military hierarchy, partly obscuring their individual personal failings and foibles. In all fairness, most of those military leaders were seen as hard men, but not harsh men.

    But this is a democracy, albeit unsteady and certainly not thriving. And this sorry state of affairs, warts and all, is still Buhari’s baby until 2019. Nearly all current separatist impulses are being instigated and fed by Buhari’s grating style of strong-arm political leadership. His divisive rhetoric has only fomented the reality of anomie, unlike anything seen here since 1970. However, I am deeply conflicted if our President realizes the lasting damage he is relentlessly inflicting on this unfortunate country; is this what he truly wants, or can all of this be explained by Hanlon’s Razor, an epistemological device that cautions never to ascribe to malice (or villainy) that which can be sufficiently explained by mere incompetence? Which only begs the question: is our President demented? Is he cognitively capable of high office in this age?

    I am at a loss as to why our President insists that we are merely going through a period of transitory mischief, easily squelched by the collective disapproval of “South East Elders” or other identifiable fonts of ossified geriatric authority. This gathering storm, appears to this jaded observer, to be much more than that. This is steadily turning into an irreconcilable divorce of citizenship. There can be no nation without citizens. This has now gone beyond the recognizable but opportunistic wrangling of Uwazurike, the calibrated bellicosity of Nnamdi Kanu, the orchestrated truancy of Tompolo or the sporadic arson characteristic of OPC activists. Again, from the unmistakable prose of Voltaire: optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well, when we are all miserable.

    Sir: your citizens are miserable.

    Democracy, any democracy, rests on consensus and persuasion, not on threats and malevolence. You simply can’t threaten your way into patriotism. I wish they also recognized that simple truth at Aso Rock.

    • Paulocaesar

      Another excellent assessment AA.

      A wise friend once quoted me this saying:
      “a gbaluchaa nwa ngene, ekulu nwa ngene nwua!”
      ….Chukwunna Biko gozielum Ana edo n’ezi n’ulo ya… Amen!

    • Darcy

      “You simply can’t threaten your way into patriotism.”

      Revolutionary France would like a word, scratch that, most truly nationalist states were built on a foundation of extremist violence, a Manichean “other”, and regular doses of state enforced flag waving…modern China is also illustrative.

      I’m tempted to say that we have these stirrings, mostly because the state is weak and we having no enemies, are soft and increasingly parochial.

      But yes, you can threaten your way into patriotism, it might even be the sole method of creating it, it took less than a generation for Confederate sons to go from dying on Union Bayonets to dying in Yankee wars.

      P.S for the inevitable non-cynic coming to bore me with talk of democracy, free speech and all the myths that hides the true nature of the state, I ask you, what is the alternative to the state as conceived?

      The state is a tool, you can seize its commanding heights or keep whining.

      But I digress, regarding the main article, personally, I am a nationalist because again, there isn’t an alternative…I’ve read some of the online postings of Indians and Chinese, seen their actions, that and I’m rather repulsed by the authoritarian progressivism of my generation of Westerners. Call me paranoid, but it is conceivable that in the century we’re in, there will be colonial invasions of the continent, again, either for our resources, or to “civilise” into the proper non-binary modes of thought.

      Second, centralised states melded into continental economic blocs capable of matching the heft of China are the future. You only need see how Britain is being dictated to by the EU to imagine our future or worse the future of breakaways.

      I repeat, there is no alternative. All that is left to do is remove the current helmers of the system. There is no escaping what’s coming, not matter how much you want to splinter off into the protective cocoon of ethnicism.

      • obinnna77

        Half insight, half waffle, your norm. No one launches incursions to ‘civilise’. It’s pecuniary, territorial. Keep at it, clarity comes in the morning.

        • Darcy

          Once again, you leave nought but insults in your wake.

          You could try making a point, or those stalking me and drive by insults, exhaust your mental capacity?

      • American Abroad

        Darcy:
        I love your style of writing, which I find very refreshing, even invigorating. It is a gift from the gods: keep at it.

    • obinnna77

      Dementia indeed. How is this outing any different from ’84? Does it begin from one’s forties?

      • American Abroad

        Alas, my dear Obinna, it appears that dementia can actually start even in one’s 30s, particularly in those predisposed to that pathology by virtue of repeated head injury (as has recently become very topical in these United States following the sad case of Mr Hernandez lately of the National Football League, and of course, several prominent ex-pugilists), Down’s syndrome, alcoholism, previous strokes or viral brain infections. But I would be amiss to propose any of that for our President. Besides, I firmly believe that 1984 was materially different from now, and the challenges even more daunting; the opportunism and corruption of the political class is, however, identical. And for whatever it is worth, I think Mr Buhari has it in him to right this sinking ship. He just has to clear the deck.

        • obinnna77

          Amen.

        • FrNinja

          Buhari does not have it in him. This administration is about making aboki great again in government with the lagos APC elite along for the ride for naked opportunism. Corruption is a smokescreen.

    • Political Affey

      From the post independence era up until now, Nigerian leaders responded only to ethnicity, weaponising the same to promote their leadership agenda.
      Nationalist agitation ended after 1960. The politics of who gets what when and how became ethnicized
      Meanwhile external pressures kept coming. The Cold War realities did not spare Nigeria. Our leaders were not proactive enough. They camouflaged their personal political agenda as fighting for their people’s progress.
      In fact, this was the main reason why the likes of Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba of Congo became African champions. Nigerian leaders were locked
      in internal, state-centric battles
      The military influenced our politics, and they restructured governance in favour of the usual centralised command. Then they drafted the constitution to prepare the way for their takeover, which they did in 1999. The military prevented the possibility of grassroot development. Nigerians have no choice but to pursue their own personal interests in view of the need to survive, having been abandoned by their leaders. The military tradition truncated the idea of commitment to one Nigeria.
      They are the reason why there are ethnic agitations everywhere.

    • Mystic mallam

      Your postings should lift the dew of ignorance and bias from the writings of the types of Kayode Komolafe, who seek correctness by sitting on the middle fence of politics. They are neither dove nor hawk and no one seems to know what they stand for. Thank you for clarity – people don’t become patriots because a country is great, they become patriots because they see/feel the country as theirs; you don’t make patriots out of people through the application of force and skewed laws, you make them patriots through rational engagement, persuasion and building consensus.

  • Paulocaesar

    Dear Kayode,

    With all due respect this write up is actually pitiful.
    Always get straight to the point. In this case let’s proclaim that:
    “the Emperor has no clothes!!!” aka “he nekkid!!!”

    There!

    Economic class lines are not what’s holding Nigerians from cohesion, dishonesty about our structural composition is. It affects politics, it affects our economics.

    What confuses me the most about the back page editorials is the authoritatively patronizing manner with which most of the authors dispense advice on nationalism, good citizenship, patriotism, and love for country and other such topics delivered with a sage sanctimonious demeanor but devoid of honesty……

    why???

    • Don Franco

      Dear Pauloceaser,

      The answer to your last question is embedded in the fact that simple journalistic “honesty ” isn’t any longer compatible with aspiration for appointment to the high gilded office of Presidential Spokesman.

      It’s not for nothing that Waziri Adio has become a shadow of his former self since his appointment at NEITI. Remember what became of Dr. Reuben Abati; he’s still battling to regain his irretrievably lost reputation for impartiality and truth-telling.

      Do you see Simon Kolawole or Dele Momodu remaining any less than the excremental stain that they’re on the decency of all of us back page comentators? I don’t.
      There you have it!

      • Paulocaesar

        Dear Don Franco,

        If your brutally honest suggestion is accurate, then the fortress walls of the fourth estate of the realm has been breached, it’s battlements seized, and it’s defenses irretrievably compromised.
        Pity!

        And we’re lectured about patriotism?…Notwithstanding my respect for the courage and professional competency of each Editorialist on ThisDay (given that these guys have to be careful with their words in a place like Nigeria on a daily basis), they say “charity begins at home”…I truly wish the patronizing lectures occasionally laced with sectional sympathies would seize, and in its place a greater seriousness in line with the times we find ourselves in.

        It was Woke Soyinka who if am not mistaken labeled his age cohort in Nigeria as “the lost generation”… will ours be known as the sleeping at the wheels, comromised, grovelling generation???