Once upon a time in our journey to nationhood, we had great compatriots who are legendary. They worked uprightly with loads of integrity. The love for country was overwhelming, and sense of brotherhood was unprecedented. They were indeed patriots.
Lillian Jean Williams, a British Expatriate, saw the zeal, compassion and determination in our compatriots to build a great nation. She admonished them in the letters of the first National Anthem (which she authored) to sustain the passion and “pass on to our children, a banner without stain”.
Not too long, our leaders were over excited and loss focus. Some became greedy, self centered and insensitive to the bond of unity and brotherliness. They lost it. The “Men At Arm” were watching from a distance, seemingly confused and lack what to do. The duty is to protect the territorial integrity of fatherland from external aggressions. Their hands were tied.
The subordinates got thinking and decided on their own to widen the scope of their statutory mandate. The Soldier Boys are trigger happy. One night of folly, tagged ‘Operation Damisa’, terminated the lives of many compatriots in a swoop. This singular exercise transformed our fallen leaders into “Heroes past”. Thereafter, some of our surviving leaders were so full of deceit and lives an illusion that Nigeria has come of age.
They ignored the advice of Lady Williams to pass on to our children a banner without stain. They belittled our men of letters, who are the repository of knowledge in our educational institutions, and called upon the Nigerian Police to carve for us a new national anthem to replace the British legacy. ACP. Mr Benedict Odiase inspired us to believe that “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”. The labour, most of which the Soldier boys said make our country look big for nothing.
Our dead heroes got tired of our consistent failure to keep our word of honour and presumed their labour is now in vain. Their spirit revolted peacefully and genuinely but the recalcitrant, in their numbers, hijacked the protest and took the battle to the land of the living. They began as ghost, infiltrated our homes and dominated the civil service. Some rose to become Commissioners, Directors and Permanent Secretaries. Others that were denied juicy appointments ran amok in government houses to torment Chief Executives. Governors Yahaya Bello and Rochas Okoroacha tested their fury and are living witnesses.
The terrorist brigades are the demons that operate at the Seat of Power in Abuja. They terrorized senior government officials who formulate policies and took over their thinking faculties to render them clueless. They made ridiculous policies and were scandalously bereft of creativity and rational reasoning. They began to trade blames in confusion until the return of Mungo Park, in the person of Reuben Abati, to discover the den of demons at the Aso Villa.
Before the discovery, the ghosts had captured our civil service and ravaged governance structures at all levels. The results were the many months of unpaid salaries and pension; unstable electricity; poor health facilities; dilapidated infrastructures; moribund educational and transportation systems; dangerous insecurity; clueless leadership which engendered economic recession and chronic hunger.
Abati’s expository forced government to confront the dreaded monster head on. They introduced Bank Verification Number (BVN); Treasury Single Account (TSA); Biometric Census; Integrated Pay Roll System and several others to tackle to scourge. Sadly, the monster swallowed all pebbles thrown at it, and like Oliver the Twins, still asked for more.
At last, government think-tank seems to have found answers that have been elusive. In their wisdom, they decided to placate the dead heroes. They gave statutory Board Appointments to the Dead and involved them in governance. After all, we recycle most of our octogenarians. What does it matter?
Meanwhile, I gathered from the grapevine that the North Central Geopolitical Zone in the other side is angry that the zone is not represented in the recent appointments. I also heard that Madam Fumilayo Ransome Kuti had reached out to Dora Akuyili to mobilize the womenfolk to agitate for gender equality. Government should apply federal character in the spirit of our constitution to accommodate all interests. It’s only fair.
Ikese is a Political Analyst and Columnist at The Nigerian