Every discerning analyst knows what is called I&W, that is; indicators and warnings. In the last two decades there were a lot of predictions to the effect that Nigeria, the anchor nation of the black race, will collapse by the year 2015. These predictions are based on some scenarios which in turn are based on some parameters: continuous corruption, lack of good governance, pervasive insecurity, ethno – religious conflicts, increased rate of poverty, collapse of social services such as health care and education as well as political thuggery and banditry etc etc.
Of course, most institutions have collapsed in Nigeria. Only those who cannot afford going out of the country to study remain to attend schools here. The CBN released a repot that Nigerians pay a whopping N155 billion annually to Ghanaian educational institutions as school fees. This amount is more than the annual budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and this is just Ghana! Only those who cannot afford to travel out attend hospitals here. Thousands go to Egypt, India, Israel, China, US and Europe for medical treatments everyday. And a friend said in the process, some kidneys are removed and sold by unscrupulous medical personnel in some of these countries!
Common drinking water is not available even in Abuja, the federal capital. Instead of establishing comprehensive modern water supply schemes in urban and rural areas, some ad hoc arrangements such as boreholes are provided, that is even where they are lucky to have them. As a result of inadequate or lack of good drinking water, thousands die annually from preventable diseases. Virtually everyone who can afford it has private boreholes available in their homes, offices and farms.
The security and law enforcement agencies have failed. There is inadequate training, poor remuneration and lack of professionalism in these critical institutions. Above all, there is so much corruption and too much competition among them. In other countries, security agencies operate quietly behind the scene. They give their reports to the policy makers who in turn inform the public about issues that require information in the public domain. Here, the police speak differently from the SSS like the recent arrest of Mr. John in Radio House Abuja during which the police believe what he was carrying was hand grenade while the SSS spokesman insisted they were tear gas canisters!
Then there is the ridiculous issue of training military personnel in counterterrorism. The issue is about law enforcement, which is the domain of the police. The military are not trained to deal with civilians. Moreover, of all the agencies, only the police have the spread throughout the country. But, as it is, there is obvious disconnect in the whole process and that is why the right results are not obtained. Consequent upon all these, there is a huge demand for private security outfits even by banks because conventional government agencies have really failed in this most primary of government responsibility: protection of life and property of the people.
Apart from insecurity the other major area of challenge is corruption. In every tier and arm of government, corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. From the lowest labourer to the highest officer, everyone seems to know how to cut corners. These children growing up do not even know what it is to live an honest life as the daughter of my friend kept disturbing her father to give the policeman who stopped at a check point money to allow them to go so that the father will spare them any unnecessary waste of time!
Governance has since been reduced to periodic, largely dubious election. We are barely one year into this term and already the main issue in political discourse is 2015. While some are already insisting that President Jonathan must contest the presidency in 2015, others are even doubting if there would be a country called Nigeria as presently constituted that year, of course citing the US National Intelligence Council report which earlier predicted that Nigeria might disintegrate by 2015 if lack of good governance, corruption and conflicts continue to escalate. Of course since that prediction, the scale and magnitude of corruption has since been increasing exponentially. Nigeria is like a carcass being feasted upon by vultures.
Worst of all, there are very few politicians who have real organic links with the people and fewer political parties with deep ideological expressions. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is kept together by the power and consequently resources they control and are able to share and dispense to the elite. The opposition parties are fractured and in most cases, regional in outlook. Nigerians are left with a serious dilemma and absurdity beyond imagination: the greater the failure of the PDP to govern effectively the greater the party “wins” elections in an obviously continuously engineered victory!
In 2015, the epic battle for the soul of the nation will take place. All the established and emerging power blocs will confront each other in a grand finale of the drama and chess game being played here. After 2015, even those who may remain alive may not be physically fit to remain relevant due to old age, ill health, psychological dementia and mental amnesia. That is the coming reality.
But, from all indications there will be two main camps in the 2015 battle: those who are oppressed and those who are the oppressors. While one camp will be for a government of pessimism, limits and despair; the other will be for a government of hope, confidence and limitless opportunities. While one camp will try to deny our differences, the other will try to bridge them. While one will try to be uniform, the other will strive to make us united. While one camp will attempt to continue with empty promises and raise false hopes, the other will confront us with proven records of achievements in the services of our country and humanity. While one camp will pride itself in being the epitome of privileges as a result of mainly stolen wealth, the other will be a mirror image of a great future. If the difference is clear, as the 7-up adverts would say, then the choice will also be clear.