Echoes of June 12, the push for May 30 Civil War Memorial and call for visionary leadership

It was Prof Attahiru Jega, a former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano and a two-time Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that once posited that “Nigerians have been afflicted by the misfortune of having characters in governance who are neither selfless nor visionary, who are greedy whether for power or money; who are essentially clueless about matters of governance and reckless in the way they handle government affairs.”

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Richard Olanrewaju Odusanya, ED, Africa Covenant Rescue Intiative-ACRI
It was Prof Attahiru Jega, a former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano and a two-time Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that once posited that “Nigerians have been afflicted by the misfortune of having characters in governance who are neither selfless nor visionary, who are greedy whether for power or money; who are essentially clueless about matters of governance and reckless in the way they handle government affairs.”

Flowing from the above, one would be saying the obvious to aver that majority of those currently in the corridors of power and their supporters, majority of whom are individuals with narrow mindsets and whose only consideration is the pecuniary benefits accruable to them in the system, are not in any way different from the classification of Prof Jega.

To further drive the point home, it is interesting to note that the same leader that overtly resurrected the undying spirit of the ‘Biafra ideology’ by his incendiary statement that elicited global condemnation leading to subsequent deletion by Twitter would on another breathe accuse anyone else of indulging in ‘hate speech,’ a catchphrase for which the present administration is reputed.

We cannot easily forget some of the several inflammatory statements from prominent personalities of this government that were brazenly overlooked, either on account of their loyalty to the government or the fact that they are of the northern extraction. The Attorney General’s justification of the criminalities of the marauding killer herdsmen “spare parts” and the most recent being “the language they understand” as applied by the president in his controversial tweet, are clearly suggestive of a leadership with acrimonious disposition, to say the least.

It is a sad development and unfortunately so, that the same issues of the past, that resulted in the 1967-1970 civil war are still being made to resonate and even replicated several decades after the seeming pogrom. Barefaced marginalization, oppression and apparent injustice still reign supreme in apparent disregard for the historic “No Victor, No Vanquish” mantra that attended the outcome of the conflict.

For a people that had previously experienced a civil war that consumed an unquantifiable measure of material resources and about three million of our beloved citizens including family members, it is only commonsensical that the reckless and insensitive statements from the highest authorities in the land would only end up rejuvenating the sad and better-forgotten-memories of the past.

It has therefore become imperative to kick-start a sincere rapprochement and healing process devoid of any further acrimony. This is where one seems to be in sync with those clamouring for a day be set aside as national memorial in honour of our compatriots and victims of the civil war. Aside its potential to act as a soothing balm to those still aggrieved over the perceived injustice arising from the conflict, it will go a long way to serve as panacea for avoiding another senseless civil war ultimately.

Like yours sincerely have always canvassed, no nation is known to have survived multiple civil wars hence this seeming arrogance of power being openly demonstrated by today’s ruling elite and the despicable mentality of “we against them” must stop as it would only help to aggravate an already bad and tensed situation.

Thus, it is pertinent that we remind ourselves of the wrongs of the past and endeavour to avoid the attendant pitfalls as we inch towards the June 12 D-Day. It should be noted that patriotism is about putting the citizens first as it directly relates to the concerns of welfare of the masses. The leadership must ensure that the nation’s abundant wealth is made to benefit the downtrodden first before anybody else as embodied in the pillars of “HOPE ’93” which MKO Abiola represented.

One of MKO’s philosophies comes in handy here where he said, “It is unacceptable for any of our citizens to go to bed hungry.” Today, by reasons of corrupt tendencies, worsening insecurity, ineptitude, cluelessness and self-centred mentality, millions of our compatriots across board are in deep agony, utterly confused and not knowing where the next meal will come from.

As the search for a selfless and visionary leadership in our country continues, we must keep HOPE alive knowing full well that Africa’s biggest challenge anchors on bad leadership and aggravated by a largely docile followership. After all, nation building the world over is an enterprise that requires an all-encompassing approach backed by determination and sincerity of purpose.

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