RE-TAMING THE ELDERS*

By Kensington Idenala

Nigerian Tribune November 24, 2000

ALHAJI Yusuf Abdulhameed Shuaib, should be given a national merit award for a piece well written in the Nigerian Tribune of Friday, November 3, 2000, page 12, asking the cosmic “to tame the elders” as if the elders have caused the woes currently plaguing Nigeria. He has only succeeded in running away from the real PROBLEM that must be put squarely on the shoulders of some blind Nigerians, always waiting to lead others at all costs.

The problems in Nigeria have been caused by the military who were sponsored in the past, by the Arewa politicians to seize political power. The Army’s intrusion into governance has ruined Nigeria and only people like President Obasanjo can try to save the situation and unfortunately, his likes are very scarce. Shuaibu should have examined how the population disparity fraud in Nigeria could be corrected, because the nursery pupils from different tribes, in his essay, would soon study geography, which will teach them the factors responsible for population in any country of the world, which will be proved wrong by the Nigerian example. Damilola, Gidado and Chukwudi will soon take JAMB forms and if there is only one vacancy in the university of their choice, the one with 150 out of 400 marks will gain admission into the university while the other two with 250 and 310 respectively, will be left out, in the name of the quota system.

Or, if the three kids decide to join the army after their SSCE, the one from a particular area will be commissioned earlier than the other two and in the event of a coup, there is the likelihood that anyone from the tribe “born to rule” will be a military governor over his superiors. When the worst military dictator ruled Nigeria, some youths saw nothing wrong with it, even when the agent of the dictator was assassinating many, some youth earnestly wanted him to rule forever.

The elders were helpless in the face of “khaki Boys.” Shuaibu forgot that Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Arewa Forum, Bakassi Boys, Egbesu, etc. came into existence due to the gross abuse of power by the military boys. Without the establishment of stable democratic government that will be fair to all and sundry, these tribal groups will not go away because they had been very relevant.

Imagine the current face-off between the federal executive and the House of Representatives on the basis of false population figures of producing a leader who cannot be accountable to anybody because he is law unto himself. Having ensured that more than half of the members are on his pay roll, the Speaker now threatens the President of Nigeria to work with him or resign (see Nigerian Tribune, 3 November, 2000).

Shuaibu should tell us how all these deliberate manipulations of fact and barefaced hypocrisy can create a conductive Nigeria. Since the arrival of new-breed politicians into the arena of Nigerian politics, nothing has remained stable or the same. It is, therefore wrong to call for the taming of elders who are helpless in a situation in which money is all in all in Nigeria, amongst those who called themselves new breed leaders.

Beautiful compositions like the one written by Y.A Shuaibu should address real problems and not treat eczema instead of leprosy. If the structure is right and there are fairness and equity in all our undertakings in Nigeria, our children will grow to in love themselves. If they are friends at the nursery school now, they will soon discover that the federal character, quota system and the unwritten code of those born to rule, will dislocate their age long friendly relationship.

Shuaibu should consider the 1999 constitution, with so many omissions, as not federal in nature and not written by the peoples of Nigeria, but by a few army generals with vested interests.

Yushau Abdul Shuaibu will soon join the club of elders that he now wishes to be tamed.

 

Dr. Kensington Idenala, Agenedobe, Edo State.

*Please see the reference article in page 21