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Is Nigeria a failed nation? Perhaps not, but it seems to be experiencing the  excruciating symptoms of a failed state. Over twenty years ago, a friend of mine who was a missionary in Zimbabwe told me of his experience of using a Coca-Cola bottle to fill gasoline for his vehicle. How unimaginable is that? With the situation in Zimbabwe then, if you kept the Zimbabwean dollar outside next to a Coca-Cola bottle of gasoline, you would later probably find the dollar still there while the bottle would be gone. The situation in Zimbabwe was not hyperinflation but a devastating life for the citizens.

A state that cannot confidently feed its citizens and protect their lives and property has failed. In the past eight years, Nigerians have suffered through a lack of food, property and physical insecurity . There was at least some hope when Buhari’s government exited. Even though most Nigerians were not optimistic, it was like we had evaded a rattlesnake and could surely endure other dangerous reptiles. However, a book written by Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Buhari, titled “Working with Buhari” was launched on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. It was a book that explained the events of  eight years of paradise in Nigeria. The book painted the eight years of Buhari as times Nigerians were not happy to see it end. But the years of Buhari’s presidency were a nightmare for 98% of Nigerians. They were years when no one was secured in their homes. They were years when farmers stopped going to their farms for fear of being kidnapped or killed. Surprisingly, at the launching of the book was the former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Each of them commended the tenure of the former president. And if President Tinubu said Buhari did his best, who else in Nigeria should hold a contrary view? He is his successor; maybe there are things he is seeing that we do not see. I remember in my early days in my first job, when I told my supervisor that I was doing my best, he often responded that my best was not good enough. If the president thinks those years were Buhari’s best, they were not good for Nigeria.

The truth, however, is that as of today, the eight years of Buhari’s presidency are the worst in the history of Nigeria. Those of us who are alive by the mere grace of God are not the right judges. The judges are thousands of Nigerians who have lost their lives through the misrule of the president. The true judges are the widows, the widowers, the motherless, the fatherless, the parents who lost their growing children, and the owners of businesses that have shut down under Buhari’s watch. What do you want to hear from the people of Plateau? Have you heard the stories of the Kaduna South or worse still, the common communities in Borno state who have been completely devastated? The rot in the economy and national security that have worsened under Tinubu’s government are the maturing symptoms of a nation’s sickness which has suffered from lack of attention by the responsible doctors, our so-called “politicians.” Have you heard of a man in the hospital suffering from cancer whose quack doctors kept treating him for malaria? Until the man lost his energy and went into comma, and an application of oxygen was too late to revive him.

The commonality among all nations of the world that have come to their knees under bad rulership is a compromise of the elites, the press, and the opinion leaders. From 2019, through 2020, there were vocal Nigerians, professors, and academics who condemned Donald Trump. To them, Trump was evil and was not fit to be president. But to my surprise, all these prolific Nigerian writers, public commentators, and social critics disappeared when it mattered in their own country, Nigeria. They were comfortable with  financial mismanagement, economic sabotage, terrorism, and the total collapse of the social lives of Nigerians. They looked the other way while Nigeria deteriorated economically, socially, and politically but their noses were especially sensitive to the happenings in the US. Unfortunately, it is always very easy to destroy but difficult to build. Nigerians should by now know that no one cares for them. They must therefore speak up. The Nigerian press suffers from the same sickness as all other Nigerians. Everyone looked out for themselves alone as the nation’s commonwealth was being squandered. It is relatively easy for a nation to succeed. It is a lot easier for African nations to fail because they had no good foundation, thanks to our colonial masters. However, it is yet to be seen what we have done for ourselves. We are Africans that are killing Africa. Coming up is “Nigeria – A Failed Nation? (Part 2)”.

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