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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Before we perish together like fools

More than 100 years ago, Charles Dickens wrote A Tale Of Two Cities. It began: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

Without any doubt, more people have more money in Nigeria today than ever before, yet there is more poverty in the country than ever before. Almost everywhere, one can find comfortable affluence and more deprivation and poverty. There are more university graduates than ever before; also, there are more dropouts in our midst.

There is more security, however, there is more uncertainty across the nation. There is more
education in our country, there is more miseducation. There is more success than ever before, yet there is more failure. It is the best of times; of course, this is the worst of all times in our nation. It is now time to restore our fundamental structure to check and reverse the growth of tribalistic governments which continue to grow beyond the consent of the governed in Nigeria. Otherwise, this may be the time for us to perish together like
fools.

For example, since the end of the 1967 civil war in Nigeria, our citizens have known freedom from the fear of war. And I am convinced that what the majority of Nigerians want urgently, efficiently, and peacefully than anything in the country now is freedom from the enemies of reforms who promote violence for profit in the society, and even propose the resignation of President Bola Tinubu because of crime and poverty levels in the country; thinking that Asiwaju has the magic bullet against the corrosiveness of the past administration without considering the social corruption that created Boko Haram and Fulani bandits in the first place; the breakdown of values standard, the lack of discipline, and the absence of any sense of right or wrong among many young citizens; particularly those in the northern slums that are the breeding ground of so much of the mindless violence in Nigeria.

Well, let us get the record straight again: Bola Ahmed Tinubu is more committed to a belief in the promise of Nigeria than any leader with fragile X syndrome. His frank language in 2023 to challenge the status quo with ‘emi lo kan’ clearly communicated to Nigerians the moral authority in government of the people by the people and for the people, despite many attempts by the enemies to erase the phrase.

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Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the greatest among the American founding fathers and president of the Massachusetts Congress during the Independence struggle once said: ‘Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of… On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.’

In the same vein, Nigeria is presently at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind: the anti–reforms group who value the life of Fulani cows more than human beings. And this is the right time to let them know that there is a price our country can no
longer pay; and there is a point beyond which they must not advance in the land.

That is why many independent thinkers in the society believe that the cop – out of blaming crime and poverty on President Tinubu and asking him to resign in less than 12 months in Aso Rock is morally corrupt, tribalistic, and, of course, intellectually vacuous.

In 2023, millions of Nigerians from every group and religion came together to elect Asiwaju Tinubu as the nation’s commander-in-chief after many adversities; believing that we have
chosen hope over fear, and unity over discord in the country, particularly after eight years of the lame duck administration that many observers regard as the most secretive, corrupt and dangerous in the history of the largest economy in Africa. The point is that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was spared for a purpose in Nigeria.

Unlike his predecessor, there is no doubt that he has the best intentions for our country. His belief in Nigerian people and his vision of freedom and prosperity for our nation offered hope without directing his policies against any group, be it Miyetti Allah or Oranmiyan nation, but against hunger, poverty, and chaos; even at this moment when every citizen is lamenting the Nigerian crisis of confidence.

This is the reason why all Nigerians of goodwill must support Tinubu’s government in his reform policies to help our nation keep its rendezvous with destiny. Afterall, most of our pressing problems today – the woeful decline of the Nigerian economy, education crisis, rising crime, urban decay and poverty, the growing sense of entitlement among some tribes and religions – are at their core, moral, not material problems. Unfortunately, we
cannot even begin to solve these problems unless we return to the structures that made our country great during the days of the founding fathers.

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For example, when I was growing up in Ise-Ekiti in the sixties, there was far more poverty but far less crime in our communities. The difference was that our families, schools and communities enforced civilized standards. That is why American philosopher Eric Hoffer said, ‘if poverty were indeed the fundamental cause of crime, history would be almost nothing; for the vast majority of people in world history have lived in poverty.’

Regrettably, what we are reaping in our country today is the whirlwind provoked by the age in which some self–appointed political elites, especially in the north, sneered at the structures that helped Nigerians overcome the problems of tribalism during the days of the founding fathers. These same anti-renewal citizens are the ones who claimed in their usual arrogant tone that it is tribalism to teach Shakespeare in school instead of Arabic poets; and forcing the Fulani children to learn standard English is against Islam.

The truth is that we cannot effectively address our nation’s most pervasive social problems
unless we all face up to the fact that the anti-reforms group is primarily responsible for the plague of violence and poverty in Nigeria and not President Tinubu. Unfortunately, an understandable wish to avoid offending northern voters had prevented most political leaders from addressing the question of tribe as it affects the crime epidemic in the country.

Whereas Abraham Lincoln fought the American civil war with a relentless and, at times, even a ruthless will to victory because he knew that a house divided against itself could not stand. That is why the present government must do everything within its power to expose the enemies of change in the country for what they are: incubators of disunity, distrust, and, of course, hatred.

It is time to call a spade a spade!

  • Adeyeye is Proprietor, Crown Heights College, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Gbadebo Adeyeye
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