Nigeria on Fire : The New Beginning – Introduction

There is no point to write all we’ve written in Nigeria on Fire if we didn’t have a purpose, a goal and a staunch faith in the future. In spite of the pessimism expressed in some of the essays on the goings-on in Nigeria, this writer is still fully committed to the realisation of the birth of a glorious millennium in Nigeria and in the world at large. Therefore, in this essay titled The New Beginning we will further attempt to sum up the result of our deliberations and investigations on the causes of the unnecessary man-made problems facing the Nigeria-state. This essay will reveal and analyse the true plan of The Almighty Creator for the people of Nigeria.

In this treatise, the writer reveals that the world is about to enter a New Age named by heaven as The Age of Truth; that during this Age which has shortly begun to form, no secret on earth will remain hidden anymore; that every cupboard of perversions in the minds of human beings shall be relieved of their dirty odious skeletons; and that Nigerians in their millions shall be moved by the Spirit of Truth to confess openly to all those things they did for the benefit of self and the ruin of the nation while in the corridors of economic, political and religious power.

This small treatise is designed to convict all persons of every sin of omission and commission and to lead everyone of us onto repentance and deliverance. Nigerians are being warned that without this spiritual healing of the land and the people, Nigeria will remain dead to reason, dead to wisdom and dead to physical and spiritual progress.

Fortunately, Nigeria features prominently in the calendar of The Creator. It is the place chosen to lead the universal revival of truth on planet earth. Nigeria is the epicentre of a mighty revolution on earth that is designed to shake and uproot the foundation of the satanic Global Order of hate, war, wickedness, ruthlessness and callousness in business, politics and societies. It is therefore very important to The Creator that the people of Nigeria shall get the pilot test of this global plan right. The successes recorded in Nigeria shall be repeated in different forms and patterns all across the planet earth.

This booklet looks at the lessons we were supposed to have learnt from the stupidity of the prodigal sons in the last 13 years (1985-1998). It also clears the air of some of the deadly myths that were embedded in the psyche of the nations by the manipulating so-called leaders. Such myth as the myth of tribalism, nationalism, national integration and sovereignty as well as the truth about the misused concepts of divine intervention shall be placed under the searchlight.

Most importantly, this essay shall identify and unveil categorically, without fear or favour, the true enemies of the Nigeria State. It will raise the salient question of, what next? Or, and so what? However, this essay still reiterate and strongly advise all Nigerians on the need to act in love and to live in love with their fellow humankind. At the end of the essay, there is a final admonition to all Nigerians and a final chance to all residence in Nigeria to repent of the sins of the past in order to have the right and the privilege to join the universal party of divine and everlasting joy, happiness, prosperity and comfort that is about to begin in Nigeria.

Lessons of the Immediate Past

It does not matter how bad a situation has been there is somehow some silver lining around the corner or some lessons to be learnt from the experience. Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha were the demagogue soldiers who bestrode the political space of Nigeria like their fiefdom for thirteen godless years. The two eras, eight years of Babangida and five of Abacha, catalogued a period of hell on earth for all Nigerians who stood against their demonic rules. It was a period that witnessed all kinds of heinous crimes any human being has ever perpetrated against its kind in the anal of Nigeria’s history. There were murders, assassinations, and arrests with or without evidence of an offence and many incidences of incarceration without trial or with a sham, stage-managed kangaroo trial. Close friends and acquaintances of these two generals who over-stepped the bounds (unknown to the friends) laid out by these cold-calculating evil men were summarily and fatally dealt with.

There were make-believe military tribunals set up to rubber stamp the wishes of these men. There were over-zealous and high-handed state security officials whose special skills and stock-in-trade were to torture, murder and assassinate their fellow compatriots. There were robbery and looting of the State coffers by highly placed persons that swore to an oath to protect them for the sake of all. There were uncountable incidences of nepotism, tribalism and fundamentalism of all kinds driven by the desire for political power and financial gains.

All these and many heinous things happened in the last thirteen years. It was a period that witnessed, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the cruel cold murder of Dele Giwa, a popular journalist, by an unknown assassin through a timed-bomb sent to his home. Kudirat Abiola was similarly murdered in cold-blood in broad daylight on the street of Lagos. There was a group of Air Force men and other civilians suspiciously dispatched to their death via a dilapidated aircraft in 1992. Several other known and unknown Nigerians were cruelly dispatched to their untimely graves. Sacrilegious and gory things took place and did happen in and around Nigeria during the satanic governments of the smiling and the dark shaded unsmiling Generals.

However, it will be highly unfair to suggest that these two individuals did all these things personally by themselves. There were willing voluntary collaborators as well as those forced under duress or blackmailed to collaborate. There were yes-persons, the mindless underlings, the turncoats of all kinds and the clever opportunists who wanted a piece of the action. There were genuine and false believers in the gospel of ‘babangidaism’. The group of young ambitious officers who labelled themselves as ‘the Babangida boys’ in the Nigeria Armed Forces were all believers. It was a shameful period for serious officers in the Nigerian Armed Forces when the military institution became so politicised to the point where officers were openly aligning themselves with favourite or powerful superiors as if they were members of political parties.

All the people that supported and canvassed for the continuation of the tyrannical rule of Abacha were Nigerians. These supporters have fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces among us. Yet, they were too self-centred to see the need to make a case for their beggared and battered kinds. They were quite willing to sell off their kinfolk at any price as in the days of slave trade. The desire to gain fast promotion and top honours from their masters blinded these set of Nigerians to truth and fairness. They had no qualms about implicating their own kinds – friends, colleagues, relations, etc. – on trump up charges. In the last thirteen years, these special breed of Nigerians did all things and everything to be seen as loyal servants in order to gain the attention and in return the favours of their masters.

This is the time for all other Nigerians who felt left out of the Babangida-Abacha juicy gravy train to think and reflect. All those who were envious of the meteoric rise of their kinsfolk, tribesmen, friends, colleagues, and contemporaries because of a mere close or distant relationship with Babangida and Abacha should sit back and reflect. It will be nice if every Nigerian can address this fundamental question, is true-life success worth the kind of achievement ascribed to these ‘lucky’ murderous associates of Babangida and Abacha?  It is common in Nigeria to refer to the class of people who are friends or friends of friends of the military boys as ‘those who have made it’.

The qualification for and evidences of membership into the ‘Made It’ class in Nigeria are: flashy, loud and top of the range cars; bogus palatial heavily-gated mansions at the posh end of the town; plenty of raw cash preferably in all common world currency denominations; several foreign bank accounts scattered all over the world; fame, glamour and popularity or notoriety; a flair for flamboyant and conspicuous expensive life styles; sponsor and toaster of many social, political and book launchings; the ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ of every social gatherings; and finally, an ubiquitous self-serving donor to all good causes and bad causes as well.

In short the person must have everything that money can buy. The motto is, if you have it, flaunt it and let the world know. This is all that matters in the conventional wisdom of Nigeria. It is not out of place to find in the house of a ‘Made-It’ person half a dozen or more cars sprawled all over the compound he calls a home as if there is a car show or a car fair perpetually in progress.

But speaking frankly, either from the perspective of all moral values and beliefs that we all professed to as faith or religion, (Islam, Christianity, Animism, Paganism, Agnosticism), does any of these beliefs support such atrocious methods and means the ‘Made It’ class have adopted for arriving at such acclaimed successes?

Which of our belief system support robbery, either pen and paper or bullet and gun robbery, lies, dishonesty, injustice, cruelty, financial fraud in over-invoicing of contract, and 419 in business?

Which of our values support callousness and wickedness of security operatives in the way they framed up innocent friends and colleagues as coup plotters and traitors or the ruthless cowardly elimination of supposedly government oppositions and so on and so forth?

There is no such religion or faith that permits such dastardly barbaric acts and behaviours among human beings. All these barbaric deeds and state sponsored aggressions on citizens were all from the seeds of perversions of all that is true, of all that is honourable and of all that is edifying.

These experiences, regardless of what each of us professes to believe in, have done irreparable damages to the psyche and soul of the people of this nation. There is nothing else that should occupy the attention of all Nigerians at this point in time than a sincere search for healing and deliverance from the evils of the immediate past.

Some Nigerians might wish to claim innocence in all that took place in the last 13 years and some might say they did not partake of the debauchery and rape of justice that took place all around them since they were just mere onlookers. These types of excuses are not good enough. A person that has the fire of truth in his belly can never keep quiet in the face of lies, hate, injustice, inequality, indecency, immorality, indignity and the dehumanisation and the callous killing of fellow human being.

How can any Nigerian claim innocence and ignorance in the face of murder, assassination, illegal arrest, unjust incarceration of loved ones, of friends, of colleagues, of tribe members, of relatives, and of close or distant acquaintances?

How can any Nigerian have the moral rectitude to pretend that since he was not physically involved or participated directly in these atrocities, then he could claim non-culpability?

Nigerians ought to accept that their weaknesses, and their cowardly silences born of fear of death, of poverty, of punishment, of suffering and of hunger cannot be taken as an excuse for not speaking out as noble persons. Our silences caused by ignorance and fears have made all of us – the silent majority – culpable passive collaborators in the past thirteen years.

Some of us should recall what difference we could have made if we had taken a stand when our son or daughter decided to enlist in the security forces. Despite the fact that we know that his/her motive for enlisting was simply to join the club of the ‘Made It’ class contrary to our moral beliefs, we failed to dissuade them.

Some of us should recall our quiet disposition to the stories doing the rounds about the wicked acts of torture the security officials and other special agents of government, the group that our daughter or son belongs, were inflicting on our neighbours, our tribesmen, the vocal opposition members and all those who stood and crusaded for the rule of law, for justice, for equality and for liberty, yet we pretended ignorance.

Even though you were not physically in the employ of Abacha or Babangida but a member of your household was working closely with and for the regimes that were causing mayhem all over the country, yet you had no opinion.

Isn’t your quiet disposition to all these things a result of the largess your son or daughter or relation was bringing home to the family table? Did you ever ask, where all that money and goodies came from or the method used for procuring them?

All Nigerians at this stage ought to be remorseful. We need to realise how closely involved we all were. It will be dishonest to ask for exemption from the Babangida-Abacha saga. Every Nigerian is covered with the blood of other innocent Nigerians spilled by these evil regimes. There is no amount of plea of innocence, regardless of how far we were from the corridor of power that can remove the banner of shame that covers us all.

The shame that flows from the realisation that in a country of over 100 million people, renegade characters like Sani Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida managed to secure the highest office in the land without any proving qualification. The shame that flows from the fact that even after this sad experience Nigeria still has no institutional control to prevent a re-occurrence of similar or more gruesome acts from happening in the near future.

However, one of the lessons learnt from these regimes is that it glaringly brought to the fore the kind of nature most Nigerians carry in their persons either as individuals or as groups.

After 13 years of mayhem, each Nigerian can easily give answers to the following questions,

  • Am I brave or am I cowardly?
  • Am I strong or weak?
  • Am I just or unjust?
  • Am I honest or dishonest?
  • Am I principled or unprincipled?
  • Am I fearless or fearful?
  • Am I kind or cruel?
  • Am I a loving person or am I hateful?
  • Am I virtuous or immoral?

Every sincere Nigerian would not have failed to see himself or herself clearly in the mirror put before us by these two Generals. If we score a pass in all the questions there is no way we could escape the accusation of fear.

Fear was the only weapon of the regimes and we all fell flat on our bellies. All Nigerians were and are still frightened of hunger and so we readily, for a piece of smelly porridge, sold our freedom to the courts of these two men.

By the acts of omission or commission we made the liberty of Nigerians the cheapest in the world market. Anybody with a piece of old rotten gun can put the fear of death on Nigerians and readily like sheep to the slaughter we will give our lives away. It is so easy. The local slave owners, alias the prodigal sons and feudal lords, have again adopted the same instrument used by the white and Arab slave merchants for silencing Nigerians.

The second lesson is the fact that no matter what kind of claim or moral front each of us wants to present to the society, the Abacha regime finally succeeded in exposing the fraudulent claims of the charlatans among us. A lot of Nigerians we held dearly at the highest esteem were uncovered as dishonourable men and women. Their closely guarded covers were shamelessly exposed. All Nigerians now know who they can call a friend of the people or a public enemy.

Can anybody believe that despite the spade of social and economic calamities that befell this nation during the despotic rule of Abacha, some Nigerian who styled themselves as leaders, nearly shouted themselves hoarse as they tried to convince all Nigerians that Abacha was the only ‘messiah’ of our age? They warned if we let this opportunity to slip by without adopting him as the President for life, the nation stands a mortal danger. These ever-loving leaders campaigned, organised rallies, advertised on billboards and the print media, and they did everything in the books to promote the flawed counterfeit image of Abacha. They would have succeeded, as they had often done in the past, had fate and the divine power of The Creator not intervened.

In summary, there are two lessons, first we discovered what kind of personality each of us possesses and second, we know who are our enemies. Now, the question is, what then can we do with these great lessons of life.

Do we consign them into the back burner of our lives or do we use them to reconstruct our future and to lay the foundation for our posterity?

If we are indeed a living thinking human being there is no doubt what our choice will be. One has to be optimistic here or else we are all done for. This writer has to believe that, though seriously damaged, Nigerians are not yet completely dead; though demoralised, there is still some hope; and though impoverished, there is a great potential to recover the lost years. This is the reason why Nigerians must choose the option that aims to reconstruct the future based on well-reasoned knowledge and not on any age-long traditional sentiments. Nigerians must believe in the future and that the future is waiting for them to be owned and to be constructed as they wish. This is a duty we owe to our selves and to our children.

However, so far, what are the facts available to convince any doubting Thomas or all pessimists that we are indeed on the right track?

Are the kinds of policies being put in place since Abacha died the type that can see us out of the woods or the sorts that will compound the problems?

How can any Nigerian holding the rein of office at this point in time behave as if the experiences of the immediate past will have no bearing on the shortest transition programme that is being put in place?

How long shall this grand deceit continue before Nigerians wake up from their slumber?

And if the incumbent and his aides are really sincere about this plan then how long shall we continue to ride on the back of our collective national stupidity?

Has the political men in agbada or in uniform learnt any lesson so far from this military saga of the past 32 years?

Are the kinds of alliances, dalliances and outright unabashed frolicking among incompatibles going on in the name of political parties, the sort that can lead Nigerians out of the woods?

Are these politicians, who are forming political parties without the guidance of any known Constitution on what the shape and requirement of the next republic will be, a serious bunch of people on whom Nigerians can rely on for anything worthwhile?

Are we sure the traditional rulers are prepared to allow democracy to be established in the country when they know fully well the down-side of democracy to their untraditional reign that has so far being powered by injustice, cowardice, greed, and vulgar personal ambitions?

It is my fervent hope that Nigerians shall rise up together to stop this shameful game of national deceit. If at the end of the twentieth century, Nigerians are still of the opinion that any human power on earth can willingly and selflessly deliver them from slavery, nepotism, feudalism, and despotism, then we are not yet on the road to full recovery from the psychological ruin we mentioned in The Darkest Moment, 1985-1998.

Why should Nigerians refuse to acknowledge that the political game of the last 100 years has created monsters and demagogues among them?

How can Nigerians expect a society that allows individuals within its polity to own the kind of financial and material wealth in the personal possession of Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, M.K.O. Abiola and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, to mention a few, build a democratic rule?

In the Greek demo, such people were exiled from the community. The argument was that if a person accumulated so much power or wealth to the extent that he could own everybody in the community if he/she so chooses, then this excessive power has nullified the person out of the membership of the Republic. Such people were seen as cancerous elements that must be excised out of the society or else in due course they would pollute and corrupt the spirit of the republic. Nigeria is a classic case of a nation in such a dire political mess at the moment.

Nigerians were all true witnesses to the Babangida Transition Programme when Shehu Musa Yar’Adua became the sole financier of a national political party he founded. This was indeed a frightening political development when a citizen had the means to finance every politician within his party to the state and national Assemblies of a country.

The implication was that the whole national Assembly only sing when the financier calls the hymn and the assembly can only sing the songs chosen from his hymnbook, as well. Is that the kind of democracy Nigerians are looking forward to?  If not, what are the signs that whatever Abdusalami Abubakar is putting in place would not go the same trend like the Yar’Adua’s?  Or worse still, rather than come out openly as Yar’Adua did, these moneybags roaming about in the nook and corner of this country can decide to play the remote-button control type where you only see the political puppets dancing without seeing the hands of the puppeteer.

The truth of the matter is that some few Nigerians have stolen too much money than they could ever need in ten lifetimes. What then can they do with the money than to seek more earthly glory through the purchase of greater political power? These Nigerians have no iota of knowledge about what public service means nor have any moral scruple about equality, justice and freedom. All they desire is power as an end by itself and not as a means to uplift, to build, to nurture and to transform the people into honourable and dignifying citizens.

Again, as a result of the acts of omission and commission of the incumbent military administration, what Nigeria will get anytime under the present circumstances will only succeed once more to dishonour, to humiliate, to oppress and to corrupt the republic further. This writer sincerely believes this is not what the teeming population of this ailing country want.

This is why this writer is calling for a re-orientation of national values away from the political bigotry of the descendants of the local colonisers in our midst to a more enlightened understanding of the need for partnership and not leadership; of the need for democracy and not feudalism or aristocracy; and of the need to respect the feelings and the persons of others and not a dogmatic belief in the supremacy of any race/tribe or religion.

The next question is, how shall we get to this utopian level of new value and culture that will be based on love, justice, liberty and equality?

SAM ABBD ISRAEL

27 JULY 1999

(To be Continued)