Time To Reclaim Nigeria (4)


If this was an isolated incident, you wouldn’t mind when the president talks about wooing investors. But those who live through the Nigerian nightmare everyday know that power failure is an essential part of daily existence. What kind of investor will invest under this condition of insecurity and uncertainty? But this is just an aside.

Now that President Jonathan and the PDP have shown that they do not care about Nigerians, it is only appropriate that we respond accordingly. This is a long drawn out battle and government has shown how intolerant it is of opposing views with the repression of young Nigerians who assembled at Unity Fountain in Abuja on 11 November to protest the removal of oil subsidy.

The president is chasing shadows while the country burns. How else can one describe his recent meeting with Mr. Alain Juppe, the French Foreign Minister, where he sought to resurrect the seven-year single tenure agenda. He said his proposed seven-year single tenure for Nigeria’s president has been misunderstood by those who think he wants to add that term to his current one.

“My proposal for a single seven-year tenure is anchored on the need for an incumbent president to focus maximum attention on the execution of his development programmes instead of expending vital energy on re-election issues, though this has been misunderstood to mean I want additional seven years,” he told Mr. Juppe.

Does the president need a single seven-year term before he can settle down to govern? Perhaps he was hoping that the French government will put in a word for him on his seven-year agenda, just as the EU did on the oil subsidy issue through its Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. David Macrae.

Sometimes, I wonder if the president and his cronies are the only people who fail to see that we are headed on the road to Afghanistan or Somalia, the poster children of failed states. So what is to be done now that it is clear that President Jonathan and the PDP are unrelenting in their quest to subjugate and continue the impoverishment of ordinary Nigerians?

The first task will be to aggregate the discontent of the suffering masses of Nigeria; the ones who die when a bomb explodes in a market square; those who subsist on less than one dollar a day and those who die from preventable diseases. We all must learn to overcome our differences and confront our common enemies. Hunger does not have a tribe, poverty has no religion, while a disease has no state of origin.

In the weeks and months ahead, we shall, through this medium and other public platforms, intimate Nigerians about how we hope to engage the present administration in the battle to reclaim Nigeria. In this battle, we will count on the support of our compatriots within and in the Diaspora. Nigerians should prepare themselves mentally and psychologically to occupy every public space, from the local government to the national level as well as our embassies in Washington, Ottawa, Paris, London and other major cities around the world when the time comes.

Governments are supposed to serve the people, but when they renege on that task, the people have a responsibility to assert their citizenship rights. We have seen it happen before our very eyes in North Africa and the Middle East.

•Chido OnumahI writes from Lagos and can be reached through [email protected]