2 years
About A Failed Nation
By Odera N. Okakpu

In the history of kingdoms, confederations, amalgamations, republics and democracy’s, there have been many popular successes. There are nations that attained the pinnacle of success in the old times, or have attained it in modernity. What is common in main stream media these days are those at significant turning points either positively or negatively. But what is rarely discussed are those nations that are actually regressing into absolute failure. In my opinion, Nigeria is one of such countries.


For those not caught up on Nigeria; former British colony, most populous nation in Africa, allow me to catch you up. In 1966, not long after a pseudo-independence, Nigerian military officers carried out a coup as a swift action against the corruption amongst instituted politicians. 1967, saw a counter-coup, a retaliation if you will, that turned into a quasi-ethnic cleansing and then an actual war. This was hardly a war over politics or ideologies, it was a war of severe injustice, very similar to the genocide in Rwanda. The war concluded with a decree of “no victor, no vanquished” but Nigeria carried on knowing exactly who the winners were and who the losers were.

            From then ensued a period of military coup after military coup until Nigeria was finally able to stumble on what they now call a democracy in 1999. To the untrained eye it may look like a democracy, but with so many of the former military so deeply involved in politics, Nigerians are aware it is not. Present day intrigue starts with the last President, Goodluck Jonathan, an unseated incumbent from the south. He had been a regular vice president promoted after his beloved boss, President Umaru Yar’adua sadly passed away. After finishing up a presidency he didn’t begin, he proceeded to run his own presidential campaign. His was one of hope as a “non-establishment” politician, unheard of in Nigerian politics, and the man with no shoes. Unfortunately, corruption continued to eat away like a virus under the surface.

            In 2015 our current president was elected on the premise he was the messiah that would fix up the rot of corruption. And this was not his first go as head of state. In 1983 then Major General Muhammadu Buhari carried out a coup that overthrew a democratic government. His argument at the time was  "a flawed democracy was worse than no democracy at all", which sounds similar to the campaign his organization ran in 2014. But he promised voters he was willing to embrace democracy and enact real change. So far the only change Nigerians have seen is a bad situation turn worse.

            President Buhari has systematically broken every single campaign promise he made except miraculously brokering a deal for the release of Chibok girls. Nigeria has been plunged into a recession that is heading for a depression, prices of goods have skyrocketed, unemployment has increased at alarming speed and crime rates have risen drastically. Citizens of the eastern region have spoken up with louder voices to declare that they are still marginalized for the war they lost and no more so than ever they want to secede. A British Nigerian citizen emerged as their “leader” and the Nigerian government unconstitutionally threw him into jail instantaneously making him the “hero” he does not deserve to be. Following his release, the Northern youth issued a quit notice for members of the Igbo tribe in thier area, stirring memories of the bloody pogroms of 1967. And causing those Igbo’s against Biafra in the first place to second-guess common sense.

            This year marked his halfway point of the presidency he has so desperately wanted since 1999, but in very reminiscent fashion of the last president we lost, he has been missing from Nigeria due to unknown health issues. But everyone seems to be carrying on as if nothing is amiss. As if this in anyway resembles a functioning democratic society. Most importantly these things are going on while displaced people in the North East are undergoing a famine crisis and the ‘defeated‘ Boko Haram still rages. To add insult to injury, the President gave an audio message in his native language, ignoring that Nigerians speak numerous languages.

            Nigerians are always optimistic and therefore always spread messages of hope. Unfortunately, even if this government is voted out, how will a new government achieve anything when the education sector is tanked and barely any system works? We barely have electricity. At what point will someone in the developed world throw innocent citizens of Nigeria a bone and save us from ourselves? When are we going to have an honest to God charity organization that instead of handing money to greedy leaders, tries them in criminal courts?

            In 2013 Business Insider compiled a list of the 25 most failed states and Nigeria was 16th, just 4 years later it seems my beloved country is gunning hard for number 1.


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