Every Nation has a Father or Fathers,whose role in the growth of the Nation,was instrumental in shaping its Future and guiding its Present. Nigeria has had a fractured history, from 1960 to ate – and is only held together by the skill and magic of a few men, who ought to, and MUST be honoured as Fathers of the Nation.
On this 29th May, 2020 (CE), Nigeria’s new Democracy Day, and the 5th Anniversary of President Buhari’s Presidency, I didn’t want to leave tradition,so, I’m writing an assessment of Nigeria’s former Heads of State and I have SELECTED 3, who in my Opinion, are the Fathers of the Nigerian Nation. These THREE have Distinquished themselves in National Development, National Consciousness Growth and Infrastructure.You may not like my choice,but, in the deepest, truthfulness of your heart, you agree with me. This is in order of preference:
1) Muhammadu Buhari. If Muhammadu Buhari did not do anything for Nigeria again, he established his Legacy in his first coming. Although, his first coming was brief and short-circuited by those who feared change,he established in our National and Collective Psyche, the Queue culture. No longer were Mighty Igor and Gra-gra,the order of the day. He FORCED us to respect the dictum,”first come,first served”. Thirty six years after, we still “queue”. We learned that if you steal, if you THIEF the common wealth, you will be caught and you will be punished. That “fear” was instilled in us. That is why you see so many “rich” Nigerians SICK. Methought,wealth, no matter,how acquired will bring peace and happiness. Not in Nigeria. Alas,No! Now we see our wealthy citizens in wheelchairs, in crutches,in hospital beds. The new refrain is,”I’m sick.” Some go to the courtrooms with pillows and standby ambulances. The fear of Buhari did that. And, truly, they are SICK.
Then, in this his second coming now,as civilian President, Buhari, now old and infirm – the sad cliché,”the mind is willing,the body is weak” comes to mind. Yet, he has put in place, infrastructures that have cemented his place in Nigerian history. He has achieved what ALL the previous Presidents, collectively, COULDN’T. It’s a litany of unbelievable achievements, including the most difficult for us, humans, forgiveness. He FORGAVE the Southeastern Zone – the Igbos. Twice, they rejected him. Yet, with no more tenure at stake, he has gifted them fine roads, the 2nd Niger Bridge and the railway. In his tenure alone,he has had over 2000 thieves jailed…and counting… He stands head and shoulders above all others. For the first time, we see a man who is care less about the adverse comments of no gooders,by completing abandoned projects.
2. General Yakubu Gowon. General Yakubu Gowon became military Head of State at the young age of 32 years. Yet, in the three years of the Civil War,he matured into an international statesman. He came to power in crisis. He reigned in crisis. If for nothing,the entire country,but most especially the Igbos – and the South South -must always remember Yakubu Gowon’s forebearance. His historic magnanimity cemented his place as Nigeria’s 2nd Father of the Nation. Gowon’s kindness is unparalleled in human history. Fact checks: 1. After the American Civil War,1865, it took several decades for a Southerner (from the Confederacy) to become ELECTED US President, 2. And 75 years after the 2nd World War,both Germany and Japan do not have standing armies. Neither are they Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council. A befitting punishment for the wilful killings and the great pain and misery, they put the whole world. General Gowon broke all precedents and declared,”No Victor,No Vanquished.” He hurt so many of the Hawks in the Military by absorbing the “returnees”. The Nigerian Nation is eternally grateful to him. He sacrificed a few for the peace of the many. He held Nigeria together.
3. Olusegun Obasanjo. General Olusegun Obasanjo remains as influential in Nigerian affairs,as he was,when he burst on the Nigerian scene in 1976. A rotund Colonel, with intelligent eyes. And he was intelligent and he was smart. A rare combination. He was a child of necessity,like Yakubu Gowon. Like Muhammadu Buhari. They appeared when the Nigerian Nation was in dire straits. And needed the healing hands of a Magician. Obasanjo came with Steel hands wrapped in woollen gloves. Obasanjo represents the Conscience of the Nation. Short in physical achievements, Obasanjo has twice been dug up and twice he has sown a seamless gown of National unity. Like him. Love him. Hate him. Obasanjo remains the only human being who knows how to rattle us. Us, the whole Nigeria. At the time of military upheaval ( 13 Feb,1976),the entire nation quaking, Obasanjo was “selected” as Head of State. Notwithstanding his initial tears, he removed his Steel hands from the woollen gloves and “quietened us”.Then, in 1999, with the Nation on the brink again, With almost Divine guidance, the Military and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) put together an Election. Obasanjo WON. He had to. He calmed nerves immediately. For giving us himself in dire times, the Nation is everlastingly grateful to him And that’s why I pick him as the 3rd Father of the Nigerian Nation.
The so called “poem” by Jolayemi, a “journalist” from Kwara State, about Alhaji Lai Mohamed, the Information Minister, is a telling confirmation of a nationally held view, though not voiced,that each Nigerian tribe, especially the Big Three, has a unique way of introducing a newborn to the world. An introduction that is expected to last a lifetime. Southeast. Could the child’s introduction be a wad of freshly minted currency? Could it be that in the South South, a child is introduced to a hefty tot of ogogoro? In the North. Could it be true that the child hears whispered, the Shahada and the Hadith of Manners? The Shahada is the eternal declaration that “there’s no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Messenger.” The Hadith of Manners is (paraphrased): The Prophet (pbuh) said,” It is one of the greatest sins to abuse one’s parents.” The Messenger (pbuh) explained,” he abuses the father of somebody,who in return, abuses the former’s father; he then abuses somebody’s mother. The person in return abuses his mother ( Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Is it true that in the Southwest, the newborn hears whispered insults, curses and abuses?
Mr Jolayemi, may come from Kwara State, but, I bet his soul is Southwest. I bet he was weaned like Femi Fani Kayode. Like Peter Fayose. Grand masters in the Art of Insult.
So, take note. Jolayemi has even dug himself into prison. If he is relying on fickle and faceless Social Media denizens, then, he will rot in prison. Does he have proof of Alhaji Lai Mohamed’s “crimes”? Is it not ABSOLUTE recklessness to insult the Hon Minister of Humanitarian Affairs? Rarely, do we, Nigerians, insult a woman. Can he substantiate the allegations?
And in America,the Nigerian Youth’s Dreamland, the President,Mr Trump,holds to sanity with the most tenuous of grips. His “flippancy” on the angry protests about the “lynching in broad daylight”(Rev Jesse Jackson) of George Floyd, a black man and the deaths from COVID-19 is frightening. Is he for real?
Thank you for reading.